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Problem clients

This is a discussion on Problem clients within the Hunting Africa forums, part of the HUNT AFRICA category; Originally Posted by CT Safaris Thanks for the heads-up John! I'll remind Sabina to skip the Hors d'oevres next time... ...

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    Quote Originally Posted by CT Safaris View Post
    Thanks for the heads-up John! I'll remind Sabina to skip the Hors d'oevres next time...
    Lol. I'm busted. They tasted great though ...
    Time spent in Reconnaisance is never wasted.

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    Some good points here. I come to hunt and enjoy what ever hunt i am on it usally my vacation. Yes I would like to kill a world record but it 's not going to happen anytime soon. I know that no one is in control of the weather and other things. I just take it mostly with a grain of salt. I hunt for the enjoyment of being there.

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    I saved for years to hunt the Limpopo province of SA. I had a terrific trip, no ego, no SCI book aspirations. Just enjoy Africa and the hunt! The hunt was absolutely fantastic and managed to take some great animals, 3 of which would make the book, if I cared to do so. Love the staff, and they treated me like family. What an honor to hunt with people who are SO good at what they do. They did mention they did not book people from Spain any longer, due to bad attitudes.

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    Could I know the name of the great outfitter who do not book people from Spain? I hate people who generalize. I would like to know how many hunters from Spain have hunted with them and what were the bad attitudes

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    Both were owners of game ranchs in the limpopo region. Both said they quit taking and advertising clients from Spain, the reason they both gave was a desire to only shoot wart hogs and nothing else. That's all I know about it.

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    Thank you bcarper.
    I am not going to say anything else. I am a bit fed up with the Spanish - warthog issue and I am not going to say what is my opinion about these guys that seem never were in touch with the hunters before starting the hunt and did not know that they were interested in warthogs mainly.

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    Well bcarper, those two outfitters you mention must be the exception.

    We have two hunting fairs in Madrid, and I can assure you there are a few South African outfitters selling their hunts, year after year, so our attitude can t be too bad.

    On the other hand, I have seen some warthog-only hunts advertised, so ? Who is to blame ?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark H. Young View Post
    Mike,

    In my business and in the outfitter or safari operators business we just try to do whatever we can to make the clients hunt a successful experience for them. Sometimes it can be a difficult job when clients have unrealistic and/or rigid expectations. What I find is if a client can relax a little and go with the flow they will have a good experience even if the focus of their hunt eludes them. A hunter that comes home and tells me his hunt or safari was a bummer because they did not kill a B&C buck or get their big lion I just feel sorry for them because they missed the whole point. Particularly on a safari there is so much to see and absrob in addition to the actual hunting that a hunter is cheating him or herself by getting all wrapped up in the body count or record book score. I'm not suggesting that a hunter should be happy with a crap operator or an inadequate hunting area but sometimes it just doesn't come together even though all the components are there for success. As they say "Shit Happens". If you can't roll with the punches your going to ruin your hunt.

    I think the hunter that often is most likely to not have a good hunt at least in his/her mind is the one that is expecting from the gitgo that he's going to get screwed and knows that he's dealing with crooks. That hunter WILL find numerous things wrong with his hunt even if he shoots monster trophies.

    I had a conversation just the other day with Terry Anders/Forever Africa Safaris about client attitudes and we both agreed that often the guy that is just there for the experience not only has a great time but he often takes the biggest trophies.

    I think one of the best pieces of advise I could give a prospective client is to be clear that when they buy a hunt or safari that what they have bought is an opportunity to hunt in a good area with a good outfit. Period! Regardless of how much money they have thrown at the hunt it does not guarantee big trophies or any trophies at all. It really is that simple. If you understand that and can go with the flow you'll have a great adventure.
    Mark I think you sumed it up pretty good, if the client goes with the flow and lets thier PH do his/her job they will have an adventure of a life time. Thats pretty much what I did having never been on a Safari before I bought a package hunt and at the time I thought "package" hunt was like buying a pack of cookies at the store if you open it up and one of the cookies doesn't have any cream filling you just throw that one to the dog, not so in Africa the owner of Huntershill Safaris Greg pulled me aside on the first day and let me know that if there was any problems I was to let him know and he would take care of it. There was never anything to tell, at the time there was a Black Wildebeest laying on the tailgate you couldn't have ruined this hunt if you wanted to.

