How do/did you pick your hunting outfitter?

Discussion in 'Hunting Africa' started by wildfowler.250, May 23, 2019.

  1. Ragman

    Ragman AH Elite

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    I've only been to Africa twice but by the time we get to the European LONG layover, we're only halfway there! But like you, the Europe to Johannesburg leg was overnight flights arriving at JBG early the next morning. After a short layover, jump on the connecting flights. Once to Windhoek, the next time to Port Elizabeth.
     

  2. BRICKBURN

    BRICKBURN AH ENABLER SUPER MODERATOR CONTRIBUTOR LIFETIME TITANIUM BENEFACTOR AH Ambassador

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    Look on Google Earth
    150km radius from three international and two regional airports.
    Screen Shot 2019-05-24 at 14.45.43.png


    There is access, if you have the money, to excellent health care in RSA.
     

  3. Mort Hill

    Mort Hill GOLD SUPPORTER AH Enthusiast

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    Rely on references. References, references, references. Nothing like personal experience to narrow the field. No references. Move along. Only one or two, think strongly. A half a page. Start making calls emailing and find out the dislikes as well as all the things they like. Some dislikes are just personal items, but they can prevent your expectations from being ruined. Or, as stated, use a trusted booking agent who will help narrow the field, but always go with references anyway.
     

  4. One Day...

    One Day... GOLD SUPPORTER AH Fanatic

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    This is the perfect example of when everybody is right.

    1) Huntershill owns a number of properties. Huntershill itself is over 55,000 acres, and has hunting rights over 65,000+ adjacent contiguous acres. These form a 120,000 acres / 188 square miles low fence or no fences hunting territory. It is located in the foothills of the Stormberg mountains near Queenstown from about 2,000 to 5,000 ft in elevation and combines hills and flat plain.
    Yes there is a perimeter high fence to separate the property from the public road, this is where BRICKBURN is right (actually the public road cuts across the 55,000 acres, so there is a high fence on each side of the road), and no there are no internal high fences, nor is there a perimeter high fence around the adjacent property that Huntershill has hunting rights one, so this is where Michael Dean is right, there are no compartment high fences and it is truly free range hunting on 120,000 acres.

    2) Obviously, and this is where BRICKBURN is right again, one will not hunt 120,000 acres on foot and a hunter at Huntershill will spend a lot of time hunting with the vehicle, crawling along more or less developed dirt roads through the hills. This being said, when Michael Dean is talking about spending half of the time driving rather than hunting, it is my understanding that he does not talk about hunting with the vehicle on a large property, but commuting on highways to and from small properties constantly, as is the case with outfitters who do not own the land they hunt.

    3) BRICKBURN is right, Huntershill indeed has property that would be hunted that is at least 1 hours drive away from Huntershill. Actually Huntershill also owns Rocklands, 2 hours south near Fort Beaufort. This is a 6,000 acres territory, that is very dense, very challenging, and great habitat for bushbuck, bush pigs, etc. Huntershill also owns Comre Safaris located also a couple hours away in a valley of the Winterberg mountains. This property is 22,000 acres. Huntershill also has hunting rights with several properties adjacent or near Rocklands and Comre. In addition, Huntershill also owns hunting properties in Limpopo and the Kalahari.
    But, and this is where Michael Dean is right, a Huntershill client may very well go spend a few days in Rocklands, or Comre if they are interested, to hunt for bushbuck, or bush pig, or Vaal Rhebok, etc. but a Huntershill client will not spend 4 or 6 hours each day on the highway commuting from one small farm for one animal, to another small farm for another animal, etc. in a constant daily routine as can indeed happen with some outfitters who do not own the land they hunt.

    For example, in August 2018 I spent 12 days at Huntershill. My PH and I decided that we would go down to Rocklands for 2 days to get a great bushbuck. Turns out we got one on the first day, so we elected to come back that evening. That is the only time we touched blacktop in the 12 days I was there. We for sure spent hours and hours everyday in the truck during the other 11 days at Huntershill but we were in the act of hunting.

