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Author Topic: Donated hunts killing africa's true outfitters!!!!  (Read 662 times)

Offline David lozzano

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Donated hunts killing africa's true outfitters!!!!
« on: January 03, 2012, 11:16:00 AM »
Hi everyone,
saw this at  It caught my eye because I've been thinking about an auction safari hunt at one of the hunting expos. What do you guys think?  personally I do agree, It totally changed my point of view!

:: Donated hunts killing outfitters

Please think twice before buying a donated hunt in South Africa!!
Many of the true professional operators are finding it increasingly difficult to survive financially as the market is flooded with donated hunts, many of them sub-standard. If the trend continues for much longer, you find it difficult to find the traditional old time outfitters still operating.
There are 2 main reasons for donated hunts.
Firstly some organisations that provide conventions and marketing opportunities for outfitters DEMAND a donation in order to get a booth. At some of these conventions there are over 100 S.African outfitters who have donated hunts. These hunts usually sell far below their value and can be a real bargain, but often they are not. They take the bread out of the real outfitters mouth as buyers are taken off the floor and into the auction to get a suspect bargain.
Secondly, in recent years there has been an explosion of new outfitters entering the market. In SA you can get your professional hunters licence in two weeks, even without any hunting experience. Entry into the market is very low. Many of these unknown outfitters donate hunts as they cannot get clients any other way. Sadly, most of them are out of business within 2 years but in that time they have again taken potential paying clients out of the market.
There is great concern amongst senior outfitters about this cancer of donated hunts (speak to any SA outfitter/PH with more than 10 years experience) and the unwillingness of some organisations to limit or place minimum prices on donated hunts at their conventions despite industry requests.
If you do buy a donated hunt, pay fair value and make sure the donor benefits too in some way. Failing this we may soon see the departure of the traditional safaris in SA.

Send this to a friend who may want to buy a donated hunt!!

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Offline calgarychef

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Re: Donated hunts killing africa's true outfitters!!!!
« Reply #1 on: January 04, 2012, 05:29:00 AM »
I'd never buy a hunt at an auction unless I knew it was being offered and I had extensive time to research the outfitter and area.  It seems most hunts are for a minimum number of animals and it's designed to get you there and killing extra animals at extra cost.  With travel being such a big part of the expense I also don't want anything less then 15 days, most donated hunts seem to be around 4-5 days.

Offline SilentT

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Re: Donated hunts killing africa's true outfitters!!!!
« Reply #2 on: January 04, 2012, 09:47:00 AM »
Not trying to be the devils advocate here....but it is a free market system.  As a small business owner myself I understand the aggravation but it is part of doing business, especially for SA safari operators.

Offline Prairie Drifter

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Re: Donated hunts killing africa's true outfitters!!!!
« Reply #3 on: January 04, 2012, 12:59:00 PM »
Originally posted by SilentT:
Not trying to be the devils advocate here....but it is a free market system.  As a small business owner myself I understand the aggravation but it is part of doing business, especially for SA safari operators.
I agree.Be like me complaining about part time "kitchen table" taxidermists.
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Offline Mitch H

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Re: Donated hunts killing africa's true outfitters!!!!
« Reply #4 on: January 04, 2012, 06:14:00 PM »
I did not realize this was such an issue? As someone who leases booth space for African hunts stateside only, I have been asked to donate hunts many times, and my answer is always…..NO. I have never been refused my booth space of choice, but I do not get invited to a free meal one evening during the show. Me paying for my own meal is a little bit cheaper than giving away a hunt.  :)

This is not much different than being a whitetail outfitter here in the US. I have had a bunch of TV hunting shows offer to hunt my place, for free, in return for advertising on their shows. Since I run 60 hunters max a year, and have to turn down over 200 people each year, giving away a hunt just does not seem like the thing to do. LOL
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Offline Brent Hill

