The Tonic of Wildness: Exploring the Gilchrist Club


Hunting is a pursuit as old as humankind, rooted in the basic necessity of survival. But it has evolved over time into an outdoor pursuit with offshoots into nature-oriented activities the entire family can enjoy.

Just thirty minutes west of Gainesville in Trenton is the Gilchrist Club, a 27,000-acre private hunting and recreational club on prime timberland that offers its members a stimulating variety of options for outdoor entertainment. When Bob Menke and David Meehan bought the initial tract of land there in 1989, it served as a weekend getaway for quail hunting. In the following years, its use branched out to include deer, hog, alligator, and turkey hunts. As the owners’ vision for a multi-use private club evolved, construction expanded and more acreage was acquired.

Today, the Gilchrist Clubs members enjoy individually tailored hunts led by a staff of ten professional guides. The club’s guides are assisted by a kennel of over seventy expertly trained Bird Dogs and Labrador Retrievers. As Sales and Events Manager Heather Mitchell explains, “Half the fun of going out on one of these excursions in nature is watching the incredible talent and high level of training that our dogs possess. They point, wait, and retrieve their game and relish doing what they were born to do. Our guides work consistently with repetition techniques to hone their skills. And when the dogs aren’t hunting, they’re being exercised, worked, and groomed on a regular basis.”

The rich vegetation of the Gilchrist Club features hunting stands, a sporting clays course, and nineteen managed quail fields where an abundance of quail are harvested each year. Upon request, these birds can be processed, cleaned, stored in special coolers, and shipped to members by the club’s staff. All hunts are carefully monitored to ensure the safety of our members and guests, and respect legal limits.

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