Our purpose in airing complaints is to help hunters and hunting professionals understand what made a particular hunting experience go wrong and how to avoid the same fate. Every hunt gone wrong is slightly different. Without taking sides in this particular controversy, we find three areas of disagreement that jump out at us, and we believe there are object lessons here worth highlighting.
The three points of disagreement we note from this controversy are 1) outfitters working with or subcontracting with other outfitters/guides; 2) outfitter, agents and clients not communicating priorities and expectations clearly; and 3) coordinating hunting with activities for non-hunting companions.
Let's start with subcontracting, which is a common practice all over the world. In Africa, for example, concession holders often allow subcontractors (PHs and operators who don't work for them directly) to hunt their areas. They also hire a subcontractor when they are short a PH. This only becomes a problem if the arrangement appears clandestine to the client. When a client thinks he's hunting with one operator only to be told that the guide/PH actually works for a different operator, it creates doubt that grows exponentially if anything else goes wrong with the hunt. Clients do not like feeling "farmed out," and they don't like feeling that "the buck stops elsewhere." They booked a hunt with a particular outfitter, and they expect that outfitter to conduct their hunt and handle any problems that may occur.
Hunters can avoid this problem by asking pointed questions before booking: Exactly who........(continued)