Quality vs Costs - Your African Safari

What is more important to you in deciding on a safari destination?

  • Above Average Trophy Quality and Quality Accommodation at Higher Rates

  • Average Trophy Quality with Comfortable Accommodations at Lower Rates

  • Above Average Trophy Quality And Normal Accommodation at Slightly Higher Rates


Results are only viewable after voting.

PHOENIX PHIL

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Let me ask this, if you voted #2, would anyone change their vote to #1, if we discarded the accommodations and if the only factor was the quality of the animals, i.e. Above Average to Excellent Quality Animals vs Average to Sub Average Animals?

I voted #1 a couple of days ago, but I did not post. At the time I had the same thought as @BRICKBURN that you should have had at least one more choice, above average trophy quality and average lodging. I personally don't need the high end lodging, however it is nice and certainly makes taking the spouse that much better. Having said that, I have created a monster in my wife who is all about hunting now. Took only 25 years.....

What has not been discussed here is the definition of average nor below/above with respect to that. For me an above average trophy is an older animal first. Horn size comes into play too, but smaller might be even better. For example Eland, I love the older animals that have gone grey to blue whose horns are thick, but often shorter from being worn down. To the point of almost contradicting myself, I'd really really like a 55" or bigger kudu, but I still want those ivory tips.

The common characteristic is age. You just don't get a 3 year old 55"+ kudu. If you really want an above average chance at an above average trophy as I've defined it, I think you have to be willing to pay for it. It takes an outfitter managing his property to not shoot young bulls/rams. Inherent to that management practice is risk that there will be loss of those younger animals due to predation, drought and whatever else that might cause an animal's demise before that bull/ram reaches that age to be an exceptional trophy. So for a property to get to the point that you have more than just the occasional exceptional animal to where there are numerous bulls/rams present and with that a higher hunting success rate, it takes time and with that money.

Sometime this past month my elk hunting buddy was at the house of a friend of his. Over the course of the last 8 years since my first trip to RSA, we've discussed hunting in Africa who knows how many times. Those discussions have included trophy quality and how it varies. KJ isn't stupid, he got it, but now he really gets it. His friend has been to RSA and has a number of mounts on his wall. KJ has also been in my house to see my trophies I don't know how many times, heck he's helped me with hanging a bunch of them. So over at his other friend's house as he told me, not one or two, but everyone of the animals on that guy's wall that I also have in mine were smaller and noticeably so.

Now for me hunting is not a competition and it matters not to me. But I do hope that this guy paid no more than average prices. If he did or perhaps less so, well then so be it. Furthermore if this guy is happy with what he got, I'm certainly not going to rain on his parade.

Marius, I guess my point is that I'm willing to pay more for a better chance at how I define above average trophy quality. And while a higher price is not a guarantee of such, nor a lower price means one won't find an above average critter, I realize that it takes time and careful management to have what I prefer. The higher risk the outfitter takes in doing so needs to have higher reward.
 

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I voted #1 a couple of days ago, but I did not post. At the time I had the same thought as @BRICKBURN that you should have had at least one more choice, above average trophy quality and average lodging. I personally don't need the high end lodging, however it is nice and certainly makes taking the spouse that much better. Having said that, I have created a monster in my wife who is all about hunting now. Took only 25 years.....

What has not been discussed here is the definition of average nor below/above with respect to that. For me an above average trophy is an older animal first. Horn size comes into play too, but smaller might be even better. For example Eland, I love the older animals that have gone grey to blue whose horns are thick, but often shorter from being worn down. To the point of almost contradicting myself, I'd really really like a 55" or bigger kudu, but I still want those ivory tips.

The common characteristic is age. You just don't get a 3 year old 55"+ kudu. If you really want an above average chance at an above average trophy as I've defined it, I think you have to be willing to pay for it. It takes an outfitter managing his property to not shoot young bulls/rams. Inherent to that management practice is risk that there will be loss of those younger animals due to predation, drought and whatever else that might cause an animal's demise before that bull/ram reaches that age to be an exceptional trophy. So for a property to get to the point that you have more than just the occasional exceptional animal to where there are numerous bulls/rams present and with that a higher hunting success rate, it takes time and with that money.

Sometime this past month my elk hunting buddy was at the house of a friend of his. Over the course of the last 8 years since my first trip to RSA, we've discussed hunting in Africa who knows how many times. Those discussions have included trophy quality and how it varies. KJ isn't stupid, he got it, but now he really gets it. His friend has been to RSA and has a number of mounts on his wall. KJ has also been in my house to see my trophies I don't know how many times, heck he's helped me with hanging a bunch of them. So over at his other friend's house as he told me, not one or two, but everyone of the animals on that guy's wall that I also have in mine were smaller and noticeably so.

Now for me hunting is not a competition and it matters not to me. But I do hope that this guy paid no more than average prices. If he did or perhaps less so, well then so be it. Furthermore if this guy is happy with what he got, I'm certainly not going to rain on his parade.

Marius, I guess my point is that I'm willing to pay more for a better chance at how I define above average trophy quality. And while a higher price is not a guarantee of such, nor a lower price means one won't find an above average critter, I realize that it takes time and careful management to have what I prefer. The higher risk the outfitter takes in doing so needs to have higher reward.

Thank you for your input, Phil. Great points.
 

jeff

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I also see the question on how much more are the day rates? The original post says possible higher rates so possibly how much more would also need to be addressed. If the day rate is only $50- $100 a day more for exceptional animals count me in , if double or triple count me out. So many things to consider.
 

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Hunting in Africa spoils me with comforts. Even in a tented camp.

