Who to follow (or not)?

Charles de Ribeau

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Here is my dilemma. I've been on 2 safaris. Both with the same outfitter and same PH. The PH and I really clicked. We work well together. The outfitter has a first class operation. Shortly after my second safari, the PH (plus most of the other PHs) left and went to another outfitter where they now are part owners of the operation.

I want to go back for another safari in 2020. This time, I want to do a cull hunt. I'm not sure what that would look like whether all PG or DG too as part of the mix.

So, my question is this: am I better off to follow the PH; stay with the outfitter or go with a new (unknown) outfitter in a new location.

What is your advice?
 

Shootist43

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I think you need to decide on what you want to hunt and then ask both parties for quotations. Then depending on the results you should ask your favored PH for references. You might also just post your desired hunt on AH and let the Outfitters "come" to you. If you stick with AH Outfitter / Sponsors you sort of know what you are going to get.
 

Charles de Ribeau

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I think you need to decide on what you want to hunt and then ask both parties for quotations.
I can't say that I am too particular about what I shoot. That's not completely true. All things being equal, I'd rather shoot at least some animals that I haven't shot before (for example - zebra, black wildebeest, blesbuck, etc., etc.) and there are very, very few animals that I wouldn't shoot (like 3 - 4).
 

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Lots of folks go to Africa, have a great hunting experience with a particular PH and outfit, and never go anywhere else. I too have hunted with the same outfitter more than once, but gosh, there is a lot of Africa (and elsewhere) out there and a lot of great outfits and PHs. When we go to DSC now, we spend most of our time visiting with the large number of good friends we have made in this wonderful sport of ours across many outfitters, PHs, guides, and booking agents. As @Shootist43 so wisely suggests, find the hunt and game you are looking for and then decide on the outfitter.
 

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Only you can decide that of course. I would offer however that if one only ever hunts with the same PH or outfitter, especially in the same areas, you wont ever really know anything other than one routine. Branch out a bit to get a more rounded view of what Africa has to offer.(y)
 

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Can honestly tell you that I hunted with one PH twice and had a great time. When I was ready for a third hunt the outfitter treated me indifferently and quoted me an overpriced hunt. I went with another PH and outfitter and enjoyed myself immensely. I hunted with him four times and saw different areas. Try something new after considering the suggestions made above.
 

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All good advice so far! Speak to both your current outfitter and your favorite PH to find out about the new area. I tend to agree with the comments above, explore somewhere new, and since you already have a trusted PH, you have a good start.
 

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Lots of folks go to Africa, have a great hunting experience with a particular PH and outfit, and never go anywhere else. I too have hunted with the same outfitter more than once, but gosh, there is a lot of Africa (and elsewhere) out there and a lot of great outfits and PHs. When we go to DSC now, we spend most of our time visiting with the large number of good friends we have made in this wonderful sport of ours across many outfitters, PHs, guides, and booking agents. As @Shootist43 so wisely suggests, find the hunt and game you are looking for and then decide on the outfitter.
I completely agree sir. My first hunt was to the Limpopo area on a hunt my Uncle took me on. It was with an outfitter he hunted with before and since. He will not hunt with anyone else. I had a great experience, but there is sooo much of Africa to see. I have read about it since I was 10 and want to see as much of it as possible. We were visiting with the outfitter at DSC last year as my Uncle was booking another trip and he asked me when I was coming back. I told him I had a great trip but wanted to see more and different places. He put his arm around my shoulder and said, "see all of it you can." I was happy he genuinely gets the lure of Africa as much as running his business.
 

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I completely agree sir. My first hunt was to the Limpopo area on a hunt my Uncle took me on. It was with an outfitter he hunted with before and since. He will not hunt with anyone else. I had a great experience, but there is sooo much of Africa to see. I have read about it since I was 10 and want to see as much of it as possible. We were visiting with the outfitter at DSC last year as my Uncle was booking another trip and he asked me when I was coming back. I told him I had a great trip but wanted to see more and different places. He put his arm around my shoulder and said, "see all of it you can." I was happy he genuinely gets the lure of Africa as much as running his business.
You owe it to yourself to go to the cattle ranch country of Namibia, and perhaps the true wilderness areas still found in Zim and Moz.
 

firehuntfish

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So, my question is this: am I better off to follow the PH; stay with the outfitter or go with a new (unknown) outfitter in a new location.

What is your advice?

The ideal situation would be to have an outfitter that offers the opportunity to hunt in many and destinations throughout Africa. This way, you know what you are getting in terms of trust and service, and yet you will have the ability to hunt different species in multiple destinations.

