Ethics, what would you do?

Albertaguy

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Brickburn In my opinion that is a shooter bear ! Taller than a 45 gallon drum , thick legs , low hanging belly and a nice spread between the ears . Might not be quite B&C but very close!
 
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A terrible position for the PH. I can't believe an outfitter would make a PH pay for an animal in that scenario, but it was apparently enough of a possibility to scare the PH into standing-by.

As for the client, I can understand wanting to take an animal solely with the bow, but the he still has the responsibility to make a clean kill. The first poor shot is one thing (everything possible should be done to avoid this, but there are endless variables in hunting and it happens) but when he was unable to make a follow-up kill shot with the bow he should have put the animal out of it's misery with the rifle. Finishing the animal with the rifle might have made it ineligible for the record book (actually I believe it could still be entered in a general category), but a good Sable is a fine trophy in itself regardless of any other recognition. What good is an award or even the trophy itself if you can't look back on it with a sense of pride and real accomplishment?
 

Hank2211

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What a load of bollocks and as a PH you have every right to put down a suffering animal and this is dictated in our Code Of Conduct and if this affects your safari then so be it. If a client turned around and told me he was not paying for an animal then fine with me and I will pay for it. Thats the P in PH.
I think you're being a bit harsh here Fairgame, with respect. As noted on this thread, very few PH's (certainly none that I know) would have the financial ability to pay for a sable. To accuse someone of being unprofessional for not putting his family in debt for the next year or more does seem a bit extreme.

The best solution I've seen on this thread is from Hunthard:

unless the contract stipulated "no undue suffering will be allowed" not even the word ethical is going to stand up in court as we among ourselves cannot agree on what is or what is not ethical.

If each contract had a "no undue suffering" clause, the client would have been on notice and the PH would have been on solid ground. Not even the biggest a**hole could get around that if it was in the contract. Too bad we'd even have to think about putting such a clause in a contract, but in conversations with PH's, I've regularly heard that clients say if an animal is less than so big, they won't pay for it.
 
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If each contract had a "no undue suffering" clause, the client would have been on notice and the PH would have been on solid ground. Not even the biggest a**hole could get around that if it was in the contract. Too bad we'd even have to think about putting such a clause in a contract, but in conversations with PH's, I've regularly heard that clients say if an animal is less than so big, they won't pay for it.

Excuse my ignorance (I've never been to Africa or even on a guided hunt) but please tell me a client could never actually get away with not paying for an animal that they shot because it didn't tape big enough. I'm 99% certain this would not fly with North American guides but different countries have different laws.

As to the "no undue suffering" clause, it should be a standard part of PH contracts but is probably left out of many due to outfitters feeling that it goes without saying.
 
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TokkieM

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You won't find a first time client easily who is not happy with a trophy and does not want to pay for it.
You will however find a client that lets you know before hand what his specific trophy requirements are and what length,size or weight he wants to take home. If you accept these requirements as the Outfitter and a animal falls short of them then yes,the client is not obliged to pay . No problem with that arrangement if it is clear from the start what is expected,but it will also be made clear that the client may not take all the animals he hoped for,it's hunting,nothing is guaranteed.
 
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You won't find a first time client easily who is not happy with a trophy and does not want to pay for it.
You will however find a client that lets you know before hand what his specific trophy requirements are and what length,size or weight he wants to take home. If you accept these requirements as the Outfitter and a animal falls short of them then yes,the client is not obliged to pay . No problem with that arrangement if it is clear from the start what is expected,but it will also be made clear that the client may not take all the animals he hoped for,it's hunting,nothing is guaranteed.


Nothing wrong with establishing expectations before the hunt but personally I can't see pulling the trigger on an animal and then declaring it unworthy after-the-fact. Also, if a hunter is that dead-set on a certain caliber of animal, they should at least have a pretty good idea what that looks like going in.
 

Hank2211

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Nothing wrong with establishing expectations before the hunt but personally I can't see pulling the trigger on an animal and then declaring it unworthy after-the-fact. Also, if a hunter is that dead-set on a certain caliber of animal, they should at least have a pretty good idea what that looks like going in.
Here's the problem with this "I only want a 43 inch sable scenario or you pay": After a week of hunting, the client says some of those we passed up over the last week looked like they were 43 inches. PH says "I agree, but it's pretty easy to misjudge by an inch or so, so if I'm paying, we're only going to shoot something that I figure is 45 inches or more, and those are pretty hard to find".

