What do you get for under $400p/d?

Discussion in 'Hunting Africa' started by CT Safaris, Feb 2, 2010.

  1. CT Safaris

    CT Safaris AH Enthusiast

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    At the end of last year a friend of mine went on a 10 day bear hunt in Alaska at a Daily Rate of $1,000 per day... When he booked his hunt his requirements /requests were quite clear... He wanted to hunt his bear while it was busy fishing for Salmon in one of the rivers... For this reason he specifically enquired what the best time of year was to hunt for bear in this way and he was given dates that would coincide with the spawning of Salmon upstream...

    When he arrived in Anchorage he was picked up by his guide who excitedly told him that they had a big bear on bait in one of their hunting areas. There was only one “catch”... in order to get to this specific hunting area they would have to fly in by float plane which would cost my friend an extra $1,500... He reminded the guide that he had booked a hunt for bear that would be busy Salmon fishing but upon the guide’s insistence that the bear they had on bait was a BIG one and that they had an excellent chance of getting it he agreed to the extra charge associated to flying into the hunting area.

    En route to the airfield the guide asked my friend what his drinking preferences was and when he replied that he favoured a Gin and Tonic in the evenings he was dropped off at a liquor store so that he could buy himself a bottle of his favourite alcoholic beverage.

    They arrived at the hunting area, disembarked from the float plane and my friend followed the guide to the log cabin that would serve as their head quarters for the next number of days. Upon arrival at the cabin, the guide instructed my friend to head out and collect firewood... There was no Cook in camp nor were there any camp staff. Food comprised of the canned variety –heated up by the guide over the open flames coming from fire that my friend had collected firewood for... They had to make their own beds, needless to say there was no daily laundry service and drinking water came from a nearby freshwater stream... When my friend saw the guide opening a tin of Coke and asked him if he could have a Coke as well the reply from the guide was that he only had two Cokes left and that if he were to give one to my friend he’d only have one left for himself...

    As it turned out – the bear that had supposedly hit the bait one day prior to my friend’s arrival never returned to the bait. By day 5 – upon my friend’s insistence – they returned to Anchorage and another hunting area was decided on... My friend killed his bear on the last day of his hunt while it was busy fishing for Salmon in one of the rivers...

    So what is the point of this long introduction?

    My friend’s bear hunt ended up costing him more than $11,500. He was fortunate in that at least he got his bear... If he hadn’t there would have been no refund on trophy fees and his unsuccessful hunt would have still cost him $11,500+.

    So let’s compare these costs to what one is likely to get for $350p/d in South Africa...

    • All accommodations inclusive of 3 meals per day and all beverages – bottled water and soft drinks (more often than not alcoholic beverages are included as well);
    • Your own toilet and bathroom with fresh towels and soap daily;
    • Daily Laundry service;
    • A welcoming camp fire upon return to camp in the evening made from wood that you didn’t have to collect yourself;
    • A Professional Hunter who will wait on you, guide you, drive you around and look after you from the day you arrive until the day you depart. (And he wouldn’t mind giving you his last Coke either);
    • Trackers, skinners and field staff;
    • Several different species of African game available to hunt;
    • You’ll only pay for what you shoot...if you don’t get what you came for you don’t pay for it!

    Somehow African hunting doesn’t sound so expensive does it?;)
  2. jaustin

    jaustin AH Veteran

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    Hello Chris,
    You will get no argument from me on the value of an African hunt as compared to ANY where else in the world. That being said, not all North American outfitters provide as crappy of service as your friend encountered on his hunt. I have often said that anyone who wants to be a guide or outfitter needs to spend a season in an African safari camp in order to see how to treat their clients.
  3. gillettehunter

    gillettehunter AH Fanatic

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    Hi Chris. I agree that an African hunt is a lot less expensive per trophy. My wife and I had a great time. Spent 8 days hunting and an extra day in Windhoek shopping. Everything, including taxidermy and shipping was around $12,000. I took 5 animals and had a great time. Many horseback elk hunts here in the western US will cost $6000 OR MORE and there is no guarentee they'll even see a mature bull. Often success rates are often around 50%. Makes Africa look pretty appealing to me. On the other hand there are some trophies that you just can't hunt in Africa, so you just have go other places for them. That's part of what makes it interesting. Different terrain and cultures to explore. All part of a great hunt.
  4. Heeler75

