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A Few Suggestions for Professional Hunters

This is a discussion on A Few Suggestions for Professional Hunters within the Hunting Africa forums, part of the HUNT AFRICA category; I have hunted Africa 12 times now and all my PH's have been excellent. I do have a few suggestions ...

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    BigBoreCore is offline New Member
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    Question A Few Suggestions for Professional Hunters

    I have hunted Africa 12 times now and all my PH's have been excellent. I do have a few suggestions for you.

    1. Speak English when around the client. If that is not possible then interpret what you said for him and the other persons reply. It can be uncomfortable when kept in the dark and this will keep the client engaged.

    2. Don't put too much pressure on a client to shoot animals he wasn't interested in to start with. I know its a business and the more animals taken the bigger profit or the smaller the loss, but nearly all of us have tight budgets in this expensive little sport of ours. Some opportunities might be too good to pass up, but don't give even mild criticism of a client who chooses not to shoot. You can avoid this situation by not low balling your services or offering donation hunts.

    3. Don't drink too much. I had one PH who would put away eight beers each evening. He held it well and I didn't notice any sluggishness in his performance, but it did make me a little uneasy.

    4. Make sure the way you get paid is airtight. The reason I bring this up is that I have wired a Zim PH money to the foreign account he listed that he never received. The right account got the money, but his name wasn't on the account and he wasn't sure who it belonged to. This was a particular Zimbabwe problem due to their troubled situation. I was not able to recall the payment and the Zimbabwe PH is screwed. I am not out any cash and am under no obligation to pay double, but it has created a uncomfortable ending to an otherwise excellent hunt.

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    Bigborecore,
    Very good straight to the point post.

    I might add that in many cases clients approach African hunting with unrealistic expectations..This jewel of wisdom was told to me by Roy Vicent, an old time PH and one of the very best Africa has produced, but only if you can keep up with him! He can outwalk a spooked elephant and the only tracker I know that is better than him is his son Allen who now hunts for Tanzania Game Trackers..
    RAY ATKINSON

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    Hey I have a good one, how about turning your cell phones off. It has not happened to me in Africa but stateside. What a pain when the cell phone rings at a very inopportune moment! Very unprofessional and can really ruin a hunt...

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    Oliver.Wettstein is offline AH Senior Member
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    Safari Chick I dont think that the cell phones are a real problem in Africa, because most places being hunted do not have cell reception anyway, so it will not ring at an inappropriate time.

    For the rest of the points, I think they are very valid, and appreciate this thread being opened.
    Oliver Wettstein

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    BigBoreCore, you are so right. The talking in english is big to me. Because when you are argueing in different languages in front of me and I can basically understand what the conversation is....that is very rude!!!!!! Especially when the talk is about money. Who's going to make the most off the client and how to get him or her to shoot more animals. Trying to convince the client to go to this taxidermist or the hunt may take a turn for the worse. Yelling shoot all the time whether there is a 3 year stallion in front or springbok I have no interest in doesn't help. Clients are under enough pressure...don't pile on the guilt. It's suppose to be a vacation not a business trip. The cell phone doesn't bother me, but a PH will never turn it off. Their friends voice is more important..on the other line. It doesn't make me too mad.

    To me clients should be treated like a long lost hunting buddy or friend until they do enough rude stuff to resort back to being a business transaction. Again not every PH is this way!! But enough need a manner's course.

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    Enysse, I think you should do a hunting report on the place(s) that you went hunting where some of these things happened! Honestly, I've read a few of your posts where you have mentioned some pretty IMHO outrageous behavior from the PH/outfitter and I just want to make sure that I never book with them!! Seriously, some of the things that occurred like the PH yelling, "shoot, shoot" at practically anything... I would have packed my bags and left with a big vote of no confidence in the judgement of the PH! But maybe I am too sensitive?

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    Safari Chick, There are some good operators out there like Frederik and Shallom...and I do like Skyline and Ray as consultants (Sorry if I forgot anyone it's been a long day). But there are some bad operators. Pure money and greed in my opinion. I will post a hunt report tomorrow...there will be two. I bought it up with my SCI friends and heard the comment the more you pay the better the service...I'm a wastewater operator so my budget is low. I'm not cheap but I'm not rich either. I love Africa..the game, climate, the stars...etc. But the one thing I have noticed if you go alone, you can skinned a number of ways. I what "Tracks across Africa", watch all the video I can, all the books, so I know what good game hunting is....I don't know if it's the economy or not but somethings are not right.

