SOUTH AFRICA: NB Safaris In SA - The Good, The Bad & The Ugly (Hunt Report)

Royal27

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suggest a better 3rd party please.
The best thing for you to do, in my opinion, would have been to resolve this issue yourself in a timely manner. These situations happen. It's how they are dealt with that is telling.

But I digress. There would be many better ways than using PHASA as a "third party."

  1. Solve the issue yourself
  2. Independent and unrelated taxidermist opinion
  3. American Arbitration https://www.adr.org/
  4. South African Arbitration https://arbitration.co.za/
The cheapest and least damaging to your reputation would obviously have been to resolve amicably for the price of a couple of capes. You might want to think about that one again.
 

IvW

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Hi IvW, the one moment everything was fine and then the next it was all wrong in our communications.. I did not wish to get in a spitting match and therefor suggested we settle it this way. Also I had suggested I come and visit him in January and personally look his mounts over. This way we could get to a solution fairly. Him just informing me that there is problems and sending photos that I am not totally comfortable with and demanding retribution of his own number I was not comfortable with... I am not running from this, I just want a fair trial.
Neil, the capes look bad, obvious hair slip, no need to personally inspect it is quite clear. Make a plan, keep the client happy, he is not being un reasonable...bringing in a third party will make things worse...deal with it in good time you can still save this...simple.
 

Neil Barnard

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Thank you for the good advice.
Correct me if in wrong and i believe Jeff will in fact show order of events to be true... but did you not only email him back in regards to filing with PHASA after he told you about this whole article on the africahunting page?

Which was also after you had given the run around and some bogus answers.

We're not retarded Neil. I have skinned and fleshed over 500 animals, easily! I'll be fleshing a full caribou skin this afternoon! I know what proper care is needed on skins.

We dont have an agenda. We're not schemers!

And let's stop with the petty off topic nonsense. Its irrelevant and tacky.

Your not? Then except my offer to come and look at the Trophies in January and I will gladly stand for what is right. I am not running away from this.
 
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Neil Barnard

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The best thing for you to do, in my opinion, would have been to resolve this issue yourself in a timely manner. These situations happen. It's how they are dealt with that is telling.

But I digress. There would be many better ways than using PHASA as a "third party."

  1. Solve the issue yourself
  2. Independent and unrelated taxidermist opinion
  3. American Arbitration https://www.adr.org/
  4. South African Arbitration https://arbitration.co.za/
The cheapest and least damaging to your reputation would obviously have been to resolve amicably for the price of a couple of capes. You might want to think about that one again.
Royal27, thank you for the advice. As mentioned before. If I am in the wrong i will fix it... these things happen as you say and I will stand for what is right. Is it to much to request that I or a non bias party visits the Trophies? I have my reasons for wanting to do so. I’ll pay the $800 no problem. But I still want to see the problems first hand.
 

Neil Barnard

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Neil, the capes look bad, obvious hair slip, no need to personally inspect it is quite clear. Make a plan, keep the client happy, he is not being un reasonable...bringing in a third party will make things worse...deal with it in good time you can still save this...simple.
IvW, I am very willing to save it. All as said is not right and fair.
 

IvW

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IvW, I am very willing to save it. All as said is not right and fair.
Well good then talk to your client and come to some arrangement. I am sure he will not be unreasonable, that is evident from his first post when he just posted the trophy's. But evidently things went from bad to worse....what can it take? Be open with him, ask him what will satisfy him which would be acceptable to both but yet be reasonable, he is on this thread and we can resolve this here without third

@Deleted member 15212
What will fix this for you? What would be an acceptable fix for you? Realistically of course as the trophy's are already with you so come lets see if we can somehow get this resolved here as a first on AH....
otherwise this will just end up in a lose lose situation....guaranteed.
 
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TTundra

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I have requested I come and see the damage as it did not appear in the way it does on his photos when I received the photos from the Taxidermy. He did not show willingness for me to come inspect it personally in January? I was just wondering why?
@Neil Barnard Two things here...

