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.

jeff

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By that logic any paid hunt is paid by the inch. Only free hunts aren't paid by the inch. Even then I guess you're paying by the inch if you use upgraded bullets as they cost more.

So.... The only true way to have a hunt where you don't pay by the inch is a DIY hunt, using Hornady ammunition. ;)

In all seriousness, I get what you're saying, but I just don't agree with it as there is no tape measure involved in paying more for an area as opposed to an animal.
You don't have to stretch your own tape .The so called tape measure has already been stretched on the genetics and trophy quality that's why they,re more expensive to start with. It costs more to hunt big animals in the prime areas. You wouldn't pay more if you thought the size would be the same as any other hunt. We're paying more for experience and with that experience we hope that a big critter is coming home with us, not just average. Like I said it's a back door approach to having to pay more for exceptional animals. Outfitters, State game departments and hunters have all contributed to this.
 
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KMG Hunting Safaris

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I knew a can of worms would be opened.
My First choice was #3 and I see many have changed their vote to #3.
This survey plays well with a previous post with telling your outfitter/PH quality (size) of trophy you are looking for before booking.
Times must be tough in the SA hunting industry.

Times are always tough within the SA hunting industry, but there is no double meaning in this post at all, Roger. It also has zero to do with the other post, and I can promise you the other post did not enter my mind once when I started this thread.

This post was started, merely for self observation. We have recently acquired some hunting rights to an unbelievable reserve. I speak under correction but the area is over 30,000 acres. The only animals that ask a premium is the Kudu and Eland. The other animals there are all normal priced. You will shoot an Eland there that looks like a bus, and the largest Kudu shot there was 63". These are Southern Greater Kudu that have been very well managed for over 20 years. Although I don't agree with it, on the Kudu, they do have a sliding scale of two categories, being below 54" and above 54" , but this would be the PH's job to determine. Like I said, not what I agree with and like to work according to, but this is their house, and I have to abide by their rules. This area would also only be hunted on special request.
Between 50"- 54" comes at a very respectable price for Southern Greater Kudu, but 55-63" are steep. If you are a person that wants a deep 50" to 60" bull, then there is a premium for that.
We have access to self sustaining Cape Buffalo there as well, where you can hunt the biggest that you can find, and we are not saying that because we already know the sizes of what roams there.

I was merely testing the waters to see what the public's feelings were regarding this, and whether it was worth it to advertise this area.
 

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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.

MT Griz,

I hear you, and I can relate to the principle of your opinion, but as Jeff and a couple of others have pointed out, trophy quality comes with a significant amount of time, money, and sound management invested on the part of the outfitter/land owner in growing and maintaining truly quality animals.

You can look at it as paying more for a quality animal or you can view it as paying a realistic price for a true trophy, and a lesser price for a mature animal that just won't ever score exceptionally well. Another fact to consider is that some outfitters will offer a kudu for example at one price of unlimited size, but that is really no bargain if that outfitter doesn't have animals of exceptional trophy caliber to begin with. In other words, an outfit can offer a 55" plus kudu for a flat $2400 or whatever all day long if they know that they don't have any animals of that caliber on the property in the first place.

As for the survey, the option the hunter should pick is the one that best suits his or her personal goals for their hunt. For me, it's a combination of quality animals, and nice accommodations, with an experienced staff of professionals, offered at a fair and reasonable price. I realize "fair and reasonable" is subjective to interpretation, so you have to be realistic enough to realize that you get what you pay for. I've done a couple of outfitted cheap hunts, and I can honestly say, I got what I paid for....
 

