Choosing A Hunting Company
The bottom line in choosing a hunt company is getting satisfactory, specific and relevant answers to the all the questions you must ask.
Choosing a hunting company can be quite a hard decision to make. You are probably swamped with email responses to your enquiries and they nearly all look pretty good.
Assuming you have already decided on the species you want, the country in which you can hunt them, how long you can hunt, whether you are going to hunt 1x1 or 2x1, and whether you are bringing your spouse, you are now ready to closely examine individual companies and start the hunt booking process.
Your choice of actual hunt area which is going to give you the best chance of success in your desired species must take priority over your choice of hunting company, especially if you have a favourite company or PH to whom you want to return.
"It's choice - not chance - that determines your destiny." Jean Nidetch
Choosing A Hunting Company Basics
- Did you get a prompt and specific reponse to your query? You don't want details of all the hunts they offer in their repertoire - have they responded to you and your requirements personally rather than a standard response email?
- Confirmation that they can take you on the dates you want and that their hunt area at your chosen time will give you the best chance for success with the trophies you want. Remember there are no guarantees and nor should any be given - you are just trying to optimise your hunting success.
- If your date requirements are flexible, you might ask for, or a company may offer you, a lower rate for taking a cancellation space. Remember that these dates may not be optimal for the best hunting but financial considerations may be your priority.
- Bin the obviously dubious hunt companies - ones offering cheap hunts that contravene the legal hunt licences for the country, ones that state the prices may change due to exchange rate fluctuation (if the hunt is priced for the current year).
- Other statements of price alterations due to Government fee changes should be acceptable because there is not much a hunting company can do about it. If you don't think it is acceptable, it would be best to go to a country where the hunting is private and there is no Government involvement in pricing.
Don't Fall In The Hidden Costs Trap
Choosing A Hunting Company Specifics
- On receipt of the details and price of the hunt you are interested in, check carefully what is included and excluded so you know exactly what you are paying. Most hunting companies say 'there are no hidden costs' but you only have their word for it. Question them closely on all the potential costs and any variable costs which should be clearly indicated. For example, if you are booking 18 months ahead and an air charter is involved, the price of this might change due to changes in aviation fuel costs. If this is a concern, try to get a 'worse case' price estimate.
- Bear in mind, when you ask about any extra costs, be specific and get definite answers. Make sure what you discover as a cost is included in your hunt contract.
- Ask about and be satisfied with the company's terms of business with regards to deposits and final payments, their
cancellation policy and their provision of a detailed hunt contract.
- Find out about your Professional Hunter. Some hunting companies have many PHs working for them and may only allocate them to clients when the season is planned out. You'll have to trust that you will get a great PH, though you can probably get an idea of all their PHs backgrounds and expertise from their website. Other outfitters are also PHs and you will be able to strike up a relationship easily in your communications and judge if you think you will be able to get along. If they won't be able to hunt with you themselves, an outfitter may put you in contact with the PH.
- You may have a specific PH with whom you want to hunt that you know by reputation as a specialist in the species you want to hunt. By all means, request him for your hunt, though you may need to move dates to fit in with his prior commitments or if he is in high demand as a 'celebrity PH'.
More On Planning An African Hunt