1st- it is fairly obvious from the photos posted by the OP that there is significant slippage and poor field prep and finishing work. You can simply ask for more photos for evidence. Again, a reputable taxidermist would and should feel ashamed of that work regardless if field prep or their work was to blame. You have had multiple taxidermists from this forum state the same. Well respected and trusted taxidermists mind you. Even my taxidermist in RSA made me a happy customer by photos....not visit was needed. Result was a large second taxidermy order with my return trip and my recommendation of them to other hunters.

2nd- This is the age of SEO and web reviews and posts are everything to a business, especially in a profession and industry that is so highly reviewed and researched before a hunt. Now, you can rely on return business, but the best choices weren't made for at least 3 clients on this thread.
You had the opportunity to stop this thread before it began, you chose not to. You then had the opportunity to correct the issue and save face and business by simply handling the issue presented on this forum to the customers and your satisfaction. You instead chose to run around the issue and have other clients try to chime in on your behalf.
Now, the reality of this is any future client whom has a cell phone at a auction or banquet is going to google your safari name amd see this review right away. Anyone at home researching outfits will see this review.

You probably have one last chance to make it right or at least appease the client/customer. I ask you, think about this before you post again....
 

Neil Barnard

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Well good then talk to your client and come to some arrangement. I am sure he will not be unreasonable, that is evident from his first post when he just posted the trophy's. But evidently things went from bad to worse....what can it take? Be open with him, ask him what will satisfy him which would be acceptable to both but yet be reasonable, he is on this thread and we can resolve this here without third

@Deleted member 15212
What will fix this for you? What would be an acceptable fix for you? Realistically of course as the trophy's are already with you so come lets see if we can somehow get this resolved here as a first on AH....
otherwise this will just end up in a lose lose situation....guaranteed.
I am just of to bed, I will be glad to work with you once you make the suggestion on what will resolve this in the morning. Thank you IvW.
 
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Neil Barnard

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@Neil Barnard Two things here...

1st- it is fairly obvious from the photos posted by the OP that there is significant slippage and poor field prep and finishing work. You can simply ask for more photos for evidence. Again, a reputable taxidermist would and should feel ashamed of that work regardless if field prep or their work was to blame. You have had multiple taxidermists from this forum state the same. Well respected and trusted taxidermists mind you. Even my taxidermist in RSA made me a happy customer by photos....not visit was needed. Result was a large second taxidermy order with my return trip and my recommendation of them to other hunters.

2nd- This is the age of SEO and web reviews and posts are everything to a business, especially in a profession and industry that is so highly reviewed and researched before a hunt. Now, you can rely on return business, but the best choices weren't made for at least 3 clients on this thread.
You had the opportunity to stop this thread before it began, you chose not to. You then had the opportunity to correct the issue and save face and business by simply handling the issue presented on this forum to the customers and your satisfaction. You instead chose to run around the issue and have other clients try to chime in on your behalf.
Now, the reality of this is any future client whom has a cell phone at a auction or banquet is going to google your safari name amd see this review right away. Anyone at home researching outfits will see this review.

You probably have one last chance to make it right or at least appease the client/customer. I ask you, think about this before you post again....
ok, I am willing to work with the group here. Send me your suggestions and let’s see if we can put it to rest. Just of to bed now, will look it over in the
Morning. Thank you TTundra.
 

Chago

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Chago, I can only think that my clients do not really keep them selves busy with such forums in general. If someone picks up a negative report, they share the news and people wish to say their say. All part of life, and nothing strange. I have many many happy clients and I do not think they are not allowed to share their experience on this forum because they do not in average participate normally? I am trying to understand the problem here? For the last 10 years I have had an average of over 90 hunters a year, you are bound to have a unhappy one every now and then. Some are just impossible to get happy... some are. But 99% of my clients are extremely happy and I guess they would like to share their experience. I wish no ill on no one, I wish to help. But if a client posts a negative before we are done dealing with his problem. I feel slightly cheated. That’s all.
So we're just going to call it a coincidence that they signed up the day of a bash NB safari thread opens up ? I appreciate your clients are far busier and cooler then we are and don't post very much. But to sign up the same day. Make one post and never come back. Tell me, how do they find out about this site? Or hear about these threads? All at the same time?

