Verifying Hunting Outfitters and Professional Hunters Credentials

Discussion in 'Hunting Africa' started by pigslayer, Feb 25, 2014.

  1. shakari

    shakari AH Enthusiast

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    Jaco

    I think perhaps you miss my point.

    What I'm trying to say is if a hunter contacts an unknown company & asks for references, that company will only ever give details of happy clients & will never give details of dissatisfied clients & if they're only willing to give email addresses, it could easily be the hunter isn't emailing who he thinks he is......

    Far better for the hunter to go on the hunting forum(s) and simply ask for opinions on the PH/Outfitter/agent etc.
  2. Jaco Strauss

    Jaco Strauss SPONSOR AH Elite

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    True I did to a degree... :) wow I'm also having a serious problem with wrapping my head around outfitters providing references possibly "fake"..

    I guess I'm living in a UTOPIA... I just can not support the uber suspicion approach.

    My steps are.

    1.comprehensive Contract with Force Majure
    2.references multiple (I don't have bad ones so expect this to mean something...) :) :) :) :) :)
    3.licenses and permits if requested.

    = safari

    Guess I'm old school and not up to date with how the world has gone crooked.
    :) :) :) :)

    My best always
  3. spike.t

    spike.t GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    hi just sent it. :beer:
  4. Jaco Strauss

    Jaco Strauss SPONSOR AH Elite

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    Cool Spike checking on it now and will get back to you.

    My best always
  5. BRICKBURN

    BRICKBURN SUPER MODERATOR CONTRIBUTOR GOLD BENEFACTOR AH Ambassador

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    Fake Stuff:
    I have had a "fake" reference provided to me.
    After some research it became obvious that the guy was a friend of the PH. Claiming to be European, while actually living in Joburg. All part of a scam, when it got down to it.
  6. Jaco Strauss

    Jaco Strauss SPONSOR AH Elite

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    Wow an eye opener indeed, I would assume mostly associated with those once in a life time offers...

    This is when those simply can not miss ones become a no Shit what did I book safaris and end up costing way more in school fees...

    Brickburn I feel outfitters like this should be named.... As they are labeling and creating doubt over reputable guys....

    As well as screwing up the realistic (or rather true) market with unrealistic pricing... Only to get out off it 2 - 5 years down the line with permanent scarring left on consumers/hunters and leaving the rest of us to deal with the destruction they left behind...

    The latter being the only reason we are having this conversation, unfortunately this is true... However small the percentage of crooked bastards are it is a reality....

    I believe that every comment above ( none better than yours) have provided a solid path to follow and by employing all of the mentioned it should at least increase your odds of having a good safari.

    It's sad to say the least though.

    My best always
  7. shakari

    shakari AH Enthusiast

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    The world is full of flaky bastards....... that's why we have so many politicians. lol

    More seriously, the buyer is spending a small fortune & a wise one would be very well advised to do his research carefully & thoroughly before parting with a single cent.
  8. Diamondhitch

    Diamondhitch AH Legend

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    What about lawyers? everyone always forgets the lawyers. ;)

    I believe that says it all right there.
  9. BRICKBURN

    BRICKBURN SUPER MODERATOR CONTRIBUTOR GOLD BENEFACTOR AH Ambassador

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    I was investigating an offer, and in this case the offer was "a little hard to believe" for sure.
    I researched behind the scenes and combined it with great help received from friends, quality PH's and even retired ones I was able to come to the proper conclusion.

    They have already been OUTED here and elsewhere.


    Seeing the crooks that keep coming back for more in another guise has been an education for me. All over the internet.
    Usually changing company names or moving down the road a short way.

    They are brazen enough to walk right in to conventions. All the while hoping they will land some sales from the unsuspecting before being discovered.
    They keep at it, so something has to be working for them.

    At least on AH we are all looking for them.

    Vigilance.
    The good guys answer questions honestly and get a good reference from their colleagues.
  10. enysse

    enysse AH Ambassador

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    Well in the USA, outfitters are really good at making reference list look better than it should. A ton of research has to be done before any elk, mule deer or whitetail hunt.
  11. Diamondhitch

    Diamondhitch AH Legend

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    I do want to comment on the super deal angle being trashed here.

    Not all "too good to be true" deals are. I have investigated, booked, hunted with great success and satisfaction, more than 1 of these. Due diligence and some creative investigation have set my mind at ease and exposed others as frauds. Don't judge a book by its cover, that "too good to be true" deal may just be legit, and the best deal you will ever come across.

    Or on the other hand maybe you should steer clear, that way there will be more deals for me. ;)
  12. firehuntfish

    firehuntfish AH Veteran

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    Safari references provided by the outfitter

    Maybe I am missing your point as well...? Firstly, I think an outfitter failing or unwilling to provide a comprehensive reference list that does not include full names, addresses, email addresses, hunt dates, and phone contacts would be a HUGE RED FLAG for anybody. Secondly, I personally find that speaking with references is an extremely valuable tool in doing your pre-safari research as long as you are putting the information a reference provides in proper perspective. By that, I mean that of course outfitters are only going to provide contact information for clients willing to provide positive feedback on their experiences. I think anyone expecting to contact a reference and hear bad things is the one missing the point. The best references don't just tell you they had a great hunt...They tell you specifically why they had a great hunt. That's the valuable information that I am looking for.

