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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My brother and I just had quite an experience at Powderbourne, the regulated shooting ground near East Greeneville, PA.

We got home late from an unsuccessful morning goose hunt, about 1030. My brother did not get out as much as he wanted to for pheasants this year, and had mentioned earlier in the week about hunting at Powderbourne. We had hunted there previously, and had a good experience one bitter cold day in January a few years back. My brother had been home on leave, after his first tour in Iraq with the Marines, and a few months before his second tour. The memories and pictures from that day always make me smile - 15 degrees F and 20 mph of wind did not stop us from enjoying ourselves that morning.

So, when my brother mentioned going there today, I was not against the idea. It was certainly warmer at 40 degrees, and somewhat less windy. Not to mention a nice sun in the sky. We looked up the number in the white pages, and called Powderbourne and asked if they had any openings for today. The lady on the phone said they did, and gave us a price and choice of shooting cock pheasants, hen pheasants, or chukars. The price had gone up, and the number of birds down, since our last visit. Not unexpected. We chose the Ringnecks, of course, and quickly changed from our goose camos to our brush pants and orange.

We arrived at 12 noon, and were hunting by about 1 pm. So far, so good. The hunting went relatively well. There were a lot of groups out, but the field we got was relatively secluded, and we had only one group adjacent to us. The dog had lots of energy and we had some pheasants and a chukar to show for it by 4 pm. It was a very nice, big field though, and we still had 2 strips we did not cover, and about an hour of legal shooting time to do it in.

We started the second to last strip at about 4:15, when all of a sudden a truck skids into the parking lot and parks next to our vehicle. This concerns us as our pickup was not locked and we were a good two hundred yards from it. A man then leans out of the truck that just arrived, and starts screaming in our direction, and waving his arms. The distance and the wind were a bit too much though, and we could not make out what was being shouted, so we waited for the wind to die down and I ordered the dog to "Hup".

"4.....4 O clock.......get..<expletive> in here! 4..." is what I eventually hear being hollered across the field. I look at my brother to see what he heard, and he mouths to me, "4 O'clock?" I reply, "Something like that". Now, keep in mind, we had at least another 1/2 hour of legal shooting time to go, and some of the birds that were "bought" by us were yet to be seen. The dog wanted to get back to it. After a few seconds, the yelling starts again, so we decide to go see what this yahoo wants, because it is apparent he wants something.

I order the dog to heel, which he actually does fairly well when he is worn out after 3 hours of hunting and some long retrieves. As we approach the truck, we are greeted with a hail of expletives.

(Paraphrasing)
Yahoo: 12 to 4, 12 to 4, 12 to 4 you <expletive>s. You have to be out by 4 you <expletive> <expletives>s!

Me: What's this now?

Yahoo: You <expletive> heard me you <expletives>. You have to leave by 4.

Me: Why?

Yahoo: Because I <expletive> said so, its my <expletive> land. 12 to 4! Morning hunt is 8 to 12, the afternoon hunt is 12 to 4!

Me: Okay...where does it say that? (I pull the paper I had to sign and carry on my person while hunting, and try to show it to him)

Picture of the paper: https://flic.kr/p/2057673213
Owner: It doesn't have to be on that paper, it's not on that <expletive> paper. You <expletive> know you have to be out by 4, you <expletive>s.

Me: Hold on..no one told us anything about quitting at 4, so what is the problem?

Owner: They <expletive> told you on the phone - you knew, you <expletive>s.

We futilely profess our ignorance of the 4 o'clock for a few minutes, all the while enduring a profane and angry tirade. Eventually, he appeared to have blown himself out.

Owner: Now, get the <expletive> out of here, now! (He starts to put the truck in reverse, with my dog hupped next to it).

Me: Whoa hold on; Chevy, here. (I get the dog).

Owner: (sheepishly)Oh, don't worry, I like dogs more than people. (He backs out and drives off).

My brother and I just stood there for minute, totally dumbfounded. My brother probably got a few words in during the exchange, but I don't recall what they were, other than trying to calm the man down and explaining that he had no cause to be angry. No one - not one person, mentioned to us that the field was only "ours" from 12 to 4 pm. Not the lady who we placed the reservation with. Not the lady that we signed in with. Not the fellow who took us to the field and put the birds out. And certainly no paper given to us had it, nor a sign that we saw. We did not even call to make reservations until 11 AM, and did a fast turnaround to arrive there by noon. Had we known that 4pm was the latest we would be allowed to hunt, we surely would have gone another day, instead, and saved our money.