    General view of Huntershill from the West. The picture is taken from where I shot my Kudu, looking toward the lodge that is in the foothill of the Huntershill Mountain (the high chain behind it). Virtually every acre in this picture is part of the Huntershill hunting area (except along the public road that follows the bottom of the valley). We obviously drove a truck from the lodge to the other side of the valley where I shot my Kudu, but we were hunting... I actually collected a very nice Steenbok along the way that we decided to stop for and walk & stalk.

    [​IMG]
     

  5. KMG Hunting Safaris

    KMG Hunting Safaris AH ENABLER SPONSOR Since 2013 AH Legend

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  6. Dinsdale

    Dinsdale AH Enthusiast

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    This sold me and then I added to it.(y)

    Every time I have booked its been with someone with a sterling reputation (that 6 trips and 9 outfits) and the only time I had issue was the first trip as I relied on "friends" and didn't do enough homework.

    Plenty outfits out there with terrific reputations and have good ethical hunts.
     
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  7. BRICKBURN

    BRICKBURN AH ENABLER SUPER MODERATOR CONTRIBUTOR LIFETIME TITANIUM BENEFACTOR AH Ambassador

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  8. BRICKBURN

    BRICKBURN AH ENABLER SUPER MODERATOR CONTRIBUTOR LIFETIME TITANIUM BENEFACTOR AH Ambassador

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    That says it all.
     
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  9. BWH

    BWH AH ENABLER AH Legend

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    In short.... communication. Try to meet them at a show. Have conversations.... FaceTime, text, email, WhatsApp, etc. you’ll either get a good vibe, like they would be your friend, or not. Then go with gut. Make sure lines of communication is clear, so no misunderstandings later.
     
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  10. Dinsdale

    Dinsdale AH Enthusiast

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    100%

    Their expectations for a "good" hunt (shooting from truck and getting drunk) sure didn't meet mine. I asked too many questions about trophies and not enough on the experience.
     
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  11. kevin masters

    kevin masters BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Enthusiast

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    This is why planning the hunt is half the fun! You cant ask to many questions! Lot of great outfits on here and elsewhere on the web.
    I hunted with kuche safaris and had an excellent experience!
     

  12. Hogpatrol

    Hogpatrol AH ENABLER SILVER SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    My first hunt was after I spoke with a man who hunted six times with the outfitter I eventually chose. Be careful of bait and switch deals that offer one animal at a cut rate price including a five to ten day hunt. After you kill that animal on the first day, you'll either have to pay their higher than average prices for other game or sit by the pool for the remainder of the hunt.
     

  13. Nyati

    Nyati AH ENABLER AH Ambassador

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    For me it´s always been the recommendation of someone whose judgment I trust, plus meeting the outfitter at a hunting fair.

    As others have said, beware of "deals".
     

  14. Brian

    Brian AH Veteran

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    This post has been moderated by @AfricaHunting.com.

    Warning. I suggest that you do not hunt with TWS. Their lodge is located a stones throw from the local pub in a village called Kirkwood , I think. You will spend a lot of time sitting in a truck going up and down the highway looking for a locked pasture to hunt in. Worst place I have hunted. I have been on 9 hunting trips to RSA.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 1, 2019

  15. Ridge Runner

    Ridge Runner AH Veteran

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    I watch a variety of hunting shows and some of the hosts travel to different continents to hunt.

    What helped me was Buck McNealy, his show is The Outdoorsman. He has hunted: Zimbabwe, Zambia, South Africa and Botswana; PG and DG. He shows the various animals in the area, his camp or lodge, and the land/ area he is hunting. At the end of his show he gives the outfitters contact info.

    Step 2: I started by figuring my budget.

    Step 3: I found this site and started checking out the hunting stories. If it hadn't been for the articles on:

    Before and after the hunt
    Planning timeline
    Rifle Permits
    As for Global Rescue
    Judging trophies
    Shot placement

    My first safari would have been ruined. A big thanks to everyone who responded to my questions and to Brickburn for this site!!!

    Step 4: Selected an outfitter (Kubusi Safaris) that met ( exceeded) my requirements.

    Themba was my first PH. He got me in close to my animals and we had a lot of fun.

    Piet was my second PH. Another great hunt with a lot of memories. In 2020 I'll be traveling to 3 different areas, 2 to hunt and one to sightsee.

    I requested Themba, Piet, or Charl as my PH. James has set up Piet to be my PH at Kubusi.
     

