Picking an Outfitter for your next hunting or fishing adventure could easily be the most important thing that you do to prepare for your trip. I know was an Outfitter! Let me start out here by saying that the vast majority of outfitters are really good ones that are in the business for the right reasons. When you ask a good Outfitter what they like about the business, they will likely tell you its the people and the pleasure it brings to show them a great new experience. Then on the other hand there are a few outfitters that are in the business for the wrong reasons and those are the kind of Outfitters you need to avoid.
One of the curses and blessings in this industry is that it, in large part, is not heavily regulated. In other words the standards buy which they operate can be highly variable from Outfitter to Outfitter. Thanks to a little thing called competition, the good ones usually survive and the bad ones go by the wayside. The trick is to not get caught on a trip with one of the few bad ones.
To avoid disappointment on your trip of a lifetime, there are a few things you should do to make sure you are with the right Outfitter.
1) Ask for references!
I have had clients tell me that they didn’t use references because the outfitter would only give the good ones. That is true but so what, he’d be an idiot if he gave you a bad one. You can still get some good information from references about such things as accommodations, travel arrangements, and generally what to expect on your trip.
2) Ask the Outfitter about accommodations and meals!
Now days it is easy to get a client pictures so ask for some and see that they are current. Also ask about sleeping arrangements. The worst thing in the world is getting to your trip expecting a separate room and finding out you are in a room of bunks with 7 other guys. Ask about meals. Get the outfitter to give you a typical menu for a day. Asking these questions helps you to know what you are getting and helps makes bring your expectations in line with what the outfitter is providing.
3) Ask the Outfitter about the equipment!
This can give you an idea of how well prepared the Outfitter is. Boats, newer motors, blinds etc…
4) Ask for the Outfitter history!
Ask the Outfitter how long he has been an Outfitter or Guide. See if he is as green as grass or if he has some time in the business. Now there is nothing wrong with using a new Outfitter if he has some previous guiding experience. Heck! Everybody has to start somewhere and the new Outfitter may just try a little harder for you! Just do your homework on the guy.
5) What are the fitness requirements!
This a very important point in that if your physical abilities are not up to what is required for the trip you could find yourself in a very disappointing situation. This is where honesty about your physical capabilities and honesty from the Outfitter about the physical demands of his trip are paramount. If you don’t ask about it in specifics such as walking, climbing or riding you could find yourself on a nightmare trip! A good Outfitter will be right up front about it!
In reality, most Outfitters are very good at what they do. Usually if there is a problem it could have been avoided by better communication. So don’t hold back, ask all the questions you can think of. A good Outfitter won’t mind!
Last Minute Hunting and Fishing.