Don’t Let Your Dream Hunt Turn into a Nightmare!
I hate to say it, but in my line of work, I can’t tell you how many guys are so skeptical about booking a guided hunt after having been burned a couple of times. Have you ever saved for years to go on a hunt of a lifetime just to get there and end up wishing you had never gone? You are not alone! There are numerous hunters who unfortunately encounter this every year. For some they get off relatively cheap while for others it costs them tens of thousands of dollars, and before you say “well they can afford it” you would be surprised to know how many guys save for 10 or more years to go on their once in a lifetime dream hunt. So how do you make sure that your dream hunt doesn’t turn into a nightmare?
By working with a professional hunting consultant who has intimate knowledge of hunting, guiding and who the best outfitters are! A professional hunting consultant will take the time to really get to know you. They will seek to understand what kind of hunts you want to experience, what kind of budget you can truly work with, what kind of weapon you want to use, how physically fit you are, how much experience you have, what type of trophy quality you are looking for and so on. Once we get to know you, it allows us to help guide and educate you on the best hunts available for you.
Once you find a professional hunting consultant you like, connect with and trust, you will ask yourself why you didn’t do this sooner. Professional hunting consultants are not just for the wealthy, we help clients find, plan, book and prepare for trips ranging from $400 a day hog hunts to 30 day safaris that can go into the hundreds of thousands of dollars. We as professional hunting consultants are here to help you find the best trips available for YOU. With out knowledge and connections we make the process simple. You just pick up the phone or drop me an email and say hey Shad I am looking for a (fill in the blank)____ hunt for 2019, I have a budget of $xxxx.xx, I have time available in September and October, then I take care of the rest.
Let’s take a step back and I will share some of my personal background and experiences with guided hunts. Growing up, my dad and I never went on a guided hunt as for the most part we were blessed to live in an area with good Elk and Mule Deer hunting. But, over time our seasons got shortened, draws got harder and opportunities for quality hunts became fewer. So about the time I was in graduate school, we started looking at doing some guided hunts.
We didn’t have a lot of experience with guided hunts, how to research them, or how to find out if an outfitter had ever had disciplinary actions taken against him, or how guys had really done on the hunt. Basically, we really didn’t know where to go or what to do to find a good outfitter versus a bad one. So we did like most people, we looked in magazines, called and spoke with a number of different outfitters. We asked them our lists of questions, but the problem as I am sure many of you have discovered is that on the phone, they all sounded great. They all had a few references who spoke well of them and their operation. Which meant that when it came down to making a choice, it was literally a beauty pageant. who put on the most authentic song and dance on the phone. Or who had the nicest looking website and the best trophy photos, or if we were really lucky we might have had a friend who had hunted with an outfitter previously and could personally recommend them.
Unfortunately, as we found out, that was a hit and miss way to do our research. We thought we were very thorough and did our homework, yet we still got burned on a couple of hunts. We had one where we showed up and the camp was nothing like they described, run down trailers filled with flies, dirty and we even had to go buy our own drinks and snacks. We had a couple of trips where we showed up and the numbers and the quality of the animals weren’t even close to what we had been sold. We had one hunt where we were told we would have the camp and the area to ourselves for the entire week, but come to find out the outfitter had six other hunters in camp and didn’t even have enough guides for everyone (not that we minded that part as we got to hunt on our own).
Needless to say, we were pretty bummed out, but if you want to look at it from the glass is half full perspective, at least these weren’t African Safaris, Sheep hunts or a high dollar Moose or Brown Bear hunt. These days with the power of Google, Facebook, and YouTube, it is getting easier to find the truly bad outfitters, as the hunting world isn’t that big, but in order for that to happen it means a number of our fellow hunters had to get burned. Or, as sometimes can be the case, a hunt just isn’t a good fit for a particular hunter, so even though the Outfitter has a good operation, they can’t magically give someone a new set of knees to climb after a Mountain Goat or fix altitude sickness. So it isn’t always that its a bad outfitter, sometimes its simply that a particular hunt is not a fit for a particular hunter.