If that option doesn't exist with the outfitter you have previously hunted with, I would certainly recommend, as others already have, to see other locations and hunt species that you have not yet hunted.... Assuming that you exercise the same due diligence and vet a new outfitter in the same manner that you used to select the first, you should have a great experience regardless of the location. Of course I am biased, but I always recommend starting your research with any of the many reputable, highly recommended outfitter-sponsors here on AH.com... ;)
 

Charles de Ribeau

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You owe it to yourself to go to the cattle ranch country of Namibia, and perhaps the true wilderness areas still found in Zim and Moz.

Good point.

Technically I've been on 2 safaris, but in experiences it has been more like 4 or 5. First was a PG package in Namibia and not too far from Windhoek. Next trip started near Kimberly ZA. That's where I took my buffalo. After that hunt we drove several hours NE for the next hunt. That was on the edge of the Kalahari and on the border with Zimbabwe (lion hunt). After a few days in the second location, went back to Namibia and hunted plains game for a few days and helped with baiting a leopard. So, you see I have seen more of Africa than just that one place in Namibia.
 

Charles de Ribeau

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I think you need to decide on what you want to hunt

Are you saying that I should be able to tell an outfitter what cull animals I'm interested in shooting? I don't have to just take whatever package is proposed?
 

jeff

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Don't be afraid to try someone new . Have been with fourteen different outfitters and have only had one poor hunt. One outfitter I've hunted three times and three others I've been with twice so I don't always go with someone new. But if I hadn't I would have missed seeing new areas and meeting some great people.
 

Shootist43

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Yes Charles that is exactly what I'm saying. Remember that YOU are the client. At the same time you need to keep an open mind.
 

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The ph is the one you are with 90% of your day. If you have one you really like, I would lean towards sticking with him.

But other things need to be considered:

Did those PHs really leave the old place bc it turned into a circus or is it still running properly?

Does the new establishment they created operate well or is it a circus? Sometimes good employees are poor business people.
 

shadowhunterz

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Stick to what works for you but speak to the PH first and tell him your expectations.
 

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:S 2 Cents:
It appears that you are considering going to hunt with an individual you like, who in fact is a minority shareholder, in a new company (Outfitter). Your "friend" PH has minimal say (or knowledge likely) in/of the new operation.

Why has been invited to join the new Outfit?:
  1. He's such a great PH that everyone is lining up to hire him? :K Serenade:
  2. He's bringing clients? Where did he get these clients? (His last employer.) :S Wanted:

Couple questions come to mind.

On what basis did you choose the original Outfitter?
Did it work?

Are you using that same process to choose the new Outfitter?
If so, then you should be happy.


Regarding PH's:
You showed up to the original Outfitter, after you screened them, and took whatever PH was thrown at you. It worked fine.

Everyone has their own preferences. I wish you luck with your decision.
 

Art Lambart II

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Hunting with a PH you trust is a great thing but do you really need a trusted PH on a cull hunt? For a cull hunt I would probably lean the Outfitters way because any PH he gives you will be able to point out culls for you to shoot.
 

Charles de Ribeau

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Don't be afraid to try someone new . Have been with fourteen different outfitters and have only had one poor hunt. One outfitter I've hunted three times and three others I've been with twice so I don't always go with someone new. But if I hadn't I would have missed seeing new areas and meeting some great people.

Actually, I hadn't thought about it before, but being afraid to try someone new is an issue for me. I appreciate you mentioning that.

In North America, I've had bad experiences with several outfitters. With a couple it was my fault for not doing enough research. In one case, just before the season started, the father/son outfitter team had a falling out and the son left and that messed up everything. In some cases, weather has been a factor in a bad hunt and I generally give the outfitter a pass for that, as long as I feel that they still tried.
 

Charles de Ribeau

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:S 2 Cents:
It appears that you are considering going to hunt with an individual you like, who in fact is a minority shareholder, in a new company (Outfitter). Your "friend" PH has minimal say (or knowledge likely) in/of the new operation.

Why has been invited to join the new Outfit?:
  1. He's such a great PH that everyone is lining up to hire him? :K Serenade:
  2. He's bringing clients? Where did he get these clients? (His last employer.) :S Wanted:

Couple questions come to mind.

On what basis did you choose the original Outfitter?
Did it work?

Are you using that same process to choose the new Outfitter?
If so, then you should be happy.

The former outfitter was seriously considering selling his operation to a Russian (mafia??). It wasn't a secret and that led a majority of the PHs to jump ship while they could. A 2-3 of them had access to family ranches that they brought with them to the new outfit. It's now been 5 years since the switch, so they do know the areas he is hungting now.

Selection process: My original selection started with a recommendation by an industry figure (actually he recommended 3 outfitters) and then I checked references.
 

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