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This post was started, merely for self observation. We have recently acquired some hunting rights to an unbelievable reserve. I speak under correction but the area is over 30,000 acres. The only animals that ask a premium is the Kudu and Eland. The other animals there are all normal priced. You will shoot an Eland there that looks like a bus, and the largest Kudu shot there was 63". These are Southern Greater Kudu that have been very well managed for over 20 years. Although I don't agree with it, on the Kudu, they do have a sliding scale of two categories, being below 54" and above 54" , but this would be the PH's job to determine. Like I said, not what I agree with and like to work according to, but this is their house, and I have to abide by their rules. This area would also only be hunted on special request.
Between 50"- 54" comes at a very respectable price for Southern Greater Kudu, but 55-63" are steep. If you are a person that wants a deep 50" to 60" bull, then there is a premium for that.
We have access to self sustaining Cape Buffalo there as well, where you can hunt the biggest that you can find, and we are not saying that because we already know the sizes of what roams there.

I'm glad you pointed this out. No outfitter here should hesitate to explain the cost reasoning for truly quality trophy animals. As and outfitter, you should not back away from this, but explain it, and let the customer decide. I'm not sure why the sliding scale for certain species gets such a bad rap from some here? By that, at least the outfitter is being honest and upfront in what they can offer.
 

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I'm glad you pointed this out. No outfitter here should hesitate to explain the cost reasoning for truly quality trophy animals. As and outfitter, you should not back away from this, but explain it, and let the customer decide. I'm not sure why the sliding scale for certain species gets such a bad rap from some here? By that, at least the outfitter is being honest and upfront in what they can offer.

Thank you sir. Your input is much appreciated.
 

PHOENIX PHIL

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Times are always tough within the SA hunting industry, but there is no double meaning in this post at all, Roger. It also has zero to do with the other post, and I can promise you the other post did not enter my mind once when I started this thread.

This post was started, merely for self observation. We have recently acquired some hunting rights to an unbelievable reserve. I speak under correction but the area is over 30,000 acres. The only animals that ask a premium is the Kudu and Eland. The other animals there are all normal priced. You will shoot an Eland there that looks like a bus, and the largest Kudu shot there was 63". These are Southern Greater Kudu that have been very well managed for over 20 years. Although I don't agree with it, on the Kudu, they do have a sliding scale of two categories, being below 54" and above 54" , but this would be the PH's job to determine. Like I said, not what I agree with and like to work according to, but this is their house, and I have to abide by their rules. This area would also only be hunted on special request.
Between 50"- 54" comes at a very respectable price for Southern Greater Kudu, but 55-63" are steep. If you are a person that wants a deep 50" to 60" bull, then there is a premium for that.
We have access to self sustaining Cape Buffalo there as well, where you can hunt the biggest that you can find, and we are not saying that because we already know the sizes of what roams there.

I was merely testing the waters to see what the public's feelings were regarding this, and whether it was worth it to advertise this area.

Marius,

Personally I don't like the sliding scale either, but it's a matter of perspective and expectations to me. I don't want to be on a hunt about to pull a trigger having to wonder is this one right on the edge as to whether I pay thousands more and be within my budget? Am I about to end my hunt due to having to pay this extra amount on this one trophy?

If I were to go on a hunt where there was this scale, I'd be inclined to tell the outfitter we are targeting top quality trophy and be prepared for the higher fee. If it's a very significant premium compared to the average, well then the outfitter/PH better know his game to ensure the client is not disappointed. As you know kudu can be quite difficult to judge when still on the hoof even for some seasoned PHs.

If I'm not prepared to pay that higher fee because it's significantly higher as to blow my budget, then I simply won't hunt there to avoid the risk.

My opinion, which you didn't ask for I realize, but if I were you this is kind of how I'd market it the area. Be up front with the reality of why it is with your prospective client. If the client seems on the edge about it, then either don't hunt kudu/eland with them or take them to one of your other areas where they won't need to be concerned with a sliding scale. On second thought, I think I'd be inclined to not even market the lesser animals. I think I'd just market this area as a high trophy quality area with trophy fees that are reflective of this. Do not even publish the lower rates for lesser animals. And if by chance you take a kudu/eland that don't match the criteria for higher fees, then offer to refund the difference in the lower fees. Again, it's a matter of perspective.

