Xavier Fairley, a wildlife manager and shooting instructor for Prairie Wildlife of West Point, spoke to Columbus Rotarians at Lion Hills Center Tuesday afternoon, highlighting the enterprise’s conservation efforts and explaining its hunting and lodging opportunities.
Fairley, the owner of F and F Carriage Service in Columbus, said the 6,000-acre business on Mississippi’s Black Prairie was the brainchild of James “Jimmy” Bryan of West Point. It arose through Bryan’s efforts to restore the native grasses and natural habitats surrounding his family’s farm.
A working cattle farm, row-crops and prairie wildlife now all exist on the family’s land, Fairley said.
“He’s put a lot of effort into habitat preservation,” Fairley said of Bryan.
He said Prairie Wildlife boasts over 150 coveys of quail and has seen rising populations of rabbit and deer.
“It turns out good habitat for quail was good habitat for all wildlife,” Fairley said.
“We believe we have an excess of 150 coveys of quail,” he added. “This year, I’ve seen more rabbits than in the five-and-a-half years I’ve been there.”
Conservation of wildlife and habitat is only half of Prairie Wildlife’s mission.
“Our mission statement is to preserve the (hunting) sporting tradition of The South through conservation,” Fairley said.
He said Prairie Wildlife promotes responsible hunting and invites guests to enjoy the natural, scenic setting the prairie offers.
Fairley said the business offers quail, deer and rabbit hunting, as well as fishing, wing-shooting, horseback rides and wagon rides. Groups may also host events at Prairie Wildlife or stay in historic or contemporary lodging facilities.
Columbus Rotary Club will host its second skeet-shooting competition and “Shots Felt Around the World” fundraiser at Prairie Wildlife Aug. 27 to raise money for partner charities.
“I’m sure you’ll find the accommodations exceptional, and I’m proud to be affiliated with this place,” Fairley said. “I think it’s a treasure of the South.”
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