One big thing we all can agree on is that no matter what it is in life, expectations lead to disappointment, and this is no exception in the hunting and outfitting world. Being able to see both sides of this has helped me understand what questions should be asked and how the outfitter should answer. It does no good to go into a hunt expecting one thing and then realizing it’s totally different. All that does is put the hunter in a bad mood and the guide in a bad situation. As long as the hunter is true to him or herself and the outfitter answers all questions truthfully, then no matter what goes on during the hunt, each side will feel satisfied with the outcome and efforts put forward.
As a hunter, ask as many questions as possible, especially if it’s a new outfitter that you have no experience with. Be sure to ask what type of hunt you are going on and how you might be hunting, what gear you need to bring to be successful, and about sleeping arrangements, meals, and public or private land. Asking more questions is always better than not asking anything at all. When you ask questions, it holds the outfitter to those standards. Not every hunt can end in a harvest; that’s not what makes a successful hunt. It’s about having a good time and feeling like you and your outfitter gave it your all. Getting everything that was agreed upon makes for better memories than expecting one thing and getting something totally different due to poor or no communication beforehand.
In anything you do, it’s best to under promise and over deliver. Booking hunts for a while now, I have witnessed outfitters do the complete opposite. It’s unfortunate because it puts a really bad taste in the hunter’s mouth. Most of the time, if the outfitter would have been 100% honest, there wouldn’t have been a problem. I know outfitters get a ton of calls each year around application deadlines and drawings, and it is very easy to get short and aggravated with the amount of calls and questions. However, in the long run, it is worth it to take the time answer all questions in a detailed manner and with 100% truth, no matter if that might be a game changer in booking the hunt or not. If the hunter doesn’t book with you because of your honesty, then you probably didn’t want them as a client anyway due to unrealistic expectations. Outfitters who are completely honest about everything they have to offer, including details about meals, lodging, gear, hunt type, cost, and trophy quality, make it way easier for themselves and a lot more enjoyable and comfortable for the hunter.