    Heeler75 AH Senior Member

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    Accomodations and what is done for the client in Africa is like no other as Africa is known for that. Alaska is known for wilderness and that's what you get - wilderness. So what if the guide does the cooking? Heck, my guide in Africa cooked for us also. Africa and North America are two totally different ballgames and we all know that.

    Many folks here in the states have no problems with "primitive-style" hunting accomodations and actually some prefer it that way. They don't want all the "finer" things as they call it. They just want to hunt.

    In your friends case it does sound like he got a bad deal on some parts but not all, and for every bad outfitter there are 3 good ones. I'd be upset also if I requested certain things, they were agreed upoin, and then didn't get them. Seems I've read/heard enough horror stories of the same things happening in Africa too.

    The cost issue is a moot point becuase grizzly are North America's DG animal. I've seen plenty of DG daily rates in Africa for as much as $1,000/ day then your trophy fee. How many people go to Africa for just one animal? Last I checked, there were a lot. And spent the same amount of money as your friend did if not 2 or 3 times that amount for just one animal. Is your $360/day for plains game or dangerous game?

    If you don't like the "no kill but still pay" then don't hunt for it. Plain and simple. That's another unjust comparison. I went on a mountain lion hunt 2 years ago and about the 3rd day in of the 5 day hunt I knew my chances were slim of connecting on a cat. I made up my mind to have fun even if I didn't get the cat. Well, I didn't get my cat, but still had a great time.

    And yes, I've been to Africa and plan to go back, but I also want to backpack into the wilderness of Alaska for a Dall Sheep.

    I just have a hard time with using one person's poor experience and so-called "lesser accomadations" or cost structure to make your service seem better. Sell your service to me based on what you have and can do, not "this guy did this and I'm so much better than that".
  5. CT Safaris

    CT Safaris AH Enthusiast

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    Heeler,

    Thank you for your input but I think we're missing each other somewhere along the line...

    I was not implying that my friend was "done in" or comparing Alaskan bear hunting with a SA PLains Game hunt. From what I understood my friend had a good time irrespective and based on the pictures I saw of his bear he ended up getting a pretty nice one too.

    I was simply trying to bring the point across that as far as value for money is concerned - African hunts may be higher on the list than what many people may think. (Of course this would depend on the hunter and his expectations)

    Nothing wrong with having a guide cook for you... but in fairness - I'd rather have steak than tinned baked beans... at $1,000 per day.

    I apologise if I offended you (or anyone else) - that was certainly not my intention:)
  6. Skyline

    Skyline AH Fanatic

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    Your friends bear hunt described as he told it to you would suggest he did not go with one of the better outfitters. I have been in the big game guiding business in the north for a long time and what you described is not how most guys are treated by their guides............having said that, the Alaskan brown bear is one of the glamor trophies in North America and is in fact one of the premier big game trophies in the world. It is also our dangerous game, along with its brethren the grizzly and the polar bear. There are very limited opportunities for non-resident hunters to kill one of these animals, much on the order of getting a lion allocation on a hunt in Zambia, Zimbabwe or Tanzania.

    Last time I checked, most operators in Africa do not include the cost of charter flights in their hunts and assess a charter fee to clients. On many of the hunts in Tanzania the use of a charter between hunting areas will set the client back $2500. I don't know any South Africa operators who fly their clients from the airport to their hunt farm and include it in the cost of their hunt either.

