Auction Hunts: Deal? Or Duped?

Discussion in 'General Chat' started by Cam Moon, Oct 6, 2019.

  1. Cam Moon

    Cam Moon AH Veteran

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    Hi all. I'm thoroughly enjoying this site and truly appreciate the diversity of the members and their different ideas. I value that members may not always share the same opinions, but (for the most part) seem to respect each other's thoughts and ideas. I appreciate all productive input and would like to give a quick "Thank you!".
    I've read some posts recently where members have either bid on hunts at fundraising auctions, won a hunt in a draw or raffle, and/or have been discussing the same.
    I've noticed a lot of negative feedback with regards to these situations. I'm wondering how many people would share their first hand experiences with these "winnings".
    When I learn about any type of bait and switch tactics it certainly turns me off. I don't like the idea of something being overvalued just so people will bid higher or buy more tickets either. I've also heard of some ridiculously high trophy prices on animals that are not included in the winners package. And even some undisclosed or hidden costs. All of these upset me.
    I believe that there are several members on here that don't feel near the financial burdens that some others (myself included) feel, but I think for the majority, the bottom line as far as overall costs plays a very significant role. I hunt because it's my passion! I scrounge and save and put myself in debt because nature and hunting are a part of me and who I am. Now I've been bitten by the African hunting bug, and by gawd every dollar counts!
    So my question is this.... Are ALL these so called winners being duped? Could they simply contact one of the many reputable outfits available here and get just as good of a deal or better? Or are there some really good opportunities to be had at tremendous value at these auctions, draws, and raffles?
     
    Philip Glass and gillettehunter like this.

  2. WAB

    WAB AH Elite

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    Cam Moon, read my recent hunt report. We recently bookended a Zambezi valley buffalo hunt with two auction hunts; Limpopo with Numzaan and Namibia with AfriHunt. Both were quality operations and the hunts were as advertised.
     
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  3. Countrylife

    Countrylife AH Veteran

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    The auction hunts normally say what is included, if they don't I would not bid on it. My experience when I've reviewed what is included is that it's not much and the final cost will be much much higher. In all cases I felt that I'd be better off booking with an outfitter directly. I've found that I'll end up with a hunt I'm more interested in, in terms of animals, lodging, staff support, and of course cost. This is not to say there aren't good deals out there, I just haven't found one, just be careful of what you bid on.

    I've looked into auctions, but have not bid on any.
     
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  4. Red Leg

    Red Leg AH ENABLER LIFETIME BRONZE BENEFACTOR AH Legend

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    There are some great auction buys to be had. HOWEVER, you must educate yourself to understand what you are seeing in the offer. Ridiculously high trophy fees can quickly eradicate any savings in the daily rate. And there are many postage stamp operations of which I have no interest however cheap the sale. Much of this sort of thing can be ferreted out of the catalog description. Usually, local chapters publish auctions prior to the event. Google up the various outfitters and find the two or three that look like a place you really want to hunt.

    I recently returned from a buffalo hunt in the Limpopo that I bought because no one else placed a bid. It was a cow hunt, but the outfitter was sitting at my table. I asked him if the buyer could opt for a bull at his regular trophy fee rate. He readily agreed, and when the hunt came up, I purchased it rather than let it go without a bid. It was a superb experience that cost me perhaps 60% of the hunt had I merely booked it. Years ago, I purchased a mule deer hunt at auction for my son and me in British Columbia. I have hunted with that outfitter four times over the subsequent decade.

    So yes, there are some great buys among the donations. If you do just a little bit of research prior to the event, they are actually pretty easy to identify.
     
    Cam Moon, thi9elsp, cagkt3 and 3 others like this.

  5. Ryan

    Ryan AH Fanatic

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    There is definitely good, bad, and ugly out there. Auctions play on emotions and a lot of people get wound up in the moment, make assumptions, don't read the details, and don't do any comparisons. You have to be critical not emotional, which you are since you're asking these questions. I personally fall into the latter group who hasn't found that gem from the auctions I've seen and has done well just looking around. But I've known a few experienced people who have done well with auction hunts, so I'm pretty sure there's some good deals to be found, just not every hunt on the auction block, or sometimes any from a particular auctions offerings.
     
