Red Oaks Plantation

Legendary Worth County property opens to pay-hunt opportunities.

Duncan Dobie | December 30, 2023

A few of the outstanding bucks that have come from Red Oaks Plantation over the past 10 to 15 years including George Brannen’s 209 1/8-inch non-typical taken in 2010.

When you turn off Highway 300 onto the picturesque winding driveway next to the large white barn that marks the main entrance into Red Oaks Plantation, you quickly find yourself transformed into another world. Located just south of the small community of Oakfield, Red Oaks Plantation is a deer hunter’s paradise. Just being in northern Worth County tells you that you are in the epicenter of some of Georgia’s finest whitetail habitat, but when you discover the property’s entire western boundary is bordered by the Flint River, the trophy potential jumps to about a 9.2 on the Richter Scale.

In fact, the just more than 4,000 acres that make up Red Oaks appears to be so well-kept and manicured, with so many small food plots offering a wide variety of choice deer foods for every season of the year, you tend to think it has always looked this way. But if you ask owner George Brannen, who bought the property 30 years ago in 1994, he’ll be the first to tell you how much sweat equity went into making this land the showplace it is today.

George Brannen II grew up hunting and fishing in northern Florida. His dad was an avid quail hunter. Hunting became a family way of life for George and his brother Joe. Being in the banking business, the family was firmly rooted in north Florida, but that didn’t mean that young George couldn’t travel the world seeking the kind of hunting adventures he was born to pursue. Whitetail hunting was always near the top of that list. In the early 1990s George decided to try to find a tract of land in south Georgia or south Alabama that he could call his own—property with good “trophy” potential that his family could hunt and manage for deer, turkeys and other wildlife.

George found what he thought was the ideal tract near Union Springs, Alabama.

“I was really excited,” he said. “But someone bought it out from under me. I was so disappointed.”

It’s ironic how things often work out in life; one door closes and another opens. George later heard about a large tract in Worth County that might be available. He was told that Mercer Mill, a long-established and respected quail hunting plantation, might sell part of its holdings that bordered the Flint River. George and his wife Cindy drove up to take a look. The northern boundary of the property bordered Highway 32 and the Flint River, and it was here that George and Cindy first entered the property on an old woods road and saw a large stand of stately red oaks near the river. He knew he had found his “home away from home” in Georgia. Based on his prior experience, he wasted little time in purchasing the highly diverse tract of land that would come to be known as Red Oaks Plantation.

For years the land had been managed for quail hunting.

“We had plenty of deer, but I knew we had our work cut out for us trying to turn it into a prime piece of whitetail habitat,” George remembers.

So he rolled up his sleeves, and the rest is history.

“One of the first things I did was hire a full-time wildlife manager,” George said. “He had years of experience managing other properties, and he understood exactly what I wanted to do with the property. Whitetails would be our main focus, but we wanted the land to attract turkeys, quail and other wildlife, as well.

“My ultimate goal was to have a place where friends and family could come to hunt deer, but we hunted turkeys in the spring and family members could also shoot quail and doves if they wanted to,” George said. “Someday I hoped to shoot a top-end buck that might make B&C.”

During the early 2000s, a number of exceptional free-ranging mature bucks were taken on the plantation by family members and friends. But none scored high enough to make the “Book.” All of that changed in 2009. By then, Red Oaks conducted an annual camera survey in late August that targeted mature bucks 3 1/2 years old or older. Among many other outstanding bucks, the survey revealed an extraordinary 12-pointer that everyone estimated to be only 3 1/2 years old.

“He was a beautiful buck,” George said. “I debated about whether or not I should try to hunt him. When I finally saw him in November, one of his tines was broken. I decided to leave him alone and hope he would still be around by the next season. Everyone knew there was always a chance a buck like that might be killed on another piece of property.”

The hunting gods were good to George.

“He appeared in our camera survey in August 2010, and his antlers had increased in size by 30 or 40 inches,” George said. “We knew he would make the record book. But like so many mature bucks, he seldom came out during daylight hours. We set up a 12-foot tripod stand overlooking a food plot near the thick patch of woods where we believed he was spending much of his time. After gun season started in October, I hunted hard for several weeks with no sightings. We carefully watched our cameras, and in early November, we finally got him on camera during daylight hours.

“I was delighted. Late on the afternoon of Nov. 7, I had seven bucks feeding out in the food plot when I looked over and saw him following a doe through the woods. My heart sank when he disappeared, but then he came back.”

George made a perfect 80-yard broadside shot in the edge of the food plot. With a total of 18 points and five long tines that measured between 11  and 14 inches in length, not to mention both main beams measuring just shy of 30 inches, George’s Worth County megabuck scored 209 1/8 non-typical points. It took top honors as Georgia’s largest non-typical of the 2010 season. Amazingly, instead of being a prime 4 1/2 year old as everyone had estimated, the jawbone revealed the buck’s age to be at least 7 1/2, possibly even older.

It had taken George exactly 17 years to achieve his lifelong dream, but the joy of that 2010 season was far from over. On New Year’s Eve afternoon the wildlife manager’s 19-year-old daughter shot a huge 10-pointer that grossed 171 7/8 and netted 161 2/8.

During the 13 seasons since George shot his buck of a lifetime in 2010, he and numerous family members have continued to take outstanding bucks on the property. In 2004, George’s then 14-year-old granddaughter Samantha Linhart shot a buck that landed her in GON’s 2004 Truck-Buck Shoot-Out. A few years later she won another spot in the Shoot-Out as an adult. In 2022, Gavin King, Samantha’s then 15-year-old younger brother, also participated in the Shoot-Out. And in this season in September, avid whitetail hunter Billy Nipper, of Cordele, shot a buck with a crossbow grossing 167 4/8.