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Re: Donated hunts killing africa's true outfitters!!!!
« Reply #5 on: January 07, 2012, 09:12:00 PM »
I have been on donated hunts and the outfitters, through trophy fees, extra days, and extra side trips, did very well.  The bigger issue, I believe, is why donations are or should be made and who benefits from the donations.
I'm a life member of the Dallas safari club and we spend thousands if not more on hunting issues and youth hunter education, both in and out of our public schools.  With respect to public education, the Dallas ecological foundation, the education arm of the dsc, created a high school/middle school outdoor education class that is taught in numerous schools in Texas and throughout the county and we pay for the curriculum, books, and training for teachers.   With assistance from Easton, and other programs, kids are introduced to outdoor skills, firearms, archery (my favorite), outdoor ethics, and game management.    
My point is this.  Our game management can not exist without first understanding that there is value in the animal.   Financial, emotional, regardless of why we hunt, there is value in the wellbeing of wildlife.  Without it, we can't hunt.  Likewise, there is value in educating our young as to our lifestyle.   I'm not saying that every auction or donation furthers that end, but I hope that it would.  On the other hand, it's our duty as hunters and the fortunate ones who get to chase critters and enjoy the great outdoors, to share this with others and help guide those who want to share in this experience.  That's why we take kids hunting, volunteer teaching archery, give bows away to beginners, donate $$$.
I pray that I never put anyone's livelihood at jeopardy by buying a donated hunt but i dont believe that was the case.    But im sure of this.  If we didn't give back in what ever way we can,  don't expect anyone else to respect what we do, see any value in it or make any effort to preserve our way of
life.   But nothing in life is free.    Outfitters understand this and care for our way of life .  They also understand that a political climate that doesn't value hunting and youth education will bankrupt them.   Donated hunts are just one way to hopefully ensure our way of life.

Offline New Mexico

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Re: Donated hunts killing africa's true outfitters!!!!
« Reply #6 on: January 08, 2012, 11:41:00 PM »
I wouldn't buy a donated hunt - not that I don't look for bargains, I just know too many really good and honest SA professional hunters that are being hurt by this practice.  Some of these hunters had been at it for over 20 years and now find the market flooded by donated hunts.  I'd hate to see some of these old timers run out of business by new comers who themselves might be gone in a few years. It reminds me of what happens to all the small shops in a town when Walmart moves in. I also don't think I would trust one of these types of hunts.  I don't think the PH is going to be giving his best to a free hunt when he has paying customers coming later.

Offline TDHunter

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Re: Donated hunts killing africa's true outfitters!!!!
« Reply #7 on: January 09, 2012, 06:42:00 PM »
You can't put all donated hunts in the same category, that's just Garbage!. Especially when many donated hunts are from old time outfitters.
We have an African hunt donated every year for our 3d shoot. The SA outfitter is good friends with out Archery Club president.

 Everybody who's gone on the hunt, has come back and said it was first class and some have gone back on their own dime a few years later. They've always purchased extra animals and in most cases brought either another hunter, or non hunter at the regular going rate. The outfitter was visiting one year during our shoot and said flat out that it was just good for business, good advertising and even if the hunter buys a couple extra animals he's still going to make money. So don't believe everything you read !!!

