I would like to enter a critical hunt report on a conservation donation hunt purchased by myself at the February 2005 Safari Club convention in Anchorage, Alaska. The hunt was the high bid for $2,750 for a bezoar ibex hunt in 2005 or 2006 with Orhan Konakacis of Safaris Tours / AR Hunting Consultants (Abed Radwan). I originally wanted the 2006 hunt as I was recovering from an injured back. Mr. Abed Radwan, talked me into doing the hunt in 2005 and I assumed (correctly) that I would be in acceptable physical condition for the hunt. The dates were set for mid December, As they had suggested, and that fall I called back to confirm all conditions and dates and was informed that all the permits had been sold and the hunt was not possible.
The hunt was rebooked for the same time frame for 2006 this time when I called back in the fall for re-conformation, they informed me that I could not go in December but would have to go in November. Due to the fact that I work a rotation of two weeks on and two weeks off and that our granddaughter was killed in an accident, this was not sufficient time to change my and my alternates work schedules and plane tickets I was canceling the hunt.
Mr. Radwan then attempted to get me a $2,750 credit with another firm for a Mid-Asian ibex hunt to Kyrgyzstan. I agreed and sent a $650 deposit for the hunt. He said I would be going with two other hunters from Anchorage, Alaska. After two month I e-mailed Abed back and asked for the names of the outfitter and hunters names as I wanted to get their acquaintances before the trip. He gave the name of one hunter but no phone number and said that they had to delay the hunt until next year and said I could get any information on the outfitter as they did not want to communicate directly with their clients. At this point I decided that I did not like the direction the hunt was going and asked for my $650 deposit back. Abed agreed then to send back the deposit then the next day reneged on the refund as he said the outfitter (no name) already had the money, it was too late for a refund and he had spent much time on this and he considered the deposit as his money earned.
I did not agree with him not returning my $650 deposit, therefore an email was sent to him and the Alaska Safari Club explaining that I accepted the $2,750 donation to the club for conservation but wanted my $650 deposit back in two weeks or I would file a critical hunt report to you. I have heard nothing back from Abed or the Safari Club. I sent a note to the Safari Club earlier about the difficulty of getting the hunt to Turkey and the repose was to ask Abed to explain what was going on and hoping we could work things out.
The response from AR Hunting Consultants at the start of the booking of this hunt was sub standard. The phone calls made to his business were never answered or returned until I emailed to cancel the hunt to Turkey. Phone contact may have allowed the hunt to come off and better communications between AR Hunting Consultants and Orhan Konakacis of Safaris Tours may have avoided the cancellation. I will not recommend to any friends using either party at this time. I have done several hunting trips overseas and have all turned out very well, this was an exception to my other experiences.
I will mail this email and back up print outs of communications through the US Post Office.
(Additional materials available from subscriber Bob Hicks)
Rebuttal from Abed Radwan:
I am replying to you regarding Mr. Bob Hick's letter in concern of a Turkish donation hunt he bought in 2005.
Bob Hick's letter to the Hunting Report is not as accurate as he draws it to be; in fact it is a misinformation and distortion to the truth. AR Hunting Consultant is committed to honesty and excellence of service in helping the hunter first. It is Bob's lack of prompt communication and his delayed responses what caused him to miss the hunting opportunities among family challenges.
It is important to note that Bob is the only hunter that I have experienced the lack of replies and communication with. Whether he has a good reason for that is not the issue here. The issue is that he is trying to blame someone else for his misfortunes with family challenges and changing job shift schedule after he purchased the donation; his letter is utterly unfair and uncalled for.
I have sacrificed heavily and donated this hunt, and continued to sacrifice trying to make it up for Bob. But again Bob seems to run into more family challenges and continued the lack of response during essential times when I needed his final confirmation and information to secure his hunt.
In this business we all know that there are many stages in securing a foreign hunt. The initial approximate dates; then securing the government permits, and then confirming final dates with availability of flights/itinerary, and a whole lot of paperwork.
In this reply I will separate each subject and reply to it with back up documentation from saved e-mails.
