Coupled with a spike in fuel costs, the drop in the dollar is really squeezing some operators whose businesses revolve around US clients. The problem is particularly severe in Canada, according to Senior Western Correspondent Lance Stapleton. Many of the better outfitters there usually operate on a margin of about 30 percent, he says. Those margins are now in the single digits, strictly because of the exchange rate. Outfitter Dave Fyfe, president of the Guide Outfitters Association of British Columbia, tells us his 2003 price for a Roosevelt elk hunt was $16,000 US, which translated into approximately $24,000 Canadian. This past year, he priced the same 10-day hunt at $21,500 US, but when he went to the bank he received only $19,600 Canadian. That adds up to a huge net-negative impact on his gross income strictly because of the currency shift. You can probably imagine what this kind of currency shift is doing to outfitters trying to honor price quotes from several years ago!
The squeeze on Canadian operators is worsened, Stapleton tell us, by the increased competition for labor posed by cash-rich oil, gas and mining companies. The upshot is, a number of smaller Canadian outfitters are simply going out of business, or converting to part-time businesses. For sure, some of........(continued)