To: The Hunting Report From: Kent Schauer Re: Hunt with Barry Tompkins Date: February 8, 2000
I will be as brief as possible in explaining the circumstances of my August, 1994 and August 1997 stone sheep hunts wit Barry Tompkins of Big Nine Outfitters, British Columbia. This will help clarify our following communications starting September 9, 1997.
My first hunt with Barry was in August 1994. We weren't too far up the first trail when I noticed that my guide knew absolutely nothing about sheep hunting and my wrangler walked his horse as often as I did. On questioning, I was told that my guide had just started hunting sheep and my wrangler had a suspended guide license. On several occasions, I had to ask my guide to get behind my wrangler and I before he exposed himself to sheep. I killed an average ram, not the one we had chosen to take. My wrangler was quite upset by his misjudgment, but I wasn't. As I left base camp that year I told Barry that I did not think my guide would ever make a good sheep guide since he thought he was invisible and didn't like to glass. Barry responded with "well, a guy has to start somewhere." We did not discuss details of the hunt as I just assumed that guides and outfitters had those discussions after the hunter was gone. Apparently not.
The next time I was allowed by law to hunt stone sheep in British Columbia was 1997. I booked Barry again at Reno, in 1997, to hunt in August 1997 for $8,000.00 plus $3,000.00 trophy fee. The $11,000.00 U.S. funds were paid up front and $3,000.00 was to be refunded if a ram was not taken. Doug, Barry's best sheep guide, and I hunted hard and covered a lot of country without finding a good ram. On the first day of hunting, Dyrk Eddie took what remains the number 1 Pope & Young stone sheep in an isolated area they called "Goat Mountain" on the eastern edge of Barry's unit. Barry had mostly reserved that area for bow-hunters, although a good ram was taken with a rifle there in 1996. Running with Dyrk's ram were two other Boone & Crockett rams. One was 15 1/4-inch bases, 44 inches on one side and broken off 6 or 8 inches on the other side. He still scored 174 B&C and we called him "Broken Horn." The other was a Chadwick-type ram, scoring about the same, and we called him "Flaring." At that point in time, Barry had #1,3,4 Pope & Young.
Apparently, "Goat Mountain" has since been discovered by resident hunters, and I'm sure will no longer produce big rams. Anyhow, at base camp, Barry said I could hunt those two rams on "Goat Mountain" with a bow. I was more than reluctant since my bow was in Albuquerque and I had not shot it in one year. He then said I could hunt with a rifle out of "Lower Prairie", where M.R. James was taking the only legal ram spotted in the area. Barry's friend, Burt, had just given him a poorly tuned bow. So, I spent the next two and one-half days, while it rained, first turning and then re-sighting that bow. During that time, I was subjected to some sort of Pakistan royalty. As we flew to another camp, for a pack trip to "Goat Mountain", Barry said that I could only shoot "Broken Horn" with a bow, but could take "Flaring" on my last afternoon with a rifle. On my second to the last afternoon, these two rams made us. And, of course, we couldn't find them the last day.
When I left Big Nine, Barry said, "come back in October." I told him I would love to, but would need to know the dates as soon as possible since I had a bow elk hunt scheduled. Saeed Khan came into "Goat Mountain" the day after I left and killed "Broken Horn" with a rifle on his second day.
After my fax of September 9, 1997, Barry called and said I could return to hunt in October for half of his new rate, which was $10,000.00 plus $3,000.00 trophy fee. His math for half of $13,000.00 was half of ($10,000.00 plus $3,000.00) plus $3,000.00 again for $9,500.00. Wow, must be Canadian math. The "Flaring" ram could have been the only great ram left on Barry's outfit, in October 1997. According to Khan's guide/baby-sitter from California, "Flaring" was wild and would have been almost impossible to take with a bow in five days. I wanted very much to return and hunt sheep in October but not under Barry's conditions (i.e., price and not being able to hunt "Flaring" with a rifle). Our communications follow. I never heard from Barry after our telephone conversation when he told me he would think about everything we had discussed and call me back.
Over the next two sheep seasons (i.e., 1998 and 1999) I held on to some glimmer of hope that Barry might decide to have me back up in October instead of having his resident friends fill his ever-increasing number of unused sheep permits. It didn't happen.
If you are considering hunting stone sheep, you should know that there is too many reputable and fair outfitters to risk having anything like this happen to you.