You said the trophy fee increase is steep, but not exactly by how much. It could be that few will want to do so if it's too steep. Personally, I could see someday doing a kudu only hunt where I'm going for that extra special bull. That will take time, and with generally low daily rates, I know the PH/outfitter has the incentive to put me on that big bull.

Perhaps just me, but I'd bet not.
 

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You can look at it as paying more for a quality animal or you can view it as paying a realistic price for a true trophy, and a lesser price for a mature animal that just won't ever score exceptionally well. Another fact to consider is that some outfitters will offer a kudu for example at one price of unlimited size, but that is really no bargain if that outfitter doesn't have animals of exceptional trophy caliber to begin with. In other words, an outfit can offer a 55" plus kudu for a flat $2400 or whatever all day long if they know that they don't have any animals of that caliber on the property in the first place.

BSO Dave,
I understand where you are coming from. We probably agree more on this that it appears. I wouldn't mind paying more to hunt "Big" Kudu in a super good area. But I want to know what the price is before I shoot it not afterword. Even in a super good area how many 55+ Kudu are in that area? What if you are the 15th hunter of that year to hunt Kudu in that area? Correct me if I am wrong but big Kudu are rare right? If they are not, what is the big deal about trying to hunt one? I am just not a fan of paying by the inch after the shot. Does that make more sense?
 
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KMG Hunting Safaris

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Marius,

Personally I don't like the sliding scale either, but it's a matter of perspective and expectations to me. I don't want to be on a hunt about to pull a trigger having to wonder is this one right on the edge as to whether I pay thousands more and be within my budget? Am I about to end my hunt due to having to pay this extra amount on this one trophy?

If I were to go on a hunt where there was this scale, I'd be inclined to tell the outfitter we are targeting top quality trophy and be prepared for the higher fee. If it's a very significant premium compared to the average, well then the outfitter/PH better know his game to ensure the client is not disappointed. As you know kudu can be quite difficult to judge when still on the hoof even for some seasoned PHs.

If I'm not prepared to pay that higher fee because it's significantly higher as to blow my budget, then I simply won't hunt there to avoid the risk.

My opinion, which you didn't ask for I realize, but if I were you this is kind of how I'd market it the area. Be up front with the reality of why it is with your prospective client. If the client seems on the edge about it, then either don't hunt kudu/eland with them or take them to one of your other areas where they won't need to be concerned with a sliding scale. On second thought, I think I'd be inclined to not even market the lesser animals. I think I'd just market this area as a high trophy quality area with trophy fees that are reflective of this. Do not even publish the lower rates for lesser animals. And if by chance you take a kudu/eland that don't match the criteria for higher fees, then offer to refund the difference in the lower fees. Again, it's a matter of perspective.

You said the trophy fee increase is steep, but not exactly by how much. It could be that few will want to do so if it's too steep. Personally, I could see someday doing a kudu only hunt where I'm going for that extra special bull. That will take time, and with generally low daily rates, I know the PH/outfitter has the incentive to put me on that big bull.

Perhaps just me, but I'd bet not.

Phil, you have pretty much nailed it. That was what I was going to do from the start. I feel that I need to make it clear though that these are two very different areas, not even in the same vicinity to our base camp. As a matter of fact, you would not even fly into the same airport as normally done by our other guests.
I would also like to highlight, that when hunting from our base camp, there are no sliding scales and we hunt for the biggest animals that we can find. Our past guests will attest to that. However, let's be honest, you're not going to shoot a 57-63" Kudu in those areas around our base camp either. This is why I highlighted that, this would be offered on request.

Many thanks for your insight. I always respect what you have to say and the way you conduct yourself here on the forums. Thank you sir.
 