Oh wait..... Someone already posted text messages of how it happens lol.

I absolutely never criticize a outfitter for a bad review. I totally appreciate the fact that some people are never happy. And sometimes the service provider is human and makes mistakes. But how you handle those mistakes is what seperate the professionals from the crooks. But based on all your posts. You sir have proven to be full of $hit.

I'm over this. OP sorry you got hosed. Many good sponsors on here who would absolutely change your mind about Africa. Most of which are probably sitting back watching NB get crucified. Yet I have seen many of them come to the rescue of fellow competition when they see bad reviews that could be a little bias. Yet no one is coming to NB rescue here. Interesting.
 

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I have requested I come and see the damage as it did not appear in the way it does on his photos when I received the photos from the Taxidermy. He did not show willingness for me to come inspect it personally in January? I was just wondering why?
A) as if I’d want to wait 7 months for Neil to come personally inspect my mounts to resolve the issue?

B) the photos I sent did not appear in the way they did from the taxidermy studio? You’re right - they’re WAY more detailed, higher resolution, with proper lighting and I could take as many as anyone wanted to see. But that’s not good enough because the poorly lighted, small resolution pics taken from 10’ away are the true representation of the quality? Spare me and everyone else the nonsense.

C) Neil already made excuses for the obvious hair slip and denied it was even an issue (see Neil’s initial response in my other thread) via e-mail, i.e. in writing. I can’t imagine the nonsense I’d hear in person.

Now Neil keeps regurgitating how I began badmouthing him! Badmouthing him by telling my story? If anything I’ve said is not factual, please call it out!

Also, to continue regurgitating that he offered PHASA to look into it? AGAIN - I posted this review BEFORE Neil ever brought up PHASA. I know nothing about PHASA, other than Neil is a member, but I have little doubt that they likely look out for their own and it would be a waste of my time.

I have no interest in further pursuing a partial refund. I wouldn’t even accept one at this point. I’ve backed away from the table and have written off the money spent to an education on (some) African taxidermy and business practices.

Besides, does anyone else wonder why, if Neil takes the utmost care in the prep of his clients hides that’s he’s taken a commanding lead in the discussion with me personally and on this thread? If Neil is correct, this is taxidermy issue! I NEVER heard back from African Expressions or Burns Taxidermy, nor have they chimed in here.

As I also explained to Neil in my e-mail where I proposed a resolution:

“What I can't understand is why nobody contacted me to tell me the hides were in such bad condition. Regardless of how/why/when the hides came to be in that condition, Karen should have been notified by the taxidermist so that she could reach out to me to discuss the options. But, since nobody contacted me, I can only assume it's part of the taxidermist's business model to just turn out work and move on.”

Heck, I likely would have paid MORE to replace the hides at that point naively believing whatever excuse I would have heard for the cause of hide degradation. Neil likely could have even marked up the cost of the hides making even MORE money! I hate to even type that and give him ideas for the future...

Not only was this entire situation avoidable if any form of pride of workmanship was considered, but to then deny, deflect, point fingers, makes excuses and play the victim shows the true character of the individual.
 

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I suppose we could ban him. But then one of his really busy clients who telepathically know something is wrong will just replace him with one post of praise. Lol.
 

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OT somewhat, I met a fellow hunter at the range this week. We discussed Western U.S. hunting versus the cost of an African hunt. He was extremely interested in Africa. I gave him a Gracy Travel business card and referred him to this site, notably the Deals & Offers forum. If he sees this thread, I doubt it will do NB Safaris any good and unfortunately somewhat stain the good guys too.
 

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@Chago - perfect summary, thank you.