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To: The Hunting Report From: Barry Tompkins of Big Nine Outfitters Re: Hunt with Kent Shauer Date: April 10, 2000
My letter to Mr. Schauer dated December 2, 1997 addresses all grievances in my opinion but there are a few points that I will clarify further in regards to his letter to you dated February 8, 2000.
On Mr. Schauers' first hunt with us in August of 1994 he indicated to me be would be happy to harvest any respectable ram, of course a big ram would be a real bonus. Mr. Schauer's guide on this hunt was an excellent hunter but not very experienced in sheep hunting. This is why I sent Ken Boone along with them. Ken accompanied them in the capacity as an advisor for the new sheep guide. Ken is an exceptional sheep guide and had worked and hunted our area for many years. Today this young guide of Mr. Schauer's is one of my top sheep hunters, a camp boss and is constantly being requested as a guide by sheep hunters. At the end of Mr. Schauer's hunt in August 1994 and subsequent years up to his second hunt with us in 1997 he stated to me he was happy and pleased with his first hunt.
On Mr. Schauer's hunt in 1997 his goals on sheep size had changed, be was now looking for big rams only, preferably over 40 inches or record book.
On occasion, sheep move for some unknown reason and 1997 was one of those years. On our first hunt of the year we hunted hard, covered the majority of our camps and we were having problems finding big rams, most hunters were successful, harvesting legal rams.
Mr. Schauer arrived on our second hunt I advised him of our problem locating any big rams in the majority of our camps. Mr. Schauer had the option of going to any one of a number of rifle camps or going to the bow camp where we had located two rams that were the size he was after. If going into the camp we used primarily for archery he would be subject to restrictions, Mr. Schauer chose to go to this camp knowing and accepting the restrictions I had placed on this area. The restrictions at the time of his acceptance was bow only. no rifle. I later relaxed the bow only to bow only until the last day and one of the big rams. I relaxed a second and third time to either ram on the last day and either ram on the second last day but only after archery stock was attempted. They attempted the stock on the second last day spooked the rams and were not able to get a shot that day. Unfortunately they were unable to locate the sheep on the last day of the hunt. At this point I was in contact with them via radio and offered Mr. Schauer a chance to remain a few more days until he was successful in harvesting his ram with a rifle. He declined due to business commitments. What more could I have done, I had bent over backwards for him trying to help him get the big one.
Mr. Schauer seems to have some sort of vendetta against Mr. Khan and myself. To set the record straight, Mr. Khan paid the regular sheep hunt price; he arrived the same hunt as Mr. Schauer, hunted extremely hard and was unable to locate a sheep the size he was looking for. Mr. Schauer had preferential treatment. I gave him the first opportunity to remain and harvest one of the big rams, he was not able to stay so I then and only then offered the opportunity to Mr. Khan. It appears to me that Mr. Schauer's envy of Mr. Khans' success has unfortunately turned to jealousy and contempt. Very unsportsman like!
I further take offence to Mr. Schauer going as far as trying to indicate we are short hunters and our sheep population is in bad shape. His statement about having my friends fill my ever-increasing unused sheep permits is ridiculous and only shows he has no idea of how British Columbia's quota system works. My sheep permits or quota is for non-resident hunters only and can only be sold to them. Resident hunters of British Columbia are not restricted from hunting stone sheep in this region and may harvest a ram every year if they continue to harvest rams over eight years of age. Their harvest has absolutely nothing to do with our permits. At this time my sheep hunts for 2000 and 2001 are sold out. Last season we won the gold award at the Northern British Columbia Guides Association with a 41-inch, 172-point ram. We also won two awards at the FNAWS convention for rams harvested with us. I have a quota of 14 stone sheep and we harvested 13 in 1999, the unsuccessful hunter missed two different rams one over 170 the other over 165, he also saw numerous other legal rams. The 13 successful sheep hunters harvested six rams between 160 - 168. We also had six archery hunters, three harvested rams with a bow. One wounded a ram and elected to finish the ram off with a rifle. The two unsuccessful bow hunters had opportunities to harvest rams with bows one of which was a now worlds record scoring somewhere in between 175 and 178, these two hunters changed to rifles the last day and both harvested rams over 160. They have rebooked for 2001.
The letter to your from Mr. Schauer makes me want to write a few derogatory comments and innuendo about him but I will not be brought down to that level. My reputation and fairness speak for themselves and I have enclosed my 1999 reference list for those who wish to verify either.
In closing, I would like to say that if a hunter has set himself exceptionally high standards for trophy quality and size, his options and opportunities are going to be limited, as these trophies are not behind every rock. In my opinion Mr. Schauer was very fortunate in having an outfitter such as myself, as I went out of my way to give him such an opportunity. If that opportunity is spoiled or lost due to a client's personal commitments, why should we as outfitters be expected to pay for it?
