posted on November 14, 2004 00:00
Los Angeles Daily News
Hunt for new generation
4 Seasons gives young hunters a place to learn sport
By Jim Niemiec Special to the Daily News
Wednesday, November 10, 2004 - TEHACHAPI -- A trip to 4 Seasons Hunting preserve, about a 1-hour drive from greater Los Angeles, might remind upland game bird hunters of heading into the pheasant country of South Dakota. The valley floor, covered in native wheat, glows a bright gold under the sun, and row crops of milo and winter grass provide the perfect cover for upland game birds.
Three ponds on the 400-acre shooting preserve often hold puddle ducks, and a covey of native valley quail moves across ranch property.
Southern California wing shooters will find 4 Seasons Hunting offers prime pheasant and chukar hunting for daily or seasonal hunts.
"Our goal is to provide the ultimate in upland game bird gunning and stay focused on bringing novice and youth hunters into the field of sporting birds," outfitter Dennis Schulgen said.
Birds released into the fields are raised in Northern California at an elevation of about 4,000 feet, about the altitude of Cummings Valley.
"Our birds are raised in big flight pens and adapt to cold weather," Schulgen said. "These pheasant hold tight, which is great for working a pointing or flushing dog, but when flushed, a shooter better be on his shotgun because these birds are strong flyers and can glide a long way under strong wings."
Recently, 4 Seasons Hunting hosted 50 new shooters as part of the Game Bird Heritage and Wildlife Outreach Program under the direction of Scott Sewell, a wildlife assistant for the California Department of Fish and Game. The Heritage program is designed to attract more hunters in the field and to provide resources that will make each child's first hunt a meaningful experience. Working with the department are members of Quail Unlimited, National Wild Turkey Federation, dog handlers and volunteers who want to pass on the tradition of hunting.
Schulgen supports the Heritage program and believes it is important in bringing in new hunters.
Everyone who successfully goes through a state-approved hunter's safety program receives a certificate, which entitles them to attend a pheasant hunt for free. The purchase of an Upland Game Bird stamp supports these special hunts.
First-time hunters at 4 Seasons Hunting came from throughout Southern California, and no one was disappointed in the quality of the hunt.
Michael Crisp made the drive from Palmdale with his 10-year-old daughter, Samatha, who bagged a big rooster that flushed from her feet. Mike Hiniker came from Catalina Island with his young daughter, Kjell, for her first hunt. Kjell had attended a hunter's safety class at Mike Raahauge's Enterprises in Norco.
Also enjoying their first hunting experience were Ethan Wiberg and Jacob Renn, from La Crescenta, who methodically worked a milo field with dog handler Mitchell Senitt of Glendale.
Throughout the morning hunt, kids were directed to six pheasant fields by Schulgen, Sewell and 4 Seasons Hunting employees Jimmy Katel and Joe McDonald.
The Heritage program is not limited to youngsters. Adults who have recently passed a hunter's safety class also are allowed to participate.
Upland game bird hunting at 4 Seasons Hunting will continue through the spring season, with pheasant and chukar offered as part of the hunt package. Hunters may opt to camp overnight on the ranch in their RV.
For more information about day or corporate bird hunting at 4 Seasons Hunting, call (661) 304-7011 or log onto its Web site at www.4seasonshunting.com For information on the Heritage hunting program, contact Scott Swell at (562) 342-7174. Other shooting preserves in the greater Los Angeles area offering daily and seasonal hunting packages include: Raahauge's Pheasant Club (951) 735-7981, Four Winds Pheasant Club, (310) 370-2238, Antelope Valley Gun Club (661) 724-1291 and High Desert Hunt Club (888) 425-4868.
A valid hunting license is required at all shooting clubs in Southern California, and for safety reasons, no shotgun shell load heavier than 7.5 shot is allowed. All hunters must wear blaze orange and protective shooting glasses when hunting. !tagl=s=8 Jim Niemiec covers hunting for the Daily News. He can be reached at JTNiemiec@aol.com