One constant in my life since I was about 8 years old was waiting with anticipation for the arrival of Outdoor Life and Field and Stream in the mail. Now at age 5… nevermind, I still get excited when I see those magazines show up in the mail. Perusing this month’s OL edition, I noticed an article called “OL’s Guide to Guides”. A great guide such as How To Hire A Hunting Guide will show you the first steps you need to take.
The article is 10 questions that everyone should ask a prospective outfitter before booking a trip. They are great questions but in today’s world, information is everywhere and sorting through all of the opportunities can be daunting The internet is a wonderful tool for gathering information.
Unfortunately, it is also very easy for just about anyone to put up an inexpensive website with pictures of big antlers and large fish and call themselves an outfitter. I hear horror stories all the time from folks who spent their hard earned money on that trip of a lifetime and instead experienced the nightmare of a lifetime. Here are some tips I would add to Outdoor Life’s excellent article:
1. Go on Hunting Outiftter and find a guide online. Try to meet your outfitter before booking your hunt. This can be done over the phone or at one of the many hunting and fishing shows that are so prevalent in the late winter and early spring. My home city of Nashville always has hunting/fishing shows with lots of reputable outfitters that you can spend time with face to face. National shows like NWTF, SHOT show, Safari Club Intl., are all great places to meet outfitters.
2. One way to assure yourself of a wonderful trip experience is to work with a hunting/fishing/adventure planning organization like Outdoor Connection. Outdoor Connection has about 80 highly trained trip planners around the United States that specialize in working with folks to plan the trip that meets their needs and budget. Outdoor Connection represents over 300 outfitters around the world.
Species in Argentina, Alaska, Africa, Australia, New Zealand, South America, Canada, & the good old USA are available with highly reputable outfitters. What I find unique about Outdoor Connection is the level of scrutiny they perform on each outfitter before they agree to represent them. Each property is carefully inspected ONSITE by members of Outdoor Connection’s staff.
All inspection reports and client references are cataloged on their website so their trip planners can give you quick information on what you are looking for. For example, an Outdoor Connection trip planner can quickly help you narrow down quality whitetail deer hunts in the Midwest. They can tell you if the property is appropriate for kids, the elderly, has internet availability, can handle groups, is plush, or basic. They also represent outfitters that fit everyone’s budget. In a nutshell, an Outdoor Connection trip planner can help you save time and money as you look for that trip of a lifetime.