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To: Kent Schauer From: Barry Tompkins of Big Nine Outfitters Re: Hunt in Canada Date: December 2, 1997
Thank you for your letter dated November 12. Enclosed please find your refund check, unfortunately I gave you the wrong check by mistake.
I was sorry to hear you were dissatisfied with your experience with us. You have been a very good customer of ours. The combination of your physical ability, easygoing personality and general sportsman attitude have made you one of our favorite hunters.
I would like to take this opportunity to respond to your grievances and hope you will listen with an open mind. Please feel free to call me collect after receiving this letter, as I would also like to speak with you.
I have been unable to contact Ken Boon in regards to your first sheep limit with us, but will talk with him in the near future.
I would like to start with the statement of yours that you felt like a second classed hunter. In my opinion no one was treated like a second classed hunter and if anything, you received preferential treatment. Saeed Khan was on the exact same hunt as you and if you had been successful be would not have been allowed to hunt in our archery area. And likewise, it you could have extended your hunt he would not have been allowed into that camp. Keep in mind you went into this area with quite a few days to hunt, Mr. Khan went in there with two days to hunt.
Another point that I would like to make is that unbeknown to you, I had told Doug that you could harvest broken horn on the last day. As you know this is a very small area and we were all surprised when you and Doug were unable to find the rams on the last day. I guess we all (not including you) were a little too sure, of ourselves in this regard and forgot hunting is hunting. In hindsight I probably should have given you another day or two with a rifle. At the time you went into that camp we had only hunted the rams for one day any I was surprised to hear how wild they were when you returned. This was totally unexpected by all of us and is no doubt why you were unsuccessful.
As you may or may not know it has become increasingly more difficult to find hunters the past few years. In order to off set this I have been actively pressuring the bow hunter market in hopes of remaining viable. I have set aside this very small piece of my area for primarily bow hunting. Occasionally I do allow rifle hunting and only if I don't have any bow hunters booked at a future date. For some unknown reason this past season was the hardest year we have ever had in regards to sheep hunting, this came as quite a surprise as we felt it would be one of our best, due to the large number of mature rams left after the 1996 season. In any event we couldn't find you a monster ram at Sloan Camp and had no sightings anywhere. So as a valued repeat client I gave you the privilege of going after a couple of big rams in the bow area. It should have worked out but didn't for which I am sorry. I do sincerely wish you had gotten one of them. Incidentally Doug tells me he is positive the other ram will out score broken horn.
As to your comment on my restriction of only harvesting flaring horn with a bow on your return hunt in October I'd like to give you my reasons for this. Once again I'd like to say this was another example of professional treatment to you as a valued client. This is a very small band of rams and can only stand a very restricted harvest. I was willing to allow you to harvest him this year and then only take one hunter in there next year. The bow restriction on you goes back to my earliest statement on howl feel I must promote archery hunting in order to stay viable. My archery policy may or may not be correct but you as a bow hunter should see my reasoning for this policy.
In regard to my price structure, I am one of a very few outfitters who gives a refund for an unsuccessful hunt. Very seldom do we have unsuccessful sheep hunters and so, fortunately I haven't had to deal with this problem. Your point is well taken and I will put into effect a cut and dried policy. As you are aware I told you that you could stay and hunt a few extra days there was to be no extra charge for those days as I had a guide who was free. This in my mind was a real bonus, unfortunately your commitments made this option impossible.
As to the October hunt, I had no available crew and would have had to eat all expenses. Your final hunt price after refund was $8,000.00. This if anything is a break even price, I don't know about you but if I worked on a break even scenario or a loss situation which would have been the case in the event I'd let you come for a free second hunt with only the trophy fee, I would be out of business very soon.
Your point is well taken on the 50 percent cost proposal I gave you, I should not have given a percentage just the cost. The $6,500.00 quote would have allowed me to cover most of my costs and the trophy fee would have allowed me to make a profit.
In hindsight I wish I would have given you the option of a daily rate to cover my expenses plus the trophy fee. This no doubt would have been the best option due to your restricted time. The $6,500.00 quote was based on the full sheep hunt.
Thank you also for listening to my response and for your time in trying to look at this from my side. Hopefully we can still remain friends and even if you decide you no longer wish to hunt with me we can still meet, say hi and even have an occasional drink and visit.
I will be in touch.