August 09, 2011
Booking an outfitted hunt can be a scary and overwhelming experience at times. There are so many hunting outfitters that promise so much. We all want to skip those hard lessons if possible and one way to do this is by asking a lot of questions.
This way you know exactly what you're getting and your hard earned money will be well spent.
First, you need to find an hunting outfitter in your budgeted price range for the game you are after. I like to start out by looking online and searching through websites. You can quickly glance through recent trophy photos, lodging, prices, and trail cams on your own without any pressure.
Just remember there are many honey holes out there with amazing hunting, but the outfitter may not be up on their computer skills so don't use this as your only form of investigating.
Another great way to find a hunt is to attend a local sport show. Most states have them throughout the winter and summer. This is an easy one-stop shop for you to see all the booths, check over their prices and photos, plus you get some face time with the outfitter. It can also be a great event to take the entire family to with good food, games, and a wide variety of hunting accessories.
Once you find an hunting outfitter that looks promising, it's time to ask them a few questions. This can be done via email, calling them, or even right at the show. I've come up with a list of questions that I always ask before I book an outfitted hunt.
- Is your ground public or private? How many acres do you own or control and do you have exclusive hunting rights?
- How many years experience do you have as an outfitter? How many years experience do most of your guides have?
- Are your guides allowed to hunt the property?
- What is the cost and availability for a license and tag?
- What are the sleeping arrangements? Are meals provided? Do I need to bring my own linens?
- Do you have a list of references (both people who have and have not harvested game.)
- What is the guide to hunter ratio?
- Where is the nearest airport? Do I need to rent a car or is there airport pickup service? What is the lodge address should I decide to ship my bow/gun ahead of time?
- What is the actual success rate on shots taken and their average shot distance?
- What are the physical requirements of the hunt?
- How would you describe the average temperature and weather conditions during my hunt?
- Are their any hidden costs, trophy fees, or minimum score requirements?
- Do you have any recent sheds or trail cam photos?
- Will we be hunting out of tree stands, box blinds, or in a spot and stalk situation?
- What altitude will we be hunting and would you suggest time to acclimate prior to the hunt?
- What dates would you suggest coming and why? Can I add extra days to the hunt if needed?
- Is there a place for me to skin and process my game?
- What is the cost of the deposit and what is your refund or cancellation policy?
- What is your wounded animal policy should this arise?
- What makes you different from all the other outfitters?