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  6. Bullthrower338

    Bullthrower338 AH ENABLER AH Legend

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    I have bought two hunts at auction one was with @Wild Wildebeest Safaris and was excellent. The other was my first trip to RSA and it was fun, but had some seriously disappointing events take place, I attribute most of it to the operator having marital troubles and not really giving a damn about his hunt. I have spoken with this PH since and he was apologetic about the attention that he did not give out hunt. As @Red Leg said above, do some research and it is easy to sort out what is a bargain and what is a burn.
    Most of these guys that donate tend to have house parties in the states during the shows and it is a great opportunity to get to know them and possibly strike up some nice deals to add into your contract. The way I look at these donation hunts is as a two way street. They are donating a trip that they most likely know is not going to be full value of the hunt at auction, the outfitters depend on a client adding animals to a package and I believe in doing that and most definitely do when I’m hunting. During your research you can compare trophy fees with other outfits in the area and if the auction package had 50% higher fees than the one down the road you know they are trying to make up their “donation” by increased trophy fees. If they are in line with the norm, great, shoot more on your trip. The old adage buyer beware is true in everything, researching before buying is the only way to negate those risks.
     
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  7. curtism1234

    curtism1234 AH Enthusiast

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    I have not bid on an auction but I have seen the horror stories on here. If I was to bid on auction, it would have to be for a bargain price. Otherwise, I would just book with one of the fine outfitters here.

    I know the fundraisers are a social experience, but you really need to grab your phone and research the company and reviews before you buy rather than after.
     

  8. gillettehunter

    gillettehunter AH ENABLER AH Legend

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    Good advice above. I've bought 2 auction hunts at SCI. Here is the most recent one:
    https://www.africahunting.com/threads/zambia-zambia-with-balla-balla-safaris.53377/
    I have seen hunts go for almost 80% of stated value and some for 10%. You have to do your research and read all of the fine print. Gotta know exactly what your bidding on! I can't tell you how many people come on here asking about an outfitter AFTER they have bought the hunt. BEFORE you bid is the time to ask. A little research will tell you ahead of time what hunts are available. Don't do it on impulse!! So many folks get a few drinks in them and bid on a hunt that has a lot of add on costs. If possible speak to the outfitter ahead of time.
    This is how I stretch my hunting $$. One of the TV show hosts that I hunted with last yr. told me thats how they do some of their own hunts.
    Bruce
     

  9. Royal27

    Royal27 AH ENABLER AH Ambassador

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    Deal or duped?

    The answer is yes. They can be both, just like a hunt purchased through any other method can be both.

    Like @Red Leg and @Bullthrower338 both said you can get a great deal, but do your research.

    And beware! Some auction hunts are a true donation from the outfitter, but some outfitters ENTIRE marketing strategy is donation hunts. And yet, they stay in business or even thrive. What does that tell you?
     

  10. Mark Biggerstaff

    Mark Biggerstaff BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Fanatic

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    I will say this. I have never bid on an auction hunt but I did win one in a contest. It was my first hunt to South Africa in 2018. It was with Bos en Dal Safaris. I won 3 days and two animals in that contest. I could have not been more pleased with that experience I had. Everything was just as said, I added days and animals and it exceeded my expectations. I did not have the opportunity at one of the animals that was in the package I won but I was credited that Trophy fee to the ones I did. That was one memorable hunt and have since booked two more trips with them. I have bought at auction hunts that were here in USA. Some where complete failures and some where great. Do your homework on the hunts before you agree.
     
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  11. K-man

    K-man AH Elite

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    As all have said, do VERY diligent research days or weeks before the auction, not when the auction is about to close. The other point to make is not just what is included, but read between the lines to see what is NOT included, then decide what you will spend. I have been on several auction hunts, most quite good and have rebooked with several. They are usually a great fundraiser for the hosting organization.
     
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  12. buckmarkhunter

    buckmarkhunter AH Enthusiast

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    I think like everyone has said just do your homework on what it actually is and includes. I have done it one time and it worked out great.
     

  13. thi9elsp

    thi9elsp GOLD SUPPORTER AH Fanatic

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    Buyer beware is the best approach. Others have said the same as I'm going to provide here but this is another data point for you.

