During the three week break in the 2015 First Special Session of the Alabama Legislature, AFA staff was able to get out around Alabama and visit with members as we continue our Regional Reception caravan. Alabama is blessed with many beautiful locales and we continue with our series of articles focusing on some of the most intriguing…
Today…. Dream Ranch, Guntersville, Alabama
Nestled on the crest of a ridge overlooking Browns Creek off Lake Guntersville, Dream Ranch is truly a remarkable destination in a well-kept secret area of Alabama’s sub-Appalachian hill country.
Owned and operated by the Ainsworth family, father Billy and his two sons, Will and Austin, Dream Ranch (www.dreamranch.org) is the culmination of years of hard work and detailed planning. The spectacular lodge with its incredible views is the centerpiece of the development that also includes deer, duck and quail hunting on its 2,000 acres (1,100 of which are enclosed in a high fence) and a deer breeding operation that has provided deer lineage for landowners throughout the continental U.S.
Dream Ranch offers numerous hunting choices that include southern quail hunting on great upland cover with open fields full of blue stem and mixed hardwoods and pine plantations. Hunting is done in stretch Jeeps with safari seats and dog boxes over English pointers, setters, and Britttanys, which along with Boykin spaniels are used as flushers. This is an early release operation with supplemental birds and a hunter can expect to encounter double-digit coveys on morning or afternoon hunts, and obviously more birds on a full day hunts.
With Dream Ranch’s location near Lake Guntersville and the Tennessee River, there is a significant migration of ducks in the area. Dream Ranch has six flooded grain fields that border the river. They hunt these fields in rotation. No field is hunted more than eight times over the season. Forty-eight hunts are allowed and the result is a well-managed, low-pressure wild resource that is hard to find at any lodge anywhere.
The other hidden gem here is Lake Guntersville itself, which is one of the top bass lakes in North America and home to a Bassmaster’s tournament every year. The quality of this fishery is undeniable. During the fall and early spring the fishing can be combined with the upland hunting for some great sport. Guests are paired with resident guides who spend all their time on the lake and know right where to go and what to use.
But the real draw is the deer hunting. Within its high fence, Dream Ranch offers the opportunity to take some of the largest whitetail deer bred in the United States. Utilizing their patented deer breeding technology, Dream Ranch is capable of producing trophy bucks and attracts hunters from all over that seek that once-in-a-lifetime hunting experience.
Opened in 2007, The Lodge is a 14,000 square foot log and stone structure that includes eight bedroom suites and several bunk rooms. The interior is decorated with wildlife mounts from all corners of the globe.
When Will Ainsworth graduated from Auburn University with a marketing degree, he first went to work at a church in Albertville, Alabama directing its youth ministry. It was at this point that he also started Dream Ranch on a part time basis. Because of his schedule, he was off on Friday and Saturday, he was able to spend time building the foundation that would ultimately become Dream Ranch. This part time avocation eventually led to a major decision.
Could he make it doing it on a full time basis?
With much prayerful consideration and discussion with this wife, he decided to give it a go and the rest is….well…history.
Ainsworth, from the very beginning, desired to have a focus on his customers having as fulfilling and personally rewarding experience as possible. He has certainly achieved that goal with Dream Ranch.
Now that he has been elected to the Alabama House of Representatives, Will must balance a vibrant and growing business with his public elective duties. Having his brother Austin join the business as a partner has helped alleviate some of that stress.
AFA is deeply grateful for Representative Ainsworth’s generosity in hosting our Guntersville Regional Reception and quarterly Board Meeting. From the incredible view, the comfort and tranquility of the lodge, excellent hunting and the absolute focus on customer service, Dream Lodge truly stands out among Alabama destinations.
Next up….Ezell’s Fish Camp, Lavaca, Alabama