Why are so many sportsmen afraid to post negative hunt reports
I am new to this forum because I am new to African hunting. I joined becuase of the great threads and information I saw. I am not an intentionally controversial person, but 2 events have happend to me that has caused me to ask the question: why are so many hunters seemingly afraid to post a negative hunting report about an Outfitter, Guide or PH. If the conduct is truly bad, or deceptive, I think it is a service to both our fellow hunters, and the reputable hunting professionals, to let get the message out about disreputabel outfitters, guides and PHs.
I have 2 stories to relate to emphasis my point. At the 2009 chapter dinner of the Mid-Atlantic Bowhunters of SCI, I bought a hunt with a new outfit to our chapter, and the outfitter said all of the right things. He came with a single but good industry reference so the chapter took the donated hunt and I was the Chapter guinea pig. Regrettably I took an old friend with limited resources and increasing age. The hunt was a logistical and quality-based disaster. The outfitter mis-represeneted the total acerage he had from 35,000 + to less than 12,000, according to what we could find. No 2 hunting group where to hunt the same ranch on the same day, We saw 3 groups the 1st day, one of which blew a chance on a mature bull by driving past us at 8:00 am in the morning - he was road-hunting elk with a bow! The problems just keep going. Pretty much every guy in camp was unhappy, (there had been 25 guys through the camp hunting elk with a bow on 12,000 acres - everyone was unhappy) but only I said something. I am not going to name him here because I am still giving him the chance to do the right thing. But I have not seem a single negative hunt report filed. Several bad reports with the local BBB, but I did not think to check there.
Issue 2 involves the start of a dangerous game quest. I started working on an Elephant, Buffalo and Leopard combination safari in Zimbabwe for 2010. Because its Zim, you need to do alot of research. I found a very good PH that has held his license for dangerous game since 1984, has 3 sons that work the business, 2 of whom are also licensed for DG, and I booked the hunt after checking his refereneces, contacting SCI records room, huntingreport.com, this forum and the State Department. I also worked with a very reputable booking agent in the US, we worked out the price, details and made special arrangements to be sure that the funds are held in escrow in the US and not released, except for enough to buy safari specific supplies, until I get back, report on a safe hunt and the game taken. If I do not take the game, no trophies fees are sent and I negotiated a deal to return in the next season for the full length of the original safari for only the cost of the elephant trophy fee if no mature bull is harvested or mortally wounded on the first hunt. All other game at the trophy rate only as well.
After I did all of that, I started to see postings on various forums, including this one, about a person representing that he was the official US contact for the PH's company. All I could find out was his email (sent an email to which he never responded) and finally his name. He is offering hunts with only this one particular PH by posting on commercial forums like this one, etc. I even saw him on eBay!
Confused and concerned, I contacted my boking agent, who is SCI endorsed and has all the credentials in the world (and would be known to many people on this forum) and found out that the "official US representative" is just a former client who thought he could sell some hunts to his friends and become on overnight industry expert.
It tuns out that his pricing is not right (too high) and his terms are incorrect. I cannot find any reputable DG outfit in Zim that requires a full 50% of safari cost at the time of booking, especially in an unstable country like Zim (and this PH does not actually require that deposit either) and the "official US representative" seems to be posting hunts that the PH does not even offer. He might custom tailor the hunt to match what the "official US representative" can book, but its not a usual hunt for the PH, based on his quota structure and season timing.
There is no website, comany name or background material, only an email address to contact for the purpose of booking $7,500 - $30,000 DG hunt. But he has posts all over the place.
This thread is not intened to outset the particular African "booking agent", or the Elk hunting operation I mentioned. The purpose is to describe in enough detail things that must have encountered along the way, to ask the more critical question: why are we as hunters and/or professionals in the hunting industry, seemingly afraid to post a negative report?
In all likelihood, if you travel to hunt for any length of time, you are eventually going to get caught up with one of those operators that offers a great hunt but once he or she had the check, delivers cold bolona sandwhiches, off brand soda and a guide who still needs to have his or her nose wipped, and we as the hunters are told to "go that way, we saw a monster there (insert # of days or weeks ago).
I really do not mean to come on this board and start controversy. But I think this is a big issue that needs to be addressed. With the economy so bad and hunts that cost alot of money, who can afford to lose the money, or time, to a bad hunt, when the problem could have been avioded if past hunters took the time to speak up file the accurate reports on the bad hunts, just like we want to do when he have a great hunt.
I can only guess that it is because if we have a great hunt, we all want to share the pictures and tell the story. But if the hunt wa a bust and we got "taken," we just want to forget about it.
As a hunter who has had 2 bad encounters in the same season, I am asking my fellow hunters and huntresses to take the time and tell the rest of us the hunting community about bad hunts and operator/outfitters and booking agents as you do when the hunt goes great. In these tight times we all need to look out for each other, since that gives rise to the information we use to look out for ourselves.
I hope this starts a productive dialogue - and not just name calling and insults, that is not my intention. If that starts, moderator, please pull the tread.