9 Ways to Turn Your Hunt into a Family Vacation

By Doug Howlett
5/31/2012 11:23:38 AM

So much to do, so little time-particularly for the family man (or woman) who loves the outdoors. Besides holding down a job, taking care of the house and keeping vehicles gassed and running, once you have kids, much of your free time is spent on them. Ballgames, parties, vacations-it's hard to carve any time out for yourself. If the entire family loves to hunt, that's awesome. If not, then most hunters are forced to choose between family time and time outdoors. Fortunately, with these nine vacation destinations, you can seamlessly work them both in, making everybody-including yourself-very, very happy.

Disney World - Orlando, Fla.

Now, telling your buddies, "I'm going to Disney World," doesn't have to mean, "I'm not going hunting." In fact, there is some great hunting within just a short drive of Orlando, near which the uber-theme park is located (some phenomenal fishing, too). When Walt Disney and his dummy corporations began buying up the 27,000-plus acres in central Florida where the Magic Kingdom and related parks are now situated, he plunked his play land paradise right in the middle of prime Osceola wild turkey habitat. Plan a spring break trip to Disney World with the fam, and slip in a day or two to either book a turkey hunt or hit one of the not-too-distant WMAs to score on the hardest to fill leg of the Grand Slam of turkey hunting. Go virtually anytime the rest of the year and you can experience awesome hog or gator hunting, enjoying thrills to rival any Tower of Terror or Space Mountain Disney engineers can envision. Fishing can be had right there on Disney property or you and the kids can sneak away to check out some of the area's other epic attractions such as Universal Orlando Resort or SeaWorld.

The Fork Farm and Stables - Norwood, N.C.

Just a short drive east from bustling Charlotte, N.C., and you'll find the family-friendly tranquility of Fork Farm and Stables. The farm serves as home to the International Wing Shooting School, boasting a 12-field, 24-station sporting clays course; a seven-field, seven-station sub-gauge course; five-stand; and a six-trap, 60-foot tower and flurry. But for the sportsmen not content with clay targets, the facility also offers quail and duck hunts on their private, wooded 1,600 acres. Guided hunts for deer and organized hunts for rabbits are also scheduled at various times during the fall and winter season. If roaming far, wide and free is your thing, the boundary of the nearly 50,000-acre Uwharrie National Forest where deer, turkey, small game and waterfowl can all be hunted is less than 20 minutes away. For the non-hunters/non-shooters in the household, there is no shortage of activities to keep them going. Hiking, mountain biking, fishing, archery, golf, cooking and art classes, wildlife watching and, of course, horseback riding are all available. Stay in the farm's eight-room bed and breakfast situated in a rustic lodge.

WB Ranch - Whitney, Texas

A mere 80 miles southwest of the Dallas area, the WB Ranch offers the quintessential Texas experience complete with the opportunity to participate in a City Slickers-like longhorn roundup complete with meals from a chuck wagon. Situated on nearly 2,000 acres of oak forests, sunflower fields, hills and bluffs along the Brazos River (the WB boasts three miles of river frontage), visitors can enjoy some serious wildlife watching of exotic game such as free-ranging red stag, gemsbok, fallow deer, zebra, axis deer, blackbuck antelope and more. For those hunters not content to watch, the ranch offers hunting for whitetails, turkeys, ducks, dove and upland birds. When you're not in the field or on the cattle trail, join the family for sporting clays on the WB's two courses, or let the guns rest and try some hiking, biking, horseback riding, archery, golf, swimming, fishing, ATV tours and airboat rides on the Brazos. There's even a spa. No need to rough it here in the ranch's 27-room lodge with fully appointed Ralph Lauren decor, and dine on gourmet fare with a Texas flair by Executive Chef Bruce Jernigan.

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