A Survey Of What Do African Professional Hunters Want You To Bring

Terry Blauwkamp

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A Survey Of What Do African Professional Hunters Want You To Bring

During the past years, I have undertaken an intensive survey of African Professional Hunters, (PH’s).

Most PH’s have said that there are only two times they are scared while hunting, (ok, maybe three):
l. When they go to meet a client at the airport that they have never met before. He has no idea what this guy looks like and what kind of shape he is in. He is sometimes not even sure if the client is old or young.
2. When the client opens up his gun case and they head for the range. Lord only knows what the salesman at the local discount store sold this poor guy. This is especially true about African hunts, since odds are that, the salesman hasn’t a clue what the client is going to shoot. To most people, a Kudu is about the same size a Duiker.
Usually the client tells the clerk that he is going to Africa and asks what does he need? The salesman immediately hands him a 300 Loudenstomper-Ultra-Wounderby with a muzzle brake and a great big scope.
The salesman never even asked what he was going to hunt or at what ranges or conditions game might be encountered.
3. The final time he is scared is when the client wounds a Buffalo, Lion or Leopard, because he (the PH) is the guy who must find that animal and finish the job. Moreover, guess who has the best chance of being chewed on?

Below is listed the replies of the PH’s contacted.

What do "most" PH’s want a hunter to bring for guns?
For Plains game: (Including Leopard)
Most important, is that a client bring a gun his familiar with and can shoot the best.

PH’s surveyed would like to see most clients bring the following:
1st choice is 300 Win Mag with 26 votes, if he can shoot it.
2nd choice is 30-06 with 24 votes
3rd choice is 7 mm Mag with 18 votes
4th choice is 338 Win Mag with 9 votes
5th choice is a 270 Winchester 7 votes
6th choice is 7 mm STW or any of the ULTRA Magnums

For “Dangerous” Game (Buffalo, Lion, Elephant, Rhino, or Hippo):
1st. Choice is 375 H with 54 votes
2nd Choice is 416 Rem with 11 votes
3rd Choice is the 458 Win or Lott, and Misc. Double Rifles.

Are many of the scopes hunters bring too big? 48 yes and 5 no

Is there any particular gun or scope that you HATE to see one of your hunters arrive with?
First place went to Weatherby (aka, Wounderby) they got 27 votes. The new ULTRA Calibers and STW’s are not getting any raving reviews so far either.

The reason the most everyone hates the Weatherby's, (and the Ultra’s) is because the recoil is too severe, and the client flinches and then makes a bad shot.

IF a man uses the RIGHT bullets AND can stand the recoil, the Weatherby and Ultra’s are awesome killers.

Scopes were not a major factor, except if a variable power, the client always has it cranked up to max all the time. Better to set it at 4x or 6x and then if needed power up to 9x or 12x.

Do very many hunters bring reloaded ammo? 58 yes. Which is about half of their hunters?

Is there particular factory ammo that you LOVE to see your hunters bring?
Federal Premiums with Nosler Partitions or Trophy Bonded Bear Claws got 61 votes
Remington ammo with Swift A-Frames got 21 votes
PMC or Wby with Barnes X bullets got 14 votes
Winchester Fail Safes got 9 votes

Have you ever experienced any misfires?
Factory misfires. 78 no 5 yes
Reload misfires? 79 no 4 yes
Do you or any of your PH's reload? 17 yes 59 no.

Do you think that the "Super Premium" bullets, like Trophy Bonded, Swift A-Frames, Fail-Safes, and Barnes-X etc are worth the extra cost? 69 yes 14 no

How about Nosler Ballistic Tips and other “plastic tipped” bullets? A simple NO will cover the replies. They are too violent on impact, and seriously lack reasonable penetration.

Should your hunters practice more? 77 yes

Do reloaders tend to be better shots than those that do not reload? 66 yes 2 no

Do you like hunters to bring guns with KDF or Mag Na Ports? 75 no and 0 yes (Better to bring a smaller gun that kicks less.)

If hunting dangerous game, does the client REALLY know what might be in store for him? No way, they watch the Mark Sullivan videos and see TOO MANY charges, (most of those are allegedly staged anyway.) What they really do not realize is that their little soft bodies are not ready for the bush.

