By Dan Hust
LONG EDDY October 13, 2006 For more than two decades, Catskill Pheasantry has offered hunters a chance to experience the thrill of a small-game hunt in the deep woods of the western Catskills.
That remains the case today, but it’s no longer the only sport to enjoy.
With more than 300 acres straddling the Sullivan-Delaware County border northeast of Long Eddy, Catskill Pheasantry now offers horseback riding, hiking, trap shooting, night shooting and, someday soon, quad-riding along its extensive network of mountainous trails.
Fifty-nine pristine acres have been added to the business’ holdings, and the four employees will soon be joined by a fifth: a full-time dog trainer who will watch over the company’s 20-dog kennel, where English pointers, German shorthairs, English spaniels, British labs and English setters anxiously await joining the hunt. Hunters with their own dogs can even take advantage of gun dog training on site.
The rustic main lodge has seen a few additions too, the most significant being a two-story expansion with a supply shop and rooms.
The lodge, complete with cooking facilities (breakfast is part of every overnight package, and lunch and dinner are available to order), can now sleep 23 people in single- and double-occupancy rooms overlooking the “Red Neck Yacht Club” a small pond where “half” a boat offers some pondside leisure.
The roomy lobby of the lodge sports a TV, high-speed Internet, a conference area and comfortable seating beneath mounted deer heads and a coyote (caught on the property some years back).
Up the road just a short walk are 15 horses (popular right now for fall foliage rides) and enclosures full of ringnecked pheasants, quail and chukars (an imported bird) more than 6,500 in all, overseen by a full-time upland bird manager.
All this means that Catskill Pheasantry can handle 100 hunters at a time, and indeed, that’s what new General Manager Jeremy Gulley is aiming for.
“We’d like to get corporations in here,” he explained. “We’re looking to take it to the next level.”
Gulley’s putting all his vast experience to work on that goal, from his time at a game preserve down south to his degrees in game preserve management and shooting complex management.
Of course, it doesn’t hurt that Gulley grew up enjoying the great outdoors not too far north of Long Eddy.
That love of nature has been passed on to others as well, and not just the visitors to Catskill Pheasantry. Gulley’s wife, Jodi, and their four daughters enjoy four-wheeling, hunting and just being outside as much as he does.
“It’s beautiful,” he remarked of the quiet, isolated Neer Road property he oversees. “I love it here!”
And with the support of owners Joe Stark, Brian Foley and Joe Barchetto, Gulley hopes to introduce this pristine area to many more people, both locals and out-of-towners.
“We’re trying to reach out,” he explained. “We really need some word-of-mouth.”
In an era of decreasing hunting land and increasing populations, Catskill Pheasantry offers one of the last wide-ranging hunting preserves in the area and since it is registered with the state as a Class A upland bird hunting preserve, you don’t need an individual hunting license. (Guides are offered with every package, and gun instructors are on hand.)
And once you get to Catskill Pheasantry, you don’t have to travel much farther, either.
The lodge offers a romantic bed-and-breakfast experience for couples, and for hunters, Catskill Pheasantry has just introduced the European Tower Shoot, where hunters line up and fire at birds released from a tower in the middle of a field no long hikes required.
For those not interested in pheasants or quail, the preserve offers deer and turkey hunting as well, along with fly fishing in the nearby Delaware River.
To find out for yourself, contact Catskill Pheasantry at 887-4487, e-mail them at firstname.lastname@example.org, or go to www.catskillpheasantry.com.
Hunting packages start at $360 per group, and lodging starts at $65 a night (with breakfast), but day trips like horseback riding won’t require a large outlay of money.
Those looking to bring a large group can also take advantage of custom catering, including barbecues and pig roasts.
While the business is open seven days a week, reservations are required.
But visitors are always welcome, and you can find Catskill Pheasantry by taking Route 97 along the Delaware River to Sullivan County Route 134 in Basket, about 2 miles east of Long Eddy.
Turn onto Route 134 and head north for about 1.5 miles. Turn right onto Basket Road, and continue along for about 2 miles.
At the fork in the road, turn left onto Neer Road. Less than 2 miles up this road is Catskill Pheasantry, with plenty of signs marking its presence.