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Georgia Quail Hunt kicks off

ALBANY -- Nearly 30 business and government leaders are in Albany for the state's annual Georgia Quail Hunt, officials say.

In its 22nd year, the hunt is an opportunity for economic development officials to show off the state as a place of opportunity for business development, Albany-Dougherty Economic Development Commission President Ted Clem said.

"As the host city, this gives us here in Albany a chance to rub elbows with the heads of industry and to gain exposure so that maybe we can entice them to come here and create jobs," Clem said. "It's just a great opportunity for us."

Since it was started in 1994, state officials estimate the hunt has led to the creation of 8,300 jobs and prompted CEO's to invest $2.5 billion in

Georgia.

Clem said that discussions at last year's hunt led Coats and Clark to relocate their North American distribution hub to Albany.

EDC staff members have been scrambling all week to get everything in order.

Wednesday, the 27 state and business officials invited to the hunt went through initial orientation and a quick hunt before a banquet Wednesday night.

"Now's the time for us to show off our strengths which are hospitality, good food, good people and world-class hunting," Clem said.

Late winter and early spring is prime quail hunting season. Last week the annual Quail Unlimited Celebrity Hunt brought in guests from around the country to help raise money for that group's conservation efforts.

The Purple Heart Outdoors Hunt is scheduled in Calhoun County this weekend.