  16. firehuntfish

    firehuntfish AH Fanatic

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    These sorts of posts that seem to be popping up more frequently always have me scratching my head a bit... Brian, the OP asked for recommendations for outfitters with the best reputations. I find it curious that you have hunted 9 times in Africa yet opted to only name one outfitter that you DO NOT recommend?? Also, the short reasoning you provide as to why to avoid them is a bit bizarre as well....

    They may very well be the worst outfitter in Africa. I have no idea because I have never heard of them for better or worse, but I do find it to be a disturbing trend for posters here to throw a grenade trashing an outfitter without providing detailed, substantive reasons as would be contained in a full hunting report. The OP was asking for recommendations... You have been 9 times, so I assume you have found an outfitter(s) that you like? Why not share that information instead of throwing out a random bashing?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 1, 2019

  17. AfricaHunting.com

    AfricaHunting.com AH ENABLER FOUNDER AH Ambassador

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    Dan I could not agree with you more so I moderated @Brian's above post accordingly. Thx for bringing this to my attention. I deleted another one similar to this from @Brian last Tuesday in another thread and sent him a PM to let him know and invited him to post his own hunt report.
     
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  18. Brian

    Brian AH Veteran

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    I have posted numerous articles and stories on these pages praising outfitters that I have used. My stories that I post here like 'Never Mind The Bull' and "did you Hear the Oxpecker" which praise the outfitter are published in The African Hunting Gazette as well.

    One of the big problems with the South African hunting industry is that the bad outfitters continue to provide poor service with impunity. PHASA is of no help at all in this regard. Hunters should welcome discerning advice and criticism on the bad outfitters. There is no other way in the system to identify them. There is no way to weed them out like in other industries.
    People don't give negative reports here because of the blowback that usually follows. Just like your comments Dan.
    The blow back often comes from friends and protectors too the faulty outfitter.

    I think that I will write a very detailed and objective article on TWS. Just watch the blow back them. Stay tuned Dan, before Jerome removes it.

    Also, since I wrote the recent comment, an ex employ of TWS wrote and thanked men for warning other N American hunters about TWs.

    The problem with my post was that I placed it on another mans thread. My mistake, which Jerome kindly corrected.
    The problem is not that a negative report was posted. There should be more of them and if posted correctly Jerome should not remove them.
    They are a true service to the consumer/hunter.

    Dan, you and Jerome have it wrong. The Hunting industry in Africa needs hunters/consumers to speak up when they get treated unprofessionally/unethically. The word is that about 20 % of the outfitters in S0uth Africa are substandard but you seldom hear a word about them. That's not good for the new hunters who are the future on hunting.

    I am a seasoned African hunter and retired business man. ( I and my family have spent over $180,000 USD on hunting/travelling in Africa. I have friends and associates in the business in South Africa.)
    My comments have merit. Thanks for listening to my rant. Brian
     
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  19. firehuntfish

    firehuntfish AH Fanatic

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    In direct reply to the quote above, it wouldn't be the first time for me, and certainly won't be the last, but not here, and not now... My apologies to the OP for detouring this thread down the rabbit hole off-topic of what was originally requested....

    Brian, you have kind of called me out here and anyone who knows me from this or other forums will attest that you had better expect a reply... Jerome used excellent judgement in my opinion, by moderating your post to delete the name of the outfitter. I have been a member on this forum since 2009, and a sponsor's representative since 2014. In those 10 years as an active forum member, I have never known Jerome to delete, modify, or offer "blow back" to poster of a negative report or review that was given in the proper context. I can assure you that if you provide a detailed account of your factual experiences void of speculation, innuendo, and unsubstantiated claims, Jerome would be the first to welcome the contribution...

    As far as I am concerned, I have absolutely no problem with a client posting a negative review provided it meets the criteria above. What I do not condone are these one or two line negative swipes offered without the proper context and perspective such as your comment about outfitter XXXXXXXX... That is not a review, and quite frankly, it provides no positive information to the conversation other than to suggest that you have a problem with the outfitter but for some unknown reason, you have not decided to share the entire story here on the forum. I suggest that you write a proper hunting report, and copy it to your outfitter allowing them the chance to respond in kind. Then it becomes a positive contribution to this forum.... Folks here can listen to both sides and make up their own minds accordingly....

