Skip to main content

A Step Back in Time

Georgia's Fort Creek Farm spins 1800s feel to Deer Camp

A Step Back in Time
This is Sydney Rives IV, grandson of the Sydney who grew up on the farm. Here's a solid example of what frequents the farm. Even his .30-30 Winchester Model 1894 levergun is period-specific to the farm. (David Hunter Jones photo)

When you hear the phrase Deer Camp, any number of memories, smells or feelings come to mind. Maybe it’s a trailer in the woods with a fire blazing in a pit and a deer strung up on a pole surrounded by unshaved plaid- and orange-clad guys drinking beer.

Or, it may be a high-dollar, pay-to-play outfitter in Saskatchewan, Canada where elk- and moose-antler chandeliers light up a richly appointed great hall in a lodge. Both of these fit the term Deer Camp. But, neither of these places can take you back in time. There’s a place in middle Georgia called Fort Creek Farm that does just that as well as offer outstanding hunting.

Beginnings

Fort Creek Farm might also be called Rives (pronounces “reeves”) Plantation, after the family who has owned it for generations. It began as a plantation in the 1800s, much like many of the acreages in the area.

Most of the others, however, have been split up and sold off. To this day the Rives family still owns the place (“the farm” as it’s known to those familiar with it), and Rives relatives Bob and Susan Woodall live there with manager Chris Jackson and his wife.


And rather than cotton, the farm is now home to dozens of head of cattle and chickens, all of which are grass-fed and free range. The beef is sold under the Fort Creek Farms label.


Besides the central heating and air, satellite TV and WiFi, Rives Plantation looks much like it did in the 1800s. It’s the most complete antebellum residence in Georgia that’s still in private hands.

Many of the outbuildings around the main house still stand. A gin house with a gin still stand, a store, well, jail, outhouse and servants’ quarters are also in good shape. Two of the three quarters have been converted into functioning homes, both of which are occupied when hunting season rolls around.

Camp

Each spring and fall, friends of the Rives family descend on the farm in pursuit of the abundant turkeys and deer that call the plantation home. There are green fields that Jackson keeps up year-round, pastureland and lots of hardwood bottomland.

With Jackson’s intimate knowledge of the terrain, there’s a stand in just about every hotspot, and proof of that is in the animals harvested each year. In a two-week period this season, three hunters killed five deer in just three days. And that was before the rut.


Sightings are regular and most every buck is a solid shooter 8-point, though there are giants lurking. The author shanked a 10-pointer last year that was 5 inches outside his ears. Whoops. The biggest deer killed from the premises is a 148-inch bruiser, a veritable giant for this part of the world.

But, deer in the “one-teens” are commonplace. But, like in many camps, the excellent hunting is just a part of the reason friends gather at the farm each season.

The Land of No Rules

Practices and customs vary from deer camp to camp, and Fort Creek Farm enjoys about the most relaxed atmosphere imaginable. Everyone’s mindful of safety and respectful to the premises, but beyond that it’s wide open.


When Syd Rives was growing up, he and his friends frequented the farm and dubbed it “the land of no rules” simply because nobody complained when they shot guns, went mud riding or generally caused a stir.

Though the camp’s members have slowed down as marriage and children came along, there’s still a party atmosphere at the place, especially when the Dawgs are playing – that’s Georgia Bulldogs.

The best part? You’re standing in the 1800s in one of the most historically complete and functional places in the South. It’s a true treasure and everyone who visits Fort Creek comes away amazed at how thoughtfully and faithfully the grounds have been restored and maintained.

Upkeep of the many buildings isn’t cheap, and it’s funded largely by the sales of the cattle that call Fort Creek home.

Sitting in a stand at Fort Creek is as thrilling as anywhere, but taking in the Old South ambiance and sharing frosty beverages with friends around a fire make it just like your Deer Camp: the greatest one in the world.

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

How to Quickly Re-Spool a Fishing Reel

How to Quickly Re-Spool a Fishing Reel

Stripping a reel and adding fresh line is a breeze if you know the drill—literally.

New Gloves from Fish Monkey

New Gloves from Fish Monkey

Quick look at Stealth, Half-Fingered & Stubby gloves; 2020 ICAST New Fishing Gear Guide.

P-Line Copolymer Topwater Fishing Line

P-Line Copolymer Topwater Fishing Line

Get the inside info on the new topwater-specific fishing line; ICAST Fishing Gear Guide.

Bubba Blade: Multi-Flex Interchangeable Blade Set

Bubba Blade: Multi-Flex Interchangeable Blade Set

Four blades in versatile knife system to fit your needs; ICAST Fishing Gear Guide.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

Dozens of different bait types are commonly used for catfish, including these great options.12 Great Catfish Baits Catfish

12 Great Catfish Baits

Jeff Samsel

Dozens of different bait types are commonly used for catfish, including these great options.

Anglers can find catfish in practically any freshwater system in the South, but some waters really stand out for monsters.The South's Best Waters for Trophy Catfish Catfish

The South's Best Waters for Trophy Catfish

John N. Felsher - August 21, 2020

Anglers can find catfish in practically any freshwater system in the South, but some waters...

Now's the time to finalize plans for the perfect deer season opener.10 Expert Deer Hunting Preparation Tips for Opening Day Whitetail

10 Expert Deer Hunting Preparation Tips for Opening Day

M.D. Johnson - August 26, 2020

Now's the time to finalize plans for the perfect deer season opener.

If you haven't looked at the smaller urban lakes in your area, you are missing out on some great bass pond fishing.Bass Pond Fishing: Catch Lunkers at Small Lakes Near You Bass

Bass Pond Fishing: Catch Lunkers at Small Lakes Near You

Dan Anderson

If you haven't looked at the smaller urban lakes in your area, you are missing out on some...

See More Trending Articles

More Whitetail

Starting opening day, there's a small window to tag out before pressure impacts buck movement. Make the most of it.Quick-Strike Tips for Early Archery Deer Success Whitetail

Quick-Strike Tips for Early Archery Deer Success

Tony Peterson - August 18, 2020

Starting opening day, there's a small window to tag out before pressure impacts buck movement....

Finding and hunting soft-mast food sources can be the key to tagging your next trophy buck.Going 'Soft' on Whitetails Whitetail

Going 'Soft' on Whitetails

Bruce Ingram - October 19, 2020

Finding and hunting soft-mast food sources can be the key to tagging your next trophy buck.

Boss Buck introduces attractants that are powerful and long-lasting.Apple & Acorn Liquid Attractants for Deer Hunting Whitetail

Apple & Acorn Liquid Attractants for Deer Hunting

Game & Fish Staff - June 10, 2020

Boss Buck introduces attractants that are powerful and long-lasting.

More adjustability and improved balance make these nine compounds even easier to shoot.The Best Compound Bows for 2020 Bows

The Best Compound Bows for 2020

Jace Bauserman - August 24, 2020

More adjustability and improved balance make these nine compounds even easier to shoot.

See More Whitetail

Magazine Cover

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE Arrow

Buy Digital Single Issues

Don't miss an issue.
Buy single digital issue for your phone or tablet.

Buy Single Digital Issue on the Game & Fish App

Other Magazines

Special Interest Magazines

See All Special Interest Magazines

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All Game & Fish subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now