    The daily rates on a dangerous game hunt in unfenced wild Africa routinely runs $1500-2500 US per day. I might also add that we do not have a lot of local people willing to work for the wages that local staff work for in Africa either. In Canada's north and Alaska everything costs more than in the southern areas and the cost of living is quite high, insane in some remote areas. Employees routinely receive wages of $200-$300 per day.

    Much of our hunting for the big boys takes place in areas where access is limited to planes, choppers, horse and in some cases on the coast, charter boats. There are no roads, nor are you allowed to cut them to provide access for vehicles to haul supplies. Many areas cannot be accessed overland due to bogs and muskeg until the dead of winter when the option of an ice road may exist in some areas and that is an option that costs tens of thousands of dollars to have a bulldozer open the road and keep it open while supplies are hauled. If air is your only way to supply camps it gets a little steamy if you are dropping $8,000 per flight for a Chieftain or similar sized plane.

    Although there are a lot of African operators who do include soft drinks, beer and liquor on their hunts, there are just as many these days who do not include liquor..........and here again there is a limit as to how many flats of soft drinks or bottled water one can ferry into remote camps in a float- plane. I know it is a hardship bit I have always managed to tolerate my evening glass of scotch with a few ice cubes or a little 'branch water' if the need be and not feel to put out.

    I can assure you that most guide camps in the north do not exist on canned beans and indeed, I have had more than one AAA t-bone steak at remote fly-in camps in the north......along with fresh baked bread, pie and fresh tossed salads that cost the operator a pretty penny to get into camp by float-plane.

    Comparing a plains game hunt for privately owned game animals on privately owned ranches in South Africa to a wilderness hunt for Alaska brown bear is very much comparing apples to oranges.
  7. Mike70560

    Mike70560 AH Fanatic

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    Thanks Kelly you saved me the trouble of all that typing.
  8. CT Safaris

    CT Safaris AH Enthusiast

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    Guys, if you reread my posts you may find that I was not comparing the experience of hunting bear with that of a plains game hunt. I was indeed comparing (somewhat tonque in cheek) what you can "get" for $350 per day versus $1,000 per day in terms of accommodations and services.

    I was also not implying that Alaskan Outfitters or guides were crooks or providing bad hunts. Sure there may be some bad apples - but these are found everywhere. This being said - I never suggested that the Outfitter my friend went with is one.

    Kelly, yes, in 99% of cases air charters are not included in the price of an African hunt. BUT - when I sell a hunt to a client in a remote area requiring charter flights I do not exactly wait for him to arrive at the airport before advising him that a charter flight is necessary and what the additional cost for this service would be. These are details that should be included in the hunt contract and made clear from the outset.
  9. Shallom

    Shallom AH Enthusiast

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    This has turned into a sensitive thread simply because of generalization. As some of you have already expressed, one bad experience should not write something off. Similarly, one good experience should not glorify. Reputation and credibility are qualities that are built on firm foundations of practice and work ethic. There are some bad experiences to be had out there and some damn good ones too. So many factors are always involved and in terms of hunting - there are also limitations. Moreover, hunting is a personal experience and the effect on each individual may vary. Ultimately the hunt is the core and focus of the experience and all the extra dimensions mere material value.

    Today, the hunter is a varied individual and the experience a highly commercialized one so the spectrum of experiences have also become vast. That is why my advice is to always look closely at what you are getting into (the client) and be clear about what you are delivering (outfitter). It is a partnership when two sides come together to enjoy a common experience - do not ruin it for eachother. Be honest to yourself and to the hunt. But also know that when in the wilderness, being realistic is a necessity and not a suggestion. In the wilderness there is more that will be out of your control than within your control. Your hunting instincts and ability to adapt are required more than ever. You are venturing into the unknown, but your Outfitter and guide has the flashlight to lead you. You need to trust him, but he also needs to earn your trust.

