To be fair to the outfitter, I did speak with them at the last SCI convention and let them know what happened. They informed me the ph in question is no longer employed with them; it seems I wasn't the only one with issues. I guess this just verifies the saying about carefully picking your employees because they can either make you look really good, or not. I would consider going with this outfitter again if the right hunt came up, but we would have some very clear expectations beforehand.
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I've nothing but good experiences with African PHs or outfitters. All were as advertized. The only problems I've had going to Africa is with missed connections that placed me out of sync with the connections from Lusaka up to the Luangwa Valley, at Mfuwe, makeing me three days late getting to camp! The Ingwenya Safari company had nothing to do with that, and they bent over backwards to make up the time I had missed, and leaving camp one hour before daylight, and getting back to camp at 10:00 PM I got my whole wish list. That couldn't have been better. That company is now Tanzania Game Trackers, and are now out of my budgit, but if you can afford them they are a good outfit! All others in Africa have gone off without a hitch. :D
I have had a bad experience with an outfitter near Geraldon, Ont, Onterio,CA, on the Nipagon River, however, back in 1985. The accomidations were fine as was the food in the lodge. This was a black bear hunt, supposedly over bait. However the baid sites had not seen any bait since the year before. Only old cow bones in the bait barrel that had been there so long they had green moss on them. Out of ten hunters in that camp for 7 days only one hunter saw a bear, and that was on the road into the camp. One guy from Mich. got upset because no bait had been on his stand, and when he complained, he was told to leave the camp or get shot, by the owner's wife. The owner, and his wife stayed drunk for the whole time we were there. This hunt was reccomended by North American Hunting Club, and with dozens of bad references to NAHC, he was still in their top of the line guide book for two years after that with more, and more bad ratings being posted. I guess the advertizment money was too good for NAHC. I'm a life member of NAHC, or I would have dropped my subscription. Thier prefered guide book is not worth the paper it was made from.:mad:
Might I recommend looking at your question from the clients point of view. A through client will have a rather complete list of questions he should be asking. About the camp, the terrain, the environmental conditions at the time of the hunt, the personal services he/she can expect and what not to expect. But most importantly; the availability of the species he/she is hunting, the quality of the animals relative to other areas which also produce that species in huntable numbers. On a score basis, what is the best the camp has produced, what is average, and what is worst! Always make all clients from the previous year available as references. Nice that I had a great hunt with XYZ outfitters in 1989, but this is 2009. Ethics and honesty always win, as you don't get caught in a truth, only a lie will cause a failure.
Like many hunters I have had some great experiences, and some less than desirable ones. For me, hunting was the pursuit of my dreams and aspirations. As such it was the job of the professionals to appeal to my logical side and guide me to the reality of the day. Peter Capstick while instilling the fire of African adventure created many a myth in the process. I am very glad to have read more widely than that.
Upon comparing my lifetime ‘hunt complaint list’ to my ‘hunt satisfaction list’ I find that I am way, way ahead in the satisfaction department. I’ve hunted most of my life, but upon entering the ‘international hunt arena’ many years ago I decided I could really use some solid advice and sound direction. I felt the best resource at that time, and I still believe so, was to attend local SCI meetings and talk to people who had “been there and done that.” Fortunately for me there were two SCI chapters near where I lived at the time and I attended meetings at both.
It has now been nearly 25 years that I first began attending various local and national SCI events and began meeting like-minded people, such as the members on this forum, who were willing to offer their friendship and good advice to help ensure that each of my hunts would be a success. Since that time my list of friends and hunting companions has grown along with my ever increasing list of hunting experiences.
To date I’ve been very fortunate to have been able to book my hunts directly with Outfitters and PH’s that I’ll be hunting with by way of a recommendation and, or, an introduction by someone who has “already been there and done that” with them.
I truly believe word of mouth recommendations by trusted people within our hunting community is the best way to form realistic expectations and ensure a successful hunting experience.
. . . I offer my apology if this was a bit too far off topic.
Big5................I have to agree with you. My lifetime experience has been similar, with pretty near all positive experiences on my adventures away from home. Getting a recommendation on an operator from a trusted friend or associate who has personally hunted with the operator is about as good as it gets. Mother nature and other things beyond anyones control can always throw a curve ball now and then, but that is life and real hunting is never a sure thing.
Skyline. . . it can't be said any better than you just put it, sir; "life and real hunting is never a sure thing."
With that in mind perhaps many hunting disappointments are rooted in expectations which were set too high in the first place.
It is sad the way that PH's are operating in South Africa. I have hunted on many differant farms over the years and have come across farms that the ph is more interested in his 20 % of the animal taken, I have been charged for a RW when it was an inch under, I have also had ph's trying to push me taking a shot.
The realety is that you can get a PH licence in just 10 days and you dont even need a rifle, In Zimbawe it took 3 years to become a PH. A lot of SA PH's do the course to make it easier to get their fire arm licence, with strickter firearm laws in SA, and for the $.
I am a South African who lives over seas and it realy is sad to see the way it is going.
Stick to a place or person you know, and if you wasnt to hunt another spcies I'm sure they will have a friend who they can put you in toech with.
In my lifetime I have run across very few PHs in Africa that were bad..I have seen hunts that didn't produce say a trophy bull, and all hell came about from the client who just spent a bundle and was upset, but he should have been hunting behind a fence not a fair chase hunt, but fortunatly that happens very rarely, but keep in mind that Lions, poachers and other natural disorders can change the hunting dramatically...
I recall a hunt I made with Saeed McAltourn of AR fame, and one of the party complained that we had no buffalo after two days of hunting and no buffalo had been seen...Saeed stopped that talk immediately and said if we saw no buffalo then that was hunting and he wanted to hear no more...On day 4 Pierre and I climbed a high point found the buffalo, thousands of them in herds of 100 to 200 as far as the eye could see. They were not in the forest, but had moved out into a huge Vega of high grass...We shot over 20 bulls in that high grass over the next 4 or 5 days..That is hunting. BTW I love to hunt the high grass, it adds to the excitment of buffalo hunting.