Art Riling And His Game Ranch Detailed In New Duncan Dobie Book

GON Staff | November 28, 2021

Duncan Dobie’s new book, Art Rilling and his Game Ranch, 50 Years an Atlanta Tradition, will be available in mid December for $29.95. The 400-page softbound book, complete with 200 photos, tells the story of Art Rilling’s Stone Mountain Game (1962-1982), and later the Yellow River Game Ranch (1983-2012), during the 50 years that he operated this one-of-a-kind animal park. 

Originally from San Antonio, Art was transferred to Atlanta after serving in the Korean War with the Marines in 1952. Art had a special place in his heart for white-tailed deer, and he and his wife Barbara shared a dream about opening an animal park where visitors could walk wooded trails and be among tame deer and other animals. That dream came true when they opened the Stone Mountain Game Ranch in 1962. 

Many GON readers, as well as thousands of other Georgians, grew up going to the Game Ranch and seeing the deer and other animals. Art Rilling had a special friendship with Steve Burch, and GON did regular feature profiling the antler growth of a mature buck named Bucky. 

Art always wanted to write a book about his unique experiences at the Game Ranch. In the summer of 2020, during the height of the pandemic, he and Duncan began working on this book. Art was 92. Sadly, he fell and sustained a head injury during the 2020 Christmas holidays. Art passed away on Jan. 4, 2021. 

Art Rilling and Duncan shared a special friendship for more than 40 years. Duncan took thousands of photos at the Game Ranch and many of his photos appear in the book. Art Rilling and his Game Ranch is chock-full of heart-warming stories spanning Art’s amazing career of working with deer, bears, mountain lions and numerous other wild critters. It tells about Art’s many trials and tribulations and his victories and triumphs. 

The Game Ranch story is unique. No other zoo in the country ever attempted to run an animal park where free-roaming deer and other animals could mingle with visitors in a large, wooded 15-acre area. And now, because of bureaucrats, government restrictions and new laws, it can never be done again. Art’s old Game Ranch may be gone forever, but its legacy will endure for years to come. 

Much to his delight, Art was able to sell the Game Ranch to Jonathan Ordway in 2018. The last chapter in the book tells about some of the exciting things Jonathan is doing with the new Yellow River Wildlife Sanctuary to carry on part of Art’s legacy. If you love deer and other animals, this book is a must read! 

Duncan said he feels Art would be very proud of this fascinating book.

To order a copy of Art Riling And His Game Ranch, email Duncan Dobie at [email protected].

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