I did recognize the guy when we got to the truck; he was one of the people working at Powderbourne, so I did not doubt he was the Owner. I found out later that he is, indeed, the Owner of Powderbourne Gun Club, Restaurant, and Hunting Preserve. I absolutely could not believe the experience I had just had then.

So, instead of finishing the day with some pictures of my brother, dog, and birds, we instead cased our guns and started to tag our birds. One thing it DOES say on that paper we were furnished, is that the birds have to be tagged before leaving. While we were looking for the tags, my brother's wife called; I was trying to find a place for the extremely muddy dog to sit, When the Owner returned, not 4 minutes after he left. I didn't even have a chance to clean the dog's paws or give him a little water. I usually take a good 15 minutes to look the dog over, clean him up some (he cut his ear pretty bad, early on) and brush him out.
(Paraphrasing)
Owner: I told you to get the <expletive> out of here! It's after 4:30, you have to be out by 4, 12 to 4! (gets out of truck)

Me: No one TOLD US THAT before we came. We're not hunting anymore, just getting our stuff packed-

Owner: You <expletive> <expletive>s, flaming <expletives> Get Out, Get OUT!

Now, by this time I am beginning to get a little amused by it all, in addition to my amazement. I mean, who wouldn't. I surely do not feel threatened by the man. I can handle myself, and I know my brother can. I was very impressed, and relieved, that my brother did not rip him a new one, though - I imagine his instincts and training were telling him to do just that.

It went on for another few minutes. I tried to get it through the man's head that no one told us about the arbitrary time limit; we were just following the rules on the paper (ALL PA Game Commission Rules and Regulation Apply, which covers shooting hours, type of guns and ammo, orange requirements, etc). If someone had told us, we would have followed it, or came another time. In addition to the untold expletives we were forced to endure, we were also told that we were: homosexuals, liars, and illiterates.

Now, that last one was funny, because I have been called many things in seriousness or jest, but I cannot recall ever being called an illiterate. That came about after a tirade of the owner's, regarding how we could not read because it says right ON HIS WEBSITE that the afternoon hunts are 12-4 pm. I just checked a few minutes ago, and by golly, he was right! But I was never on his website before that, and I didn't realize viewing the website was a prerequisite for hunting at Powderbourne. They sure did not seem to care when they took the money. And besides that, it also says on the website, a "4 hour hunt". Since we did not start until 1 pm, and were not told anything about a special "12-4" time slot when they took the money, even his website states that we should have had an hour more to hunt.

After all this, fifteen of the most astonishing/dumbfounded/amusing minutes of my life- at least, the year- the owner threatened to put us on a list so that we will never be allowed back again! I replied candidly, "Do you honestly believe we would come back here after the way you just treated us?" "I don't <expletive> care, I don't need your <expletive> money you <expletive>s! It was not until later that we thought to ask for a refund, if he did not need our money. Hindsight...

All in all, quite an amazing holiday weekend. I'm sure it does not need to be said, but I will say it anyway: I will never, ever, spend another dime at Powderbourne, at least under it's current ownership, and I hope no one else ever does either. This is one club that should not be supported.

Absolutely amazed. Has anyone ever had an experience similar to this a hunting/gun club? I certainly had not, before today.

Jeremiah
 

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Read your post. I'm not far from there...Doesnt sound like a place I'd care to shoot at! A little further up the pike are a lot better places to shoot at. I will say this ,if your story is sincere which I see no reason for it not to be.....they wont stay in business very long with customer service like that. Great' PR
 

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Jeremiah, I feel sorry for you and your bro-in-law. What a rotten end to a hunt. Angry, verbally abusive people really bug me.

I hope you make sure you share your story with the people in charge at the hunting place. Even if you can't get your money back, hopefully the folks running the place will be more carefull in informing everyone to take off by 4:00 and watch out for the crazy land owner.

Wayne
 

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I am so sorry that you and your brother in law were treated in that manner. For someone who takes your money and acts in that way should be told to"stuff it" and yes you should have asked for your money back. Most of my hunting here in the south is on private land. When I do preserve hunt I use one in particular. Have gotten to be friends with owner so when we go(5-6 times a season) we are treated like family. Again, sorry you were so poorly treated.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
It was a strange experience indeed for my brother and I. I am to the stage that I am angry about it. I have tried not to think about it but it really ruined our weekend. I guess I am mostly over the shock and bemusement. It is one of those incidents that keep playing over and over in one's head - I should have said this, I should have done that. Then after a minute I remember that the guy was unable to be reasoned with, anyway.

