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“Just Like Wild Hunting”

At Four Seasons Game Bird Farm

March 13, 2013
By Larry Claypool - OVO Editor , Ohio Valley Outdoors

For game bird farms, it's all about the hunting experience. It helps that the facilities and hunting fields are better than most and the birds, personnel and scenery are ideal. Reasonable prices help too. All of this describes Four Seasons Game Bird Farm, located in Valencia, PA.

Two local hunters, two OVO Pro Staffers, three dogs and myself took advantage of what Four Seasons GBF has to offer during a pheasant hunt on a chilly day in late January. The temperature was about 25 degrees with a little wind, gray skies and 4-5 inches of snow on the ground. The experience and the hunting were perfect.

Four Seasons owner John Kennedy was a great host. He was living up to the farm's slogan; "Some of Western Pennsylvania's Finest Game Bird Hunting".

Article Photos

Greg Ludwig takes aim at a pheasant his dogs kicked at Four Seasons Game Bird Farm in Valencia, PA. Ludwig nailed the shot.

It was.

Four Seasons has available nine hunting guides, with dogs if needed, but for our trip two East Liverpool (OH) hunters, Greg Ludwig and Craig Curran, led our hunt since this was their fifth trip to the Butler County facility. It was about a 75-minute drive from our home base in East Liverpool; from Pittsburgh its a 42-minute drive and Youngstown about 67 minutes away.

Ludwig said he enjoys hunting at Four Seasons for several reasons, but one benefit for him is it's a great place to hunt with his dogs, three Llewellin setters. "It's a great place for my dogs. A great tune up for dogs," said Ludwig, who's hunted upland game in several states. "They are real strong flying birds. They fly as well or better than any farm-raised birds I've seen. That's important, that the dogs don't catch them (on the ground).

Fact Box

"We want it to be as realistic to a wild hunt as possible," Four Seasons GBF owner John Kennedy.

"Some places will tell you that dogs don't catch their birds, but they do. John doesn't say that, he doesn't brag, but dogs don't catch his birds," added Ludwig.

Veteran hunter and outdoor writer Ralph Scherder said Four Seasons is also a great place to train young dogs. "It's a great training area. They have a lot of room," said Scherder.

Four Seasons, with 450 acres, is also know for having good cover for pheasant and chukar, which makes for good hunting. "What makes them different is not only the cover, but the amount of cover. Birds don't hold well in some other places," added Scherder. "I'd say Four Seasons is as close as you can get to wild hunting. And they have a very good population of natural birds."

Ludwig agrees, "His cover is good. The tall switchgrass is the difference. It's a two-tear grass, and with the heavy snow there's places for birds to go. It's so hard, at times, it's like wild hunting."

On the (half) day our hunting party took 13 birds. OVO Pro Staffers Denny Fetty and Travis Hunt got into the action early with some great shots, as did Travis' son, Logan, who nailed his first pheasant on the trip. Ludwig and Curran picked up the slack with several fine shots later in the day to add to our total. I did not hunt. I chose to photograph the action. See more photos and videos from the hunt on our website: www.ohiovalleyoutdoors.com and Facebook page.

Ludwig's dogs worked well all day. It was evident they are experienced hunters. During the hunt, about mid-day, all three dogs were locked into point, situated in a triangle pattern, around one hen. Fetty and Ludwig both took aim and fired with Ludwig bagging the game. It was a unique sight. It was Cleo who swiftly retrieved the bird to her owner.

"This is always a great hunt for my dogs. It's a big deal for them. It excites my dogs, thinking 'this is a big treat'. And keeps them excited about hunting the next several times. They love it," said Ludwig.

Kennedy said he wants hunters, and their dogs, to have a great experience at Four Seasons. The more realistic, the better.

"That's the whole basis of what we do. We want it to be as realistic to a wild hunt as possible. We want to make it a hunting experience," said Kennedy.

Of the 450 acres at Four Seasons, 385 are used for hunting pheasant and chukar. They can accommodate several groups at once; with groups hunting on 110 acres each.

Four Seasons Game Bird Farm is open for pheasant and chukar hunting from September through April. Large groups and corporate outings are also welcomed. Dogs and guides are available ($50 for a group for a half day). The cost is $22.50 for pheasant ($20 for over 20 birds) and $10 for chukar. A 20 pheasant hunt for up to four hunters is $400. Bird cleaning is also available ($2 each). They recently added sporting clays to the facility.

Four Seasons is located at 115 List Hill Road, Valencia, PA 16059; near Cranberry Township. Reservations are required by calling Kennedy at 724-898-2316. Visit them online at: www.fourseasonsgamebirdfarm.com.

 
 

 

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