    To shorten the story up To All Hunters go with the flow if you go their with not so high expectations then your Expectations will always be Exceeded.

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    My one and only safari came after I'd spent a year in Iraq, which is the only reason I could afford it. I went into with no expectations other than I wanted to hunt in Africa. The outfitter that I went through was kinda stunned by that. Sure, I had a wish list, but it wasn't very long, and I could have cared less whether the animal in my sights was a representative trophy or the next world record. I was living my dream. That's what it boiled down to for me. Made for the trip of a life time.

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    Quote Originally Posted by stew31r View Post
    My one and only safari came after I'd spent a year in Iraq, which is the only reason I could afford it. I went into with no expectations other than I wanted to hunt in Africa. The outfitter that I went through was kinda stunned by that. Sure, I had a wish list, but it wasn't very long, and I could have cared less whether the animal in my sights was a representative trophy or the next world record. I was living my dream. That's what it boiled down to for me. Made for the trip of a life time.
    Hope you posted a report and post some pics an old retired SGM is willing to bet that it was much more then you expected.

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    Ole Bally is offline AH Enthusiast
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    I hated clients that came in groups...using multiple PH's... who then sat around talking in their own language and excluded the PH's from their conversations! They missed sooo much of the whole hunt experience!
    I hated clients that would get drunk in camp every night (and become obnoxious!)and not be up before lunch! and yes I do know it's their prerogative!
    I hated clients who's glass was always 'half empty'...never content with anything! Seems some people are determined to be unhappy regardless of the efforts made on their behalf!
    However, PH's never tell tales (or shouldn't!)!

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    I will most likely get strung up by the following comments but here goes. Of all the hunters I hunted with the biggest percentage of difficult clients will be South African. Done it all know it all. Wants the biggest trophy for this the only way to impress friends. They Over indulge and are particular obnoxious. Hung over next morning and not up to the hunt. I don't take knew clients, only the regular client list. And then you get the local meat hunters but I will leave it there...
    Success I think is where experience, preparation, commitment and luck meets up

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ole Bally View Post
    I hated clients that came in groups...using multiple PH's... who then sat around talking in their own language and excluded the PH's from their conversations! They missed sooo much of the whole hunt experience!
    I hated clients that would get drunk in camp every night (and become obnoxious!)and not be up before lunch! and yes I do know it's their prerogative!
    I hated clients who's glass was always 'half empty'...never content with anything! Seems some people are determined to be unhappy regardless of the efforts made on their behalf!
    However, PH's never tell tales (or shouldn't!)!

    We had a large group and I could not figure out how to address this issue until you pointed it out here.
    I noticed your point about excluding PH's happening a little at Leeukop at meal time, not afterward though.
    At meals we were at large banquet style tables. The lodge staff arranged the table set up.
    After the meal everyone could move into a lounge area that had the tables separated so smaller groups would naturally occur.

    From that conclusion I also just twigged to the way that eating tables were set up at Sutherland Hunting Academy. We had small tables that only sat four people and they were arranged apart, not banquet style.
    It made the group break up.
    My fellow students were also polite enough to be kind to speak in both Afrikaans and English to help me out.

    Sad if the "glass half full" guys are probably the ones that were emptying them the whole night before!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bobpuckett View Post
    To shorten the story up To All Hunters go with the flow if you go their with not so high expectations then your Expectations will always be Exceeded.
    I don't believe that you have to lower your expectations, you just have to make sure your expectations are realistic. Your chances of every animal being a record on your first ever 7 day hunt is not realistic, these things take alot of time and patients in the field or very good luck. You just have to make the best out of any situation you are in, any experiance is what you make it and the hunt should be more about making friends and absorbing the whole experiance. The mounted "trophy" only selves as a reminder to refresh fond memories and give excuse to share those memories with others.