I spent 6.5 years as a parts and service rep for a major, reputable, auto manufacturer dealing with dissatisfied customers who also spent a lot of money on a product. As a business professional, here’s how I learned to communicate right out of the gate when our product didn’t meet a customer’s expectations.

Step 1: inspect the problem (even if it’s just pictures!)
Step 2: acknowledge the problem.
Step 3: tell the client - “I’m sorry our product hasn’t met your expectations, how can I keep you satisfied not only with the product, but with the company? My goal is for you to be so satisfied with the outcome that this incident will not sour your repurchase intent.” (ensuring repeat business)
Step 4: make good on the agreed to terms.

That’s not a line of either, I said those words MANY times, and I meant them.

I guess, as it was stated, that’s what separated me as a true professional.
 

leslie hetrick

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I have made six hunting trips to Africa and can say I have been satisfied with all the contacts made with ph,s, when small things came up several times they were taken care of right now and they weren,t even biggies. one was a tracker who was the laziest I have ever seen and he was demoted to cook pretty quick.

DSCN8377 (2).JPG
 
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Red Leg

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I have made six hunting trips to Africa and can say I have been satisfied with all the contacts made with ph,s, when small things came up several times they were taken care of right now and they weren,t even biggies. one was a tracker who was the laziest I have ever seen and he was demoted to cook pretty quick.
Probably spit in your food. ;)

@Chago - perfect summary, thank you.

I spent 6.5 years as a parts and service rep for a major, reputable, auto manufacturer dealing with dissatisfied customers who also spent a lot of money on a product. As a business professional, here’s how I learned to communicate right out of the gate when our product didn’t meet a customer’s expectations.

Step 1: inspect the problem (even if it’s just pictures!)
Step 2: acknowledge the problem.
Step 3: tell the client - “I’m sorry our product hasn’t met your expectations, how can I keep you satisfied not only with the product, but with the company? My goal is for you to be so satisfied with the outcome that this incident will not sour your repurchase intent.” (ensuring repeat business)
Step 4: make good on the agreed to terms.

That’s not a line of either, I said those words MANY times, and I meant them.

I guess, as it was stated, that’s what separated me as a true professional.
Exactly correct. This is not the first of these “public” disputes that has played out here. Successful businesses handle unhappy customers / clients precisely as you describe.
 

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Find it odd that a PH is so imbedded with a taxidermist. Even considering the modest kickback, seems like a lot of uncontrollable factors and different expectations.
I do think the taxidermy is substandard, but the OP should not let it ruin the hunt. Heads will be in the dump 30 years from now.... PH is losing a lot of potential business over a few c notes as well....
 

Hank2211

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Interesting thread. Let me say that I was one of the ones who thought that Gater's taxidermy wasn't well done, and that the outfitters response wasn't what it should have been (see other thread).

Having said that, there are a few things about this particular thread which I find interesting.

First, Gater is, of course, more than welcome to post his hunt report, and to present his perspective, and I am happy to see it. And, also of course, the outfitter is equally more than welcome to post his perspective on the issue . . . or is he? It seems that Mr. Bernard has been pretty much slagged from the get-go. Given that, I commend him for having the patience to engage with just about everyone who has asked questions of him (often somewhat aggressively I'd say, but I'm a marshmallow). More on this below.

Breaking down the issues, it seems there are two. The first is the taxidermy. Mr. Bernard must be aware that his pictures - soft focus and taken from a distance - can easily misrepresent what the taxidermy actually looks like on closer examination. I put much more weight on Gater's close-up pictures than on Mr. Bernard's. Mr. Bernard has proposed a solution, which is to have a third party make a finding, which he agrees to accept. That third party - he suggests PHASA - apparently doesn't get involved in this way between members and clients (PHASA is impractical in any event since it would clearly be best if the arbitrator could see the mounts in person). I still believe this is a reasonable proposal, and so long as the parties can come to an agreement on who that should be, that should be the end of the matter for now. I acknowledge that the fact that the parties are continents apart is a problem, but since it appears that Mr. Bernard is in North America at least for DSC or SCI, this shouldn't be insurmountable, though his presence isn't entirely necessary.

