Well the 2018 hunting season has come to a close and 2019 is off to a great start. Now its time to start booking hunts for 2019 and 2020. Here are some of our favorite booking tips, so your hunting trip has memories that last a lifetime.
1. Ask Questions
Every outfitter and guide has a list of frequently asked questions that they use at outdoor expos and on their website. Yet, depending on the species you are hunting or the area you are traveling to, these questions may not align with your questions. Don't be afraid to email or call your outfitter to ensure that you know what to bring, when to show up, and what the "real" cost is.
2. References, References, References
Any outfitter worth their weight has a list of go-to references to explain to potential hunters the pros (or cons) of hunting black bear, elk, whitetail, or waterfowl with their guide service. References are your window to peak into what a week is like in the shoes of the trip. They can talk to you about the food, the lodging, the tips/tricks of this specific hunt, and you never know they may have booked the same week you are going to be there. Call a reference, end up with a lifelong hunting buddy. The other great thing about references is they are not trying to sell you on the hunt. If you are seventy and your knees are not great, they might save you from a lot of pain and agony if they tell you that the guide walks 12 MPH through mountain canyons with a 20% grade. On the other hand references can also help when you are trying to choose between two outfitters, which reference was happy with their experience vs. a reference who came away with a great opportunity and new group of friends.
3. Sport Shows and Expos
Shows and expos are great opportunities to go and meet guides face to face. If you shake their hand and it feels like sandpaper you know they are hard working folks. If you shake it and it seems like a wet noodle...well as Bill Engwal says "there's your sign...". Also, when you go to shows you can compare outfitters, who has bigger bears, better averages, more supporting evidence, better communication skills, etc. Find an outfitter that you feel comfortable handing your wellbeing to, because if something happens to you in the backwoods of nowhere you want a levelheaded guide who can get you out in one piece.
4. Follow Up
Sometimes paperwork gets lost in the mail, people pass away, natural disasters occur. Always follow-up a month or two in advance to ensure your hunt is still on and your payments are in order. The last thing you want is to drive 20 hours to find that you showed up 10 days before you were suppose to or you never actually had a booking. Outfitters normally keep in touch through snail mail and email, so alway check your mailbox for regular mailings.
5. Do not try to do to much
Everyone has heard the saying "to much of a good thing, is a bad thing." Do not try to go on so many hunts in a year that your finances, family, or job are lacking. You want to enjoy your time away and be on vacation. If you are worrying about how you really should be with your kids, working, or you can't spend another dime to get home...its not going to be enjoyable. There is always next year, check out trips that book a year or two in advance to have more time to plan.
If you are excited about all these tips try them out at the next local show in your area or give us a call to book a bear hunt of a lifetime! Call 919-820-2424 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Even though we are outfitters, we are also outdoorsmen & women that book hunts every year all over the United States, so these tips are what we use as well. Check back next month for a list of outfitters that we would refer as hunters!
Still not sure about booking a hunt? Check out more great tips on Guidefitter or Field and Stream.