They bring Boots that are new, and their feet will hurt an hour after arrival. There is no way they are ready for a long hard hunt on foot or their belly.
Many clients are there only because they feel it is the “IN” thing to do and they must keep up with the “Jones”. They are much wiser the second time around.

PROFILE OF THE FIRST TIME AFRICAN HUNTER
Based on the information received from almost 100 South African, Namibian, Zimbabwe and Tanzania PH's, a profile has emerged.

Most likely, the first time hunter is likely to bring a large Magnum of some sort even though he has a fine 7mm Mag, 30-06, 270 Win or 35 Whelan at home, "somebody", convinced him he needs a new 300 Mag or bigger, just for plains game.

The stock on his rifle will be new and shiny, and has a 50/50 chance of a muzzle brake to reduce recoil and kill his PH's ears.

He will shoot ammo or bullets that are going too fast and are of too light in weight for the caliber, like a 150 gr instead or 180 gr or 200 gr. in the 300 Magnum or 30-06. It seems they believe that FASTER is the magic word. Supposedly, the FASTER it goes, the better "it kills", so they use the 140 gr or 150 gr in the 7 Mag instead of 175 gr. bullets.

Our first time hunter will most likely have a minimum of a 3x-9x scope and most often will have a 3.5x-10x or more on it. It will have a gloss finish, and no matter what the situation, it will be cranked up to the maximum all the time. It will be in High rings with enough space between the scope bell and the barrel to run your finger underneath.

There is a 50/50 chance he will bring reloaded ammo, and thank goodness the odds are, he will have no trouble with it.

IF he has trouble with the functioning of the ammo, it will be that he has got them loaded too hot, and will stick a bolt or blow a primer.

His clothes will be brand new from Cabela's or Bass Pro shop, but will be a nice light colored khaki so the game can see him better. He will have a new "safari" hat with the Zebra trim, which is hot and heavy. On the other hand, at the very least a new “white” baseball cap on that the game can see for miles.

His boots will be new and they will be Gortex lined so his feet sweat, and he can get blisters easier.

He will have a big ammo belt so that he can carry lots of ammo.

If using factory ammo, there is a 50/50 chance he will have brought Nosler Ballistic Tips instead of Nosler Partitions, even though they are both Federal Premiums.

He certainly will bring a lot of luggage along and will buy a bunch of junk and carvings, and now has to figure out how to get them home. The “rule” is, “You bought it, and you carry it”.

PROFILE OF THE SECOND TIME AFRICAN HUNTER
Our second time hunter is much wiser now. Depending on where he will hunt, he will now tailor his gun to the conditions.

If he is hunting in the southern part of South Africa or Namibia, where ranges are "long", he will still take his 300 Mag, but it will be a dull matte finish, in a black fiberglass stock. He will also think twice about a stainless steel gun and scope, because they “shine” too much.

Moreover, it is doubtful if he will ever own a muzzle brake again, since his PH and his trackers are now learning to lip-read.

He may still bring a 3x-9x scope but it to will be in a matte finish.

If he is hunting in the "brush" of the South African Transvaal or in Zimbabwe, he might even just bring his 30-06 with a plain 4x scope, and will shoot 180 gr or heavier PREMIUM bullets, or may even use 220 gr Bullets.

In addition, he will practice MUCH more.

He has a new understanding of just how tough African game is. He will use heavier and tougher bullets next time. Bullet velocity will not be as much of a factor this time. If he is a handloader, he will again bring reloads, coupled as mentioned above, with heavier and tougher bullets.

His nice new light colored safari clothes will now be relegated to sitting around the campfire telling lies.

His hunting clothes will now be a "dark" or darker green and even a little Real Tree or Advantage camo thrown in for good measure. His hat will be of very lightweight and cool material and will again be a dark color.

His boots will be well broken in, and will be plain leather or fabric, with no Gore-Tex or Thinsulate.

His ammo belt will now be for only 5 or 10 shells, because he has practiced shooting offhand, and with his new shooting sticks or bipod.

If using factory ammo, he will still use Federal Premium ammo, but with Trophy Bonded Bear Claws or Barnes TSX bullets now.

