QDMA Receives 132-Acre Land Donation for HQ Expansion

QDMA Senior Director of Operations John Eastman (left) and CEO Brian Murphy (right) officially receive the gift of 132 acres of land from donor Ricky Chastain of Athens. The donation is the single largest gift ever presented to QDMA.

ATHENS, GA (January 3, 2018) – In October 2017, a man walked unannounced into the QDMA National Office and told receptionist Sherri Marsh that he wanted to speak to the person in charge. When Marsh asked for his name, the man replied “Santa Claus.” True to that name, Santa Claus delivered the most significant gift QDMA has ever received: 132 acres of land adjoining the QDMA Headquarters site worth $3.5 million

“Santa Claus” was actually Ricky Chastain of Athens, Ga., co-owner along with Russ Crump of RC-Coggins LLC. Chastain and Crump’s donation of 132 acres will increase the National Headquarters site to 155 acres in a single tract. QDMA’s original 23-acre Headquarters property was donated to the organization in 2003 by businessman Frank Coggins of Elberton, Ga.

“When we acquired this property and realized a portion of it was right next door to QDMA, Russ and I knew what we were going to do with it,” said Chastain. “Russ had attended QDMA’s educational events in the past and was familiar with their accomplishments. We knew that as a nonprofit they’d be able to use this resource to do great things for wildlife conservation and hunting.”

The new acreage will be very useful to QDMA’s local Field to Fork and Share Your Hunt programs, which help introduce new participants to deer hunting.

“On behalf of QDMA and our members everywhere, I want to thank Ricky and Russ for this incredibly generous gift, the largest in QDMA’s history,” said QDMA CEO Brian Murphy. “It was an unexpected Christmas present that we will value and use wisely to advance our mission for decades to come.”

Like the Headquarters site, the new addition is wooded and holds a strong deer population. Despite being located on the suburban edge of Athens near subdivisions, businesses and developments, the property contains beautiful hardwood forests and large white oak trees along rocky creeks. More open uplands present space for food plots, tree planting, timber stand improvements and other habitat demonstration opportunities.

“Ricky and Russ’s donation gives us 155 acres, which is about the size property that many of our members hunt,” said Murphy. “We have the opportunity to use the new land as an educational exhibit, to show our members and all deer hunters that you don’t have to have thousands of acres or lots of money to produce great deer habitat and hunting opportunities.”

Additionally, the new acreage will be very useful to QDMA’s local Field to Fork and Share Your Hunt™ programs, which help introduce new participants to deer hunting. Previously, a handful of Field to Fork participants were able to go hunting with archery equipment on the 23-acre Headquarters property, but the expanded acreage will allow for much more hunting opportunity.

QDMA has already approached the Georgia Forestry Commission, the Georgia DNR Wildlife Resources Division and the nearby University of Georgia Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources to explore potential partnerships on the new land, including educational field exhibits and events. All plans and efforts to improve deer habitat on the 155 acres will be documented and shared with QDMA members through Quality Whitetails magazine.

“Ricky and I could not think of a better group to make this donation to,” said Russ Crump. “It is a beautiful piece of property, and we hope QDMA is able to put the land to good use for many years to come.”

  • Ray Buckner

    What an amazing and very generous donation to a well deserving organization! Thank you to Mr. Ricky and Mr.Russ for the donation and I look forward to seeing the property the next time I’m up that way!!

  • Joe Berry

    What a blessing! Let me know if you need any wildlife pictures taken on it! I’d be glad to.

  • tom 121372

    What an awesome gift! You guys are awesome! Wish i lived closer, i would love to donate some time helpings on the property. Idk if i would get the time but, if you ever need volunteers, let me know and I’ll see what i can do. Glad other people are so giving to do something like this.

    • Lindsay Thomas Jr.

      Thanks for the volunteer offer, Tom! Even if you can’t make it down to Athens to get your hands dirty improving this land, we’ll keep you updated on the progress.

  • Brian Ruesch

    An enormous thank you to Ricky and Russ at RC-Coggins LLC for this amazing donation!

    • Lindsay Thomas Jr.

      Agreed!

  • Ken Hough

    Congrats QDMA! Thank you “Santa Claus”! Looking forward to the future to see the before and after as to what Deer Habitat improvements and other uses QDMA uses this property for!

    • Lindsay Thomas Jr.

      Thanks, Ken! Keep an eye on Quality Whitetails for updates.

  • Dave Tosh

    Great story and thank you to the Chastain and Crump families for their generosity!

    • Lindsay Thomas Jr.

      Thanks, Dave!

  • chosinone58

    That’s an example of good people trying, to preserve a national past time
    I hope the endeavours of the good folks at QDMA will continue to pave
    The way for future generations to come.

    • Lindsay Thomas Jr.

      Thank you! We will certainly work hard to get the most benefit out of this gift for whitetails and our hunting heritage.

  • Keith De Witt

    What an awesome gift!

    • Lindsay Thomas Jr.

      No doubt. We are still in shock at the generosity of this gift and its potential for QDMA’s mission work.