    I have already addressed this exact topic in a similar thread but my comments bare repeating because they apply here as well... Regardless of whether or not there is merit to any of your allegations, without detailed support of those allegations, you have already, and unfairly, created an unfavorable portrayal of the outfitter that cannot be erased regardless of what comes next. You are using a tactic that is very popular in the mainstream media these days in that you are leveling some bombshell accusations without citing a backstory or any facts to support your claims. In my opinion, that is not only grossly unfair to the outfitter, it is reckless and dangerous...

    If you have grievances that are legitimate, then by all means state them clearly and with as much factual documentation as you can provide. Prospective clients can then decide for themselves from that point on... Otherwise, retract your comments and settle your dispute privately and directly with the outfitter. The internet can be a wonderful tool for research, but it can also do devastating damage to reputations that have taken a lifetime to build, and that power should be taken seriously and used responsibly...


    I would add that I'm fairly certain that any reputable, well-established outfitter will have no problem addressing a problem or a negative review that you or anyone else may post. The problem that outfitters have is hearing of theses complaints days, weeks, or even months after the fact without a single word from the client at the time.... With few exceptions, I would think any reputable outfitter will make every conceivable effort to correct any issues provided that they are indeed aware that there are issues. Communication, or lack thereof, in my experience, the single biggest factor at the seat of any problematic issues between clients and outfitters on a safari. The outfitter and some of the PHs I represent are actually a pretty good mind-readers which is a valuable superpower in the safari business, but they can't read everyone's mind 100% of the time... We can only address and rectify the situations that are brought to our attention.

    I appreciate you stating your African resume for me... I too have a fairly impressive resume that you are welcome to research located within my couple of thousands of posts here since 2009... Stating your resume is not necessary though, as I would give your content any merit it was due had you provided any in the first post. I wish you happy hunting and safe travels on your next (10th) African safari.
     
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2019
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  20. Brian

    Brian AH Veteran

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    This post has been moderated by @AfricaHunting.com.


    Hi Dan, XXXXXXXX of TWS is just an asshole and does not deserve anymore explanation from me. I have made my points quite clear to him, several times, privately and publicly. I will continue to bad mouth him every chance I get.
    He lies/cheats and provides a poor African Hunting experience. And, he makes a lot of money doing it. That money from North American hunters/clients should go to outfitters who work hard providing a good hunt, as far as I am concerned.

    I have thrown grenades over the years and have hopefully cost a couple of bad outfitter a lot of money. I like it that way.
    When I am treated professionally, I tip well and look after the operator with things like a video on You Tube, a good story in the African Hunting Gazette and glowing comments in international forums.. ( I think that my story "Did you hear the Oxpecker", about my 2018 buffalo hunt is in the current issue of AHG.)

    Your industry would be a lot better off if travelling hunters would speak up about the bad operators. That is how it works in most other industries. And it is the best way of rewarding the right people. It's healthy.

    I am a retired business owner in manufacturing CNC Plasma Cutting machine. www.fastcutcnc.com ( My son now has the business). It doesn't take long for manufactures, who makes a poor product, to go out of business in the manufacturing world.

    Why do the bad Safari Operators in South Africa seen to just go on forever. They are hard on first timers hunting in South Africa, and it pisses me off. PHASA is as useless in this regard, as tit on a boar.

    I and my family have hunted several times with the Krugers at Africa Dawn Safaris, near you. My son got married there last year and my 10 year old grandson hunted for his first time there. Now there is a first class operation! I wrote a story about my first buffalo hunt there. (Called "Abrahams Grin" in the African Hunting Gazette)

    Your place was recommended to me recently by an American aquaintance on a private forum. He was referring to your excellent deal on buffalo cows. I may have sent an inquiry to you recently. I have recently lost interest in hunting with you and have booked my 2020 buffalo hunt with Marius Kruger Jr. in Mozambique.

    Your opinions on this matter are waisted on me. If I ever get treated badly again on an African hunt, I will make the outfitter famous like I have XXXXXXXX.
    So should every travelling hunter. It might clean your industry up bit.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 3, 2019

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