Knowing the right questions to ask your outfitter up front will help make your hunt a success.
A lot of time, money and resources go into planning a hunt. You need to do research to find a reputable outfitter that you are comfortable with. Knowing the right questions to ask your outfitter will make a big difference in how your hunt turns out. Some topics that are often overlooked include extra charges, necessary licenses, follow-up services and outfitter’s policies.
Having a list of the right questions to ask your outfitter will provide you with information that will help you decide what you need to bring, how you need to prepare and what to expect. Many outfitters take for granted that their clients know what to do, how to plan and what to bring. However every hunt is different and different area present different circumstances.
Knowing the right questions to ask your outfitter will make your hunting trip successful.
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What are the success rates and game populations?
You’ll want confidence in your outfitters ability to put you on game. There needs to be a reasonable population of the species you’re after in the area for the outfitter to apply his skills and find a trophy for you. There are no guarantees in hunting but it is nice to start with favorable odds.
Who’s land are you going to be hunting on?
Will you be hunting on public or private land? Either one can provide an excellent hunt. Should you expect to see other hunters? Do you have an exclusive area? You want these questions answered so you know what to expect.
What is the degree of difficulty?
The challenges of the hunt must match your ability and expectations. Bowhunters need different circumstances than gun hunters to be successful. Youth, inexperienced hunters, mobility impaired and other potential disabilities have to be considered.
What are the accomodations?
Will you be staying in a tent or a castle? Maybe you are staying in a cabin or a hotel. You need to know so you can bring the appropriate gear and plan accordingly.
What licenses, tags or permits are necessary?
Don’t depend on your outfitter to take care of your licenses. Obtain whatever licenses you can beforehand and send photocopies ahead. Keep your paperwork in a safe, dry place and keep it with you at all times.
What is the terrain?
Will you be on flat ground or steep hills? Are you going to hunt in dark forests or open prairies? Knowing this information allows you to have the right clothing and footwear, appropriate firearm or archery equipment, and good preparation for the physical exertion required.
Are there any other game animal that can be hunted?
Ask your outfitter if there are other game animals available. An additional species may fill in extra days in the field if you are successful early on in the hunt. A different animal may also be an option if the primary species cannot be located.
What is the method of hunting?
The common methods of hunting are spot and stalk, stand or still hunting and “safari-style.” Knowing what to expect in advance will help you plan your strategy and prevent disappointment.
What are the risks and dangers?
Risks and dangers come in may forms on a hunting trip. The biggest risk may be the weather or more specifically the temperature. There are risks involved with climbing high elevations, using horses and mules, boats or charter flights. Maybe the risks include encounters with snakes or dangerous animals. Sometimes water quality or availability is a risk factor.
What is on the menu?
Ask if food is included and what kind of food you will be offered. You are the paying client. You have a right to have food you like as well as food that meets your dietary needs.
What other activities are available?
If you are successful early in the hunt or other circumstances cause free time, what other activities are there? Often there are opportunities for fishing, target shooting, varmint hunting or sight seeing. If you know before you go, you will be ready with a decision if the chance occurs.
What is the return policy?
What happens if the only deer you see is your decoy, the hunt is cut short or you are unsuccessful? Some outfitters will allow you to return at a later date to complete your hunt. Many outfitters will allow you to return for a second hunt at a reduced price. You want to know in advance, just in case.
What communications are available?
Hunts often occur in remote places, but you’ll want to know what methods of communication with the rest of the world are available. Calling home to boast about your trophy or complain about the heat may not be as simple as you think.
What gear and equipment do they recommend?
Your outfitter knows what to expect. They can recommend firearms and archery equipment, hunting accessories and gear and clothing and equipment. A lot of hunters will not ask this question because they think they know already or they expect the guide will provide the equipment. It is always better to ask.
What other services are available?
After the hunt, are there meat processing, taxidermy or shipping services available? What about transportation, ATM machine availability and photo processing shops? Maybe you need to purchase souvenirs for friends or the kids. Ask about these extra services in advance.