    References should be used to get specific knowledge for the details, but most inportantly, they should be used to get a sense of the overall safari experience provided by the outfitter. So yes, references provided by the outfitters are all going to say positive things, but it's the consistency of each individual account that speaks to the quality of the outfitter in my opinion.
  13. shakari

    shakari AH Enthusiast

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    Firehuntfish

    My point is you need independent references that are 110% genuine & verifiable & a good many of references supplied by the seller may not be.

    Also, some companies may have clients who for one reason or another (such as their being high profile etc) may not wish to be used for reference.

    You'll usually get FAR better & more truthful opinions by asking elsewhere.
  14. firehuntfish

    firehuntfish AH Veteran

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    With all due respect, I disagree for the reasons stated about client references in my post. I'm certain that all reputable outfitters are able to provide 100% verifiable references. Those that do not, kind of eliminate themselves from the process don't they??

    Most outfitters work extremely hard over many years to compile a comprehensive reference list. I know I did....I also believe that it' common courtesy and practice to ask a client's permission to be used as a reference before listing them is it not?

    I agree that they are one of many sources an tools to be used in doing pre-safari research, but verifiable references provided by the outfitter should not be so easily dismissed as "pointless".
  15. shakari

    shakari AH Enthusiast

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    I also worked hard at it and had 33 years in the African hunting industry before I retired but trust me, an emailed reference from an unknown and uncheckable source isn't worth the paper it's not written on. ;)

    But hey, it's your money, your life and your safari so if you want to go that route then you should go for it....... I'm just a guy offering an opinion and I'm not the internet police.
  16. firehuntfish

    firehuntfish AH Veteran

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    I couldn't agree more to your inference of an "unknown and uncheckable source"...

    However, a comprehensive list of references from the outfitter with full names, addresses, and all pertinent contact info, ect... Is worth its weight in gold if the information provided by refererences is used properly.

    You mention that you had 33 years in the African hunting industry.... Where you an outfitter, PH, or both? I'm curious to know in those 33 years if you or the outfitter you were working for ever used client references to promote your business? I'm also curious as to what some of the current outfitters here think about the value of references...
    :cool:
  17. shakari

    shakari AH Enthusiast

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    Mostly a PH but also outfitter & we had our own safari company for many years & I operated in 7 or 8 different African countries over that time. Co-wrote one book & wrote another that has been referred to as the PHs Training Manual or PHs Bible plus a few other things that I won't go into here because I'm not a site sponsor.

    Yes, we did sometimes give references if asked but a good many of our clients were high profile that we kept & still keep strictly private.
  18. BRICKBURN

    BRICKBURN SUPER MODERATOR CONTRIBUTOR GOLD BENEFACTOR AH Ambassador

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    If any of the outfitters I have allowed to use me as a reference provides my address or telephone number to anyone I will have another hunting trip planned very quickly. They will not be impressed with what is on quota.
    I'll choose with whom I share that information. So best not worry about all that being a flag for you. :)

    I answer every last email or PM request for information.
    I will speak with people directly on the telephone or Skype/ FaceTime if they would prefer.

    I will share the good, bad and the ugly, (or just the stuff that could be improved or things that annoyed me.)
  19. Safari Afrika

    Safari Afrika AH Enthusiast

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    Nobody will list bad references ... If a person deny to supply references it is definitely a red flag . There are a lot of other ways to check it out . Type the outfitters or ph name in on google and look extensively on what pops up ..... Maybe i should check my own before elaborating to much ! I believe forums like these serves as good reference points . Of course it is very difficult for good young guys to get a lot if references.

    Most of the young outfitters must have some references from clients he hunted with while PH . Just remember it is two completely different things. One might be the best PH alive ever but does not have the ability to cope with the extended responsibilities of being an Outfitter .

    If there is only one bad reference you might still think it could be a clash of personalities or a small o . Remember if someone had a good hunt he tells a friend .... If not he tells everybody even those he does not know .... Yes and we have seen this on this forum as well . That is just human nature !! I still think an extensive
    supported forum like this should be a good start !!

    Happy hunting !!
  20. firehuntfish

    firehuntfish AH Veteran

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    Brickburn,

    I may have overstated with addresses.....Why not a telephone number when it's provided in confidence by the outfitter? I have provided many references to lots of very nice folks via a phone conversation at my convenience. I have yet to open myself up to a telemarketer or a serial killer...:)But, I can understand one's concern with divulging too much personal information. Still, I'm sure you can understand my point being that an outfitter unwilling or unable to produce a verifiable list of references is a red flag?

    Safari Afrika,

    I appreciate your points, and I agree it is difficult for younger PHs and outfitters for that matter to amass an extensive list of references. This is true of any new business, and that may be a situation that speaks to itself for some clients during their research. Newer outfits tend to try and compete for their share of the market in ways other than selling experience. The most common method is usually by price. Again, these are all factors that prospective clients need to consider when researching outfitters.

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