How do/did you pick your hunting outfitter?

206moose

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If you’re looking for a great bowhunt check out Chattaronga Safaris. I’ve been using Bowhunting Safari Consultants to book almost all of my hunting trips.
 

meigsbucks

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I would strongly urge you to use a well established hunting consultant. They make their living matching up hunters, expectations, outfitters, and most importantly, budgets. I used Jack Atcheson Jr for my first couple of forays into the unknown and he saved me an enormous amount of worry, frustration and money. I can’t recommend he and his brother more highly. And I should note, they are “paid” by the outfitter, not you. Bob Kern of the Hunting Consortium is another real professional with vast experience.

Thanks to Jack and his team I have hunted with Nick Nolte, Dirk DeBod, Jamy Traut, Grant Taylor and others in concessions I likely never would have found on my own.
I too used Jack Atcheson and Sons for my first safari (Zimbabwe) and I highly recommend them. I told them what I wanted... buffalo and some plains game, not on a “ranch”. They came up with three outfitters, in three countries. I contacted them, got references, contacted as many as possible. I then went to the SCI convention and met them face to face. Made my decision and booked through Atcheson. They helped answer my questions to get ready and guided me through the process.
Tangent to that, Atcheson recommended a travel agent: Travel With Guns. They helped get my flights booked. Overnight lodging in Johannesburg. Gun permits.
Atcheson and TWG made the process so easy.
 

Newboomer

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For the species you are interested in, I suggest the Eastern Cape. I've hunted with Two Waters Safaris there for 3 years now and have always had a first rate time. It is a family owned and run outfit with over 20 years experience and they have outstanding accommodations, concessions, PHs and equipment. I booked directly with Brian Seady, the owner/outfitter/PH from a recommendation of SSI. I tell him what's on my list for a trip and I always get it. Great people and they treat you like family.
 

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@Red Leg +1 for Atcheson & Sons.

Keith Atcheson was a fantastic resource for my dad and I in planning our first hunt. We started with a close friend who is an experienced hunter. He directed us to Atcheson. It was super helpful having Atcheson to ask questions and get answers.
 

wildfowler.250

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Thanks guys. Lots of great info and really appreciate it. Few names to look into and eastern cape sounds like the best start.

I’m from the UK so can’t to DSC or anything like that. I have come to terms with fenced properties,(sounds like the norm) but I would want the area to be massive. I’d also prefer to do as much stalking on foot as possible,(not particularly into jumping out of the car to pull the trigger). Or spot and stalk.

The other thing I don’t want is somewhere that releases a lot of animals to be shot. Is this common? And I guess it’s fairly hidden? Are most of these private concessions wild animals or are they topped up yearly for hunting?


Also is there a best month? Or anytime March to June okay?


I’ve got a lot of PMs which I really appreciate and will reply to individually after work. Will make a hot drink and enjoy reading through them all.


Many thanks!
 

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Thank you all for the recommendations.

Welcome to the forum @wildfowler.250

All the best with your research. I have sent you a PM.

Take Care,
Marius Goosen
 

Michael Dean

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First and foremost, find out what property or properties they hunt. There are a lot of outfitters that offer a long list of species you can hunt, but what they don't tell you is that they hunt several different properties and you spend hours driving from one property to another. I chose my outfitter because he has 50,000 acres to hunt all in one location. He offers over 80 species to hunt. All of the references were very positive. I'm going to hunt with Huntershill Safaris this October because they offer competitive packages and you hunt on one parcel of land that they own. The last thing you want is to end up hunting 6-7 different parcels of land and end up spending half of your time driving rather than hunting. They also have a property adjacent to them that is 50,000 acres that they have an exclusive right to hunt. 100,000 acres is truly free range hunting, no high fences.
 
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Dudders

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Hi Wildfowler.250
You are in the position I was a few years ago, I found choosing the animals I wanted to hunt the easy part . I would say take your time just read through the hunt reports. Talk to a couple of outfitters most are happy to talk . It will be a different experience than stalking here in the uk.
 

fourfive8

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I noticed "Easy to get to?" was one of your criteria. Unless your chosen location is fairly close to JNB, you may have an overnight and/or a long drive after getting to Johannesburg or will have an overnight and/or connecting flight anyway. I've not found much difference between connecting from JNB to another airport in RSA and connecting from JNB to another airport in other Southern Africa countries. Going to countries like Namibia, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Mozambique or Botswana to hunt is not much different from going to RSA to hunt... at least in my experience. So don't automatically overlook other countries in Southern Africa.
 