Offline oldbohntr

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Re: Donated hunts killing africa's true outfitters!!!!
« Reply #8 on: January 24, 2012, 02:23:00 AM »
Thanks for starting this thread. Yes, TD, I agree not all donated hunts are from " sub-standard" outfitters.  But, they have a point.  It’s given me cause to think about my own situation.  Son, who I started on a bow when he was about 3, went with me on a donated hunt in 09(33 bowhunting years later).  He paid his share, but wouldn’t have considered it himself if I hadn’t bid on it and won.  It was the hunt of a lifetime in many ways.   We shared sights and experiences that only added to our lifetime of experiences together.    
I wouldn’t want to think about changing anything because you can’t pick and choose about how you would relive the great times of your life.   But, knowing more than a little about outfitted hunts, that wouldn’t be my choice of hunt again.  It was a wonderful experience, and we took some nice animals, but there were some things about my own experience that would make me go a different way.  I’m going back next year, with others –my age-who’ve been there before, and we’re doing it differently(but, maybe it’s the way most do it on the second or third trip.  No packages, or paid-for animals, just a daily rate and pay-as-you-go.    Different concessions, because we want bow hunting-only and more credible references.  We are going to spend more and, hopefully, have experiences that mean more to “experienced hands” when we get home.  
I know some of the names of the BEST bow hunting concessions in and around South Africa…and I mean no disrespect to say I believe they will ALSO offer some “incentive” hunts this year and in the future.  They have to!   Let’s face it: we traditional bow hunters here in middle America think little of hunting Alaska, British Columbia, the Yukon, or Africa.   They are too far away, and way “too expensive” for us…and our buddies at the club will not really relate to us after that!   But, when you really start thinking about it, the biggest bargain on the planet is Africa.   And, what gets us there?    For a lot of us, it’s the donated hunt.   Always a great time…!   But, we see enough that we want to go back and have a better experience( = spend more!)    OK, if the “top tier” of outfitting concessions think they don’t have to engage in the incentive hunts, MAYBE they are right.  But, just maybe they should be happy that some not-so-good outfitter is doing those hunts!   Hemingway and a jillion others, before and since, have proven the old saying that no one goes to Africa once(or whatever the quote really was!)  
Heck, I can forgive the true top-notch concessions for resenting those that are skimming the cream of the “first year” African hunters.   I would too.   I hate it when a competitor I know offers an inferior service takes some business that I could have done better.    But, in my business, and –hopefully in his- the customer will realize and make a different choice next time.   And…..whether he wishes to acknowledge it or not…..there is value added to HIS quality service by ANYONE who first gets that bowhunter to Africa the first time- so he will be more open to making his NEXT trip to Africa a much better one!!!!
I’ve spent more than my share on outfitted hunts where I wasted a lot of money.   I don’t want to defend anyone who gives an inadequate hunt.    It’s a tragedy for those hunters who have scraped and sacrificed for the ONE chance they may have to live their dream.   To take their disappointment lightly would be insulting.   But, I also can’t really accept that a bad outfitter destroys the living of the fine outfitters in his area.   If the hunting in his area is truly a resource, it may be that he is only building the reputation of the outstanding outfitters by insuring that the returning hunters will look for someone far better than their first choice!   Sometimes quality is difficult to recognize, but it’s always easy to return to!

Offline J-dog

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Re: Donated hunts killing africa's true outfitters!!!!
« Reply #9 on: January 24, 2012, 04:47:00 PM »
Hunted with Stuart at Melorani he is top notch individual and does alot for hunting period.

Read the piece before and I think it really depends alot on why or what the hunt is being donated for. Could some not be for a fairly decent cause??? not be OK?

Just a thought - never been on a donated hunt myself.
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Offline Ben Tiller

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Re: Donated hunts killing africa's true outfitters!!!!
« Reply #10 on: January 24, 2012, 10:31:00 PM »
I think the Melorani post is absolute rubbish. It sounds to me that they a) lack an understanding of basic marketing concepts, b) fail to recognize the philanthropy involved with donated hunts, and c) are unwilling to adapt their business model to remain competitive. First, consider this-most people who bid on a donated hunt at auction haven't factored in all of the costs.  I would venture to guess that more than half of the donated hunts actually aren't even used (and thus cost the outfitter nothing).   These hunts usually come with use it or lose it time restrictions, and most people cant get the time off work, purchase airfare, and gather enough cash for incidentals in six months to make the trip.  Those who can usually have the funds to spend, and spend plenty of money when they get there.  Those who cant make the trip just chalk it up to a nice donation to their favorite charity, sneak it in on their tax return and a thankful fornthe few months of dreams.

I'm going on a donated hunt, and came one phone call from having to chalk it up to charity.  Luckily for me it all worked out, i saved enough to make it the trip of a lifetime, and the outfitter will make more off of me than most "non-donated" outfits would have.  But i don't care-that donation got me to Africa, and my local nwtf chapter got $3700.00.

Sounds like sour grapes to me.