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    Quote Originally Posted by andriesdeklerk View Post
    I will most likely get strung up by the following comments but here goes. Of all the hunters I hunted with the biggest percentage of difficult clients will be South African. Done it all know it all. Wants the biggest trophy for this the only way to impress friends. They Over indulge and are particular obnoxious. Hung over next morning and not up to the hunt. I don't take knew clients, only the regular client list. And then you get the local meat hunters but I will leave it there...
    Heh Heh ! I do recall a lawyer from then Pietersburg who asked to come and shoot a PAC Ele. He was given a price and told he couldn't have the trophy...it was just for the shooting and the photo's. A 1 on 1 deal for 'X' Rand over a weekend. He pitched with 6 family members AND a 'contract' for US to sign with the dumbest nonsense you'd ever expect to see in it. We rather heatedly discussed the issues and he was sent home sans ele! Some people do have some strange ideas about things!
    Questions I have been asked by SA guys coming on a booked safari.... if I bring my own drinks can I have a discount on the daily rate? If my son sleeps in my truck does he still have to be paid for? Can I take all the meat back with me? If I pay cash can I just pack my trophy in my car and take it home with me after the hunt? Sheeesh!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ole Bally View Post
    I hated clients that came in groups...using multiple PH's... who then sat around talking in their own language and excluded the PH's from their conversations! They missed sooo much of the whole hunt experience!
    I hated clients that would get drunk in camp every night (and become obnoxious!)and not be up before lunch! and yes I do know it's their prerogative!
    I hated clients who's glass was always 'half empty'...never content with anything! Seems some people are determined to be unhappy regardless of the efforts made on their behalf!
    However, PH's never tell tales (or shouldn't!)!
    LOL, almost as bad as a bunch of PH's and staff switching over to Afrikaans - particularly at the fire pit. I am pretty fluent in German and pick up enough to offer a comment periodically - keeps'em guessing!
    "We sleep peaceably in our beds because rough men stand ready in the
    night to visit violence on those who would do us harm" Winston Churchill

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    True that on the Afrikaans-only speaking PH's . I think there's a direct relationship with how-much-the-client-thinks-he knows and how big of a pain that client will be! I truly appreciate PHs who don't mind me asking questions about pretty much any living creatures in our hunt area, from insects to birds to indigeneous people. As much as anything else, I'm there to learn.

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    I have very few problem clients because almost all my hunts require a license drawing and most of the hunters playing the draw game are serious, good hunters.

    But OMGosh I probably have one of the biggest horror stories to tell ablout a problem client.

    I booked a Rocky mountain Bighorn Sheep hunter that drew a lottery tag in 2001 or 2002 and it turned out to be a total nightmare. First, he booked with me and then talked to another guide that told him he could get a 180 class B&C ram in the unit. The other guide said this after he learned the hunter was already booked with me as a way to stir the pot. There had not been a B&C ram killed in the unit in over 10 years and the genetics in the unit just do not produce rams of that size but once in a blue moon. The hunter would call me from time to time and kept asking if I had found any 180+ class rams in my scouting. Each time, I would explain the truth to him that the best we could reasonably expect would be a 170 class ram and that most hunters killed 160 class rams. I was confident I could locate a 170 class ram but not a 180 class ram.

    In the contract terms he was supposed to send me the final balance a couple weeks before the hunt as I do not like to carry large sums of money in the field. I called him a week before the hunt because the payment had not arrived. He said he planned to bring the final balance in cash even though the contract stated otherwise. He persuaded me to this so I agreed. Earlier, we agreed that he could come four days early and scout with me immediately prior to the season opener. When he showed up, he did not have the cash and said that he had changed his mind and mailed a check before he left. This guy was starting to make me suspicious from other statements he had made so I checked in with my wife each night by cell phone but the check still had not arrived after the scouting days. All through the scouting days he kept pressuring me about B&C rams.

    We hunted the first couple days without relocating any 170+ class rams and my wife still had not received his check in the mail. When I asked him about the check he was very evasive and just said he was sure it would arrive any day. I knew he was a prison guard in Susanville, California and he also told me about a propane delivery business he was in with his mother. He told me he was in a $90K lawsuit with his own mother about the propane business. In a lawsuit with your own mother? NOT A GOOD SIGN in my book. He also told me he had mistakenly received two ram tags in two seperate mailings from the Colorado Division of Wildlife. He said he knew it was a clerical error but that he planned to shoot two rams. I informed him that such an act would be illegal even with a clerical error because a hunter is only allowed one ram and then is not allowed to even apply again for 5 years. He said he would just shoot a second ram after our hunt was over and I went home. I said that he had told me about the 2nd tag and that he could get in a lot of trouble if someone found out and I cannot condone such a situation. Besides, all sheep must be checked in with the CDOW and must have a horn plugged with a permanent numbered marker so they can be legally possessed in the U.S.