The goal of really good Professional Hunting Consultant is to minimize the chance that your dream hunt turns into a nightmare, the last thing we want is to discover you foaming at the mouth, ranting and raving on review sites, Facebook and YouTube. And you don’t want to have to do that to try and get some kind of satisfaction for feeling that you got taken advantage of.
We (being Professional Hunting Consultants) want to see you happy and sharing your pictures and stories and reliving your adventures with us, on our website, on social media and maybe even in a magazine. I know I have done my job when I hear about how you have become friends with the outfitter and your guide and how you want to experience another adventure with them.
Professional Hunting Consultants can help you avoid becoming “That Guy” the one we all hear about on Facebook, the poster child for living through a terrible hunt. I know a couple of “Those Guys”. One guy booked multiple Mexico Desert Mule Deer hunts after being told that he would see plenty of 190-plus bucks. But after two trips, he never saw a buck over 160. To make matters worse, he decided to give the outfitter another chance and booked a Desert Sheep hunt with him. The Outfitter claimed that he was 100% on his sheep hunts. So this hunter went down and after a few days got a decent ram. But he was soon to experience his own hunting nightmare, as it turned out that the outfitter didn’t have a valid tag for the sheep he had just shot. Bam, $30,000+ down the tubes, no trophy, and one, seriously big headache. A good consultant can make sure something like this doesn’t happens to you.
So what does a Professional Hunting Consultant do for you that you can’t do for yourself? Well to start off we are constant communication with our Outfitters and clients so we can continuously track the performance of the outfitters we work with year after year. We can put you in touch with our clients and references who will provide you with honest, objective information about almost every hunt and outfitter we represent. We also learn about you so we can match you with hunts that fit not only your budget, but also your physical capabilities by asking you some blunt questions about such factors as your fitness level, health issues, shooting skills, and more, so when you show up you will experience an enjoyable hunt. It is our willingness to ask you and our Outfitters blunt questions, that allows us to really get to know you and the hunts we represent, so we can place you in the right place at the right time. That is why a Professional Hunting Consultant is such a valuable asset to you and the achievement of your hunting goals.
How do you know a consultant will put you on a quality trip? Really good consultants will invest the time and money to vet prospective outfitters by hunting with them personally or sending trusted parties to hunt with them. That is how we can provide a detailed report on their operations, trophy quality and numbers. Or, if it is an exploratory hunt, we will be upfront with you about that and let you know that we have not been there yet, but we will also tell you how we came to know this Outfitter as typically it is through referrals. Good consultants also follow up with their clients to get post-hunt reviews as a means of quality control.
Everyone needs to realize that unless you are going on estate hunts, we cannot guarantee success. Hunting is hunting, so it is understandable if there are unsuccessful trips with regards to taking a trophy; even the best outfitters cannot control the weather or the animals. However, what is unacceptable is clients having terrible overall experiences, be it bad guides, poor equipment, dirty conditions, etc. When we get a negative report, we make sure to communicate that with the outfitter to help him address any potential issues, but we will also continue to keep an eye on him. If we received multiple bad reports on an outfitter, we will stop placing clients with him, as our number one goal is to take care of YOU, our client.
So if you are looking for a resource to help you book the hunt of a lifetime, I would strongly encourage you to consider using a reputable hunting consultant who can save you a ton of time and money. They will also give you peace of mind as well as minimize the chance that your dream hunt will turn into a nightmare. In addition to Specialty Adventure Services, Asian Mountain Outfitters, CaptivateM Outdoors, Atcheson and Sons, and Hunting Consortium, all provide solid consulting services.
I wish you all the best in your future hunting endeavors and if you ever have questions about hunts, gear, hunt prep, etc don’t hesitate to shoot me an email firstname.lastname@example.org
Any hunt, Any where…No Problem!