What's Going On With Cheap Hunts?

Hank2211

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@ActionBob
You are well experienced hunting Africa. All this being said, SA always takes a bad rap. Compare those places to areas in the APNR where we hunt. There are no better big game hunting in Africa today than over there, unfenced, and highest population of animals you will find.
Fenced areas you do find some grear places which can offer a lot more to a hunt and experience.

I just feel everyone is always quick to put down SA, I've hunted all over Africa, and let me tell you there a reason i am based here. I do however love Zim, Moz, bots, and absolutely love zambia, but those perfect wild African places can be found here as well. Unfortunately not for cheap, looking for the absolute best costs more. But i agree every hunter has different preferences, desires, and budgets, and need to plan accordingly, unrealistic cheap hunts are still the most risky hunt you can book in africa doesn't matter where you go. And the lesser few get lucky to get what they are promised.

My 2 cents
@HeinrichH, you are right. Sometimes, in extolling the virtues of "wild" Africa, we slight South Africa. The reality is that South Africa offers all sorts of experiences, and while the truly wild may not be one of them, you can get pretty close.

That's why I tend to intersperse hunts in South Africa, which I find fun and generally stress free, with hunts in higher stress places such as Cameroon and Ethiopia. I am off to Benin in a couple of weeks, but have already firmed up plans for a hunt to South Africa this summer (hope to finish the Tiny Ten!).

There is a place for everywhere. The issue is one of knowing what you are buying, being honest in what you are selling, and - and this is just my view - not devaluing the experience by giving it away.
 
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ActionBob

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The issue is one of knowing what you are buying, being honest in what you are selling, and - and this is just my view - not devaluing the experience by giving it away.

I have to agree with the first part of this. But Hank last year at SCI I was offered Zim elephant hunts ranging from $14,000 to $60,000. I don't think the guy at the low end was devaluing the experience he was offering. It was not a hunt I was interested in but to some it might be just the ticket, or the only one. He was honest in what he had to offer, spartan camps, and a likelihood of success in a few days by being there at the right time and place... And not claiming anything unrealistic as far as trophy size. An old time Zim operator who is trying to hang on and weather the storm they are faced with over there. And trying to make a living.

On the other hand, I know I could get a top notch experience with great accommodations and likelihood of opportunity at good trophy quality for a lot less than the $60,000. That operator was just trying to milk out more than the market bears and profiteering, or attempting to (I don't think they are in business this year). Supply and demand may have allowed such pricing a few short years ago... But I find it interesting how today many operators can offer the same hunts for half the price... I see many of these guys as the best operators, they have learned how to adapt and lowered their expectations... I certainly don't see those guys at devaluing the experience... For the most part anyway.

I think most of us are looking for "value". Not "cheap."
 

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Supply and demand....but they are still making money. And they make money selling the same animals to local South Africans for half the price they charge Americans.
 

siml

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You can't compare SA hunters to international hunters. Total different ball game.
 

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People can charge whatever they like, bit if they are selling hunts that cheap to SA hunters they are still profiting or they wouldn't do it. These 'cheap' hunts are just due to supply and demand.....supply is up.
 

Hank2211

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I think most of us are looking for "value". Not "cheap."

I think you are right - that's what most - if not all - of us look for. Value. Who wants anything else? But I think too many confuse cheap with value. And then are unhappy with what we get.

Hank last year at SCI I was offered Zim elephant hunts ranging from $14,000 to $60,000. I don't think the guy at the low end was devaluing the experience he was offering. It was not a hunt I was interested in but to some it might be just the ticket, or the only one. He was honest in what he had to offer, spartan camps, and a likelihood of success in a few days by being there at the right time and place... And not claiming anything unrealistic as far as trophy size. An old time Zim operator who is trying to hang on and weather the storm they are faced with over there. And trying to make a living.

You found someone who was honest with you. The fellow had the right approach. On the other hand, I spoke to a number of Tanzanian operators about the Selous a couple of years ago at SCI. All but one were prepared to sell me an elephant hunt, and they all talked about the potential size of an elephant (not the average). The one outlier was someone who told me that the elephants in the Selous had been so hammered by poachers that they had retreated so far into the bush , and were so skittish, that it would be a near impossible hunt. He said he'd sell me one, but I'd have to accept that the chances were near zero. I thanked him for his honesty, and moved on.

