Are these outfitter issues unusual?
My wife and I went on a SA hunt in Aug 2010. We went with another couple who had gone to the same outfitter the year prior.
At the time of our hunt in Aug 2010, the other couple had not received their trophies from 2009. There were numerous excuses (some good reasons) why they had not yet shipped and this outfitters family was such a lovely family and we had such a good time that we put aside our hesitations. We did note, however, that in preparation for our 2010 trip, we had a TERRIBLE time getting them to respond to emails. The two largest reasons they gave were poor internet service and just plain busyness. We were just so excited to finally go to Africa that we overlooked this annoyance and what we felt to be lack of respect to a degree.
After we returned from our trip, the other couple received their trophies from 2009. They blamed the shipper for not getting them off in time but when they arrived they were in rough condition (hides) due to being exposed to the elements for too long. The tanners in the States are working on them as we speak to see how they will look once they do their work. There were also some horns missing and to make a long story short they assured us they would be shipped with our 2010 trophies.
Fast forward to our current state. We all have arranged to hunt with this outfitter once again this year. Our tickets are already purchased. Our 2010 trophies still have not been sent and they are not keeping in communication with us regarding their status.
Our experience with communication with them has been that since the onset of all of us working with them, we have all had problems getting them to respond to emails timely (within 3-4 days would be nice...we are waiting over a month or more at times to get an answer to even simple questions). Whether we are asking for an update on our trophies (shouldn't THEY be updating US?) or simple travel ideas, it is pulling teeth to get them to respond.
I'm sure there are plenty of stories where the outfitter goes out of his way to please his clients before the hunt but then once they get there the clients are very disappointed in the experience (bait and switch you might say) but our experience is almost opposite.
At this point you might be wondering why in the world we would go back with these outfitters. We and the other couple agree that while we were there, we had a wonderful experience. Their rates are also very reasonable. They went out of their way to make us comfortable...we had superb PH's...got great trophies. There were very few things we could mention that would say we had anything less than an ideal experience. When we left we felt like they were family.
We are just wanting to know what is typical regarding communication and some of the issues brought up. Americans are known to "expect things yesterday"...we do have a very fast paced lifestyle and expect others to keep up. In our situation, however, my wife has been nearly in tears due to frustration and it has made the experience almost negative. We are concerned about whether we will see our trophies and are apprehensive about how things will go on this hunt. We contacted them last week to once again check on our trophies and they haven't responded once again. We can't imagine trying to rebook with another outfitter on this short of notice (Aug 2011) but we just want to weigh all our options.
We would welcome any and all input from either side on this. I am not revealing the outfitter because we are not out to bad mouth anyone. We would just like some clarity and to know what is typical.