    It is a gamble and the best you can do is to work towards getting things in your favor and better your chances of being on the winning side. There will always be cheaters along the way and always be people in the game who are not players - thats reality! As with anything - practice practise practice! That applies to both hunter & guide!
  10. Mike70560

    Mike70560 AH Fanatic

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    The original post bothered me, I could not quite figure out why. Kelly summed it up well.

    $1000.00 a day in Alaska places you in one of the most remote, wild places in the world. You will hunt and work your butt off just getting around. If you forget anything in town you are screwed. A storm can come through and leave you stranded for days. There is a chance you will not kill anything. That is why it is called hunting. It is worth every penny. Can some things be done better in a camp, by all means yes. I loved every minute I have spent in Alaska

    $400.00 a day in a fenced in area will almost guarantee you will kill what you came for. You can drive in by car, have supplies delivered by truck. there is nothing wrong with hunting there it is just different. It would be better compared to hunting in Texas Hill Country. $200.00 day rate will get you a nice place to stay, sharing the camp with other hunters, and three decent meals. You could hunt about 6 diffferent species with reasonable trophy fees. No need to worry about the last Coke, a fresh supply is only a couple of miles away.

    And we all know there are problems in Africa. One of our member now cannot get his trophies out of Zim. I remember once another hunter was having problems in SA, it deteriated to prostitutes in camp and guys wearing makeup.
  11. Skyline

    Skyline AH Fanatic

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    That is right Chris..........any decent outfitter anywhere advises the hunter of charter rates prior to booking if it is not inclusive, and I can assure you that any of the outfitters I know and book hunts for do exactly that.

    Personally I have a little bit of difficulty with the story of your friends hunt. The fact that it started out with this big bear coming in to a 'bait' somewhere bothered me and still does..........because I have guided for those big bears on the Pacific coast on the salmon streams and I do not know anyone that would bother with a bait.......if it is legal in the first place...........when you have the natural feed swimming around by the tens of thousands like a bear smorgasbord.

    Something about the story just does not sit right with me for a number of other reasons, but I won't bother going into it.

    I think that Mike has really hit the nail on the head, in that the Texas hill country and the game ranches there are the best comparison.

    I have a problem with the whole picture in that hunters as a whole are getting to be a soft bunch that have to be catered to 24/7 and have someone there to wipe their noses for them. Certainly there is nothing wrong with going on a plains game hunt and having beautiful accommodations and a swimming pool to cool off in at the end of the day, but I see too many now that are overly concerned about those things and who have never actually gone on a hunt in wilderness areas, living in a tent, bathing with a cloth and a basin of warm water heated over a wood stove and where a jug of cold juice at the end of long climb tastes like a bottle of the finest bordeaux.

    Too many start their hunting career with a trip or two to a Texas ranch for whitetail and exotics, followed by plains game in South Africa. A ranch hunt for mulies and pronghorn in Wyoming is about as close to roughing it as they get and 4x4 truck and a soft bed is never very far away.

    They have never been on a hunt in the wilds of North America where you have all the luxuries you need as long as it fits in the pack on their back, a pack horse or the one flight in the Super Cub with your guide. When and if they do finally go on a hunt like that they come away thinking they have been ripped off and are incapable of enjoying the experience for what it is and unable to rationalize the difference.
  12. CT Safaris

    CT Safaris AH Enthusiast

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    My Apologies...

    It seems I might have used the wrong example/comparison in my initial post and that folks might have drawn the wrong conclusions in terms of the original message I was trying to bring across i.e. that African hunting might well be more affordable than what many may think...

    I was NOT bashing Alaskan Outfitters nor was I implying that they aren't doing a good job...I was simply conveying the experiences of a friend who had hunted Alaska (something incidentally that I hope to be doing sometime in future)

    Of course African PG hunts and Alaskan (or any other Country for that matter) bear hunts are two totally different kettles of fish... And of course it will always depend on the hunter and his expectations of the hunt as to whether he had a satisfatory experience or not...