His new gun case of last year will look like the devil now. He will have gotten some lightweight luggage bags after the Airlines nipped him for over-weight charges. Those heavy suitcases are history. He will also remember that it is TWO pieces of luggage per passenger, not two bags AND a gun case.

He will also put his ammo in plastic 20 round boxes, and slip them inside the ORGINAL FACTORY box, so he is in compliance. This is because the ones his factory ammo were in, were destroyed in transit, and the Airport X-ray machine showed loose ammo in his luggage and he had to unpack it and fix it all up.

Speaking of ammo, he and his partner will now each carry some of each other’s ammo, because last year the airlines lost his bag with all of his ammo, and he had none for a week and had to use his partner’s guns and ammo.
HOWEVER, he has had so much fun that he just cannot wait to go back again. He will drive the old car a year or two longer, and not put new carpeting in the house.

He will do just about anything he can do to come up with the time and money to go again.



full


full
 
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IvW

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A rifle with suitable ammunition with premium grade bullets appropriate for the task and intended species that you can use with compitance and accuracy, not a super duper high speed magnum of sort with more than one hole in the front of the barrel....

Some extra $ preferably in cash
 

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The ammo thing is interesting. I take home loaded ammo when I travel but I travel with the ‘universal’ calibres that, should my ammo go missing en route which has happened, I can get some locally. To my mind the universals are: .308, 30-06, 300WM and .375H&H and are pretty much available all over the planet. In Europe I’d probably add a couple of the 9.3 variants to that list.
FN
 

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This is an old topic, but very good.
I must say, I, as a safari novice was quite opposite.

I asked my outfitter what to bring, and followed his advise. I brought with me only one large bag, minimum clothes, with enough empty space to stack souvenirs inside, on the way home. (plus hand lugagge)
2nd safari, did the same.
For 3rd safari now booked, I added only 375 rifle, and first 2 safaris were with camp guns. (for 3rd trip, so it will be hand laguage, rifle case, and large light bag, half empty on the way to Africa...)

A lot of the above mentioned could be avoided if only PH or outfiiter was conuslted on time.
 

BigSteve57

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The ammo thing is interesting. I take home loaded ammo when I travel but I travel with the ‘universal’ calibres that, should my ammo go missing en route which has happened, I can get some locally. To my mind the universals are: .308, 30-06, 300WM and .375H&H and are pretty much available all over the planet. In Europe I’d probably add a couple of the 9.3 variants to that list.
FN
This! I've made my decisions on which rifle/calibre to buy based on the likelihood of me being able to find ammo in a hardware store in rural US. A guy on my last Elk hunt left his ammo at the lodge and was able to save his hunt because he was using 30-06 and something like 4 guys had 30-06 as their load. It cost him a case of beer when we got back but it saved his entire trip.
 

tedthorn

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And......
Most of those answers would be different if you asked if this hunter was a "woman" or a teenager.

I did a survey

I asked rifle and cartridge questions for a "man" to hunt Africa....

I waited a month and then asked the very same questions for a woman.....funny how the answers changed
 

ack

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A Survey Of What Do African Professional Hunters Want You To Bring

During the past years, I have undertaken an intensive survey of African Professional Hunters, (PH’s).

Most PH’s have said that there are only two times they are scared while hunting, (ok, maybe three):
l. When they go to meet a client at the airport that they have never met before. He has no idea what this guy looks like and what kind of shape he is in. He is sometimes not even sure if the client is old or young.
2. When the client opens up his gun case and they head for the range. Lord only knows what the salesman at the local discount store sold this poor guy. This is especially true about African hunts, since odds are that, the salesman hasn’t a clue what the client is going to shoot. To most people, a Kudu is about the same size a Duiker.
Usually the client tells the clerk that he is going to Africa and asks what does he need? The salesman immediately hands him a 300 Loudenstomper-Ultra-Wounderby with a muzzle brake and a great big scope.
The salesman never even asked what he was going to hunt or at what ranges or conditions game might be encountered.
3. The final time he is scared is when the client wounds a Buffalo, Lion or Leopard, because he (the PH) is the guy who must find that animal and finish the job. Moreover, guess who has the best chance of being chewed on?

Below is listed the replies of the PH’s contacted.