I voted the above average trophy, but accommodations don't have to be nice. I would like good food and clean living quarters but don't need Marriott style accommodations. A quality PH that is fun to be around tops off the hunt!
 

jeff

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Another way for pricing would be reasonable day fees and high trophy fees for exceptional trophies. Many outfits have a sliding scale as to size. I hunted with Dries Visser Safaris last year and they had the sliding scale on some animals, impala over 23, kudu over 55 , warthog over 10, and some others, yet some animals were the same no matter what size, gemsbok, blesbok, black wildebeest and some others.
 

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I would not hunt a place that charged more for a 57" Kudu than they charged for a 50" Kudu. In my opinion they need to set their day rate and trophy fees such that it allows them to run a comfortable bussines (make money/pay the bills). I will pay those fees. But let the horn inches fall wherever they do when you chose to pull the trigger. At the same price.
 

PHOENIX PHIL

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Another way for pricing would be reasonable day fees and high trophy fees for exceptional trophies.

I would argue this is already the South African model for the majority of outfitters there, particularly in comparison to other countries. There are a number of reasons for this. But whether the outfitter is charging $300/day or $400/day when you take into account how many people are serving you from laundry to cooking to PH to trackers, food and the use of a hunting vehicle, either way you're getting a fair amount for your money.
 

jeff

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I would not hunt a place that charged more for a 57" Kudu than they charged for a 50" Kudu. In my opinion they need to set their day rate and trophy fees such that it allows them to run a comfortable bussines (make money/pay the bills). I will pay those fees. But let the horn inches fall wherever they do when you chose to pull the trigger. At the same price.
I'm also not a big fan of pay by the inch, it just seemed that it fit this thread as to paying higher fees for exceptional animals, they just don't charge the high fees straight across the board, only for the exceptional animals. Some hunters only targeted the very large while others in camp were on a tighter budget and a couple of inches didn't make a difference to them. It also brings up the question that if you were paying higher fees to hunt exceptional animals and a mistake was made and you only took a average animal what then?
 

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jeff, I understand where you are coming from.....point well made.
 

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I'd be perfectly happy with freeze dried food and a one man tent if it meant great trophies and hunting land.
 

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Only a Rich man can afford a cheap hunt.
 

jacques smith

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You can guess how I vote. A banana, coffee and camels is fine as long as we’re looking for exceptional animals. I’m not talking guarantees just a chance. I’m perfectly happy not shooting for days in the process. Higher day fees are to be expected since the skinning shed is not full every day. All the best j-strap
 

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@BRICKBURN , since the poll allows us to change the vote, is there any way for us to add an option to the poll, since so many, as yourself mentioned "above average trophies, with normal accommodation?"
 

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not a hard choice for me since if it isn't big I wont pull the trigger. BUT I don't care about fancy lodging that's a waste of my money. I have slept on ground many a time, just find me the big boys and I will be happy:)
 

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@BRICKBURN , since the poll allows us to change the vote, is there any way for us to add an option to the poll, since so many, as yourself mentioned "above average trophies, with normal accommodation?"
I added a third option to the poll as you wanted.
 
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I voted #2. I crave neither luxury or the biggest animals. What is important to me is the experience and what I learn from it. I want to be at least moderately challenged, while making the effort required to have a good opportunity to take an interesting animal. I want to learn as much as practical about the place I'm hunting and its animals and plants and people. So the location and the outfitter/ PH is of most importance, because they have the biggest impact on my expectations and experiences. Luxury is wasted on me, so I'd pay more for a primitive, exotic and interesting hunt than I would for a luxurious and predictable hunt. I'd much rather eat local game each evening than the best beef steak. A toast to a successful hunt with a cold beer is as satisfying to me as champagne. Being repeatedly outmanoeuvred by abundant but elusive good sized game animals ( as happened on my first kudu hunt) is more appealing to me than shooting a very big one from the car. A PH who takes the time to teach me the habits of the animals we are hunting, the habitat that they prefer, the history and culture of the region and the local people gets my vote and my money.
 

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I want to simply add that I absolutely LOATHE the European system of graduated trophy costs. That is the worst thing about the direction the whole high fence/game ranch model is taking the sport (not in every case, obviously, but it is absolutely the trend). Give me a wilderness area in Africa or North America with a PH or guide working his ass off to find the best animal possible, and I gladly pay a premium for that.
 

Mike B

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I hate to do the 'it depends' post as well. I have only been once and as others have said, to me everything was a trophy - it was AFRICA! While I could certainly tell small from above average, I was super happy with everything I took. My wife went with me, so accommodations were important then (I used credit card point to fly business class even for her sake, I'd take a bus over the Atlantic if it meant I could shoot more stuff). I'm planning my next hunt and trying to get my Dad to come with me. For him, Cost and TYPE of hunt will be important (not cheapest, but affordable and large open areas). My son will be 12-13 and he will just be super happy to pull the trigger in Africa (cull animals!). I'm down the middle. I'd love to know if I hunt hard I might get something great, but I have good odds at average or above - and I'm very willing to "Take what Africa Gives you" in terms of my list. Lets go looking for Kudu, and when the PH says that Nyala or Eland or whatever is amazing, then lets go chase that.

Another perspective - when we put in for Elk tags in New Mexico (we have a cabin that borders national forest) we always put in Bull as the first 2 options (Muzzle Loader and Rifle) and the third is cow. I'd rather be out hunting a cow elk then not out hunting at all! And that probably is the best way to describe my Africa desires. I want to know if I work hard, put in time, I might be able to take something magnificent, but at the end of the day I'll have good opportunities for good animals along the way.

Just to add - I hate pay by the inch. It's silly.
 

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