African Hunt Expectations
African Hunt Expectations
If your African hunt expectations come close to matching the reality, you are much more likely to enjoy the whole experience. If you are an experienced African hunter, then you probably know what to expect you but if you are new to African hunting, the following points may be of use.
"If you paint in your mind a picture of bright and happy expectations, you put yourself into a condition conducive to your goal". Norman Vincent Peale
Before you book your hunting safari, it is important to be specific about your expectations. Most outfitters will try their best to meet your expectations, or if they are unable to, they should tell you. If you are clear about what you want, the chances of being disappointed are considerably lessened.
Some thoughts on African hunt expectations....
- There are as many different African hunting expectations as there are hunters but what is clear is some hunters have unrealistic expectations of an African hunt and that very well may be the fault of some hunting outfitters promoting such expectations.
- A hunter in Africa should understand from the outset that there are events that genuinely beyond an outfitter's control.
- What the outfitter agrees to provide is an opportunity to shoot specified species for a client who is assumed to be a reasonable shot and reasonably capable of getting themselves around. Are you fully prepared for the hunt? Are you physically fit, proficient with your rifle, are your boots broken in? Do you know what you want and have your priorities straight and clearly communicated to your PH?
- Some hunters arrive expecting to see animals around every corner and actually complain that there are no animals. Usually this occurs in wilderness areas where they have not grasped the concept of animal freedom of movement and they they need to actually work hard for their success.
- If you do end up disappointed with your hunt remember the phrase 'you get what you pay for' - expect a 'bargain' hunt for bargain money even if the money involved may be a lot for you personally.
- A common misconception is that one can easily take multiple animals while on certain hunts. For example, on a 21 day full bag hunt in Tanzania, you have the cats and elephant on your licence. You and the PH must concentrate on a particular animal at the time unless you opt to pay for a 'bait team' to look after the cat set-up while you hunt elephant. Of course it is possible to get lucky and get everything but don't be disappointed if you don't. Consider splitting your trophy wishes between several hunts.
- Some hunter's talk the talk about 'quality over quantity' but start complaining if they are not drawing blood at least twice a day. It is often the first-timer that judges a hunt success by the number of animals taken down. If you want a 'whack 'em and stack 'em' hunt, tell your outfitter or PH. Some hunters prefer hunting lots of one species like warthogs - if this is what you want, check whether there are enough - some species numbers undergo seasonal declines and peaks.
- Consider honestly...would you really enjoy a hunt in which you 'hunted' three or more animals a day? Such a hunt would really be a 'shooting trip' and it would not be very rewarding. Try to have a hunt long enough to allow you to be selective about your trophy animals.
- Is it the actual 'hunting' that makes the hunt memorable, and the harder the hunting, the more memorable? Sometimes, it is so hard and you don't succeed but it was still a great hunt. Add in the sights and smells of the African bush, the camaraderie around the campfire....how could you not think you had a good hunt and got your money's worth?
What if you feel that your African hunting expectations were not met?
- Re-examine your expectations - were they honestly realistic for the type of hunt you booked and the price you paid?
- Were you genuinely misled by your hunt agent, outfitter or PH? You were definitely promised something that did not happen or was not provided?
- Was your hunt research lacking and you forgot to check certain things?
- Did you have a hunt contract that was broken by the outfitter?
If yes, bring it to the attention of the outfitter as soon as possible. There may be ways to rectify matters while you are still hunting. A good outfitter should jump to it and do anything he can to keep you happy - perhaps there has been a break down in communications between your agent and the outfitter.
It makes a difference if the outfitter is really trying to get things right but events conspire against him. However, unfortunately, there are a few outfitters out there who run sub-standard and unprofessional operations. There is often not much you can do to prevent yourself falling into their hands because they may give a good impression of themselves at hunting conventions etc. Checking hunt reports on forums may reveal the bad eggs to avoid but not always.
An outfitter may offer reparation if a hunt has gone seriously wrong but it is usually in the form of a future discounted hunt which is probably the last thing you want.
If you do have a cause for complaint because your African hunting expectations were not met, consider filing a hunt report on an African hunt forum so others may be alerted and think twice before booking.