I called around some this weekend and heard some stories about this guy that I will not repeat here. He owns Powderbourne; not sure if he owns all the hunting fields, or if they are leased land. Apparently he has a history of getting angry at people that do not leave by 4pm. It sounds like we were not the first to be treated this way. If this is the case, I wonder why it is not made plain by the employees or in the literature given to hunters when they sign the rules. I think this was the fifth time I went there, and I managed to never hear about it until now.

The bottom line is: all he had to say was, "The quitting time here on the regulated shooting ground is 4 PM. Sorry if you were not informed earlier, today was a busy day and the employees must have forgotten to tell you. Just keep in mind from now on that you have to be out of the fields by 4 PM. Have a good weekend, guys." And then let us pack up our stuff and clean up the dog and take some pictures, instead of coming back in four minutes and yelling at us to "get the <expletive> out of here".

Jeremiah
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Ed/Penna said:
Read your post. I'm not far from there...Doesnt sound like a place I'd care to shoot at! A little further up the pike are a lot better places to shoot at. I will say this ,if your story is sincere which I see no reason for it not to be.....they wont stay in business very long with customer service like that. Great' PR
One of the things I was told about that place when asking around this weekend: "the birds are okay, the prices are good, the restaurant is good, and the owner is an <expletive>" I guess the first few are what keep them in business, they have been around for years. I also know a few people that shoot "skeet" there. They are not hunters (I was surprised they shoot at all) so I don't know if they really mean skeet or just clays in general. I just know I won't be joining them.

Jeremiah
 

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Sorry to hear about the day . . . .

Have you thought about filing a claim in small claims court for a refund (doubt you'll have much luck getting one out of them)? You paid for a 4 hour hunt which they didn't let you start until 1 pm then they tried making you leave by 4 sounds to me like a 25% refund is due . . .

Another good thing to do is to make sure everyone knows how pi$$poor the place is run . . . You know as well as I do that the question comes up on these boards every couple months with the question something like "What do you think of pheasant preserves?" or something to that affect. If I were you I'd respond to everyone of them and say "Stay away from Powderbourne" and tell about the poor/abusive service. Eventually anytime someone googles Powderbourne they'll see threads from sgw talking about the poor service at Powderbourne.

Actually just google "service at Powderbourne" - guess what's the first link that comes up?
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I actually forgot about it yesterday; hopefully I am over it. Today I was talking to my mom, an RN, who knows at least one lady from her work whose family goes there once in a while to eat and to extend the hunting season for their dogs (I know the feeling..). Anyway, my Mom asks her if she ever met the owner. "Is he the old guy that yells at people?" is the response my mom got- no bs. I never even told my Mom this guy's age. Luckily, they never got yelled at, but they watched the owner yelling at another group that was still hunting in an adjacent field. This was after a morning hunt that ended at noon. This lady's family was done by noon, and I guess that this other group was not, and was accorded "the royal treatment". I can understand "off the field at noon" if there are other groups possibly scheduled for noon. I still don't understand quitting at 4 pm, and not telling anyone beforehand.

Cap,
I don't think it's worth the hassle in small- claims. He probably has all the locals greased anyway with free hunts. I mean, he (and the pheasant stockers) gets away with riding quads on the public roads, which is a big no-no in PA unless there is a state of emergency in effect. From that, I know he is greasing some local palms with free meals or hunts.

Bob,
I agree, the law definitely draws a line between verbal and physical. I am not the type to throw down, and I am glad my brother did not. This is what I remember my brother saying after the owner left the first time: "He must be Really Unhappy with his life." I just laughed and shook my head. Then the guy came back! Unhappy, indeed!

Jeremiah
 

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Jeremiah,

My wife and I just had a bad experience there today! We did a morning hunt for Chukars, bagged 6, and returned to the restaurant to have them cleaned. This is the second time we have hunted Powderbourne and definitely will be our last!

The first time, last month, we got there a little late, 8:10am or so after making arraignments for the hunt over the phone a few days prior. The lady who took our reservations over the phone provided no instructions for check in, etc. No problem, we have hunted many preservations in Pa and NJ and expected the usual, find a clubhouse and check in. Not at Powderbourne! I finally decided to ask at the restaurant about check in. Stand in line behind breakfast dinners paying for their meals, get to the register and pay for the hunt.

