SCI Auction hunts

Discussion in 'Hunting Africa' started by Whitetailguy, Mar 24, 2014.

  1. Whitetailguy

    Whitetailguy New Member

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    I asked a friend of mine if he would be interested in going to hunt Africa with me. After a few days of no answer I finally got a response from him on the subject - he thinks it would be better join SCI and bid on a hunt at their annual auction. I went thru this year's offerings and didn't see a whole lot that was necessarily better than what I've been seeing on various outfitter's websites.

    This would be a first time hunt for both of us. Does this seem like a valid thought process? I'm not exactly sure how the SCI auction works - is there time enough to research the outfitters that donate hunts to conclude that it's what we'd want? I understand that most will allow the addition of animals at regular trophy fee prices but most of what I saw didn't include many of the animals I'm interested in. In the end I'd be tacking on a list animals that would almost negate the 'value' of the auction won. Seems to me that doing the research, getting in touch with multiple outfitters, and getting exactly what I want is a better way to go about it.

    Can I get some opinions/help on this, please? What do you think would be the smart way to go about a first trip to Africa? Has anyone gone on an SCI auction hunt and was it worth it in the end?
  2. HuntingGold

    HuntingGold AH Veteran

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    Each donated package seems to be a little different. Some offer five days hunts with a few plains game animals, while others offer longer hunts and seem to have a few strings attached. Most often they seem to go fairly "cheap" and are tempting for sure. The down side is that you usually don't know anything about the company. That part is the scary part! Are they licensed? What are the facilities like?

    On the good side; I Know one guy that bought a trip several years ago and had a very good time and I believe that outfitter now advertises here!

    For me, if I can find out who the outfit is and have adequate time to do some research, I would consider bidding. I must emphasize that I need the research before moving forward. A few years ago it was not possible but with smart phones now, you could get some basics answered while sitting at the table.
  3. billc

    billc SILVER SUPPORTER AH Fanatic

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    just be careful as the prices are normal lower at the auction but you have already seen the trap.You will not always find that all the animal are in the package that you want to hunt.You check there normal prices and add some time and animals it may cost you more in the end then just using one of the outfitters on here.

    I think you would have time to check out the people offering the hunts as the list of hunts is out before the show starts.Plus alot of the guys are there so a face to face meeting could be done before the auction starts.I have talked with guys who planned on trying to get a certain hunt.They even worked out the deal for the other stuff they may add to the package if they won the bid.


    I have looked at going to sci show myself just to see it first hand.Most say it is amazing to see all the stuff they have.If i ever decide to look seriously at other areas other then SA I will go to get a better idea about those hunts.
  4. BRICKBURN

    BRICKBURN SUPER MODERATOR CONTRIBUTOR GOLD BENEFACTOR AH Ambassador

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    A couple of points.
    You SHOULD research every hunt and Outfitter anyway. No matter what method you use to find the hunt.
    There is no short cut.

    SCI DOES NOT SCREEN the OUTFITTERS. It's in the fine print.
    In fact, no one does that work for you.
  5. Whitetailguy

    Whitetailguy New Member

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    They don't screen the outfitters.... Wow. I guess I had kind of guess that but was hoping that there was some sort of approval process on SCIs part.
  6. Jaco Strauss

    Jaco Strauss AH Elite

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    Brickburn is spot on in fact some of the SCI poster children have been exposed in the past.... some crazy stuff,,,,

    In fact the only club that has a screening process in future is Dallas Safari Club, PHASA AND DSC as well as the other professional associations have been driving and working toward this for quite some time now...

    My best always
  7. Safari Afrika

    Safari Afrika AH Enthusiast

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    I have to add to what Jaco said . SCI has NO loyalty to any of the outfitters that do the donations . They take best they can get at the best possible option ...... It is all about money . Got off that bus 7 years ago and have not looked back since . RMEF I donate to . The limit donations 5 per outfitter per year . Some outfitters have multiple donations at 1 chapter and 100 ' s all over the country . That is the cheap option ..... There are a lot of offers by members here that shows better quality in my opinion ....

    Good luck ! just make sure you do go !!!

