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 are genuinely beyond an outfitter's control.
- What the outfitter agrees to provide is an opportunity to shoot specified species for a hunting 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 genuinely expecting to see animals around every corner and actually complain that there are 'no animals'. More usually this observation is made in wilderness areas where the hunter has not grasped the concept of animal freedom of movement and that they need to actually work hard for their hunting success.
- If you do end up disappointed with your hunt remember the phrase 'you get what you pay for'. A hunter, who has done even a small amount of homework, should know to expect a lesser quality hunt for a bargain basement price, even if the money involved may be a lot for him personally. The only exception being if you were buying a discounted cancellation hunt or similar.
- 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, where you have the cats and elephant on your licence. Unless you are super lucky, you and the PH must concentrate on getting each particular animal one at a time. Of course you can make the hunt more time-efficient by opting to pay for an extra vehicle and 'bait team' to look after the cat set-up while you hunt elephant. Just don't be too disappointed if you don't get everything on your licence on one hunt.
- 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 and are not too concerned about trophy quality, tell your outfitter or PH from the outset. This will avoid wasting time trying to find a decent trophy.
- Some hunters are passionate about hunting lots of one species like warthogs or baboons - if this is what you want to do, check first whether there are enough warthog or whatever, in the area for your satisfaction. Just because warthog is on the trophy list does not mean the outfitter will agree to a hunter wiping out his population and warthog numbers, in particular, often undergo seasonal declines and peaks.
- Consider honestly...are you going on a hunting trip or a shooting trip? If you genuinely want a shooting trip, you might be better off booking a cull or management hunt.
- Plan to have a hunt long enough to allow you to have the best chance to get your priority animals and at the same time be selective on trophy quality. Don't try to squeeze too much into one short trip and come away disappointed.
Fortunately for the majority of hunters, it is 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 Your African Hunt Expectations Were Not Met?
- Re-examine your expectations - were they honestly realistic for the length and type of hunt you booked and the price you paid?
- Were you genuinely misled by your hunting agent, outfitter or PH? Were you definitely promised something that did not happen or was not provided?
- In all honesty, was your hunt research lacking and you forgot to check certain things?
- Did you have a hunt contract or agreement that you feel was blatantly disregarded by the outfitter?
If so and you are still on your hunt, bring it to the attention of the outfitter or PH as soon as possible. There may be ways to rectify matters while you are still hunting. A good outfitter/PH should jump to it and do anything he can to rectify the situation - perhaps there has been a breakdown in communications or misunderstanding between you, your agent (if you used one) and the outfitter.
Appreciate that there is a difference between a 'crooked' outfitter and the outfitter who is really trying to get things right but events conspire against him. Unfortunately, there are a few outfitters out there who run sub-standard and unprofessional operations and there is often not much you can do to prevent yourself falling into their hands. These 'rotten egg' outfitters will always give good impressions of themselves at hunting conventions and 'talk the talk' when you meet them face-to-face or communicate with them. The only thing you can do is rely on your gut-feeling, visit online African hunting forums and read hunt reports.
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 serious 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 with the same company.
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