Don’t make a mistake when you book your guided bowhunt
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With nearly 10,000 registered guides and outfitters in North America, it is a daunting task for most bowhunters to picking the right one. The chances of choosing the right outfitter in Africa and other foreign destinations for bowhunting may be even more daunting. Every time you go on a bowhunt, it could be one you’ll remember for a lifetime, or one that you’ll wish you could forget. Here are some of the most prevalent pitfalls.
1) Check “Qualified” references
Accepting only the list of references provided by an outfitter is not enough. The reference may be someone who has only bowhunted that species or area once before and therefore has no real comparison. The reference may also be someone who has hunted the region or species numerous times but always with that same outfitter. Seek qualified references, such as:
A) Bowhunters who have bowhunted that species or that geographic location more than once and with different outfitters.
B) Request additional references from the outfitter of bowhunters who did not take an animal on the hunt.
2) Shop for Cost/Benefit – not price
Not all-inexpensive bowhunts are bad, nor are all expensive bowhunts good, but know what you are purchasing. Don’t only shop price. What your parents told you was true” You get what you pay for”. Instead of shopping price, you should shop for value. This is done by comparing price to service provided, quality of the trophies available in the particular area and ultimately your anticipated shot opportunities.
3) Know your skill level
Personal bowhunting ability and experience should play a part in your decision on what and where to bowhunt, as well as what you can expect for results. First is having an honest talk with yourself about your own skill level as a bowhunter. If you have spent most of your career sitting in a tree stand you may have a greater challenge when you decide to try a “spot and stalk” mule deer hunt. Secondly, understand your effective range. If you are not comfortable shooting out past 30 yards, then realize that limitation if you want to book a bowhunt for sheep for example.
4) Know your physical limitations
Have an honest discussion with yourself about your physical capabilities. Booking a bowhunt for Mountain Goat will require a high level of fitness and stamina. You must evaluate your physical condition or your commitment to the time it takes to get yourself in shape. No matter how good the guide or how great an area, you still have to be able to climb the mountain day in and day out in order to have the kind of success you are hoping for.
5) Consider using an established bowhunting agent
Relying on an informed third party makes a lot of sense. Unlike talking to a specific outfitter, who wants you to book your bowhunt with him, an agent will have a number of qualified recommendations and can guide you to the outfitter that can best meet your needs and who can match your expectations.
Clients of agencies also enjoy additional protections if there are problems on the bowhunt. Agents can also assist with travel arrangements as well as providing you with valuable information about hunt preparation, packing lists, etc.
The best part of all these services is that they are FREE. Clients pay only the retail price for the hunt.