We did have a great time in the fields that day and bagged 9 out of 10 birds. ( insert brag about my LLewellin Setter here .. ) :) after the hunt, back the restaurant, back in line with the dinners paying for their meals, for instructions on where to have the birds cleaned. Dropped off birds in the room next to the restaurant, grabbed some coffee, got the pup out of his kennel and sat in the chairs around the building next to the restaurant. One of the fellows working there, seemed to be a manager or owner came over and talked real nice to us while we where sitting there waiting for the birds to be cleaned. Chatting about the dog, the hunt , etc. Birds all cleaned, time to.... you guessed it, stand back in line to pay for bird cleaning.. yeah I got real good at standing in line that day. Paid for bird cleaning and included a handsome tip for the guy cleaning the birds. Big mistake tipping the guy, after we got home my wife removed every organ from every bird.

Fast forward to today's hunt, got there earlier, 7:45, already knew the stand in line at the restaurant drill. Followed the guy to the staging area, waited for him to unload his ATV, and followed him to the field. Good hunt, and headed back to the restaurant to stand in line for bird cleaning... I know, I know.. from now on I AM going to clean them myself. Time for a hot cup of coffee, grabbed the dog and coffee and headed to the same chairs for some reflection on the hunt and praise for pup. 2 fellow hunters came over and the 4 of us where talking when all of the sudden this 4 wheeler comes flying up and skids to a stop in the parking lot facing us. Turns off his machine and starts yelling, YELLING at me to get my dog outta there, "cant have dogs near ( we where a good 50, 60 feet away) the restaurant board of health will shut me down.. all I need is for someone to step in dog sh## and walk into the restaurant" . No signs anywhere advising this. I did recognize him as the guy from last month who cordially talked to us then sitting in same chairs, with same dog.

He was yelling at me in front of other hunters, and dinners exiting the restaurant! Kenneled dog, headed back to chairs to sit again, guy yells out from the room where they clean the birds that mine are ready. Yeah... back in line to pay for cleaning.. "do you want to leave him a tip"? Thoughts racing to last month.. what are the chances? Besides its a different guy cleaning and I explained to him about the problem we had last month... shouldn't be a problem today... "sure, leave him a tip".. BIG MISTAKE.. got home .. and yep, worse then last month.. hearts, lungs. and most other organs still intact.

POWDERBOURNE might be the lowest price around, but I just realized something today.. so is WAL-MART ( not bashing WAL-MART.. really, I'm not) .. and you get what you pay for!

Needless to say I will never go back to POWDERBOURNE.. Mr owner who "doesn't need your money" can go straight to you know where... WITHOUT my money.

NEVER AGAIN. I will pay DOUBLE somewhere else for a little respect and customer service!
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Dave,
Sorry to hear you had a bad experience too. That sounds like the place....and the owner. I never had birds cleaned, but that is a good description of the restaurant. Every time I went there, I felt weird having to loiter around standing in line at the bar, wearing hunting vest and hat, while the restaurant patrons were enjoying their meals. I suppose they were used to it, the regulars at least, but it seemed there should be a separate anteroom for waiting hunters. Oh well, never again for me, until change of ownership at least.

Too bad Shady Maple doesn't have a regulated shooting ground connected to it... that is a place I could find an excuse to go to every week. I would be fat, broke, and the dog would be exhausted.

Jeremiah
 

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It seems that customer service is not something that is given close attention in many areas anymore. I have decided to actively support good service with my hard earned dollar, willingly paying a bit more for good service. We have 2 gun shops in town and a kmart. I'm purchasing my first shotgun and even though I had a bad experience before at one shop, I thought, that was awhile ago, and I'd give them each a chance at the $1000 in my pocket.

One shop owner just looked at a book and basically spit a number at me and then obviously had something better to do in the back of the shop. The other shop owner took time to talk with me about some choices, showed me comparable models from the same manufacturer and called to see if he could get the gun I was looking for from his supplier. When he found he couldn't he said he was just as happy with a transfer fee. I asked him about shells and he said he wasn't the cheapest, but competitive and if I ordered cases he'd give me a price break. He has won a loyal customer.

I am in the hotel/restaurant industry and find myself frazzled by time constraints (I cook and dinner IS served at 6 every day) and sometimes idiotic guests (fires in the forest in front of their cabins during high fire danger :shock: , driving off the road and up a hiking trail then parking right next to the creek in the forest...my most hated: litter :evil: ) But, I try to take the time to engage our customers nicely because they are the people who enable me to live this life in the wonderful place I do.

It seems to me that the only reason people will continue to hunt the aforementioned preserve is one: price, and that may not sustain them for long.
 

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ptarmigan: I had a similar experience at two bike shops. Rotten service at one, great service at the next. I made sure I sent a letter telling my story to both store managers. You may want to do the same...
wayne.
 
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