What do "most" PH’s want a hunter to bring for guns?
For Plains game: (Including Leopard)
Most important, is that a client bring a gun his familiar with and can shoot the best.

PH’s surveyed would like to see most clients bring the following:
1st choice is 300 Win Mag with 26 votes, if he can shoot it.
2nd choice is 30-06 with 24 votes
3rd choice is 7 mm Mag with 18 votes
4th choice is 338 Win Mag with 9 votes
5th choice is a 270 Winchester 7 votes
6th choice is 7 mm STW or any of the ULTRA Magnums

For “Dangerous” Game (Buffalo, Lion, Elephant, Rhino, or Hippo):
1st. Choice is 375 H with 54 votes
2nd Choice is 416 Rem with 11 votes
3rd Choice is the 458 Win or Lott, and Misc. Double Rifles.

Are many of the scopes hunters bring too big? 48 yes and 5 no

Is there any particular gun or scope that you HATE to see one of your hunters arrive with?
First place went to Weatherby (aka, Wounderby) they got 27 votes. The new ULTRA Calibers and STW’s are not getting any raving reviews so far either.

The reason the most everyone hates the Weatherby's, (and the Ultra’s) is because the recoil is too severe, and the client flinches and then makes a bad shot.

IF a man uses the RIGHT bullets AND can stand the recoil, the Weatherby and Ultra’s are awesome killers.

Scopes were not a major factor, except if a variable power, the client always has it cranked up to max all the time. Better to set it at 4x or 6x and then if needed power up to 9x or 12x.

Do very many hunters bring reloaded ammo? 58 yes. Which is about half of their hunters?

Is there particular factory ammo that you LOVE to see your hunters bring?
Federal Premiums with Nosler Partitions or Trophy Bonded Bear Claws got 61 votes
Remington ammo with Swift A-Frames got 21 votes
PMC or Wby with Barnes X bullets got 14 votes
Winchester Fail Safes got 9 votes

Have you ever experienced any misfires?
Factory misfires. 78 no 5 yes
Reload misfires? 79 no 4 yes
Do you or any of your PH's reload? 17 yes 59 no.

Do you think that the "Super Premium" bullets, like Trophy Bonded, Swift A-Frames, Fail-Safes, and Barnes-X etc are worth the extra cost? 69 yes 14 no

How about Nosler Ballistic Tips and other “plastic tipped” bullets? A simple NO will cover the replies. They are too violent on impact, and seriously lack reasonable penetration.

Should your hunters practice more? 77 yes

Do reloaders tend to be better shots than those that do not reload? 66 yes 2 no

Do you like hunters to bring guns with KDF or Mag Na Ports? 75 no and 0 yes (Better to bring a smaller gun that kicks less.)

If hunting dangerous game, does the client REALLY know what might be in store for him? No way, they watch the Mark Sullivan videos and see TOO MANY charges, (most of those are allegedly staged anyway.) What they really do not realize is that their little soft bodies are not ready for the bush.

They bring Boots that are new, and their feet will hurt an hour after arrival. There is no way they are ready for a long hard hunt on foot or their belly.
Many clients are there only because they feel it is the “IN” thing to do and they must keep up with the “Jones”. They are much wiser the second time around.

PROFILE OF THE FIRST TIME AFRICAN HUNTER
Based on the information received from almost 100 South African, Namibian, Zimbabwe and Tanzania PH's, a profile has emerged.

Most likely, the first time hunter is likely to bring a large Magnum of some sort even though he has a fine 7mm Mag, 30-06, 270 Win or 35 Whelan at home, "somebody", convinced him he needs a new 300 Mag or bigger, just for plains game.

The stock on his rifle will be new and shiny, and has a 50/50 chance of a muzzle brake to reduce recoil and kill his PH's ears.

He will shoot ammo or bullets that are going too fast and are of too light in weight for the caliber, like a 150 gr instead or 180 gr or 200 gr. in the 300 Magnum or 30-06. It seems they believe that FASTER is the magic word. Supposedly, the FASTER it goes, the better "it kills", so they use the 140 gr or 150 gr in the 7 Mag instead of 175 gr. bullets.