    Happy Hunting !!!
  8. jrgould

    jrgould New Member

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    You can get some excellent deals at the local SCI Chapter auctions. Local Chapters operate semi-autonomously so any generalization will not be correct for all of them. The better Chapters post their auction items online with links and other contact info to the outfitters weeks before the auction. It is up to the purchser to do their own research, but the local chpters here do check references, The Hunting Report etc. before posting. In fact, many of the outfitters attend the local auctions where their donations are being sold. Please never sign up for a hunt or any other expensive trip or purchase without doing thorough research and checking values.
    The auctions at the National Convention are a diffrent situation, those often sell for riduclously high prices. IMO that is because egotistical people like to show off how much money they can spend.
  9. Whitetailguy

    Whitetailguy New Member

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    I will definitely be going with or without my friend. Without a doubt. I will also be doing all the research I can to, in the end, make a very educated decision for the best possible hunt. I will not being taking a chance on an SCI auction. Hopefully I can do some convincing. Thanks for all the help guys.
  10. watman

    watman AH Member

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    I purchased an auction hunt, and feel it was a very good deal. 7 days plus 1500 per hunter trophy fees to apply to any animals I select. That being said I did select a number of animals that I expect to pay extra for. We'll see how it goes leaving the 9th.
  11. BRICKBURN

    BRICKBURN SUPER MODERATOR CONTRIBUTOR GOLD BENEFACTOR AH Ambassador

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    That is interesting that some chapters go farther than the national body.
  12. LeopardsValleySafaris

    LeopardsValleySafaris AH Senior Member

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    Just keep in mind, nothing is free.
    These auction hunts are designed to make money.
    It might look like a deal, but what does extra days cost , extra animals cost ?
    It might be better to just go with an outfitter that you like and get a good price on your Safari and the animals YOU want
    My 2cent
    Dave
  13. Mtgoat

    Mtgoat AH Veteran

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    All of the points made thus far are valid. I met a guy a couple of years ago who had bought a deer hunt in Canada at a local chapter auction. It turned out to be a total ripoff. When he pursued it with SCI (national) he got absolutely no support. I am personally aware of an Alaskan outfitter with a terrible reputation who exhibits every year at the convention. (When I see someone talking with that outfitter, I wait and share what I know about him - we have to help each other.)

    The SCI convention is all about the money (isn't everything?). I am told that size and location of a business' booth is determined by some complicated formula based upon the value of an organization's donation. Therefore, SCI gets to double dip - they sell booth space and then sell whatever was donated in order to get the booth space. I'm not finding fault - I'm just envious. I wish I could work a deal like that with my business.

    I've never purchased a hunt in an auction at the SCI convention. However, each year, I spend a little time in the auction room. My observation is that many (but not all) of the prices quoted seem inflated. (Like the sticker price on a new car.) Therefore, any discounts are probably bringing the cost of the item closer to market price. Also, sometimes, for some reason that I've never been able to figure out, the bidding on some random item will get crazy and run up the price significantly above the listed value.

    Everyone is right that you should never book a hunt without thoroughly researching the outfitter in advance. You may or may not be able to that at local chapter auctions. At the convention, there are too many possibilities to research them all in advance.

    In the end, I think that you will be better off booking a hunt with an outfitter directly. You can take your time and carefully check references. You can negotiate the price and put together a package that matches your exact preferences (species, dates, etc.). If you don't know where to start - what countries to consider, which outfitters to talk to, etc. - just post more questions on this forum. There are lots of people with all levels of experience from people like yourself who've never been to the pros. People are glad to help you in any way that they can. BTW - a great thing about this site is that the outfitters who do participate in the discussions are all gentlemen - none of them are pushy about selling their services, but they do give great advice.
  14. Buff-Buster

    Buff-Buster GOLD SUPPORTER AH Fanatic

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    I cannot better the advice already given by all of the other members. They are all "spot on". I have personally went on three trips bought at local Safari Club Chapters Fundraisers. Once to the East Cape, once to KNZ and once to Argentina. All of them turned out fantastic. Prior to bidding on them, I researched them all and checked references. Deals can be had but what I ultimately did was, whatever I saved on the actual value, I spent with the outfitter on additional trophies. I know that it "shouldn't" matter to the outfitter what the hunt sold for as it was a donation to help the chapter and futher conservation, but let's be real. It would matter to me!. Thus the reason I try to spend additional money that I "saved" to take some of pain away and I benefited also. Every outfitter I know in Africa will give you 110% whether you paid full value or 50% of the value. That's just the kind of guys they all are. As others have noted, DO NOT trust that SCI has screened all of the outfitters that are donors. They should, but they don't.
  15. Grady

