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Wiley Creek Duck Preserve

Wiley Creek Duck Preserve is taking reservations now for the 2022-2023 season.

By Cory Sekine-Pettite

Just a short drive from anywhere in Cobb County, in the foothills of the North Georgia Mountains, sits an idyllic, 380-acre, farm with numerous lakes and ponds in Waleska, Georgia. This time of year, when the leaves are changing and every sunrise reveals a pillowy fog rising from the lake, it’s hard to imagine a more beautiful, natural setting than this property known as Wiley Creek Duck Preserve.

Yes, this picturesque location is a hunting preserve. Owners Larry and Peggy Lewallen have been hosting outdoorsmen for 11 seasons on their land (Lewallen Farms), offering experienced waterfowl hunters and first-time guests the opportunity to enjoy a hunt on private land and to stay overnight if desired. The guest lodge accommodates up to 19 people and is fully furnished with seven bedrooms; a two-bedroom, top-floor apartment; a full kitchen; game room; and spectacular vistas of the surrounding mountains. In addition, a newly renovated three-bedroom home on the property is available. The Farm House also offers great views.

The couple owned a construction company until about a year-and-a-half ago when they sold that business to concentrate full-time on their farm and duck preserve. Peggy said they’ve learned to operate Wiley Creek by trial and error, but with 10 hunting seasons under their belt, they have it down to a science now, hosting hunting parties on Wednesdays and Saturdays from November through March. “Now we have this following [of hunters] that come every year,” she said. “So, we have a lot of families that come back. We have a lot of corporate people that bring employees or guests.”

As a preserve, Wiley Creek provides the ducks (mallards) for the hunts. Peggy said that of the 7,200 ducks they raised this year, approximately 3,600 will be killed during the hunting season. They purchase the birds (ducklings) from a supplier in South Georgia and feed and protect them until maturity. “He delivers them up here when they’re four weeks old,” Peggy said. “And then we keep them in an aviary kind of structure so the hawks won’t eat them. … So, as they grow, it’s their home, so they are imprinted to stay there. They’re not going to fly off once they start to fly.

On the hunt
Wiley Creek Duck PreserveOn the morning of your scheduled hunt, Wiley Creek guests are dropped off within a short distance of your blind. As the sun rises, the birds will start to fly. You are welcome to call the birds in as they search for their next meal. After a hunter reaches his four-bird limit, a member of the Wiley Creek crew will help to collect your ducks with one of their dogs. (You can bring your own retriever but make this known when booking your hunt.) Guests then are driven back to the Pavilion for a hot country breakfast — biscuits and gravy, bacon, and farm-fresh eggs, et cetera. Following breakfast, you and your group can gather for photos of your birds. Wiley Creek does provide frozen breasted birds from the previous hunt in exchange for the ones from your hunt. Of course, you are welcome to take your birds instead. Typically, the hunting experience concludes by about 10:30 a.m.

Overnight guests also are treated a home-cooked evening meal. “We feed steaks, mashed potatoes, vegetables, salad, apple pie, and ice cream,” Peggy said. “We feed them well. They’re allowed to bring alcohol in; we don’t serve alcohol.”

You must be licensed
A duck stamp is not required to hunt at Wiley Creek, but guests must have a hunting license or preserve license. State license fees help support wildlife conservation in Georgia. According to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, the state receives federal funds from the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration program, based on several factors, including the number of paid sporting licenses. In Georgia, these funds are approximately $14 million a year and have helped restore habitat and improve wildlife populations, among other conservation efforts. Hunters may purchase licenses online at GoOutdoorsGeorgia.com, by phone at 800.366.2661, or at more than 800 license agent locations.

Hunting package options

$400 /hunter Drive-In Package

  • World-class duck hunting experience without leaving metro Atlanta
  • 4-bird limit ($75 per bird over the limit, up to 2 additional allowed)
  • Coffee & pastries pre-hunt and a full hot country breakfast following the hunt
  • 1 box of steel shells provided for the hunt

$500 /hunter Overnight Package

  • Enjoy a great evening in the Wiley Creek lodge filled with activities or time for rest before the morning hunt
  • 4-bird limit ($75 per bird over the limit, up to 2 additional allowed)
  • Appetizers and hearty dinner the evening before the hunt AND coffee & pastries pre-hunt/full hot country breakfast following the hunt
  • 1 box of steel shells provided for the hunt

Lewallen Farms also hosts weddings!
Larry and Peggy Lewallen started hosting weddings and other events on their farm about five years ago — but not during their duck hunting days, of course. They have a team of coordinators and planners who can give every bride her dream ceremony. The farm can accommodate 200+ guests for events and 18 overnight guests. Word definitely is spreading. Peggy said by the end of this year the farm will have hosted 53 weddings.

Guests can expect a mountain view ceremony space, luxurious bridal suite, large groom’s space/entertainment room and accommodation options, as well as a large reception hall. “We want you all to come and see us and have a good time. Our staff will treat you well,” Peggy said.

To learn more about scheduling weddings or other events at Lewallen Farms, visit lewallenfarms.com/home.

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