Problems That Hunters, Outfitters And Guides Can Avoid


Published: November - 2010

Sometimes hunts go wrong. But there are things hunters, outfitters and guides can do to avoid problems. In last month's issue we ran a complaint from subscriber Ray Saunders regarding an aoudad hunt in Texas with Hunter Ross of Desert Safaris. You can see Ross's rebuttal and some re-rebuttals from Saunders and his booking agent Steve Ellenson of Outdoor Connection on page 15 of this issue. This particular disagreement raises a number of issues regularly mentioned in complaints submitted to The Hunting Report.

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)

 
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