If you’ve been involved in hunting long enough, you have probably been on hunts with hunting outfitters. Some of them were probably good hunts you will always remember, because you had a good time, but you have probably also been on a few excursions with a hunting outfitter that were very poor. Sadly, by the time you found out the hunting outfitter was a fraud, your check had been cashed.
Imagine going on an elk hunt with a self-proclaimed “professional” hunting outfitter, for instance, that ends up a complete disaster. You’re told that all of the hunting guides in camp are experienced elk hunters and bowhunters. You’re repeatedly assured you’ll receive world-class accommodations and elk hunt on private land with little hunting pressure. After arriving in camp, you suddenly realize that you are indeed in for an adventure – just not the kind of adventure you just forked over $5,000 to the hunting outfitters for. The hunting guide has never held a bow in his hand before, let alone harvested an elk with one, and your pop-up camper squeaks and groans as you find yourself microwaving T.V. dinners in an ice-cold, linoleum hell.
Many hunters choose a hunting outfitter based on a conversation with them at a sport show or other hunting outfitters’ expo. Hunters meet some friendly hunting outfitters and are told just what the hunting outfitters know they want to hear. From trophy-class bucks to suspiciously high success rates, the hunting outfitters go on and on about their skills, resources, and accommodations – even providing misleading photos and telling flat-out lies. So deceived, you honestly believe what the hunting outfitter has told you, and so you sign on for the hunting trip – with no actual promise or guarantee of a quality hunting experience.
Without performing research on a hunting outfitter, you can easily end up disappointed. Choosing the right hunting outfitter requires the hunter to do their homework. Write down a list of questions for the hunting outfitters, and prepare before you attend a sport show. Having the list with you as you ask hunting outfitters will help you remember everything. Ask questions that require direct, straightforward answers, like: How much is the hunt? Are there hidden fees? How long have you been in business?
Get all your questions answered before booking a hunt. If a hunting outfitter gets irritated or mad as you ask the questions, move on. If, however, they answer each question with clarity, timeliness, and politeness, they are much more likely to be a reputable hunting outfitter.