A lot of men and women enjoy the grimier, more primal aspects of hunting ― tracking game through frigid wilderness, crouching in soggy duck blinds for hours at a time, using a knife to reduce their quarry to a bloody mess. And by the same token, most seasoned fishermen will tell you that any expedition that doesn’t involve you going home covered in guts and mud should be regarded as a complete and utter failure. This is all fine, but the lodges on this list present the best of both worlds ― down-and-dirty outdoor experiences during the day, and peaceful, luxurious relaxation when the sun goes down.
Camp Liberty at King & Bartlett (Maine)
This bird-hunting paradise in southern Maine covers 39,000 acres that are exclusively accessible to resort guests. Hunters can choose from two species ― grouse and woodcock ― and an abundance of old logging roads ensures there are plenty of opportunities to spot them. Visitors are encouraged to plan their trip during the second or third weeks of October, when both species are readily available, though hunting season lasts until the end of the year. Book a registered guide and he or she will not only show you the best coverts, but also prepare lunch for you and your fellow hunters.
What the experts say: “Some of the cabins date to the founding of the club, but all have been modernized. An antique brass locomotive bell summons guests to meals, which are classic Maine: fresh-baked bread, blueberry pancakes, and a lobster bake once a week” ― Philip Bourjaily, Field & Stream
LaFonda Ranch (Texas)
Sure, you can drive to this 8,000-acre chunk of rugged Texas brushland ― but there’s also an on-site airstrip if you feel like flying there. After a day of chasing the local birds (whitetail, quail, Rio Grande turkey, etc.), guests can retire to the 27,000-square-foot lodge and enjoy LaFonda’s luxurious amenities, including a world-class restaurant with an in-house chef and an expansive swimming pool.
What the experts say: “Deserving of every one of its five golden stars, the lodge can accommodate up to 40 people. For those looking for something to do between reloads, there’s a lake stocked with fish and rifle ranges galore to hone your aim” ― Nick Clarke, AskMen
The Lodge at Keyah Grande (Colorado)
Guests who visit this relaxing retreat nestled in the San Juan Mountains of southern Colorado can choose from eight furnished, geographically themed rooms. Those who want to get a little practice shooting in before the hunt can sharpen their skeet-shooting and trapping skills at one of the on-site training facilities, while others can view the property on a guided ATV tour. Fully stocked ponds are also available for guests who would rather catch their lunch with a fly rod.
What the experts say: “Entering the gateway in the private 4,000-acre sanctuary at the Lodge at Keyah Grande, one senses that something remarkable is about to happen. You are drawn toward the grandeur of the Lodge, in complete harmony with its ridge top setting in the pristine San Juan Mountains” ― Luxury Travel Magazine
Rainbow King Lodge (Alaska)
Planning a trip to Rainbow King might be tricky, since the closest town, Iliamna, is 200 miles southwest of Anchorage and accessible only by aircraft. But it’s all worth it once you arrive; in addition to plentiful fish in the numerous nearby ponds, guests can also enjoy a host of amenities, including a pool table, full bar, roaring fireplace with comfy recliners, Internet services, and a jacuzzi.
What the experts say: “By incorporating rustic décor in the form of stone fireplaces, wall mounts and classic log-cabin style with beautiful gardens, comfortable rooms and a recreation hall that encourages community bonding, you’ll have fun both indoors and out!” ― ResortsandLodges.com
The Resort at Paws Up (Montana)
Camping is not normally associated with luxury accommodations, but this resort in western Montana is an exception to the rule. In 2010, Paws Up opened Creekside Camp, a six-tent spread on that allows guests to sleep under the stars on the banks of a peaceful creek ― on linen sheets, no less. But if camping isn’t your thing, the Big Timber homes provide all the hallmark amenities one would expect from an overnight stay in a swanky hunting cabin.
What the experts say: “In Tent City at Paws Up, a western Montana resort, ‘roughing it’ means camping under the stars in a heated canvas bower with a king-sized feather bed. After your campfire breakfast of huckleberry pancakes, an expert guide will take you fly-fishing on the Blackfoot, then leave the two of you all alone” ― Travel + Leisure
Three Forks Ranch (Colorado)
This 50,000-acre spread is located within the breath-taking Sierra Madre range of northwestern Colorado. Hunters can choose from elk, mule deer, and pronghorns, while guests can also enjoy other accommodations like fly-fishing, equestrian activities, and four-wheeling courses.
What the experts say: “Snag one of the lodge’s sumptuous rooms when the snow begins to fall and you can also enjoy a host of on-site winter activities, including snowboarding, skiing, sledding, ice fishing, and sleigh rides. At the end of your adventurous day, world-class chefs prepare dishes like rosemary-smoked rib eye, roasted duck breast, cumin-encrusted lamb loin, and Parma-ham-wrapped poussin” ― Jillian Kramer, Details