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Phil, you have pretty much nailed it. That was what I was going to do from the start. I feel that I need to make it clear though that these are two very different areas, not even in the same vicinity to our base camp. As a matter of fact, you would not even fly into the same airport as normally done by our other guests.
I would also like to highlight, that when hunting from our base camp, there are no sliding scales and we hunt for the biggest animals that we can find. Our past guests will attest to that. However, let's be honest, you're not going to shoot a 57-63" Kudu in those areas around our base camp either. This is why I highlighted that, this would be offered on request.

Many thanks for your insight. I always respect what you have to say and the way you conduct yourself here on the forums. Thank you sir.

Go forth and prosper! I look forward to hearing more details about this area.
 

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Changed to #3 as well. Unless you are hunting a Put and Take operation there are few guaranties as to animal size but if paying a little more to increase the odds I am all in.
Until I had hunted Africa I definitely didn't know what pampered was, if I had hot water to wash up in I was lucky.
 

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@KMG Hunting Safaris ,

I was thinking about your dilemma here and a business case popped into my mind that I think applies.

There is a guy in Houston, Jim McIngvale, who owns Gallery Furniture. His story is an amazing one of how having clearly defined goals, hard work, and a willingness to risk it all can lead someone from nothing to millions.

The point here though (and the link doesn't cover this well, I just know the story), is the willingness to understand your customers and change with them. Mattress Mac as he is known started out on the side of the freeway under tents selling value furniture to lower end customers who were just starting out and trying to make ends meet, and he did this very well.

What he found over time though was that many of those same customers got better jobs, made more money, and wanted to replace the value furniture with higher end stuff. He was losing loyal customers simply because he didn't offer what they wanted anymore.

So Mac expanded and added more high end furniture to keep those clients happy and on the hopes of making more money, which he did. He still kept some of the lower end stuff, but adapted to his customer base as they changed.

To me the similarity of your business and his is this. Many of your hunters are first time African hunters. When we first got to Africa all of the animals look big! We simply don't know any different. Then, as we gain experience our needs change. We want that monster animal and we are willing to pay more for it, just like with furniture. So do like Mattress Mac did, continue to market to your base, but change with your customers and offer more as well. He kept those inital customers coming back by making sure their future needs, not just their past ones, were met.

https://www.galleryfurniture.com/company-history
 

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BSO Dave,
I understand where you are coming from. We probably agree more on this that it appears. I wouldn't mind paying more to hunt "Big" Kudu in a super good area. But I want to know what the price is before I shoot it not afterword. Even in a super good area how many 55+ Kudu are in that area? What if you are the 15th hunter of that year to hunt Kudu in that area? Correct me if I am wrong but big Kudu are rare right? If they are not, what is the big deal about trying to hunt one? I am just not a fan of paying by the inch after the shot. Does that make more sense?

Agreed and thanks for making the point of knowing that cost up front. Transparency from the outfitter is key to any trophy pricing with a tiered scale or not. My point is that I have no problem with any outfitter offering a different class of trophy animal at a higher fee as long as I am given my options and the pricing up front long before my safari begins. This should be discussed in the planning stages and not out in the bush with the adrenaline pumping. I personally prefer to know what I can reasonably expect and plan for my goals and budget considerations accordingly.

My second point in mentioning this is that I have heard too many stories from other first time African hunters returning to report that they were promised trophy quality that was not reflective of what they saw or shot. Or worse, they were given the option to "upgrade" on a "trophy" property after a day or two of hunting without seeing the trophy caliber they were told they could expect. That's like hunting with a used car salesman and it is a horrible way to do business in my opinion. This is not reflective of the many reputable outfits in Africa, but there are enough of these slicksters doing this kind of stuff to be aware of when researching outfitters.

My outfitter told me well in advance that there would be an additional trophy fee of $1,000 for any kudu 55" or bigger, and I was fine with that. I was never pressured into taking a bigger bull and I passed on one that would easily go 55 or 56". They had the quality they advertised which I was happy to see, but not with any pressure to "upgrade". They had animals of every age class and trophy quality represented in amazing numbers. My bull was a wide, old warrior with great character, and I am extremely happy with him even though I have no idea what he will score and I don't care.
 