    Grady AH Senior Member

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    Like many others, I also purchased a hunt at the Local SCI auction a few years back (Anchorage AK). It was a great trip. I was fortunate enough to be able research some of the outfitters before the auction and I actually meet the PH that I hunted with at the auction. I also had a budget that I was willing to spend and I was able to stay under it at the auction. Do not get caught up in the frenzy of bidding! That can be a killer.
    Similar to Buff-Buster, I also spent extra money on some animals that were not included in the offering, but let's be real....How many of you who have gone on a Safari, did not add an extra animal or three while you were actually on the hunt? I knew I was going to add two additional animals, but the Blue Wildebeest was the third. The thing that made it easier was that I budgeted for "hidden costs" and I considered the Blue as a hidden cost. I also went over with an open mind knowing that I would spend extra money while I was there. It didn't hurt either that I wife added some fun money to my budget and told me to have fun....I love that woman!
    I guess the most important thing is the research beforehand. Then set a price that you are willing to pay with the additional fun money and if you are able to stay with you budget. If you can do all the above, buying a safari at an auction may be a good deal. If you can't, take the time and purchase the hunt from someone directly (there are many great offers here on AH). Bottom line, if you are happy with the deal that you are able to make then you should have a good time.
  16. Lure Jensen

    Lure Jensen AH Member

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    I agree the local chapter is a good way to go. A lot of times the local chapter knows the Outfitter, and has had experience with them. Also, if you are successful you can get spot on advice on equipment, clothing etc., of the hunt. Best of all you can ask good questions, of the hunt in general from someone who knows, face to face!
  17. Bruinmaster

    Bruinmaster AH Senior Member

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    I went to a local chapter SCI auction for three years in a row and watched the same outfitter offer donated hunts at this banquet which went at very reasonable auction prices. Every time the outfitter was at the auction, and they were very professional and helpful with information even though I was up front and told him I was only in the research stage. I had already purchased a hunt for the past two seasons so I did not bid on the auction.

    In the interim, I researched the outfitter thoroughly, reviewed hunting reports, made sure they were a member of PHASA, I spoke with literally 30-40+ clients who have hunted with the outfitter and all gave great recommendations .

    This year in February I was the high bidder at the auction and won a 10 day safari with the outfitter for 2015. The outfitter also allowed a second hunter to come for the same price as the auction price and gave me a discount from their normal price for an observer. Their trophy price list was definitely higher than other outfitters for some animals but with trophy credits included in the auction and the price I paid for the daily rates etc. the Auction was more economical and a greater value than other hunts,( even with the additional trophy costs for animals on my wish list) that I have been researching and what I have paid in the past including my last safari which I can not speak more highly of and was purchased from an outfitter here on AH. I would have never purchased an auction hunt unless I was able to do research on the outfitter first and feel comfortable with before bidding on the hunt. I can only hope that this next trip to SA will be as good as my last.
  18. K-man

    K-man AH Senior Member

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    Allreally good thoughts on here so not a lot to add but I will empasize that you do benefit the local or national chapters by buying at auction. I have personally gone on 4 auction hunts and the three I bought at dsc I met the outfitter beforehand and really had a great experience. The only negative hunt was one my son bought for me when I was unable to attend, and the outfitter was not someone I would have booked with but as it didn't go too high it was o.k. I have always made it a point to tip the outfitter/ph a bit larger tip since he was donating his time as well. Just something to consider, but don't dismiss all auction hunts.
  19. Jaco Strauss

    Jaco Strauss AH Elite

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    With you K-man :) also it should be noted that 99% of the time these safari go for less than 10% of they're actual value.... (one of my great problems with the system that has been put in place but that is another thread :) :) )

    Quite simplest they are bargains and for those who purchase usually good value...

    Many of the outfitters who donate to regional chapters often do have quite a reputation and are within good standing within the mentioned chapter as well.

    Good research is always a good course of action.

    My best always
  20. Cliffy

    Cliffy AH Elite

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    We (the wife and I) have worked out a way to find African outfitters that has worked well for us for 13 years and we have shown 6 other first timers how we do it. We go to DSC and walk the isles and talk with the outfitters to get a feel of how we would get along on a hunt. Pick 10 or so the first day, cull that to 5 or 6 second day and then down to 2 or maybe 3 on final "make a decision" day. By the final day you can pretty well tell where you would want to go. We find the prices can be very competitive with auctions especially if one chooses a show special. Out of 10 trips none have been bad.
    We like the SCI show for the show but we find the expense too high compared with DSC for what we do with new hunters looking for the first time. Many of the DSC exhibitors go to both shows.
    You can't go wrong with what has been postulated here on this forum. The guys here know what they are talking about, the outfitters here have great reputations and some of them are even fun to spend an evening with if you can keep up. The African blokes party hardy when they come over here! :) :) Well so do some of the forum members at the AH DSC dinner also!
    I wish I had had this type of guidance for my first hunt many years ago. I remember being in your exact position, not knowing whom to believe, where to go and hearing "stories". You'll find all you and your friend would ever need right here on AH. But don't let me talk you out of going to DSC next Jan. If you've never been you gotta go. It's a Masters Degree in African hunting in 3 days! It is well worth the trip. If you go let me know and I we'll help you around there.

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