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    I thought about what I want in a PH.
    1) He tries to speak English all the time.
    2) Has a good clean gun and functioning scope and can shoot. Has a great pair of binoculars and knows how to use them!
    3) Drives the roads with respect...doesn't beat my rifle into a piece of junk.
    4) Ask what you are looking for in a animal-trophy size, age, length of horn, or just a representative animal, nice cape or or cape being rough is ok.
    5) What is your budget for the hunt? What animals would you like? And don't pressure the client into shooting every different animal you see!!!!
    6) Now that the budget is set...don't bug the client whole trip into going leopard hunt, buffalo hunting, etc. At the end of the hunt if you've done a great job...he or she will come back to visit you.
    7) This is no brainer...but I will say it anyway...take care of your clients trophy's...the capes and horns to the taxidermist...have your paperwork done. It seem simple but gets messed up anyway.
    8) Forgot this one...but it's important. When you find a nice animal don't start yelling shoot. And when the client hesitates to make a excellent shot....shut up and glass the animal, to see where it is hit. Seems simple but again some PH's have no patience. Some PH's that do culling for 500 animals a year think every animal they see should be a 2 second shoot. The funny thing is I've watched them miss black-backed jackels by yards...so much for great shooting.

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    A good ph is supposed to be a good listener,by the time you reach your lodge or hunting area he should know what you would like,if there are extras he must be making plans to locate them,he should know your likes and dislikes,and should not smoke in the car if you are a non smoker etc...

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    Quote Originally Posted by enysse View Post
    I thought about what I want in a PH.
    1) He tries to speak English all the time.
    2) Has a good clean gun and functioning scope and can shoot. Has a great pair of binoculars and knows how to use them!
    3) Drives the roads with respect...doesn't beat my rifle into a piece of junk.
    4) Ask what you are looking for in a animal-trophy size, age, length of horn, or just a representative animal, nice cape or or cape being rough is ok.
    5) What is your budget for the hunt? What animals would you like? And don't pressure the client into shooting every different animal you see!!!!
    6) Now that the budget is set...don't bug the client whole trip into going leopard hunt, buffalo hunting, etc. At the end of the hunt if you've done a great job...he or she will come back to visit you.
    7) This is no brainer...but I will say it anyway...take care of your clients trophy's...the capes and horns to the taxidermist...have your paperwork done. It seem simple but gets messed up anyway.
    8) Forgot this one...but it's important. When you find a nice animal don't start yelling shoot. And when the client hesitates to make a excellent shot....shut up and glass the animal, to see where it is hit. Seems simple but again some PH's have no patience. Some PH's that do culling for 500 animals a year think every animal they see should be a 2 second shoot. The funny thing is I've watched them miss black-backed jackels by yards...so much for great shooting.
    I guess I have just been lucky both here and Africa, but I have not experienced what you have. However, I have always relied on respected consultants to recommend guides/outfitters and have yet to run across a jerk. Even on a couple of occasions where a guide and I were not natural born buddies, we maintained a professional relationship that was just fine. There may indeed be something to the old notion of getting what one pays for.

    And I suppose it goes to the heart of why we invest so much in this ridiculous sport of ours. The experience is as important to me as any set of horns on the wall. I make sure the consultant understands that clearly. Achieving that is worth a premium to me. Whether it is 10% or 20%, I couldn't tell you, but it is worth something. If that means over a five year period that I take one less trip, then that would seem a bargain compared to cluttering my memories with unpleasant experiences.

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    Ray Atkinson's Avatar
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    All of the above are legitamate suggestions and I know that some of them are violated from time to time, and I will add mostly in RSA and to a lesser degree in Tanzania, as both of these countries are poorly regulated and getting a PH license isn't very difficult, therefore it is up to the booking agent or hunting consultant (take your pick) to pre scout and determine which Safari Comapanies abide by these suggestions. It is his job to sort out the best of the best so that it does not happen at least within reason..

    There are times that it may be necessary to use a different language and the conversation may be none of the hunters business, simple as that, but it should not happen continually..other times its expeditious to speak to the staff in their language to get things done, and in most cases the Ph will give the hunter a brief explanation, if he feels it necessary. The PH is there daily for months on end and repeating himself continually can get pretty problematic. Cut him some slack if he is doing you a good job..

    The above situations are not always written in stone, and the problem can be either the hunter or the PHs fault. Keep in mind that some hunters can be a real pain in the a$$ and some PHs can be pretty arrogant and stupid..Come to think of it that can apply to all of us....It,s never a one way street.
    RAY ATKINSON

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