Tuesday, August 17, 2010
Hunting Traditions Run Deep in the Luckie Family.
Nothing ignites a conversation better or faster than the subject of our hunting heritage and family traditions surrounding it. This occasion was no exception. It was hard to get a word in edgewise as we sat in Dr. James “Jimmy” Luckie’s den late one July afternoon, trading hunting stories across the room like a fast-paced ping pong match. I was surrounded by two branches of the Luckie family tree—John Luckie, Jr. and his son Trey; Jimmy Luckie and his sons Beau and Zack. Though one generation separated those in attendance, the morals of their stories were the same.
In South Georgia, in a gathering of this type, you would expect the main topic of conversation to be deer and turkey hunting, but not this group. Although the Luckies enjoy hunting deer and turkey, their hearts belong to wing shooting and their most treasured memories are about quail hunts on the family farm in Marshallville, Georgia. John and Jim grew up hunting quail and doves; young Beau is a dyed in the wool duck hunter; and Trey enjoys doves and upland game birds such as pheasant.
Though there is some evidence that quail may be making a comeback in parts of rural Georgia, a state once famous for quail hunting, Jimmy said 16 wild birds was all they could muster last season. Hunters who grew up hunting wild quail get heartburn making the leap to pen-raised quail hunting on commercial shooting farms. Traditions seldom evolve.
Part family reunion and part hunt festival, Thanksgiving was a very special time for members of the Luckie clan. J.A. Luckie and John Luckie Sr. (grandfather and father, respectively, of John, Jr.) were both farmers in Macon County Georgia (Marshallville) and their farm was the gathering place. They hunted quail in the morning; sat down for a traditional Thanksgiving dinner around noon; and then returned to the fields in the afternoon. Jimmy said it was a bad day if they didn’t raise 20 + coveys of bob white quail. The Luckie’s Thanksgiving hunts usually extended into the weekend and, for variety, also included dove and duck shoots.