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Need advice on problems with trophies

This is a discussion on Need advice on problems with trophies within the Before & After the Hunt forums, part of the HUNT AFRICA category; I am hoping to get some advice on what people think is the right response and course of action with ...

  1. #1
    dsweber's Avatar
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    Default Need advice on problems with trophies

    I am hoping to get some advice on what people think is the right response and course of action with my issues.

    First a little background...
    - Hunt took place 1st week of July 2010, Limpopo, SA
    - My father and I intended to bring back 9 trophies (all plains game, no swine/cites)
    - This was my 3rd trip to Africa, 1st to SA

    Issues......
    - All speicies were to be dip/packed except 4 were to be tanned (2 zebra and 2 wildebeest flat skins), Only 1 zebra tanned, 1 WB caped?, 1 zebra/1 WB lost

    - 2 species of my fathers are missing (zebra/wildebeest above), Taxidermist says they did not receive from outfitter

    - Price taxidermist is charging for dip/pack is 50% higher than brochure that we received from outfitter

    - First communication from outfitter was this week (almost 11 months)

    - Communication from outfitter has been super sparse, he has answered 2 of my 10 emails asking for updates since February

    - Now that I know we are missing trophies and there is a mixup on instructions, no word from outfitter even though they have been copied on the email correspondence with the taxidermist.


    Questions:
    - Should I be worried about the raw preps with this amount of time passed?

    - Even if they can find my father's trophies, I suspect they will be replacements and not original. So, should I just consider them lost? Wildebeest was a large trophy.

    - What to do about the outfitter? They have been very bad at communication over the whole process so I do not believe they are away on vacation. Advice form a the hired PH is to keep escalating to the outfitter (behind the acenes). This PH does not really want to get involved as they have broken off and started their own operation.

    - What about the price? I feel as I am being ripped off. The issue here is that the outfitter has tried to get me to have the mounts done at his taxidermist in SA and then when I said no he tried to steer me towrds one in the US that is very far from my home. Now it seems he doesn't care. Is it customary that outfitters have a financial arrangement with taxidermists? It seems like I am getting no help due to some sort of financial considerations.

    Your comments are appreicated!

  2. #2
    opticspecialist is offline AH Member
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    I would be upset myself, I would certainly keep in touch, after all the squeaky wheel gets the grease. for the pricing, did you account for currency exchanges? that would be my first thought.

    hopefully someone with more experience will chime in

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    dsweber's Avatar
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    It is not an exchange rate issue. Prices were in Rand and dollars. Further, the rand is not as strong this year was last July.

    Thanks!

  4. #4
    enysse's Avatar
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    To be honest with you, it sounds like you are screwed. The outfitter had a agreement with the taxidermist and counted on the extra income...kinda like a tip. I would cut my losses at this point...you are not going to get the wildebeest or zebra back.

    If I knew who your outfitter was I could be more help. These things happen more than...any one wishes to hear about here on AH. The lack of communication...means the other side doesn't want to talk to you. As far as a lawsuit....it probably be a lot cheaper to go hunt on a different safari. As far as the bait and switch with the dip and pack charges....a lot more research needs to be done before your next trip. Prices for the most part should be known before you fly over there.

    Just my two cents...there are no winners here.

  5. #5
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    Too bad, another nightmare and E is an expert on this one from personal experience.

    Standard process:

    Is the outfitter a PHASA MEMBER? If so, see if they will help you.
    Is there a Hunt Contract in place?
    With delivery of the trophies included?

    Taxidermy contract in place? Not likely as you are referencing a brochure.
    So, you chose your own guy and are having problems and the outfitter is reluctant to participate.
    He said, she said across the globe.

    As E says more research and get contracts for next time.
    Good luck and see if the PH you seem to have a relationship with would be willing to step in and assist.

  6. #6
    enysse's Avatar
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    I was busy at work...have more time now.

    It pays to hunt with a PHASA member...they have a near 100 percent track record of resolving problems. It pays not to skimp on the taxidermy end! I would not be willing to use a little shop on the corner...for the most part. The very good ones have relationships with all the wildlife conservation groups. Definitely have a contract in place with the taxidermy business....I don't care even if it is just for dip and ship.

    When choosing a outfitter...don't cut corners...you will pay double or triple in the end. It pays to go with a experienced PH and outfitter...they are vested in the safari business and will not drop the ball when things get rough.

    The ocean barrier between the USA and Africa....gives a lot of crooks...ways to make money that would not normally be in the game if the flights were cheap!