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I've never looked at accommodation pics for any trip booked ever, not at all important.

Most companies who are consistently producing the trip I'm after.......good quality trophies, good areas with fair chase terrain, good guides......typically have good places to stay with decent food because they put it all together as a business.

Agreed 100%. Quality animals are most important with all else equal.
 

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The industry, hunters and outfitters alike, have become too focused on those extra inches and the dollars they represent. I've been fortunate to travel all over and do way more than my fair share of hunting. I prefer a great hunt for a mature animal and i never stress about the inches. I personally don't hunt with outfitters who use a sliding scale for their trophy fees. I try not to book with them either, I think it takes away from the experience. The outfitter is trying to get the client the biggest animal so he makes more money, the client is trying to get the biggest animal he can and stay within their budget. Both are focused on the end game, the bill. Go have a great hunt enjoy yourself, bring home some great trophies and stories.

Understand what you are buying or being sold, be upfront with the outfitter on what your budget is and what you expect before you put down your hard earned cash. Its fine if they use a sliding scale, that is the outfitters prerogative, but don't get bullied into spending more than you should or taking a lesser quality animal than you were expecting. If the guide/PH makes a bad call, it was his call and you as the client should not be expected to pony up when he misjudges an animal and puts it into the next tax bracket.

As for accommodations, roll with the punches tent, shack, motel or luxury lodge each hunt has its own charms for living accommodations. But as I get older, I do prefer nicer digs and I expect a great hunt. A great hunt does not always mean 100% success either.... but don't get me started on that.
 

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I joined this late so my pick is #3. In Africa, as long as the camps are clean and there is some type of a shower, my wife and I are happy. I do a fair amount of research on the trophy quality of the areas I hunt. I like to hunt areas where the potential of larger trophies is at least possible. In my experience, if you hunt hard in such areas, you will be rewarded. I like a PH that hunts hard and knows enough to slow down the trackers and himself and get sneaky when the spoor indicates that we are getting close. When getting close, I also don’t think the hunter should be fourth in line. I like to be right behind the tracker with the PH directly behind me so he can come up behind my ear and whisper any instructions before I shoot. Or, the PH can lead and I am right behind him.

I have never hunted a fenced property but wouldn’t be against it if it was quite large. As for pricing, as long as there is good communication upfront and no surprises, I am fine. On your new property, the extra fee for a giant kudu would not bother me as long as I know about it beforehand. Being both a client, as well as an Outfitter/Guide myself for 26 years with a Marketing degree, I don’t like a lot of small extra fees that can add up. Separate charges for all the little things can be irritating. I prefer a package price that includes the little stuff and then just add the trophy fees on top of that based on what is harvested. Thanks for taking my input.
 

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Late to the party but after consideration, I chose #3. I want the opportunity for quality animals and a first-rate hunting experience first and foremost. Accommodations matter, though not as much as the hunting.

I also do not like the sliding scale and would more than likely not hunt with any outfit that uses one. I could perhaps hunt with an outfitter who used a scale for a single animal (never more than one) but the PH’s word before the trigger is pulled would have to be binding if he says the animal is below the price jump. If he says it’s above and measurements prove otherwise, then I’d expect the lower price.

I suppose I will always have reservations about sliding scales and pay-by-inch pricing. I was once told by a very experienced PH that put & take operations tend to use such schemes so I’ve always had a negative attitude towards them which I’m sure will not change.

I want a PH and outfitter working to find me the very best animals their concessions have to offer for the single price that has been quoted and agreed to by both parties beforehand. There can be nothing more fair for all concerned.

PS: I love analogies and I’ve thought about the sliding scale debacle a fair bit. I don’t believe anyone who purchases a new factory-built rifle by paying for and ordering it from a local dealer would put up with said dealer raising the price of the rifle after seeing upon delivery that it had a particularly nice piece of wood.
 

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