Ladies, 50 Questions to Ask When Booking a Guided Hunt
By Mia Anstine
The number of women in the hunting world has exploded. They are initiated into the sport in a variety of ways. Some come to hunt via introduction from fathers, husbands, brothers and other mentors. As they build confidence many show their independence by heading out on hunts of their own.
A lady can look to a guide for hunts independently, with her family or ladies-only hunts. Hunting with a group of ladies can be a ton of fun and it may afford the opportunity to meet new life-long friends.
Price is generally the first, and sometimes only, thing people ask when they are looking to book a guided hunt. Although price is important to all of us hard working individuals, but the questions shouldn’t stop there.
Why you need to ask lots of questions: I’ve heard, and given, good and bad reports about guided hunts over the years. In many instances, a “bad” experience occurred because of false expectations. Our vision of the hunt we are purchasing is sometimes different than what is actually provided. It’s best to find this out before you spend thousands on the dream hunt you had in your mind, only to find out, you paid for what is someone else’s dream.
In order to prevent mis-communications, a client needs to call the outfit representative and ask a number of questions. It’s easy to fire off an email requesting a price but better to speak with someone so you can get a good feel. Maybe “touchy-feely” stuff isn’t for you, but the bottom line is sometimes personalities simply don’t mesh.
The following list provides pertinent questions that I recommend asking before venturing on a guided or self-guided hunt with an outfitter.
- What is included?
- Will I be guided?
- Will there be other hunters aside from myself, or the group I’m with?
- How many guides per hunter?
- Are accommodations provided?
- If lodging is provided, will I be staying in a tent, lodge, bunkhouse or other?
- Do I have to bunk with others?
- Will this be a co-ed hunt?
- Does the guide go along on the hunt or drop the hunter off with instruction?
- What is the average shot distance?
- What is the recommended method of take?
- What caliber rifle is recommended?
- Do you have a recommended gear list?
- Are meals included?
- If I bring my own food, where will I store it?
- If I stay in a camp, without a guide (aka “drop camp”) how often will you check on me?
- What do you provide with your camps? (Cots, dishes, stoves, firewood?)
- Is there a trophy fee?
- Will the guide cape or skin my animal and is there a fee for this service?
- Will you charge a pack out fee?
- If I harvest my animal before others in my group, where will my animal be stored?
- Is there a fee to store my animal?
- How will I get my meat home?
- How will I get my trophy home, or do you have a taxidermist you recommend?
- What if I wound an animal?
- What is your policy for looking for a wounded animal?
- What happens if I shoot an animal and it’s not located?
- Do you provide transportation to and from camp or the lodging facility?
- What will the mode of transportation be in the field?
- How will I carry my rifle or bow on said transportation?
- If you use 4 wheelers, will I be driving one?
- Do you provide helmets and goggles?
- I’m afraid of horses. Do I have to ride a horse?
- Will I have to sign a waiver or release?
- Will we be hunting public or private land?
- If I am hunting without a guide, on private land, will the boundaries be marked?
- Is there cell service in the hunting area?
- What type of terrain will we be hunting?
- Will I be hunting from tree stands, blinds or spot and stalk?
- What type of tree stands do you have? Safety of stands/types of stands?
- Are there any other animals that can be hunted during the season (predators, small game or big game?
- What are the fees for purchasing hunting licenses?
- What are the fees for landowner tags?
- Is a hunter safety card required?
- Do I have to carry my hunter safety card with me?
- What is the phone number or web-site address for the department of wildlife in the area?
- Do you have a list of references?
- Are you on any rating sites such as Outfitters Rating?
- Will you send me a sample contract?
- What is your payment and refund policy?
Mia Anstine is an outfitter, guide, hunter, mentor, firearms and archery instructor. Among other publications, she is a staff writer for Beretta USA, Women’s Outdoor News and guest at North American Hunter. As a public speaker she teaches and inspires others to get involved in outdoor activities. She takes pride in guiding ladies and children for their first hunts. She’s hunted elk, mule deer, black bear, turkey, game birds, waterfowl, predators, varmints, hogs, carp and has more on her bucket list. To learn more about Mia, visit her website at www.MiaAnstine.com.