    I guess I would have brought my point across better by using the example of guided 7 (5 hunting) day Elk hunts at what? $5K ... and compare that to an African PG hunt where you could get probably 7 days and 2 - 3 - 4 different animals for the same money. But then again - maybe that would be a wrong example too...

    For some people it is a dream to go to Africa one day and hunt African game... for others it is a dream to get an exceptional Elk, White Tail or Prong Horn and they're willing to pay big bucks in achieving that... Some have dreams of getting them all... and some are quite content with drawing a tag and hunting whatever they get...

    NOT saying that either is right of wrong or one has advantages over the other... not saying that one hunt is inferior to the other... Just stating that African hunting is far more affordable than what some think and that what one is likely to get in an African hunting camp is often more than what anyone might have imagined...

    Good Hunting!
  13. Ray Atkinson

    Ray Atkinson AH Enthusiast

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    About everything has been said on this subject except that your friend had a very inexpensive bear hunt as compared to many of them..The bear hunts that I book are considerably more expensive, but success is 99% and most bear beat 9 ft. with many record class bear shot. You get about what you pay for on those bear hunts.

    I won't compare Alaska to Africa, no point in it. It is two completely different worlds, an ocean apart, price for hunting is much like anything else, it only bears what the market will allow..

    To me personally, Africa is the heart of the world for a hunter. A tremendous amount of game species in unbelievable numbers, but the fact is some folks prefer the beautiful vast wilderness of Alaska, and it does have its own appeal..

    There certainly is room for both.
  14. enysse

    enysse AH Ambassador

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    I for one wanted to stay off the thread for a while. I think we as hunters are getting kinda hot over a sore topic. Chris seems like a decent guy, I've looked his prices and everything. I have only hunted North America and Africa (and not the wilderness of Africa either). Have seen the Northern Lights of the Northwest Territories and a solo Back-pack trip into Montana in 2006 for a elk/mule deer hunt (It was a very, rough hunt...the best hunt I was on) in the Bob Marshall Wilderness), but you can't compare the hunts. That is the point I'm making. They are all different and special. There all different logistics for each hunt.

    I'm dealing right now with a South Africa Ph that has disappeared with my hunting permits...now my trophies are sitting in Port Elizabeth in Storage til the problem is taken care off. That is the one thing I hate about Africa, is that you can't take your trophies back with you...they get lost in the shuffle after your hunt is over...and you the client have little control over the whole situation. I'm not blaming anyone in general...but paperwork, organization and communication are very important. And daily fees don't cover everything.
  15. Gloucester

    Gloucester AH Member

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    So, Mike70560, just out of academic interest of course, what's the name of the operator who has the camp with prostitutes?
  16. Cleathorn

    Cleathorn AH Senior Member

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    I had a very bad hunt for Colorado this past fall (disaster wold be the right term) and I think I fully understand what the original ost was meant to convery - geting what was promoted to you and what you paid for.

    I have hunted back country camps with the guide doing all the duties except those which I was doing. It worked out well. We saw a lot less game than you would on an African PG hunt but that was expected. I knew that going inot the hunt. In fact, I knew all of the logistics befoe I left home; including the price.

    While Africa, Alaska, Argentina, Australia, Europe, Russia, etc are al apples to organges in direct comparison, the one constant should be that as the hunter, you should know what you are paying for, what the outfitter is providing, what the outfitter is not providing, and what the outfitters will do when there are unexpected changes.

    In a remote area, you can expect unforeseen circumstances. But how the outiffter handles that is itself a matter hat should be discussed ahead of time.

    I went to State wih lot of outfitters, to an outfit with a god reputation, and did not get what the outfiter promoted. Hence its was a major disappointment (did I mention disaster). I did have areat time with my guide, my hunting buddy and I loved the country we were hunting.

