I have an iteresting follow-up to this. Booking agent Terry Wagner asked me for a hunt report to pass along to Touch which I provided the same as I did here, not verbatim, but the same thoughts and opinions. Here is Jonathan Collets reply to me this morning.
I received your post hunt report. I am sorry to hear your experience with Touch Africa did not meet your expectations. Sounds to me like you need to stick with the Masai Mara and Okavango Delta where the wide open spaces are teeming with wildlife and free of humans and livestock, and where you can enjoy all the convenient luxuries associated with a hefty daily rate. Your comments have been noted and will go a long way towards improving our operation for future hunters. I trust that by sharing your awful experience with others you have satisfied your discontent with our operation.
I wish you all the best on your next hunting trip.
I dont know about you guys but I find this reply just a bit on the snarky side. Comments?
Thank you for your followup report...
While your Safari was not what you expected you did try and give a good assessment on what your safari was.
I know Terry Wagner and as a business person was doing an evaluation of Touch Africa...All Successful business are looking at ways to improve there business and make sure clientele are being taken care of.
Unless comments are received either positive or negative an Outfitter will not know what is going on in the field. Having run many crews over the years, i know that it take constant work and planning to make the process flow smoothly and keep every one happy.
Outfitters like Wagner will do this to make sure that the operators/PH that they book for are continuing to operating an above board or successful operation. As you are aware one atta-$shit will wipe out a 100 atta-boy's.
I have not talked to Terry, however, i would be willing to bet that someone tipped him off to this forum and while he is a member he does not visit AH regularly...
I would guess that what Outfitter Terry Wagner was trying to do was get to the bottom of your situation and was trying to put out any fire before it spreads. Again something a good business person would do.
As far as Jonathan Collets reply i could see an individual saying that in the heat of the moment, heck i have done it over the years only to eat crow at a later day ( and know it does not taste like chicken). He probably receive an e mail or phone call and shot a reply off before looking it over the next day before he sent it on its was...while that is no excuse for the note that was sent to you...i would let it go and like water under the bridge...
I believe that you have tried to take the high road and provide the benefit of the doubt to Touch Africa, it is time to let this forum fade away...
Just my 2 cents
James, Nothing I said was any reflection on Wagner, and I dont consider him the "outfitter", here but the booking agent. He asked for and received a report on the hunt.
As far as I am concerned this was already over but I felt Collets comments a bit much.
Yeah sounds a bit like a smart A$$ to me as well, as a Professional of his Trade he should have left out the comment "Sounds to me like you need to stick with the Masai Mara and Okavango Delta where the wide open spaces are teeming with wildlife and free of humans and livestock, and where you can enjoy all the convenient luxuries associated with a hefty daily rate. " Has he checked the Daily rates in Zim lately there not Exactly light weight either.
Originally Posted by sestoppelman
For me the worst is "...I trust that by sharing your awful experience with others you have satisfied your discontent with our operation" ... No comment!
I wouldn't worry about it sestoppelman, I believe and trust your report....and am happy you gave a hunting report. I think you gave the audience something to think about when booking a hunt with Touch Africa. I doubt it will hurt their business. They have a lot of happy clients...that find what you and I find unacceptable.....acceptable (irony).
Very Well Put.
Originally Posted by enysse
I ain't worried about it believe me. I just feel it was gratuitous to put it that way. All he had to say was - Hey sorry you didnt do better, please let us know how we can do better for you next time should you choose to hunt with us again.
I hope they continue to do well and wish them no harm.
I wish you luck after Mr. Spots, and I hunted with Jon April last year, taking a nice Buff, Gnu, and numerous Impala. Also thoroughly enjoyed the fabulous wing shooting and fishing too, bass & bream. Had the opportunity but not the pocketbook for nice Waterbuck, an incredible Kudu that I likely won't ever see better, and saw Warthog I couldn't judge etc.
Originally Posted by Lpart
As a straight matter of fact I live in one of the 'other Africas', Canada's remote North. That was my first trip to Africa, the next comes this October, but by no means my first experiences hunting in paying-client country. An hour from home is North America's largest land animal, the Woods Bison, in large free-ranging herds, Elk, world class Moose & Bear, etc. Africa wasn't much of an adjustment, and I was honestly nervous of facing disappointment given the hunting we enjoy free here and grow up with (including Woods Bison this winter for a shameless gloat).
Thankfully, that never happened, I was floored by my experience with Touch Africa a mere year and change ago. Jon is now a good friend, and I have no doubt I'll return soon enough, I'm concerned perhaps part of your experience's displeasures arose from the PH. Jon is a fantastic PH to hunt with, hardworking, tireless, genuinely a good and highly experienced fellow. He's a sharp tracker as well, frequently bringing us up on game where I was quite sure we weren't going to pull it off.
I also was very fortunate to see world class animals, namely the Kudu we watched trot off for lack of a bulge in my back pocket, nice waterbuck, and a gorgeous heavy buff bull I shot appreciately- with my camera. He's a young, big breeder with many years ahead of him, I hope others get to see him and enjoy the sight. I went in with Buff and birds as my desires, and both were sated in style. The other animals I saw and hunted were fantastic surprises, bonus really.