Supply and demand....but they are still making money. And they make money selling the same animals to local South Africans for half the price they charge Americans.

I agree with supply and demand. But are they really making money? I can tell you that many PH's sure aren't, due mostly to supply and demand. And as for selling animals to the locals for less, you may know more than I do, but my understanding was that this is generally for the meat market, and doesn't normally include the "glamour" game that sells for higher prices.
 

npm352

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SA hunters aren't just shooting meat. It isn't a gripe, it is just the facts. If they make money doing that then it just shows that they can make some profit off of them and much more on us....things are simply evening out.
 

Hank2211

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People can charge whatever they like, bit if they are selling hunts that cheap to SA hunters they are still profiting or they wouldn't do it. These 'cheap' hunts are just due to supply and demand.....supply is up.
Lots of posters on this thread have said people will sell hunts (or tractors!) at a loss just to keep busy. So I don't think that's a given.
 

siml

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Most game farms use SA hunters as management tools. Take off excess animals, but I can assure if they shoot a trophy, they are going to pay the price.
 

siml

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If I hunt in the States, I have to pay a much higher license fee than locals, I am not complaining, just happy I can hunt.
 

npm352

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If you hunt a mountain lion in Idaho you will pay $5000 to hunt plus your tag fee. While I would pay $12 for a tag, you would pay $200 for a tag. Same price for the hunt but quite a bit different than SA.
 

Hank2211

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As I read this thread, I seem to have ended up looking like I'm defending expensive hunts!

That wasn't my intention. I did say I liked a bargain as much as the next guy. My concern was that some operators in South Africa seemed to be offering some hunts at prices which didn't seem sustainable, and were delivering a different product than what I, as a hunter, was looking for. Whether this is due to an imbalance of supply and demand or poor management practices, time will tell. I know that the who offer low prices better be making something on the deal, and generating lots of volume, like Walmart, or they will end up out of business, just like so many more before them. I sure that many of the owners of the myriad businesses that go under every year don't believe that their pricing had anything to do with it. And I'm equally sure that many of them are wrong in that belief.

If you can find a great African hunting experience at a lower price than I can, then my hat is off to you, and I am happy to learn from your experience. But while I will ask questions about prices that seem too high, I will also ask questions about prices that seem too low. I tend not to haggle with an outfitter who I know is honest and delivers a quality product.

Here's a concrete example. I've never met Christophe Morio, and couldn't pick him out of a crowd. But I've read every hunt report posted on this site by those who have hunted with him, and read his own posts. He seems to hunt in the same way I like to hunt. When he posted a hunt for buffalo, roan and hippo in Benin a couple of months ago, some thought the price was high, and told him so on the thread. He didn't apologize for the cost, but did try to explain it. I've hunted a few places, and given what he was offering, and where, the price seemed reasonable to me, so I booked it. I will let you know with my own hunt report if I get value for this hunt.

Maybe I should phrase this another way. When you are looking for someone to do some work on your house, do you always go with the lowest bid? If not, why not? Same logic here.
 

ActionBob

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@ActionBob
You are well experienced hunting Africa. All this being said, SA always takes a bad rap. Compare those places to areas in the APNR where we hunt. There are no better big game hunting in Africa today than over there, unfenced, and highest population of animals you will find.
Fenced areas you do find some great places which can offer a lot more to a hunt and experience.

I just feel everyone is always quick to put down SA, I've hunted all over Africa, and let me tell you there a reason I am based here. I do however love Zim, Moz, bots, and absolutely love zambia, but those perfect wild African places can be found here as well. Unfortunately not for cheap, looking for the absolute best costs more. But i agree every hunter has different preferences, desires, and budgets, and need to plan accordingly, unrealistic cheap hunts are still the most risky hunt you can book in africa doesn't matter where you go. And the lesser few get lucky to get what they are promised.

My 2 cents
@HeinrichH
I feel you deserve an honest reply.

<There are no better big game hunting in Africa today> I have a real problem with this statement you made. Everyone does not have the same opinion of what good big game hunting is. To some it is pure trophy size and perhaps you are correct in that regard. However to others it is much more than that and often trophy size is way down on the list. A feeling of gratification from a real achievement, uninhibited by someone choreographing that experience may be more important to some.

