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John's Adventure This Week
John N. Felsher's Outdoors Adventures
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Last Updated:
Monday, Nov. 24, 2014
John N. Felsher
is available for photographic or
writing assignments. A
nationally published author, he
contributed more than 1,500
articles to more than 107
magazines and five books. As
syndicated newspaper
columnist and outdoors editor
for several newspapers, he's
published countless articles and
photographs since 1977.

He's also available as a media
consultant, information
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such, he can write, edit or
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Covey Rise Lodge offers sportsmen
delicious food, great times afield
    With outstanding shooting, fabulous New Orleans style food and
superior accommodations, Covey Rise Lodge provides the perfect getaway
for any sportsmen who like to enjoy the finer things of life.
Established in October 1999 as a shooting preserve, Covey Rise Lodge
covers 400 acres near Husser, La. Slightly more than an hour north of New
Orleans, the property borders Chappapella Creek, which flows through
mixed pine and hardwood forests north of Interstate 12 about halfway
between Baton Rouge and Slidell, La.
    Primarily a bobwhite quail operation, the lodge also offers chukar hunts.
Native to the Middle East and southern Asia, chukars look similar to
oversize, rotund bobwhites. The lodge also holds pheasant and pen-raised
mallard hunts. Longer than seasons for wild birds, the Louisiana hunting
preserve season runs from Oct. 15-April 15 for pen-raised birds only.
    “Because our season is longer than the state season for wild birds,
people can enjoy more opportunities to hunt,” said Jim Geisler III, Covey
Rise co-owner. “Our primary hunting is for bobwhite quail, but we do mix in
chukar if the customers want that. Most people are not concerned with the
number of birds they shoot. They come here for the entire experience, the
camaraderie and to watch the dogs work. Shooting is almost an
afterthought.”
    Quail and chukar hunts take place on 300 acres of leased fields near
the lodge. Before each hunt, guides release about 45 quail, but sportsmen
can buy more birds if they wish. Most hunters join lodge guides to follow
trained dogs across gently rolling fields. However, some sportsmen bring
their own dogs for do-it-yourself hunts.
    “If people want to use their own bird dogs, we set up the field for them,”
Geisler explained. “Some people like to use their own dogs mixed with our
dogs, but most people book the whole package. We started a new hunt
where we only use flushing dogs, not pointing dogs, to have a different
style experience. We mix up the birds and offer the hunters a little bit of
everything.”
    Sometimes, people hunt mallards in the morning and quail that
afternoon. For duck hunts, a guide brings the guests to a blind overlooking
a swampy slough. At one end of the slough, a lodge staffer periodically
releases two or three ducks at a time. The birds fly to a designated
sanctuary at the opposite end of the slough. A trained retriever fetches all
the downed birds.
    As a lifelong duck hunter, I didn’t expect much from the mallard hunt –
until I tried it! Instead of shooting birds gently settling into a pond at point
blank range as I envisioned, these ducks flew surprising fast and offered
quite challenging shooting. Making things even more difficult, another
group of shooters occupying a blind between the release pens and our
party didn’t miss many shots. By the time surviving mallards rocketed pass
our blind, they fired up their afterburners to maximum thrust.
   After hunting, many sportsmen gather in the lodge dining room, which
can hold up to 45 guests. The lodge staff serves three sumptuous meals a
day for overnight guests and lunch for many visiting day parties. Much of
the food comes directly off the property or an associated farm.
   “We’re well known for our food,” explained Sandy Sharp, who first
developed Covey Rise Lodge. “We also have a sister farm called
Chappapella Farms that raises hogs and Peking ducks. We grow most of
the food we serve right on our farm and provide vegetables to more than
75 restaurants. These are not the typical vegetables found in a grocery
store. What we do with the food is very special and very much appreciated
by our customers. It’s the same food people can order in the finest New
Orleans restaurants – and everyone knows New Orleans as one of the top
destinations for food in the world.”
    Dishes include various pork, beef, quail or duck delicacies prepared in
several ways. Like New Orleans itself, the menu may span several cultural
influences include Spanish, Italian, French and old-fashioned Southern. At
breakfast, Lyons often serves grillades and grits, an old New Orleans
favorite made from stone-ground grits topped by braised beef.
    “I like all cuisines,” advised Marc Lyons, executive chef. “We use classic
techniques for combinations of food. Our food is product driven. We let the
farms determine what we’re going to cook. Our guests really appreciate the
quail we serve. These quail were not shot, but raised just for eating. We
also make a rolled Italian style pork that we cook for 72 hours at very low
temperature and season it with Italian herbs and spices.”
    The lodge itself can accommodate up to 12 people in six hotel-style
rooms. Some guests prefer to stay at private cabins on a 15-acre lake
stocked with bass and other native fish. Created in 2002, the lake produced
largemouth bass exceeding eight pounds. While staying on the property,
guests may fish the lake or enjoy fire pits, a swimming pool, tennis and
basketball courts, a sporting clays course and skeet range or explore 12
miles of trails.
   “We try to create a lasting experience that will entertain people and make
good memories,” Geisler advised. “They come here and they don’t need to
worry about anything. We handle everything for them.”
   For more information on Covey Rise Lodge, call Geisler at 985-747-0310
or visit www.coveyriselodge.com. Besides the lodge, area visitors may also
stay in the nearby Maison Réve bed and breakfast. Call 866-796-8103 or
see www.maisonrevefarm.com.

Ladies of the lake
    Some people loved Covey Rise so much that they decided to live there,
at least part time. The lodge sold lots on its lake shoreline where the
owners could build cabins. When not using it themselves, some owners
allow the lodge to rent all or part of their cabins to guests.
    “Covey Rise manages the properties for its guests,” explained Jim
Geisler III, lodge co-owner. “These cabins are great getaway venues for
families, couples, friends and groups.”
    The lodge does all the bookings. After guests leave, the housekeeping
staff cleans the cabins and prepares them for future visitors. In exchange,
cabin owners receive a percentage of the lodging fees.
“We rent our whole cabin,” said Rebel Caplinger, who lives in Slidell, La.,
and owns a lake cabin with her husband Charlie. “Everything goes through
Covey Rise. If we want specific dates, we reserve them. Otherwise, they can
rent the cabin whenever we’re not there. We’ve never had a single thing
broken or any problems with people staying in our cabin. Every time I’ve
walked in, it’s been clean as if no one had ever been there.”
    Interestingly, the women informally calling themselves the “Covey Wives”
really pushed their husbands to build cabins on the lake. Each one wanted
a place to hang out with friends and families. The mothers also wanted a
safe place where their youngsters could experience the outdoors.
    “My husband and I bought Cabin 1 shortly after Hurricane Katrina hit,”
recalled Susan Villere of Mandeville, La. “We wanted a place where we
could evacuate in case of another storm, but it became much more than
that. We had no idea how much we would fall in love with the place and the
setting. Many of our husbands already went to Covey Rise for the hunting.
Fewer than half of the Covey Wives shoot, but we were the ones who
wanted cabins after we saw the place and experienced the camaraderie
there. We often get together for meals, parties and various functions.”
    Cabin owners cannot stay on the property permanently. Most visit on
weekends, holidays or during the summer. Before heading to Covey Rise,
cabin owners call the lodge to check its availability and make reservations.
TOP: Daniel Felsher
shows off a chukar
(lower) and a bobwhite
quail he shot during a
hunt at Covey Rise
Lodge near Husser, La.

RIGHT: Daniel Felsher
shows off some
mallards he bagged
during a hunt at Covey
Rise Lodge near
Husser, La.