In outfitted hunting and fishing, the old saying holds true as in so many other things: “You get what you pay for.”
True, professional highly-rated outfitters are business men. They must be if they are to have longevity of any kind. While they universally have a passion for the outdoors, they are also trying to make a living. They must make a profit to survive.
Though you may not realize it, the “overhead” or expenses related to equipment, vehicles, leases, etc. in the outfitting business is staggering. Literally millions of dollars are invested in set ups that may only take a few dozen hunters per season. Charter flights and fuel prices alone eat up thousands of dollars per hunter on remote operations like caribou, sheep or bear hunting.
The best outfitters maintain inventories of back up equipment with which to supply their camps. For example, the best caribou operators in Quebec (those belonging to the Quebec Outfitters Federation) have warehouses stocked with things like new ATVs, water pumps, boats and motors, etc. which they can deploy to any of their camps should their be a breakdown. And just transporting this gear at a moment’s notice to remote locations can cost as much as the equipment itself.
Now, as you’re at home researching your next hunting adventure, would you plan to book a hunt with an outfitter you know is going to be cutting corners and scrimp on every expense so he can make more money off your hunt? Definitely not!
You want an outfitter who is prepared to deal with every problem that comes along so that they don’t detract from you enjoying the adventure for which you paid your hard-earned money. Such an operation has to charge more to offer that kind of service, assurance, and accountability. Fly by night operations really don’t care. They just want whatever they can get from you as fast as they can get it, and will take the money and run.
The best advice we can give is to thoroughly research prospective outfitters through www.OutfittersRating.com, guides and outfitters associations, and all other resources available to you. Confirm in every way you can you’ve selected a high-quality, trustworthy outfitter … only then should you start considering the price of the hunt. If it’s beyond what you can stretch to afford, then look at booking farther into the future and saving additional money to take the hunt with the highly-respected outfitter.
And once you’ve committed to the hunt, make the payments, but try to forget what the hunt cost, especially once you get to camp. The surest way to NOT enjoy a hunting trip is to lay in your bunk each night calculating how much that day cost you, or the price per point on the buck or bull you want to take, etc.