Offline SHS

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Re: Donated hunts killing africa's true outfitters!!!!
« Reply #11 on: March 13, 2012, 03:57:00 AM »
Good day Gentleman

This is a very interesting post maybe I can give some insight being a Outfitter, PH and Landowner myself.

Donating hunts come down to one thing, creating product awareness and in some case it might also be for a good cause and well if it can do both at the same time it seems to be a pretty good deal.

I can’t speak for everyone here but should I donate a hunt in a particular year it will usually consists of species that I have in abundance of for example blue wildebeest or impala.

Now in saying that I do have a problem with some people donating, steenbuck, duiker and warthog because these animals move trough fences and do not really belong to anyone I don’t think it is fare to donate large numbers and or put them in every package just to make it look like a great deal (point being every animal has a value and that should be respected)!

To get back to donating hunts it is true that some organizations require you to donate a hunt but I think we must not frown on this because the organization helps to promote hunting in Africa or with the particular Outfit and this comes back to product awareness while at the same time it generates some funds for the organization and ensures that they will be around to help us Outfitter for years to come.

I personally believe that as an Outfitter one should set aside a certain amount of money (marketing budget) each year for marketing.

Should you choose as an Outfitter to donate a hunt it is very important to realize that this will cost you money, there is no such thing as free this is not a simple consultation this is at times a 5 to 10 day hunt including animals and the same level of service associated with any other hunt.

These factors will all play a role in costs.

1 You can only do so many  hunts on a yearly basis.

2 The staff you employ want their salaries regardless.

3  Running costs remain the same for example fuel, electricity, maintenance of trucks, maintenance of buildings, maintenance of fences ………

4 The animals in the package have a replacement value it takes years to produce the same trophy to replace the one you donated.

5 The costs involved with regards to food, alcohol, soft drinks, bottled water, snacks……………  

The point I am trying to make is that some outfitter donate hunts to fill dates, but later they are upset when the client in some cases only hunts what he bought in the donated hunt, every person has a budget the client paid for his hunt according the what he could afford and the organization received this payment so for all practical aspects the hunt was bought by the client not donated to him! The clients should be treated with the exact same level of service as any other client, this does cost money yes but as an Outfitter you must understand that these costs will fall on to you because it was your choice to donate the hunt and these types of hunts should form part of your yearly marketing budget.

There is no point in donating a hunt for marketing purposes and then the client has a bad experience because of the fact that the Outfitter wants to cut costs.

I think it is also important to realize your budget with regards to marketing (donations) gentleman we are in the industry because we love it but any business needs to be profitable as well, we rely on the loyal support of our clients therefore we must also realize that we must keep our cost down to ensure that our loyal clients can afford to hunt with us for years to come! Spending $$$$$$ in the form of donations will no doubt cause prices to soar and have a negative effect on hunting in Africa as a whole.

All and all I am pretty positive about donating limited hunts, it promotes hunting in Africa providing the clients experience was positive, it supports the very same organizations that support us as Outfitters in Africa, in some cases it gives a client who would not normally be able to afford hunting Africa a chance to experience what we are so passionate about!

Best Regards
Louis van Bergen

Offline COOCH

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Re: Donated hunts killing africa's true outfitters!!!!
« Reply #12 on: March 15, 2012, 09:57:00 PM »
Very well said Louis
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Offline bubinga

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Re: Donated hunts killing africa's true outfitters!!!!
« Reply #13 on: March 20, 2012, 05:09:00 PM »
Louis is spot on.

Offline 187BOWHUNTER

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Re: Donated hunts killing africa's true outfitters!!!!
« Reply #14 on: March 30, 2012, 09:08:00 PM »
If I won a raffle for a SA hunt I would deffinately go, it would probably be the only way I would ever get there

Offline BUFF

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Re: Donated hunts killing africa's true outfitters!!!!
« Reply #15 on: April 19, 2012, 10:48:00 PM »
One of my first trips to RSA was a donated hunt from Dries Visser.
Not only did I shoot A8 other animals that trip but returned 2 years later with 3 friends and between use spent enough to buy a nice house.
It seemed like he was pretty happy with everything

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