Hard to blame the PH in these circumstances.
 

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Here's the problem with this "I only want a 43 inch sable scenario or you pay": After a week of hunting, the client says some of those we passed up over the last week looked like they were 43 inches. PH says "I agree, but it's pretty easy to misjudge by an inch or so, so if I'm paying, we're only going to shoot something that I figure is 45 inches or more, and those are pretty hard to find".

Hard to blame the PH in these circumstances.

That was my thoughts exactly. As I PH or guide all you can do is say, that one looks like 43" but I cant guarantee it, then let the client decide. Keeping an inch in your pocket to be sure your client is happy is one thing but keeping 2-3" in your pocket to be sure YOU don't have to pay Im sure is a given.
 
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Here's the problem with this "I only want a 43 inch sable scenario or you pay": After a week of hunting, the client says some of those we passed up over the last week looked like they were 43 inches. PH says "I agree, but it's pretty easy to misjudge by an inch or so, so if I'm paying, we're only going to shoot something that I figure is 45 inches or more, and those are pretty hard to find".

Hard to blame the PH in these circumstances.


Very true. I think if you let an outfitter know that you would like a mature animal that is a good size for the area that you are hunting they will do their best to help you get one. If you demand X number of inches and go home after passing up several that were close, you have no one to blame but yourself.
 

fairgame

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Disagree with all of that. I entertain lengthy correspondence with all my clients and the gentlemen and ladies that I have dealt with have never set parameters. If I was to have such a request I would politely suggest another operator and PH.

On Sable if he is mature and has a good head then I recommend a shot as in the Kafue you may never see him again.
 

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@fairgame as much as I dislike tape chasing hunters, the fact remains that there are some gentleman who pursue only record book animals. A simple page through the RW Book will show you again and again that certain names keep popping up frequantly enough to be no mere coincidence.
Pages and pages have been written on some or other hunters life long quest for a 60" Kudu 45" Buff etc. You may just be fortunate enough to have missed such a client. They exsist and book safaris more frequently than most.
Seems you disagree with most everything anyone else has experience with too,which is fine but just because it has not happend to you does not mean it does not happen.
 

fairgame

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@fairgame as much as I dislike tape chasing hunters, the fact remains that there are some gentleman who pursue only record book animals. A simple page through the RW Book will show you again and again that certain names keep popping up frequantly enough to be no mere coincidence.
Pages and pages have been written on some or other hunters life long quest for a 60" Kudu 45" Buff etc. You may just be fortunate enough to have missed such a client. They exsist and book safaris more frequently than most.
Seems you disagree with most everything anyone else has experience with too,which is fine but just because it has not happend to you does not mean it does not happen.

Guess I have been lucky or can afford to be choosy. When you hunt vast open concessions where animals are free ranging then there are absolutely no guarantees. You offer the very best opportunity for the species the area is renowned for. And note I have put some of those chaps in the top of the book.

If the client has set himself a target then he has to simply accept that he may go home without his trophy. All my clients want to hunt and whilst the extra couple of inch is nice the safari never becomes a frantic daily search for something extraordinary.
 

Hank2211

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Guess I have been lucky or can afford to be choosy. When you hunt vast open concessions where animals are free ranging then there are absolutely no guarantees. You offer the very best opportunity for the species the area is renowned for. And note I have put some of those chaps in the top of the book.

If the client has set himself a target then he has to simply accept that he may go home without his trophy. All my clients want to hunt and whilst the extra couple of inch is nice the safari never becomes a frantic daily search for something extraordinary.
I agree with you. You have been lucky.
 

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...If the client has set himself a target then he has to simply accept that he may go home without his trophy...

This is something that is generally accepted on NA hunts. Im not sure why people feel entitled to shoot everything on their list every time they go to Africa, its nice when it happens but the possibility of being unsuccessful adds infinitely to the experience of any hunt IMO.
 

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Hank2211

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Truer words never spoken.
I agree with this sentiment, as I think (hope?) we all do, but of course there are many hunters who don't seem to have the same issues or concerns that we do. Which is of course why we continue to have the difficulties that we do.
 

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It seems to me that the type of hunt and location can dictate the type of client you receive.

