Hillcrest Hunting Club was established in the fall of 1974 with eight original members. The first building constructed was the clubhouse. In 1975 a kitchen and an outside barbeque pit were added. J.W. Mitchell, Vernon Cranmore, and Sonny Giles were the men responsible for the construction of these buildings using eight-inch cinder blocks recovered from an old store on Chilton County Road 15. Following the kitchen came the construction of the covered pavilion, a storage building, and dog pens. That year the club grew to twelve members and dues were $100.00. During the early years, we were a dog-hunting club only with very few "green fields." Only six or seven bucks were taken. No does were taken because it was considered an awful mistake to shoot a doe back then.
Vernon, Sonny, and Mr. Mitchell were very important in the establishment of Hillcrest Hunting Club. In the beginning, Gordon Headley was the president of the Club, Vernon Cranmore was secretary-treasurer, and Sonny Giles was hunt master. These same officers remained for approximately twenty years. Several of our members came from Jefferson County. Our pastor, Wayne McCullough, and several deacons from Hillcrest Baptist Church were members. Thus, the name“Hillcrest" was adopted after the local Baptist Church. From this, the club grew to sixty members.
We originally had five thousand acres on which to hunt - some land was free and for some we had to pay $0.75 to $1.00 per year to hunt. Any buck with antlers visible above the hairline was legal at this time. After a fun-filled day of dog hunting, some of the animals were processed and cooked for an evening meal with 20 to 30 members, wives, and children in attendance. During our years of hunting with dogs, we had harvests of 28, 33, 38, 41, and 53 deer. In our last year of running dogs, we had 76, all bucks but four. Then, hunting with dogs was outlawed and that was the end of that!
Because of this, there was no Hillcrest Hunting Club in 1997 and 1998. Hunting on the property was by private invitation only. During these two years, because of his love of the club, Mr. Sonny Giles paid all the leases that were due. Then in 1999, Bob Stone and the late Steve McClain approached Mr. Giles about establishing a "new" Hillcrest Hunting Club for "stalk" hunting only. The club was re-established with 15 members and new officers. The camp house and the land were leased from Mr. Giles.
In the summer of 2000, members of the "new" Hillcrest Hunting Club went to work on improving the camp. Flushable bathrooms were added, the camp house and the kitchen were joined to make one building, and porches were added to the front, sides, and rear of the camp house. County water was installed and electrical service to the campground facility was upgraded for the twenty plus camper spaces. In 2003, 127 acres were added; in 2005, 520 additional acres were added from Johnny Gandy who had this property leased since 1988. With growth in acreage and membership, the Club was officially incorporated in 2007 as Hillcrest Hunting Club, Inc., LLC. Then in 2009, the Board of Directors approved adding 2,080 acres north of the original property, between Highway 139 and Highway 82, which was formerly known as "Round Rock." We now have approximately 5,500 acres and 110+ food plots within all of our leases!
Hillcrest Hunting Club Inc., LLC, Inc. is known as a "family affair". We welcome women, children, and guests (of members). For the past several years, the Club has sponsored a "handicap" hunt under the leadership of Dare Lowrey. The members do not hunt on this day; they spend time assisting handicapped men and women who wish to hunt.
Our club has a wonderful family atmosphere and we have a great group of members!