The right outfitted hunt research is a must

By Tresa Erickson

You’re accustomed to flying solo when you hunt, but lately, you’ve been thinking you might like to go on an outfitted hunt. Your brother-in-law just went on one and had a great time. Of course, not all outfitted hunts are created equal. Some are better than others, and to ensure you get your money’s worth, you need to do your homework.

Outfitted hunts can cost hundreds to thousands of dollars, so it is imperative that you choose the right one. Get recommendations from friends and family, and if you’ve got the funds, consider hiring a booking agency. They specialize in outfitted hunts and will do all of the legwork necessary to present you with the best options.

However you go about finding an outfitted hunt, make sure you shop around and find out as much as you can about the hunts that interest you. Here is a list of questions to ask:
• How long has the outfitter been in business? The more experience they have, the more likely they are to provide you with a good hunt.
• What kind of hunting does the outfitter specialize in? If you are a bow hunter, then you want an outfitter who specializes in bow hunting and can provide you with a hunt centered on that.
• Who will be guiding the hunt? How experienced are they in general and with the area? Don’t assume the outfitter will guide the hunt. They may take on the duty themselves or delegate it to someone else. Whoever serves as your guide should be familiar with the game and area. If your guide has never hunted the game you’re after or been in the area for just a few weeks, chances are you are in for a rough hunt.
• What kind of accommodations are provided? Usually, the more the hunt costs, the better accommodations you can expect. Don’t count on this, however. Find out. Pop-up campers and campfire food may not provide the type of rest and nourishment you seeking after a long day out in the field.
• How many hunters are involved? The more hunters covering the same piece of land, the less likely you are to bag one. If you’re looking for some privacy, be prepared to pay for it.
• What kind of equipment will you need to bring? Good outfitters will provide you with a complete list of equipment and supplies you should bring.
• Who takes care of any game that is bagged? Better outfitters provide ATVs to take you back to camp and staff to care for the game.
• How much does the hunt cost? Are there any additional fees? Find out exactly what the cost is and what it entails. You don’t want to arrive to camp and have to shell out more money for this and that.

These are just some of the basic questions you should ask about the outfitted hunts that interest you. You will probably come up with more. Don’t hesitate to find out the information you need and make sure you get a list of references with the names of successful and not-so-successful hunters. Follow up on those references and call your local state wildlife agency to ensure the outfitter is on the up and up.

When it comes to selecting an outfitter, the more research you do, the happier you will be with the results. Whether you bag one or not, you will leave the hunt satisfied that every penny spent was worth it.

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