    2012 DSC auction hunt. My first hunt in Africa - Chewore North Zimbabwe. The economy wasn't that great and the bidding was low. I paid about 60% of retail for one heck of hunt inclusive of daily rates for hunter / non-hunter, 10 days, 2 days fishing, Cape buffalo trophy and filming of hunt.
    2016 DSC auction hunt. My second hunt in Africa - Niassa Province Mozambique. No one knew the PH but the outfitter was well known. I paid about 30% of daily rates and then I had to pay for non-hunter daily rates and normal trophy fees.

    Both of these hunts were fantastic, my affordable way to do Cape buffalo twice, and we gained lasting friendships with the PHs.

    In 2008 I had an opportunity at a cancellation white tail hunt in Illinois and went for it. Saved about 35%. Poor room / board. Poor guiding. The outfitter had shot a B&C buck a few weeks before I arrived and was all proud of himself. Never saw a buck and only saw about 10 does in five days. I relied on the booking agent instead of doing my research. Shame on me.

    I am a life member of Coastal Conservation Association. A safari company from South Africa has offered hunts through our national organization. While working as a volunteer at our annual fundraiser I saw their hunt offer on the silent auction table. No where near the deals offered regularly by sponsors on this site. I heard a few young people talking about going - I took them aside and provided my thoughts on the offer and suggested they wait, take their time, do research, join this site and work with some of our sponsors.
     
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  14. Jay Bucher

    Jay Bucher AH Member

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    I bid and won a trip with Wild Wildebeest Safaris at an RMEF banquet. It was clearly explained what was and was not included. I knew someone who had went on same hunt and loved it. He had went again the next year. The trip far exceeded my expectations. To be honest if I hadn’t won the auction I probably still would not have gone to Africa.

    Jay
     
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  15. Philip Glass

    Philip Glass AH ENABLER LIFETIME BRONZE BENEFACTOR AH Legend

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    I have bought two donation hunts. The first was not so good but I met some great people as he had to take us to other places as his game numbers were low. Positive yes but a buyer beware situation. Thankfully it was cheap.
    The second was last year at DSC and I checked with the booking agent and references before I bid. It was great in every respect. Most donation hunts at SCI, DSC or chapter events are well vetted and are reliable. They are therefore rarely bargains. There is much here on AH where there were bad experiences and many will be in the “too good to be true” price range. You get what you pay for.
    Philip
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 8, 2019

  16. Mort Hill

    Mort Hill GOLD SUPPORTER AH Fanatic

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    One of the basic rules our chapter of SCI in Nashville uses, while I was on their board, was as part of the vetting process we only entertained donations from outfitters where we had personal experience of going on the hunt, or talked directly with someone who had been on the hunt. This has helped tremendously in keeping a good track record of positive feedback from bidders and winners. Nothing carries more weight that an average Joe in the audience being asked before bidding to say a few words about his or her experience. These are not plants but just real reviews by those who have been, and the bidding normally takes off on these hunts. I too have bought auction hunts based on this premise and it has not failed me yet.
     

  17. CBH Australia

    CBH Australia AH Enthusiast

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    Consider posting as wanted if you are not sure on auctions.
    I got many offers.
    Sounds like the hunts offered are at a plus Trophy rate. Probably a good buy For the hunt sounds like animals are at trophy rates with most unless stated as included.
    My experience was posting in deals and offers asking for a cull hunt meaning to type 2022 but wrote 2020, good thing she agreed we are going in January. Wasn’t set on anything in particular except a good experience.
    Plenty of operators contacted me and were happy to answer questions and provide references. They seem to work hard for our business
    My chosen operator got a mention from a couple of Aussies on here. He made a good offer and others good offers it all varied. I was just doing some light reading but the website made me do it.
    Actually I met a South African fellow in an Aussie gun shop while I was trying to digest all of this information. I asked what he thought of the offer and he said it is a good deal.
    When you have a couple of deals on the table then see If you can tailor one of these to suit. I did we have 2 tour days guided by operator so we can see something while we are there.
    It seems most offer same inclusions for the hunt. Standards may vary and paying more should get you better accomodation etc but I hope the hospitality is good everywhere.
    I can let you know in 3 months.

    In another thread a member suggested the economy is slow and prices are competitive at present.
     

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