Sunday 20 November 2011

Choose wisely.

Imagine, as a hunting client, showing up to the most incredible of hunting destinations with excitement pumping through your veins. Everything appears perfect, straight from the pages of an Outdoor Life magazine. The outfitter greets you as you approach the precisely laid out camp on the shores of a remote mountain lake......and he is wearing a cowboy is all just the way you imagined! After settling you in, the outfitter introduces you to your guide for the next 10 days........(we'll call him Buck). Upon being introduced; you throw out your hand and instead of a firm grip and a strong shake..... followed by the smell of a campfire, you receive a limp cold bony hand.......followed by the smell of whiskey. Oh well, even though old Buck didn't stand or look you in the eye during your introduction.....maybe he is the strong silent type that is less about talk and "gentlemanly manners" and more about mountain man action. Nope! Welcome to your nightmare, this is simply the start of what will turn out to be a huge waste of time and money.
 What you do not realize is that this particular outfit is operated by someone that really knows marketing and how to get guys sending in their checks and very little about the actual art of guided hunting. From the outside looking in, this hunting camp appears to be perfect.....but now that you are there, you realize that you fell for the oldest "guided hunting" trick in the book. As it typically turns out, that guy under the cowboy hat that looks  so much the part!?......Well looking the part can help book hunts, but it cannot make up for knowledge and experience. The traditional way of gaining the knowledge and experience required to really have a firm grip on the guided hunting industry, was to sign on with an outfit and start at the bottom. Years of wrangling and guiding will ensure young guides live through enough do's and don'ts to emerge a tough, wise, experienced outfitter. When times are tough enough, the weak ones simply go home and talk about that one season for the rest of their lives. I do not mean to say that unless an outfitter starts cleaning horses feet for the first two years of his career,that he is not worth a shit......but nowadays, I'm seeing more and more business men wearing cowboy hats. When choosing your next guided hunt, choose wisely. The outfit with the most outward flashiness may not be the best. Another classic move, for these would-be-outfitters is not to hire anyone that knows any more then they think they know.......the smart businessman outfitters hire and pay top guides to cover for their lack of, but this is another rarity. Keep in mind that many times good guides and outfitters will be like the cowboy hats they can tell from the sweat stains that they have seen some stuff but not so beat up that it can no longer do the job.

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