IF I said I wanted world record animals or else and we were shooting on managed high fence areas, I've already told you everything you need to know about my goals and you are required to honor those expectations. As a PH you're then combing the high fence areas to determine which managed areas have bred the biggest trophy and you hopefully are selecting the smallest possible fenced areas to insure finding those desired trophies. Everything about the aforementioned is transparent as to the whims and vices of the client and the type of outfitter you need to be to supply that demand. I'd also think that the vices and pejorative comments about clients and PHs on such hunts all have merit because all sides probably deserve each other.

On the other hand, if a client is going for an experience and if they want fair chase and best effort, they will accept victory or defeat as it comes with head held high and there will be no hard feelings. Best effort could be established by vetting the PH to satisfy the notion they have provided shooting opportunities on amazing trophies in the same areas in the past. Any reasonable client will be aware that "past performance is no indication of future results".

In summary: bad hunters go together with bad PHs. The PH has to scare away clients that are ill suited for wild hunts and find clients that are interested in adventure, experience and MAYBE that shot of a lifetime. Incidentally, a bad PH may just be a good guy that needs bookings and puts up with bad clients with poor morals....tolerance makes them culpable.

To the original story, it should have gone this way: "Sir, we are at a crossroads. You can take this rifle and we can dispatch that amazing animal, you can hold your head high and we can seek out more experiences on this hunt, OR I will dispatch this animal and we can end our relationship at the end of this day together. You will have to live with your ethics in this moment for the rest of your days."

Shame would have probably brought this guy back into the fold and had it not, the PH needed to jettison this person before their reputation was impugned. The PH becomes culpable by accommodating a terrible client.
 

Hank2211

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It seems to me that the type of hunt and location can dictate the type of client you receive.

IF I said I wanted world record animals or else and we were shooting on managed high fence areas, I've already told you everything you need to know about my goals and you are required to honor those expectations. As a PH you're then combing the high fence areas to determine which managed areas have bred the biggest trophy and you hopefully are selecting the smallest possible fenced areas to insure finding those desired trophies. Everything about the aforementioned is transparent as to the whims and vices of the client and the type of outfitter you need to be to supply that demand. I'd also think that the vices and pejorative comments about clients and PHs on such hunts all have merit because all sides probably deserve each other.

On the other hand, if a client is going for an experience and if they want fair chase and best effort, they will accept victory or defeat as it comes with head held high and there will be no hard feelings. Best effort could be established by vetting the PH to satisfy the notion they have provided shooting opportunities on amazing trophies in the same areas in the past. Any reasonable client will be aware that "past performance is no indication of future results".

In summary: bad hunters go together with bad PHs. The PH has to scare away clients that are ill suited for wild hunts and find clients that are interested in adventure, experience and MAYBE that shot of a lifetime. Incidentally, a bad PH may just be a good guy that needs bookings and puts up with bad clients with poor morals....tolerance makes them culpable.

To the original story, it should have gone this way: "Sir, we are at a crossroads. You can take this rifle and we can dispatch that amazing animal, you can hold your head high and we can seek out more experiences on this hunt, OR I will dispatch this animal and we can end our relationship at the end of this day together. You will have to live with your ethics in this moment for the rest of your days."

Shame would have probably brought this guy back into the fold and had it not, the PH needed to jettison this person before their reputation was impugned. The PH becomes culpable by accommodating a terrible client.
Rookhawk, I know the PH, and he is a great guy, with a great sense of ethics. He beat himself up about this for days (and maybe longer - I got to leave). In an even semi-perfect world, I'd agree with you without hesitation, but in the world in which we live, I think you are maybe a tad harsh on the PH. Not the client, but the PH.
 

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After chasing my eland for 11 hours and over 20km, in +100 degree heat, we had a standing broadside shot, but had still never seen his horns. My P.H. whispered, he's old but I cannot see his horns. At that point, he could have had one horn and I would still be happy. I am glad I had a P.H. that was honest and capable. Its sad that some clients act like they are the center of the universe. I agree that a clear contract eliminates some of those problems. My father called things like that "boughten experiences", meaning lessons that cost you something.
 

cessna152

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As a hunter I've seen ethics become driven by record books, too bad. The overall experience with your PH and the hunting adventure seems to more and more to take a backseat to the record book. Too bad, many memories are lost in the competition to shoot the biggest. The adventure of the hunt, with the help of a good guide makes for wonderful experiences. The PH in this situation was teamed up with a person who hunts, not a hunter. His next hunter hopefully made up for this person.
 

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