  7. #7
    dsweber's Avatar
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    enysse,

    Because it was not my first time, I know you are right and I should have been more prepared. However, this was a deal where I bid on the hunt at a SCI banquet cuz no one was bidding. Guess what, I won. So, off we went. I have never had a contract for a dip/pack before and I knew I wasn't leaving any trophies there. So, that was a mistake. I think the outfitter switched up taxidermists in between. That may be where the other trophies are (they are my fathers) and the reason why the prices are so different. At any rate, I appreciate your comments.

    I also suspect the way to handle this is to take my remaining trophies and run. I probably need to get something in writing for the shipment prior to sending any money for dip/pack.

    I will check to eee if the outfitter is certified with Phasa.

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    I hear you. We have had all sorts of problems with SCI auction hunts. I'm not saying their are bad outfitters everywhere in SCI...but it requires homework. And since the economy is bad...unless a buyer upgrades his or her hunt...outfitters are flaking on guys and gals. The PHASA member issue is huge! I'm sorry this has happen, I know I have some bitter memories...ask my wife.

    I post, more to help other guys out...than anything....so this doesn't happen over and over again....I would cut my losses and run.

    We also had problems with SCI members cutting corners and bargain shopping and really pushing the issues with hunts they got cheaply and they only made the matter worse.

    To all people reading this...don't cut corners with outfitters. They need to make a living too.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by enysse View Post
    To all people reading this...don't cut corners with outfitters. They need to make a living too.
    Very sound statement there.

    dsweber,

    This again is steering away people from hunting South Africa giving us a bad reputation.
    Maybe you should tell the outfitter about your posts on AH sort of telling him to get the problem fixed in a way or make things right in a certain way or tell the world.

    This might not kill the outfitter's business but in these hard times any business loss as a result of bad reference hurts !
    Contact PHASA if he is a member.
    There are also two sides to a story as well maybe all of it was the fault of the taxidermist and not the outfitter ?

    But make sure he knows you are not happy and you are prepared to tell everyone else about it.
    Frederik Cocquyt, Outfitter and Professional Hunter
    fcocquyt@gmail.com
    Cell: +27 83 709 8927

  10. #10
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    Frederik,

    I agree that there are two sides to a story. Your advice is sound. Taxidermist is communicating with me, the outfitter is not.

    You can be sure that I will follow up appropriately. Here in the US, with the state of the economy, having a bad report will almost surely kill your business that is not a donated hunt. However, I wanted to take a measured approach, get consultation, and allow all to communicate. Even if it is by carrier pidgeon!

    Thanks.

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    I have known SCI members that go over to Africa on a cheap auction hunt and play bargain shopper all week....they see a very nice kudu...the trophy price is $2200 and they haggle for $1500. I would get pissed off too, if I was a outfitter. They would do it with a waterbuck and eland too. Bring enough cash and don't bargain shop...if you want to bargain shop do it before you book the trip.

    When outfitters do a number of auction hunts, they have long memories and remember...the bad clients. We actually asked outfitters...what a client or auction winner would have to do to make this hunt a success. And we have had a lot better luck, since then. Again I'm airing dirty laundry, but I want people to go into this with eyes wide open.

    Like I said I don't know what happen in dsweber's case...but everyone has to do their homework and be prepared when they go hunting overseas. And after the hunt care of trophies is just as important as the hunt and air flight itself.

    Being a PHASA member helps a lot

  12. #12
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    I hope I did not give the impression I was being cheap and whiny. Yes, I did get the hunt for a song at auction. But then, I brought my father and my son. We hunted everything on the included auction and spent another 10 grand. If the outfitter had not double booked us, I would have had a shot at an archery sable on the last 2 days, but we had to pick whether my father/son gun hunted or I archery hunted. They got tipped well to boot.

    This was not one of those times that some dummy from the US went to Africa and didn't know the ropes. Even if I had, the outfitter has a responsibility to finish the process.

    Thanks for the responses.

  13. #13
    enysse's Avatar
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    Well you definitely were not cheap and whiny and you upgraded the hunt big time. I would love to know why you are having problems...because most outfitters would take you as a client in a millisecond. This is a head scratcher! I bet the outfitters reading this are wondering too.

    Sorry for the bad luck!

  14. #14
    PRO-DIP LIMPOPO is offline AH Member
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    Hi there!

    If there is any Pro-Dip client with a problem with their shipment, PLEASE let me know and I will attend to it emmediately. They say "No news is good news, but coming out the wrong way, can sure make it sound really bad.."

  15. #15
    dsweber's Avatar
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    Default Update on Trophy Issues

    I wanted to give an update on my issues with my trophies that I started on this thread.