1) Mr. Bob Hicks as mentioned in his first paragraph that he bought the donation in February 2005 during the annual SCI show which I was on the SCI Board of Director working the show. After the sale and during the same evening, I spoke with Bob and invited him to confirm if he can go in 2005 since the hunting season starts in August and the permits are limited, I asked him to please confirm within a week or so. Bob was not sure that he can make the trip and suggested that he will let me know soon after. I mailed Bob a folder with the guideline and a videotape and all information needed to help prepare him for the hunt. A policy that I have for each hunt. I did not hear from Bob for a good while, until approximately four months later. Bob contacted me and confirmed that he can make the trip, also he apologized for the late reply and thanked me in advance; I immediately contacted the outfitter hoping it is not too late, but unfortunately the limited permits for such ibex were all gone by the time I received Bob is late reply.
It is important to note that Bob has failed in replying to me promptly as he was supposed to let me know soon after he bought the hunt-donation and not four months later and just weeks before the hunting season opening? Also Bob does not comprehend that the outfitter still has to buy him a hunting license and secure his rifle and passport information and a permit and arrange for the guides, transportation, translator and living quarters and more. It is Bob's late reply that caused him to miss the 2005 season.
Bob and I agreed to move the hunt to the 2006 season, no problem Bob was advised to try to go during the rut season in December 2006. All went well, Bob did request the December rut season from the outfitter as the preliminary dates.
2) I called Bob during spring of 2006 since I have not heard from Bob yet, his last contact with me was January 2006. I contacted him by phone and by e-mail trying desperately to get a final confirmation about his exact dates of arrival and final itinerary, passport and rifle information and more to no avail. Absolutely no reply whatsoever from Bob, my heart literary sunk. Bob were no where to be found? There was no reply from Bob from mid January 2006 until 25 October 2006 nine month later. Almost too late to save the hunt, but for sure we will try our best to make it happen. Remind you the outfitter has a business to run and limited permits.
On 25 October 2006 Bob replies with an apologies again for the lack of his response. Needless to say that, the hunting season is more than half completed and well on the way? Bob has failed to reply in time for the second time? But he is trying to blame me for this.
At this point the outfitter is not obligated to buy the permit and license and reserve the guide and lodge and game scout and translator and hold on to the dates when the hunter is not available and not replying.
Even with all Bob's lack of responses, I contacted the outfitter on 25 Oct 06 and managed to secure a hunt for Bob; the only available dates left were approximately third or fourth week of November 2006, good rut season. I contacted Bob and advised him to choose the fourth week of November. It is extremely important to note that neither I nor the outfitter has caused the lack of response from Bob for nine full months? But we managed to get him within a week or so of the original goal dates. Bob seems to forget and seems that he always want to blame me for his lack of responses?
3) At this point Bob had not bought an airline ticket or submitted an itinerary or rifle information or passport number whatsoever, but in his letter to The Hunting Report he makes it sound that he has submitted an itinerary?
Even with all the above, my services to Bob continued to the highest outmost professionalism. Absolutely on good terms with him.
4) Bob and I traded few phone calls and e-mails during this week, the outfitter and I trying diligently to get things ready for Bob's hunt with such short notice and late confirmation. In a sudden Bob decided it is best the he cancels the Turkish ibex hunt and donate his bid to conservation per his own words.
It is important to mention that initially Bob forfeited his bid and decided to cancel the donation hunt. Soon after that AR Hunting offered Bob a full credit of $2,750 for his bid. Shortly after, Bob gladly accepted the credit towards another hunt.
5) Mr. Bob Hicks mentioned that I told him that he will be going with another two hunters from Alaska. Mr. Hicks always seems to misunderstand things on the phone. And he is trying to make an issue out of not issue. Even when I explained that to him? So I have made an effort to document things when communicating with him by e-mailing him. I did mention to him on the phone that I will try to connect him with two Alaskan hunting guides who are going to the same ibex hunt around the same month. I also did mention one name; this was a preliminary idea in the planning, because neither has confirmed and exact favorite date yet. Shortly after, the two hunters decided to delay the hunt until the next season, because of one of them wedding. This is still no issue as I have many hunters scheduled to go to Kyrgyzstan this coming season, 19 hunters to be exact, some of them are Alaskans. The truth of the matter is that Mr. Hicks again did not have an initial Itinerary set whatsoever because again his rotating shift schedule probably would not allow him as he mentioned in his letter to the Hunting Report. There was never a problem aligning him with another two hunters, this is no issue. The reason for teaming him with another two hunters is the 12 hour drive to camp; the outfitter prefers more than one hunter in the vehicle.