Our first time hunter will most likely have a minimum of a 3x-9x scope and most often will have a 3.5x-10x or more on it. It will have a gloss finish, and no matter what the situation, it will be cranked up to the maximum all the time. It will be in High rings with enough space between the scope bell and the barrel to run your finger underneath.

There is a 50/50 chance he will bring reloaded ammo, and thank goodness the odds are, he will have no trouble with it.

IF he has trouble with the functioning of the ammo, it will be that he has got them loaded too hot, and will stick a bolt or blow a primer.

His clothes will be brand new from Cabela's or Bass Pro shop, but will be a nice light colored khaki so the game can see him better. He will have a new "safari" hat with the Zebra trim, which is hot and heavy. On the other hand, at the very least a new “white” baseball cap on that the game can see for miles.

His boots will be new and they will be Gortex lined so his feet sweat, and he can get blisters easier.

He will have a big ammo belt so that he can carry lots of ammo.

If using factory ammo, there is a 50/50 chance he will have brought Nosler Ballistic Tips instead of Nosler Partitions, even though they are both Federal Premiums.

He certainly will bring a lot of luggage along and will buy a bunch of junk and carvings, and now has to figure out how to get them home. The “rule” is, “You bought it, and you carry it”.

PROFILE OF THE SECOND TIME AFRICAN HUNTER
Our second time hunter is much wiser now. Depending on where he will hunt, he will now tailor his gun to the conditions.

If he is hunting in the southern part of South Africa or Namibia, where ranges are "long", he will still take his 300 Mag, but it will be a dull matte finish, in a black fiberglass stock. He will also think twice about a stainless steel gun and scope, because they “shine” too much.

Moreover, it is doubtful if he will ever own a muzzle brake again, since his PH and his trackers are now learning to lip-read.

He may still bring a 3x-9x scope but it to will be in a matte finish.

If he is hunting in the "brush" of the South African Transvaal or in Zimbabwe, he might even just bring his 30-06 with a plain 4x scope, and will shoot 180 gr or heavier PREMIUM bullets, or may even use 220 gr Bullets.

In addition, he will practice MUCH more.

He has a new understanding of just how tough African game is. He will use heavier and tougher bullets next time. Bullet velocity will not be as much of a factor this time. If he is a handloader, he will again bring reloads, coupled as mentioned above, with heavier and tougher bullets.

His nice new light colored safari clothes will now be relegated to sitting around the campfire telling lies.

His hunting clothes will now be a "dark" or darker green and even a little Real Tree or Advantage camo thrown in for good measure. His hat will be of very lightweight and cool material and will again be a dark color.

His boots will be well broken in, and will be plain leather or fabric, with no Gore-Tex or Thinsulate.

His ammo belt will now be for only 5 or 10 shells, because he has practiced shooting offhand, and with his new shooting sticks or bipod.

If using factory ammo, he will still use Federal Premium ammo, but with Trophy Bonded Bear Claws or Barnes TSX bullets now.

His new gun case of last year will look like the devil now. He will have gotten some lightweight luggage bags after the Airlines nipped him for over-weight charges. Those heavy suitcases are history. He will also remember that it is TWO pieces of luggage per passenger, not two bags AND a gun case.

He will also put his ammo in plastic 20 round boxes, and slip them inside the ORGINAL FACTORY box, so he is in compliance. This is because the ones his factory ammo were in, were destroyed in transit, and the Airport X-ray machine showed loose ammo in his luggage and he had to unpack it and fix it all up.

Speaking of ammo, he and his partner will now each carry some of each other’s ammo, because last year the airlines lost his bag with all of his ammo, and he had none for a week and had to use his partner’s guns and ammo.
HOWEVER, he has had so much fun that he just cannot wait to go back again. He will drive the old car a year or two longer, and not put new carpeting in the house.

He will do just about anything he can do to come up with the time and money to go again.
You are dead wrong about muzzle breaks,I've been 3 times an have never heard anyone complain about them..They have complimented our shooting though...I'm sure you have been elsewhere but that's our experience..I agree with the rest though.
 