    Essentially, the outfitter has ceased communication with me. After many international calls and emails, I still do not have explanations from the outfitter.

    Thankfully, the taxidermist has had enough of these issues with the outfitter and is communicating and helping me immensely. I think it is important to recognize that they have stood up and taken an active role in helping sort this out when it is not their responsibility. In fact, my issues with price were sorted out and I am now back to the original quotes. This taxidermist is Oberholzer Taxidermy in the Limpopo-Lephalale/Ellisras area. Their help is greatly appreciated.

    The outfitter, Motshwere Safaries-Limpopo-Lephalale/Ellisras area, will not even communicate with the taxidermist. In fact, there has been some ill will in that the outfitter is upset that the taxidermist is not "keeping me in the dark". Recently, the outfitter has tried to pass off a different wildebeest to the taxidermist as the missing one. It is so clearly eveident that this trophy is not ours, it is laughable. Of course there is no sign of the zebra either.

    It looks like at this point, I will have to move on. My son and my trophies are intact at the taxidermist and awaiting shipping.

    I want to thank the members of AH and of course the website. I have found many useful pieces of advice and contact information of various organizations on this site.

    This outfitter is not a PHASA member, but PHASA helped me get in touch with the local authorities in the Limpopo province. I have received emails that they have begun their investigation and they are looking into the matter. I am eager to see what they find out, besides lies.

    Additionally, I have begun the process of communicating this sad state of affairs with SCI. I will be working with the regional Directors in the U.S. to convey all of the improprieties that have occurred with this SCI hunt.

    Thanks for all the advice.

    Cheers

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    Thanks for the update.
    Sad news for the industry when this kind of thing happens and finishes up that way.
    Very notable that you got good assistance from Oberholzer Taxidermy.
    Makes me very glad that I chose PHASA and NAPHA members.
    Hope to see pictures of the trophies that do make it home.

  17. #17
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    I know who Motshwere Safaris is....a friend of mine had problems with a hunt with them last year. And they had taxidermy issues too! We stopped doing business with them too. My friend said they had good quality animals....but there was communication and ethical problems.

    Sorry about your bad trip. and problems.....you have my sympathy.

  18. #18
    PRO-DIP LIMPOPO is offline AH Member
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    Dear AH's. I spoke with the owner of Motswere Safari's after I read this forum tonight, and heard a total different story. At the moment, he and the PH who was on that same hunt, are on a hunt in the Klaserie and could not respond to these allegations tonight in person, but will do so first thing tomorrow after finding an Internet Cafe in their hunting area.

    According to the Outftter, the PH that's hunting with him right now, has delivered the mentioned Bluewildebeest and Zebra trophies to the Taxidermy a day or so after the other trophies were booked in, and was not lost on Motswere's side at all. (My honest opinion is that the 2 trophies were not properly booked in at the Taxidermy, and became "lost" on paper, but might actually still be there if it hasn't been sold or replaced with someone else's trophies)

    I strongly recommend that this case should not be taken further to any SCI authorities before both sides have been heard as somewhere, there is clearly a big misunderstanding that needs to be worked out. Bad publicity like this could kill their business, and I will try my best for this not to happen, as these people do not deserve this at all.

    For what it might be worth: Pro-Dip Limpopo has already taken their Dip & Pack over since the beginning of the season, and was shocked to find out tonight that Dsweber was actually talking about Motswere, one of my new clients in his forum. I have learnt to know the Outfitter, his wife and little blind daughter very well, and can honestly recommend Motswere Safari's to any future client.

  19. #19
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    Pro-Dip,
    As with any issue, there is always more than one side to the story. The irony of this situation is that Motshwere has been almost silent in this mess, yet you were able to have an immediate discussion with them. As I told the PH in an email earlier today, even if the taxidermist has been dishonest and disorganized (which I do not believe), the outfitter still has a responsibility that goes beyond taking the hunting fees. They have a responsibility to communicate and to see that the client is treated fairly.

    Interestingly, it has been a year since my safari, yet because of my posts on AH, the outfitter will be seeking an internet cafe immediately. Seems as if the internet cafe would not have been needed if the outfitter would have made sure that my concerns in email and by phone were responded to.

    Good luck with that relationship.

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    PRO-DIP LIMPOPO is offline AH Member
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    Dear dsweber

    I suppose I should have stayed out of this, but all I tried to say was that whatever happened before my time, I will try to make sure not to let it happen again. I see great potential in this Outfit, and it would be very sad to waste it on what perhaps could be a misunderstanding.

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