There was a delay by the Kyrgyzstan government in issuing the season dates and number of permit and quotas. So I explained that to Bob and mentioned to him that we are all waiting. But Bob does not like the truth and he keeps imagining things?
He also accuses me of not giving him the contact information of the outfitter and makes it look like it is a crime. Again and again as I explained to him on the phone and later in writing that the outfitter wishes is not to be contacted by the hunters let alone he does not speak English and that he has a huge operation to deal with. I have granted the outfitter his wishes, my word is my honor and I am not going to break it. Mr. Hicks seems to want things done his way and no other way? I explained to him everything regarding this at no avail.
6) On June 8, 2007, I received a notification from my outfitter that the Kyrgyzstan Government has reduced the hunting season from the original 15 December to the new 25 November 2007. And that the rest of the spring fiscal season is still as before. The season is closed from 25 November until 31 December 2007.
Now that is why I mentioned to Mr. Hicks about "we are all waiting" until the government issues the dates and quotas, I was simply trying my best to provide Bob with excellent service and protect him from jumping the gun and choosing the wrong itinerary. As shown in Bob's letter to the Hunting Report, he did not like the truth. Bob does not seem to comprehend how difficult it is to deal with arranging and preparing foreign hunts.
Of the 19 hunters that I have this year in Kyrgyzstan, Bob is the only one who does not accept the truth and constantly keeping busy with blaming me for anything and everything, and making issues out of no issues? The 19 hunters followed my guidelines and advice fully.
7) On 5 April 2007 I suddenly received an e-mail from Bob requesting his $650 deposit from the Mid Asian ibex cancellation, Bob did say that because of his work schedule and other circumstances he has to cancel. I replied to Bob that this is no problem and for him to stop by and pick up his deposit, all in good will and trust from my side.
I also promoted Bob and asked if his cancellation is because of something that I may have done by error? "Just to be sure" since Bob has been difficult to deal with. I sent the e-mail three times because it was getting rejected and returned, possibly Bob in-box may have been full but apparently his wife said he did receive the e-mail?
Later I found out from his wife that he was in Michigan e-mailing me requesting a refund? And he is not home, so I left him a message. And the next day I left him another message, alter on I sent him many many e-mails. Until this moment Bob has not replied?
Also Bob at the same time frame contacted the SCI Anchorage by e-mail and requesting a full credit of $2,750 to him on his bid in 2005? Remind you that he has forfeited his bid of $2,750 a year prior.
Bob is either being unethical about all this or I prefer to believe that he has forgotten that he forfeited his bid; first because of his disappearance for 9 month and second because of family challenges?
After Bob contacted the SCI Anchorage Board of Directors and requested his bid credit. The SCI contacted me and requested an explanation, as this board knows me well for my honesty, integrity and dedication. I spent numerous hours collecting all the facts and assembling the reply, just as I am doing now for the Hunting Report.
I submitted my finding to them and that was it. The SCI Board of Director obviously ruled in my favor, and advised Bob to directly try to resolve this with me, as he should. Of course they saw how Bob was reneging on his own words and how he as always very late and apologetic, in confirming his hunt.
8) The last paragraph in the letter to the Hunting Report is totally unfounded and it is just vicious accusation that Bob is slinging regarding his telephone calls. All Bob's phone calls were returned and also later on most of them I backed them up with e-mails just to avoid any misunderstanding. I would prefer to think that Bob has forgotten things and he is not slinging as much mud at me as it looks, in fact his first e-mail to me Bob admits that he lost the contact information for the outfitter; the outfitter's e-mail was on the donation. So it is possible that Bob thought that he was calling me but may be he was calling the wrong number?
Why would I not take care of a hunter that is living in my community and is in the same Safari Chapter that I am in, now that would not make sense would it? The truth of the fact is that Bob from the beginning just after he bought the Turkish donation had changed job shifts and he is the one who is gone two weeks each month. I do recall leaving Bob phone messages? Whether he received them or not that I do not know?
My reputation with all my hunters speak for itself, I do not have to prove myself to anyone.