The second matter is the other issues which occurred at camp, of which the gemsbok seems to be the main one. I believe that Mr. Bernard has given an explanation of what happened here, and speaking personally, it strikes me as reasonable. Part of the problem no doubt - and I say this without casting blame - is that there was an agent between Mr. Bernard and Gater, or so it appears. Communication can easily go awry, and that may have been what's happened here. It may also be that Mr. Bernard was intentionally vague in order to get a hunt, a tactic which would not be new, novel or unheard of. I'm not sure we have any real way of determining which is the right answer. Having said that, I personally find it a bit surprising that people would expect to hunt gemsbok in the Limpopo, but I guess that's what game ranching has done to us. But that's another thread, so since this line has no bearing on this particular case, I will pursue it no further.

Now one interesting matter (at least to me) which occurs to me is the fact that so many are (1) jumping on the outfitter for getting some of his other clients to join AH for the purpose of posting positive reviews and (2) jumping on those same clients for posting those positive reviews.

Now, there are thousands of people who hunt Africa every year, and only a very small percentage of those who have been to Africa are members here (giving full recognition to Jerome for the 6,000+ members he does have here!). It's hardly surprising then that an outfitter - any outfitter - would have a lot of clients who are not members here. And is it surprising - or wrong - for an outfitter who is being attacked for his business practices to point to the fact that he has plenty of satisfied clients, and then to ask those clients to step up and say so? I see no malicious intent in the Facebook or WhatsApp pages which were posted as if they were evidence of malfeasance. This is simply how the outfitter communicates with a group of clients who seem to have had such a good time that they want to remain connected to him and to Africa. I get that. If these are indeed real people, then they are entitled to have their say, even if it's only once to support an outfitter who has been attacked. An outfitter is entitled to defend himself, and if he can do that by having people vouch for his practices, then good for him.

I do think it's much different when someone joins up for the sole purpose of posting something negative. These positive comments were presented as evidence that Mr. Bernard has happy clients. And, as I say, he is entitled to post evidence that his business practices are not as alleged. Real clients are unlikely to lie by posting positive comments if they don't mean them. And again, no one has alleged these are not real, happy, clients. The situation would be much different if they were not, of course. We can give these comments whatever weight we choose, while acknowledging that he does have happy clients. This is not the same with a negative post which can be done for a number of reasons, not all of which are valid or honourable (note I am not suggesting that that is the case here - to the contrary).

I think that overall, it's good for AH to have new people join, even if initially only for a single purpose. Some may stick - who knows - and we will be the better for more members.

In summary, and this is just my view, I think we have an unhappy client and I believe he is justified in being unhappy with respect to his taxidermy. I think the outfitter has proposed a reasonable solution, but I think he has to appoint someone in the US to look at the taxidermy, rather than someone in South Africa.

I cannot form any reliable opinion about the gemsbok, though I tend towards a view that there was a miscommunication, while acknowledging that I could well be wrong here.

Lastly, I think that people who are accused of poor business practices should be encouraged to get real people to join AH, and we should encourage (as some have done) those real people to post more than one or two lines. I believe that having satisfied clients is at least some evidence that the outfitter might not engage in poor business practices. I hope some of those people find this site so interesting that they stay as long term members and contributors.
 

LivingTheDream

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I cant believe all this happen over 750 dollars...this report could/would have been way different. The OP had a great time, raved about the accommodations and the animals. He was a very happy hunter!!!

Even the outfitters pics of the taxidermy you can see a giant bald spot in the kudu. 750 dollars!!!! Now people are questioning the taxidermy, the trophy prep, the size of the animals, can they trust your packages (no gemsbuck)...some one got greedy and it is going to cost way more in the long run. $750.00!!!!! Really?!?!
 

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I think that overall, it's good for AH to have new people join, even if initially only for a single purpose. Some may stick - who knows - and we will be the better for more members. ....................
Always, the more the merrier!
 
 

 

 

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