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wildfowler.250

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Thanks guys! Very useful and lots of great info. A few names have cropped up with gives me plenty to research into.

Will definitely ask about the properties as well! Don’t want to be driving forever.

As far as easy to get to, I’m quite happy to drive a couple of hours max after landing. But it’s a long flight so less the better.

One reason I picked SA apart from anything else is because someone pointed out that the healthcare is better than some other countries should you need it?


Thanks again!
 

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Lots of good advice in this thread. I would add, once you narrow the list based off of the reviews and start contacting the outfitters via email, WhatsApp or phone, one or two will usually stand out to you.

There was a service called Hunting Report run by Barbara Crown that was really great for just this purpose. She sold it and the new owners have ruined it, but she now works for SCI, and I believe is creating a similar service there. If you are a SCI member you can call her and ask about her research into various operators. Good luck and enjoy the process!
 

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I’ve hunted most all the regular “times”... April through Oct. Some like and recommend late like Oct or even Nov-Dec. Be aware, as you talk to outfitters, that they may recommend “best” times that just happen to correspond to times they have holes in THEIR booking calendar. You will also hear such “sage” advice like.. “ early is not good because of all the vegetation makes seeing game difficult” or “too much water and game is too scattered” ... etc. To be honest, I’ve found hunting earlier is just as productive and generally more pleasant plus the animals are in better condition. If animals are there, good PHs and good trackers will not have trouble finding them. My favorite time, bar none, is just after the rainy season when it’s just starting to cool and dry out and everything is still green and the animals are at their peak condition for the year. Of course that may be when the pepper ticks are at max... ugh :(
 

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Don’t want to be driving forever.

As far as easy to get to, I’m quite happy to drive a couple of hours max after landing. But it’s a long flight so less the better.

Most of the properties you'd be looking at hunting in South Africa will require a connecting flight from Joburg to a smaller city if you wish to avoid a longer drive. The good news is these will be short flights, roughly an hour give or take. Once that flight is over, you're generally not too long of a drive from the outfitters lodge.

I bring this up as it should be taken into consideration in making travel plans. If arriving in afternoon / early evening into Joburg, you're likely looking at an overnight there as connecting flights will not be available. Arrive in the morning and likely you'll be able to make a connecting flight that same day.
 

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Most of the properties you'd be looking at hunting in South Africa will require a connecting flight from Joburg to a smaller city if you wish to avoid a longer drive. The good news is these will be short flights, roughly an hour give or take. Once that flight is over, you're generally not too long of a drive from the outfitters lodge.

I bring this up as it should be taken into consideration in making travel plans. If arriving in afternoon / early evening into Joburg, you're likely looking at an overnight there as connecting flights will not be available. Arrive in the morning and likely you'll be able to make a connecting flight that same day.
Traveling from UK to South Africa or Namibia are normally overnight flights 7 hunts and have been hunting the same day as landing on all 7
 

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.......... I chose my outfitter because he has 50,000 acres to hunt all in one location. He offers over 80 species to hunt. .......... truly free range hunting, no high fences.

I'm happy for you that you have chosen your Outfitter.

Just so you are not disappointed I can assure you that:

1. HH indeed has high fences, otherwise they could not have a CAE.

2. You will spend plenty of time driving on a large property. (Been there, done that in multiple countries.) Does it matter that you are driving on dirt, sand or tar? (Take your stop watch along and see how long you spend in a vehicle.)

3. HH has property that would be hunted that is at least 1 hours drive away from HH.

I wish you well on your hunt and truly hope you enjoy it.
 

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Traveling from UK to South Africa or Namibia are normally overnight flights 7 hunts and have been hunting the same day as landing on all 7

It all depends on your connections and arrival time. Us folks from further afield are often caught having to overnight in JNB as @PHOENIX PHIL noted.
 

Dudders

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It all depends on your connections and arrival time. Us folks from further afield are often caught having to overnight in JNB as @PHOENIX PHIL noted.
I agree with those of you from further afield but as the op is UK based I thought I would add my experience on the travelling side from uk
 

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BRICKBURN

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I agree with those of you from further afield but as the op is UK based I thought I would add my experience on the travelling side from uk

Oh sure, paying attention to details. :rolleyes:
 

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