I am willing to offer my services either as an arbitrator or mediator. I have many years of experience setting disputes. If all parties will be at DSC, I could do it there.
Good morning Hank, well said. And I am more then willing to work with someone that can assist. The client is in the LA area and I think the arbitrator needs to finically be able to see his mounts. Do we have a SCI rep in that area willing to assist?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.
Good morning Wesheltonj, as the trophies are in LA area I am not sure this is going to work for the client. I really appreciate you offering and if the client is willing I will meet there with pleasure. What ever it takes.I am willing to offer my services either as an arbitrator or mediator. I have many years of experience setting disputes. If all parties will be at DSC, I could do it there.
Physically see the mounts.Good morning Hank, well said. And I am more then willing to work with someone that can assist. The client is in the LA area and I think the arbitrator needs to finically be able to see his mounts. Do we have a SCI rep in that area willing to assist?
Will the flight, accommodations, taxi and all the rest that goes with a flight to USA not cost more than the $750 that is being asked for?If needs be friends, I will gladly make a flight over just for this. As soon as we have found a suitable arbitrator in the LA area. I would like to set a date ASAP that works for both Jeff and I and I will gladly be there. What is right is right.
For what its worth, my opinion would be to agree on an amount to refund, apologize for the quality of the taxidermy work and ask for an opportunity to show the client a better result on another trip with the Gemsbok as primary target.Way more Pete, it’s not the money. Let’s get this settled
If you truly want a third party to be involved, which PHASA isn't, then why don't you choose a Taxidermist in USA to inspect the mounts and report back? That is a truly third party opinion.
This is the most reasonable and logical solution at this point IMO. I’d gladly allow a 3rd party taxidermist come to my house and inspect the trophies. I’m not interested in having Neil inspect them as A) that opportunity has already been presented through high quality photos. B) is far from impartial.
Point to note - I live north of Dallas TX, not in the LA area.
If anyone would like to help arrange a qualified taxidermist who Neil 100% agrees to, again, I’d be happy to have them inspect the mounts.
Also, I tried to be as reasonable as possible with my request as to not sound greedy and just after a pile of money. That ship has already sailed as we’ve all seen unfold.
Neil, since you say its not about the money, would agree to refund the amount that the 3rd party taxidermist quotes to fully repair the mounts?
That would show an incredible leap of faith that you truly care about client satisfaction.
A lot of outfits get in trouble over African Taxidermy is seems. I realize clients need dip/pack services, where the trouble always seems to appear is in the finished Taxidermy product. It’s a recurring thread here. Man just send them home to be done, spend a little more money and avoid this kind of fiasco!
At the end of the day, is a third party needed?
It's plain to see the capes are missing hair and this is not the fault of the hunter.
There was obviously poor management of the capes between the shot being taken and the mounting of them.
Care of the capes and treatment process is the responsibility of the outfitter and his staff.
Hi jeff,And while we’re at it, can we arrange a taxidermist to inspect my Dad’s kudu as well? I’ve posted pics of it in my other thread too and it’s horrendous.
He lives about 2 hours south of Denver Co.
see an issue... it is the way I was approached that got me going. I would also like to state that it was a very hot dry September... Kudu loos their hair fast and easy when it’s hot and they are in not the fattest time of the year. This differs from animal to animal. I have never turned my head. I would like to look the client in the eye and talk to him regarding. Lots of other BS was flung and I just want it all cleared out.100% agree. This is what I can’t wrap my head around. I’ve already agreed at this point to have a US taxidermist inspect the mounts - but why should it have even come to this?!
I’ll commend Neil for sticking with this thread and responding to comments. It’s not easy to go up against a large group of people who clearly disagree with the way you’ve handled a situation. But to still, at this point, not even admit he sees an issue with the mounts and wants to see them in person before agreeing to a resolution is mind boggling.
As I stated, I was a parts and service rep for a auto manufacturer - I would authorize full vehicle repainting, which is $10-15k, based off pictures alone if they clearly showed the defects in question.
I was going to be bad mouthed regardless.after all the dust up, how does he still think by trying to save a few hundred dollars he will come out ahead? if he loses 4-5 hunts-hunters he just cut off his nose to spite his face. he just should have written a check and side stepped this whole mess. does this mean I would not hunt with him, no but I would have to realy think about it.