Camp I was very impressed with, same for the food. I quite like the fact the electricity goes off late evening- the fact there was electricity at all is a big step up from what paying Europeons experience in my own backyard. To get back to PH's, as I've digressed, Jon knows that land like the literal back of his hand. It is densely foliaged, and there is more game there than you see by far- we bumped into them frequently in the thick after Buff. I can definitely see how they could disappear at times, even for ten days perhaps.
I know I'll hunt Africa many, many times in life, and elsewhere as well. I also know my opinion of Touch Africa is certain to remain high, as I had such a fantastic time. As for people, the odd cow, buggies... TIA, didn't mind them one bit and never found the odd ones we encountered in our way. The Colletts have very good relations with the other locals, and provide a lot of meaningful employment, living space, and charity. I was actually impressed by the model and it made me happy to see Africa- animals, a few people, and all, together not just a fenced private enclosure. I also found the conservancy large and not restricting in any way, and I live in the heart of Canada's Boreal, challenged only by Siberia and Antarctica as an open wilderness.
Now, not trying to be argumentative, simply no discussion is complete without both sides. I am aware of your African experience, and in light of that feel badly you didn't enjoy Touch Africa as I did. I'm of the 'There's an off day for the best team, and situation' line of thought on it. My apologies if any of my thoughts here are disjointed, poorly organised, and awkward, I was forced to write this all on a cell phone for lack of a computer. It was just something I had to write.
All the best,
Angus, No worries. As you recognize I am an experienced African hunter, been doing it for over a 25 year period in 5 different countries and 6 different outfitters. But as one who has seen several different types of safaris I have much to compare to, thus I am opinionated and certain things annoy me as already stated. I also said I dont expect anyone to change their opinion of Touch, if you liked it you liked it. I did not. I was ready to leave after 5 days and thats a first for me because like most on the forum I love Africa. Also as I said before if the hunting had been better a lot of the little things probably would not have been mentioned. Its a matter of perspective. What works for some dont always work for all. I dont believe however that my PH who knew the property well tried less than Jon would have with the possible exception of the hyena hunting which got short shrift. Hope you enjoy your next hunt with Touch but for me I would go back to RSA first.
Ses sorry for the late input and read of your report. I have been back a month now and am slowly catching up on posts of friends.
As you said before we both left; "Don't count your chickens". I took your advice and kept it in mind. I had a way different set of hunts than you, I am both glad and sad to say. (still working on the stories for my posts)
In answer to your question:
Way on the snarky side! Alluding to and effectively telling you to stick to hunting elsewhere. Hmmm, makes certain that I will be hunting elsewhere just for that reply.
Originally Posted by sestoppelman
Don't think so! By the tone of this note that did not happen.
Originally Posted by sestoppelman
His listening skills alleviated and exorcised all your concerns and now you are all better. :)
Originally Posted by sestoppelman
My PH experience (Kemp Landman, Leeukop Safaris) in comparison, after three days of doing an entire Bushbuck inventory on the reserve (even though we saw several, females, lambs and non-shooters and shooters in closed areas) got on the phone and found another option for me. He Located and secured hunting on another large property.
It was most appreciated and I was lucky enough to have the desired result too.
That is the kind of service and response I personally expect from any PROFESSIONAL HUNTER and OUTFITTER.
Oh well, knowing you from your posts, you went hunting each day and you were in Africa and it beat sitting at home or working.
Next year country!
The next hunt will be sooner, since you already have the money for the next set of trophy fees in the bank. :)
Brickburn, Good to hear things went better for you. Looking forward to hearing more about it. I look at this way, six trips to Africa, one not so hot. Not doing too bad. Be a while before I go again, probably not until my freshman in HS boy is graduated. Meantime I am working on the ultimate money waster; a boat! Oh yeah and I have already heard all the boat jokes so dont waste your time LOL! Not my first rodeo with boats either.
Row, row, row your boat!
Slow learner maybe.
Well a fella has to have something to keep him out of trouble.
Sorry about your experience! Whilst you say this 'wasn't your first rodeo', I appreciate that you may have made some enquires about the property beforehand, my point here is that it is vitally important for any client coming out to africa (or anywhere else for that matter) to ask for contactable references and correspond with them before making your booking. All operators are chasing the same dollar and will tell you what you want to hear! Get a more subjective opinion! You spend a lot of money on your safari and you need as fully informed as you possibly can be about the location in this electronic media day and age. When shopping for a short list like you were, ask the operator to send you pictures from last season with the clients names so you can cross reference them! Hunting Hyena in cattle country in Zim is a tough task as they are 'super smart in human evasion' as they've been persecuted for the last 100 odd years. Not a bad idea to correspond with the intended PH if you can and find out something about him too! The PH's are generally booked for the season by the operator well in advance unless something untoward happens.
Just saying :)
Yeah... did all that. Thanks