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Quail Unlimited tournament plucked from local schedule

The sporting clays tournament that had been scheduled March 27-29 in Screven County has been postponed indefinitely because of low registration numbers.

Quail Unlimited and the Savannah River Preserve agreed to the delay, said Kay Powell, an owner of the 1,200-acre preserve where the event was scheduled.

“The economy and projected low shooter registration prevents us from hosting the quality Quail Unlimited tournament to which our shooters are accustomed,” said Donnie Buckland, director of administration of Quail Unlimited.

Organizers had hoped the tournament would draw as many as 500 people.

A lack of advertising and no online registration may have combined with the poor economy to keep people away, Powell said. “There just wasn’t the response we were hoping for,” she said.

Powell said the shoot might be rescheduled later this year or in the spring next year. “They still promised to let us have first shot” at hosting another event, she said.

Anyone who registered will receive a refund, Buckland said. Everyone will be advised of the new dates and prize structures once they are finalized.

Meanwhile, a regulation shoot will be held that weekend at the preserve -- March 28 and 29, Powell said.

When the Quail Unlimited tournament is rescheduled, there will be more advertising, Powell said. “They’ll try to come up with another date and advertise it three or four months before,” she said.

Winning a bid for the annual tournament was a coup for the hunting preserve, which opened in March 2008 on Highway 24 near Newington.

An estimated 300 to 500 people had been projected to shoot in the tournament, with more than that attending, spending money for travel, hotel stays, food and shopping.

Spring Hill Suites in Statesboro was going to play host to the event. The Comfort Inn in Statesboro and the Sylvania Inn also were slated to house people taking part in the tournament.

Quail Unlimited is a non-profit conservation organization “dedicated to the wise use and management of America's wild quail, doves, upland game birds and other forms of wildlife,” according to the group’s Web site.

Updates about events at the preserve can be found on the Web at www.savannahriverpreserve.com.