2023 – New Horizons For Red Oaks Plantation

George Brannen’s dream for Red Oaks Plantation has always placed a heavy emphasis on family and friends. With that in mind, George recently decided to pass the torch of operating and managing Red Oaks to his daughter, Jennifer King, who manages the entire operation. Jennifer’s daughters (and George’s granddaughters) Samantha Linhart and Bailey Weed, bring much to the table and perform a variety of tasks, as well. Gary, Jennifer’s husband, is also a vital member of the family team. In short, everyone does whatever it takes to get the job done. The women are passionate about their jobs and about carrying out George Brannen’s vision for the Red Oaks Plantation of the future. As a result, the plantation is now operating as a premier trophy whitetail hunting operation. In addition to the unequaled deer hunting, Red Oaks also offers a beautiful, year-round Airbnb rental cottage located on the banks of the Flint River, and a soon-to-be events center just off Highway 300 that will cater to weddings, family reunions and other social events for groups or businesses.

As stated in Red Oak’s online website, “Now, three generations of the family work to continue George Brannen’s legacy and love for the outdoors—and we want to open our gates to you. Whether you are looking for a trophy white-tailed hunting experience, simply looking for a beautiful escape, or are searching for a space for a party, wedding, or event (venue spaces coming soon!), Red Oaks Plantation has it all. You will be met with the Southern hospitality that Mr. Brannen is known for, which continues to be one of our guiding principles—from the time you arrive till when you depart, our goal is to make you feel right at home.”

Red Oaks Plantation also boasts a talented new full-time wildlife manager, Rob Rozar. For Rob, a graduate of ABAC, managing the deer herd at Red Oaks is not a job; it’s a way of life.  Rob happened to be sitting with Billy Nipper on Sept. 19 when Billy downed his huge 10-pointer. Back in 2022, Billy saw one of Red Oaks’ first advertisements offering trophy whitetail hunts. No one had to tell him how good this place was. As a serious hunter, Billy owns and leases plenty of prime deer hunting land himself in the Cordele area.

“You just can’t get access to land like this in Worth County,” Billy said.

He booked a rifle hunt in 2022 and was not disappointed.

“I saw a number of really good 140-class bucks, but I never saw a buck I wanted to shoot. I planned to come back and hunt the rut in 2023, but Rob talked me into hunting the early bow season instead. He told me about one particular buck he had seen several times during daylight hours.”

Billy had never done much bowhunting, so he bought a crossbow. On opening day, he saw the buck Rob had told him about but could not get a shot. All that changed a week later when the big 10-pointer came in and started eating acorns near Billy’s stand. Billy made a perfect, 45-yard shot. The buck’s live weight exceeded 220 pounds, and he was aged at 6 1/2 or older. Rob green-scored the heavy rack at 167 4/8 gross and 156 4/8 net.     

Billy Nipper, of Cordele, (left) poses with the outstanding 10-pointer he shot with a crossbow in September 2023. Looking on is Red Oaks wildlife manager Rob Rozar.

Worth County Lives Up To Its Reputation

For deer with huge bodies and large antlers in Georgia, it doesn’t get much better than Worth County, long recognized as being the only county in Georgia with almost pure Wisconsin genetics. Back in 1958, a group of local sportsmen with the Worth County Wildlife Club pooled their resources and bought several truckloads of deer from a deer farm in Wisconsin. Wisconsin whitetails are of the sub-species Northern Woodland Whitetails. They are the heaviest-bodied and largest-antlered whitetails in the world. This fact alone gives Worth County bucks a distinct edge, but when you considered that the entire western boundary of Red Oaks borders the Flint River, you have all the ingredients for producing world-class, free-ranging deer.

This fact, coupled with George Brannen’s highly successful management program carried out over the past 30 years, gives Red Oaks Plantation an edge that few pay-hunting operations in the South can match. Red Oaks is definitely in a class by itself. Dollar for dollar spent with any outfitter, you’ll have to search long and hard to beat the hunting program that Red Oaks offers. Pricing comes in several different packages. It’s not cheap, but with the incredible potential Red Oaks has based on its annual camera surveys, any hunter who is lucky enough to hunt here will definitely be getting what he pays for. The property has an abundance of 140- to 150- inch deer trophy deer and larger.

Everything at Red Oaks is top quality, including lodging within sight of the Flint River at the warm and inviting “Smoak House” Lodge. Excellent food, one-on-one guiding, not to mention a memorable dose of southern hospitality, will make your stay at Red Oaks second to none in pursuing trophy whitetails in Georgia. And based on the 2023 camera survey completed in August 2023, some lucky hunters in Georgia will be coming home with some outstanding trophies in the back of the trucks!

For more info or to book a hunt at Red Oaks Plantation, call Samantha at 229.869.0670, or go to the website


Worth County All-Time Record Bucks

1234 6/8 (NT)Fletcher Culpepper2012WorthGunView 
2211 4/8 (NT)Wade Patterson1988WorthGunView 
3209 1/8 (NT)George Brannen Jr.2010WorthGunView 
4179 4/8 Jason McGovern2021WorthGun
5175 3/8 L. Edwin Massey1962WorthFound
6200 3/8 (NT)Shannon Sledge2016WorthGunView 
7171 7/8 Sam Brannen2011WorthGunView 
8170 7/8 James Mashburn1983WorthGunView 
9195 6/8 (NT)Paul Murray1997WorthFound
10195 4/8 (NT)Shane Calhoun1985WorthGun

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