    On day four of the season (day 8 since he arrived) I located a really nice ram that I told him was in the mid 170s. The ram was alone and almost directly below us in a very steep avalanche chute at 150 yards feeding broadside. He said he still wanted a 180+ class ram. I again explained to him that a 180 class ram was not in the cards and that he should shoot this ram. He shot it but before the ram had finsihed rolling down the mountain, he turned to me and said, "That ram better go mid 170's." I could not believe he had no more respect for me or the animal and would say such a thing before the ram had even stopped rolling down the chute! I bit my tongue for a while but after a few steps down the mountain I turned to him and unloaded on him about his disrespect to the animal he had just killed before we had even walked down to it. I didn't even mention the fact that he had not paid me 50% of the hunt so far and that his expectations were out of line. He somewhat apologized and we took pictures and backpacked the ram off the mountain. He was in good shape and carried about 40% of the ram himself. He carried two boned out quarters while I carried out the other two quarters plus the head and cape.

    The next day, we had to check the ram in at a local taxidermy studio and the CDOW Officer came to the studio to check in the ram and plug it. Both the officer and the taxi said over and over again what a big beautiful ram he got and that it was one of the nicest rams to be harvested in a while from the unit. Reluctantly, the hunter became happier with the ram and even handed the extra tag he received by accident to the officer. When we parted ways that evening, he assured me that his final 50% payment would be waiting for me at home. It never came. At this point, you would have thought the story was over but it was not.

    My wife's uncle was a prison guard in CA at the infamous San Quentin Prison. I told him about the problems with my sheep hunter. He said that as a law officer, that the prison guard could not legally cheat me like he did when we had a signed contract. He gave me the Warden's phone number at the Susanville Prison. I called the Warden. He was very surprised that this guard was on a sheep hunt because the guard had filed a Worker's Compensation Claim against the prison for being hurt on the job. The guard had not worked for 6 months but was still earning a full paycheck and claiming to be injured!!! The Warden asked me to be available for an 8:00am phone call the next morning with a Workers Comp investigator and I gladly made myself available! They asked me to send them a copy of the contract and pictures of the hunter and the hunter carrying his load of meat. I gladly complied! They asked me if he mentioned during the hunt that he was supposedly partially disabled. He had not and this guy was as healthy as any hunter I had ever guided.

    This guy was screwing over anyone he came into contact with! Me, his own mother, and the State of California taxpayers. But he "got his" in the end. I was never paid but he lost his job and had to pay back the State of California.

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    Great Read here ,Glad to hear from both sides

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    There are very few bad clients in the international market, all be it that sometimes the expectations might be unrealistic.... in this case myself or someone else as the outfitter should have created a different and realistic expectation, as Professional hunters we should be very flexible and adaptable...

    The truth is not all clients are the same not all are serious balls to the wall safari addicts and others do not really like sitting around telling jokes and are way more serious about life..... the secret I think and this is just my opinion would be to be able to adapt to each and every clients personallity apart from just their trophy requirements.... this provides your client in the end of a safari when looking back with a complete feeling of filfillment... as you were able to provide him with great trophies an awesome hunting experience as well as being able to relate to him on a personal level.....

    Making them feel like they are making your day by being there is what a client likes to feel like and not the other way around as many chip on the shoulder PH's feel....... Lets face it 80% of what we do is people relations, the hunting makes up the remainder... being able to spend 18hours and sometimes more time a day with a client for 10 - 21 days is a tall order...But I believe that as a guide if you are able to achieve this you will be awesome..

    Lets face it every now and then problem pitch up on safari this is normal unexpected things happen, it is how you handle situations like these as an outfitter and as a PH that sets you apart from the rest....

    This is where I frimly stand with Ole Bally large groups are difficult... No 1. Certain clients get left in the wash, they feel like a number)
    No 2. The management becomes a problem... (been there done that), so what often happens is that one client is unhappy in a group of 15.... this client often leaves unhappy as his friends had a great time... and the outfitter feels ....... WELL 1 OUT OF 15 IS PRETTY GOOD......

    I like couples father sons and camps with max 2 and possibly 3 PH's it just works better and clients tend to be less difficult and more HAPPY....

    Just my opinion on this...

    PS watch the spelling I'm on one of those horrible small computer things......

    My best always
    Jaco Strauss
    Kwalata Wilderness safaris - South Africa/Mozambique
    Jaco@kwalata.com
    www.kwalata.com

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