JES Adventures

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Interesting thread, all good info. Seems like when I started out my PH’s always said “bring the heaviest caliber for plainsgame you are comfortable shooting. For dangerous game, the 375 H&H always was first. Having hunted a bit a deep rooted interest in firearms I have acquired a few over the years so tend to use a 416 Rigby on DG and a 470 these days when the call for a double comes into play.

Personal gear like clothing, bino’s etc are a personal choice.

After that, most of the PH’s I hunt with ask me to bring Whiskey and Cigars!
 

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You are dead wrong about muzzle breaks,I've been 3 times an have never heard anyone complain about them..They have complimented our shooting though...I'm sure you have been elsewhere but that's our experience..I agree with the rest though.
PH's are very good about putting up with and catering to clients. It is what they do. I have no doubt none complained in your presence.

I know of no professional hunter that doesn't absolutely hate the things. Not one. Trackers don't even get a vote.
 

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I really appreciate the original post. Since it is from 2009, someone interested in rerunning the same or different questionnaire 12y later?
 

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PH's are very good about putting up with and catering to clients. It is what they do. I have no doubt none complained in your presence.

I know of no professional hunter that doesn't absolutely hate the things. Not one. Trackers don't even get a vote.
Let 'em bitch in private..It's my money they get.
 

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I definitely agree on the clothing. I dont know anyone that hasnt used light tan on their first hunt.
As far as gun and caliber ?
Ive always felt comfortable with the rifle I shoot with the best accuracy that has a weight I can carry all day.
My Remington 300wm and my heym 500ne, are my duo of choice.
And I really try not to carry a belt full of accessories. I will have a small pack, but will leave it in the truck. Just need 10rds ammo on my belt and small binos in the front pocket.
I guess some of it is a personal choice. Age,strength and so on.
 

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3 sets of clothes, 2 pair of boots( one worn going over), light jacket, hat, 5 rd belt slide, knife, Leatherman Supertool, toiletries, cel phone and charger, headlamp and batteries, 375HH and 20 rds, 7RM or 6.5CR and 40 rds., electrical adaptor, cash, paperwork. and always a good book or two.
 

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Let 'em bitch in private..It's my money they get.
Perfect attitude.

In your first post, you made a blanket statement with regard to muzzle brakes that based upon my experiences is simply is not true. It is an issue that I would urge you to dig into a little bit. PH's and Trackers rely on their directional hearing almost as much as their eyes to keep their clients and themselves safe - particularly hunting dangerous game. Getting in close with either ear plugs or tinnitus tends to defeat that intent. Muzzle brakes are terrible for everyone but the man behind the butt.

But you are absolutely correct. You are indeed paying the bill. No one will tell you to leave your rifle in camp and everyone will do very best to cater to your every desire. Again, I would simply urge you to dig into the issue and your assumptions a little before ignoring the welfare of the hired help.
 
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Kevin Peacocke

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My buddy has a muzzle brake on his 458. Our PH wasn't overly pleased but had the good grace not to spoil the situation. Instead when we were zero'ing in the rifles he related the story where a client fired one resting across the bonnet of a Land Cruiser and the blast cracked the windscreen. I am old fashioned - be considerate or leave the problem piece in the rack.
 

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Let 'em bitch in private..It's my money they get.
I find this an abominable response @ack
Being the buyer of the hunt and having the money does not give one license to behave in such a way as to disrespect the preferences of the other involved parties.
I usually avoid confrontation, especially on an open forum such as this, but this had to be said.

V.
 

IvW

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Let 'em bitch in private..It's my money they get.
What a shite reply......
Your money sure it is, not any different to anybody elses......

Cannot imagine a hunt would be very enjoyable with somebody having that attitude..but then there always has to be different people always has to be one....
 

ack

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You are dead wrong about muzzle breaks,I've been 3 times an have never heard anyone complain about them..They have complimented our shooting though...I'm sure you have been elsewhere but that's our experience..I agree with the rest though.
Everyone was given ear plugs and no one complained...
 

CD24

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Since muzzle brakes took over the thread I have always wondered why more PHs and staff don't use electronic hearing protection. It is hard for me to believe that the brake on say a 300 is louder than the short barreled 500 in his hands. I think it's all somewhere around 135db. Not like they are getting away without loss of hearing just because there is no brake.

Any PHs out there that can weigh in?
 
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