This is for all the group leaders who get the task of researching waterfowl outfitters in the Prairie Provinces.
Choosing an outfitter should not a time consuming task if your research the proper avenues before you actually connect with your short list.
Here is a few tips on how to create your short list so you get the out come:
1. Check if the operator is a member of their Guides and Outfitters Association is absolutely key.
2. Call with the state or provincial licencing department to see if the outfitter is actually licensed. You would be surprised on how many illegal outfitters actually market waterfowl guide services online. In the Prairie Provence’s of Canada, there is an understanding that 3 out of 10 are operating illegally. If you book your hunt with a unlicensed rouge outfitter you are now jeopardizing your hunting rights. I have been told it’s similar in the US.
3. Google the online interaction with your available social media avenues and scout the outfitters online persona..Do you trust them with your time and financial investment?
4. Go to the forums and put the outfitters business name out there and try to get some honest reviews. TripAdvisor is another great one to refer to.
5. Does the outfitters website give you the information you were looking for, and is there a clear defined layout of the experience?
Once you make your short list here are some questions to ask:
1. Here is my number 1 question when I travel – does the outfitter carry liability insurance? Some jurisdictions do not require the outfitter to carry any liability insurance, this opens the doors for business intelligence.. If the outfitter does not carry liability insurance there’s a good chance they are not committed to their business and possibly not to you.
2. If the outfitters accommodations are at a Bed and Breakfast / rental property is the 3 meals included? Is the establishment licence by the State or Province to serve the 3 meals?? Is the property actually licensed for commercial use? This is actually a big question because if the outfitter is skirting regulations and health code they could get their doors slammed shut governing departments. This would put your airline ticket and hunt in jeopardy.
3. What is the outfitters main outfitting business? Often outfitters use waterfowl as a “fill in” between big game seasons. In my opinion when you book a waterfowl hunt your looking for a dedicated professional waterfowl outfitter and his resources.
4. How many hunters hunt together in a hunting party together? What are you comfortable with?
5. Will the guide be in the field guiding or is the guide just the scouter? Which would you prefer?
6. Are the guides trained and how long have they been with the outfitter?? This question is a great one because if the outfitter can not hold their staff there’s a good chance they will not be able to impress you!
7. Will you hunt twice daily?
8. Transportation to and from the hunting grounds?
9. How many acres does the outfitter have assess to and how often do you hunt the same field or water body? I went on a guided hunt once with a sea of hulls in the decoys from the group prior.. It was the you should have been here yesterday kinda experience. ZERO
10. Dates? Try to tailor the date to which species you want to capitalize on the most…
11. Price? What’s included and not included.
12. Bird processing? How much does each bird cost and do you have to take them home?? If you’re not taking birds home where do the birds go? Ethics.
13. Cancellation policy? Transferable to another person or can the reservation be transferred to the following year?
I hope this helped