I have not hunted an APNR. But I have hunted those areas right next door. Some huge, some not. And I may well hunt an APNR some day, when and if I still want to hunt but can no longer endure the travel to the real wild places in Africa, or God forbid, those places are gone:( But I will not be able to think of it as the same hunt in a real wild place. A good hunt, possibly even great, hopefully yes. The same, no way. When you can take a freeway from an International Airport to a major hub city and then continue down the tar road, likely to the front gate.... Full services, hospitals, tire shops, gas stations, super markets, even fast food joints, all within an easy drive.... Don't tell me that is wild Africa. I agree it is absolutely fantastic country with spectacular wildlife, in much greater numbers and even trophy size than the real wild areas. But before I pay the high costs of hunting an APNR, I would much rather take what you might call a lesser bull in a wild place. It will be a better trophy to me, but that is how i feel, not everyone agrees. And to those folks, you may offer the better deal.

But don't attempt to tell me that it is the same. The farther down this road in life I get, the more it becomes apparent that it is about the journey and how you travel it, being able and willing to make mistakes but learn, pull up your boot straps and continue on. Take risks, at least calculated risk. And when it comes to hunting big dangerous game in Africa, I want to do it the way I want to do it because that is how I want to do it. And that is in real wild places I would not and probably could not experience, certainly not to the same extent, without going hunting, carrying a gun not only as a tool to take the animal I'm pursuing, but in self defense as well. And I want to hunt where I don't know if a huge bull will step out or if I will have to settle for a somehow lesser specimen. But the real trophy is the experience and the journey not only in miles but mentally and every other way.

I have visited Kruger. I don't need to hunt it to experience it. And I have hunted next door to it, it was good, but not the same as Zim nor Moz.

As for South Africa getting a bad rap.. I fully agree, to quote a well respected outfitter. Sometimes people get "a little careless with the truth". Unfortunately when that happens, it tends to adversely effect others in the same vicinity (occupation, business, etc.) Perhaps I have become a bit jaded, but I believe there are some operators who no longer can actually tell the difference between the truth and a small lie. Or a big one:mad: And even worse, some tend to lie to themselves. I am very sorry if the good operators get lumped in sometimes.... But it is how it is.

In my limited experience, I have seen too many middle men brokering deals and taking too much of the pie. And then trying to swindle a bit more. To many "hunt experiences" being manufactured. To many situations manipulated to a desired outcome... And yes, in my limited experience those have been in South Africa, by South Africans.... Now of course there are more good operators than bad. and yes I am painting with a wide brush and those good operators do not deserve that... But i am being honest and upfront about how I have begun to see it and think about it.
 

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We are talking about the difference of a couple hundred dollars, and in the States you do not pay more for being an international hunter, but a nonresident of that state like the 49 other states. Big difference.
 

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Most game farms use SA hunters as management tools. Take off excess animals, but I can assure if they shoot a trophy, they are going to pay the price.

When a SA hunter shows up for one of these meat hunts, do they typically stay in the lodge, have meals prepared for them, laundry service, have a PH, ride in one of the outfitters trucks? Or do they only pay basically for access to the land and non-trophy animals?
 

npm352

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People would not continue to do business at a loss. It is difficult for me to justify hunting with outfit X who charges a waterbuck trophy fee that matches the price of 5 days of hunting and four animals of outfit Y. But to each his own.
 

sierraone

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If I hunt in the States, I have to pay a much higher license fee than locals, I am not complaining, just happy I can hunt.
That's true within the States also. It cost me much more to hunt elk in Colorado than it does someone that lives in Colorado. It is my understanding that you would pay the same as me as an (out of stater) for the license or tags. I live in Florida.
 

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A resident of Idaho would pay about $5012 for a guided lion hunt. A nonresident would pay $5200. Apples and oranges. Doesn't bother me, but it is not a good comparison.
 

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SA Resident hunting R5.56 billion a year.
International hunting tourists’ hunting (species fees & daily rates ONLY, based on formal hunting registers): R907 million.

I think this might help to explain.
 

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