    Everything that went wrong was under the control of the outfiter. THere are some great outfitters out there - but there are too many in the US that do not belong in the business. I for one wish the US would adopt a PH type educational/training program before you are able to hold a guide license.

    My point, which is I belive the point of the original post, is that regardless of when or where you are hunting, as hunters we can all deal with the forces beyond control, but for the rates we pay to hunt almost anywhere, the measure of quality should be the separation between what you were promoted/contracted for and what you actually got. The further the separation, the lessor the quality of the operator.

    And it goes both ways, hunters need to be realistic and honest about their experience and abilities. The outfitter needs to be honest about what they can and will be able to deliver to their clients and if that hapens, its going to be a great hunt. If not, see he complaint/operator review board and you will see the outcome.

    Another great thread on AH.
  17. DUGABOY1

    DUGABOY1 CONTRIBUTOR AH Enthusiast

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    Gentlemen I agree with both sides to this thread to some extent, but I'd like to make one comment here about the hunt that was quoted in ALASKA!
    Even if this had been a perfect hunt for bear in Alaska the prices listed here would indicate a Brown bear hunt. However unless the outfitter/guide, was a real crook this was Brown bear priceing for a BLACK BEAR. The fact is it is illegal to kill a brown bear/grizzly over bait in Alaska. Top this off by the fact that the client spicificly booked for a fishing bear on a river, and that is what he should have had. Either the client was very over charged for a river black bear hunt, or was treated to an illegal hunt for a brown bear over bait.

    As Kelly says there are honorable outfitters in North America, and what you get for your investment is usually worth every penny. The costs of providing a real service in the Canadian, or Alaskan bush is high, so if the service "IS" provided then it must be paid for.
    In this case, however, there would have been some words exchanged on what was to be supplied for $1000 p/d + an extra $1500 bush flight that was not in the deal when booked. The costs to supply a remote camp in Alaska is very high, and the daily fee should certainly reflect that cost, but $1000 p/d shouldn't include nothing more than a can of soup over an open fire that the client was required to build, to be called a meal. In this case this hunt was a circle jerk from the start!

    As well there is no denying that a bush safari in a place like Zambia, Tanzania, Botswana the $1000 to $1500 p/d is justified as well if dangerous game is involved. I agree however I would never pay that daily fee in RSA, for a ranch hunt and the average is $350 to $500 p/d depending of what is offered, but can't be compared to bush hunt for a LEGLE BROWN BEAR in Alaska, but there is some doubt about the legle part in this Alaskan hunt. Either the man was charged brown bear price for a black bear hunt, or was taken on an ILLEGAL brown bear hunt over bait. Either way he was taken.

    IMO,regardless of price nothing in North America can compare with a Safari in Africa!

    ................................................just my :2c:
  18. Skyline

    Skyline AH Fanatic

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    Dugaboy.........thank you for your comments on the baiting. I mentioned in one of my posts that I had some reservations about a number of things in teh story of this brown bear hunt and baiting was one of them. It has never been mentioned since, nor was my comment addressed...............and I guess the only one who could do that would be the hunter who told Chris the story of his brown bear hunt. So I guess we will never know.

    In any event. I think we can all agree on one thing, and that is you usually get your monies worth on a hunt anywhere in the world if you do your homework and go with a reputable outfitter.
  19. DUGABOY1

    DUGABOY1 CONTRIBUTOR AH Enthusiast

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    Absolutely! One can make a real hunt anyplace, as long as he simply does his homework. :thumb:
  20. DLS

    DLS AH Member

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    I've said for years that hunting in Africa is the least and most expensive hunting one can do, and all at the same time. It is the least expensive in terms of daily rate and per animal in many cases, and the most expensive if you go to a premium desitination with high daily rates and expanded lists of available game.

    A 10 day plains game hunt can be very affordable, while a 21 day dangerous game hunt can cost a not so small fortune these days.

    Any way you slice it, there is nothing like hunting in Africa.

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