If you’re looking to book a hunt for next season, I recommend that you start soon. Many of the more reputable outfitters will book up quickly because of return business, and people are booking more hunts than in previous years. I personally take note of the places that I’d like to return to from our previous season, and sometimes after we film a show with an outfitter I’ll even book a personal hunt with them. That’s right, even though we do this for a living we still spend our vacation time hunting!..
One hunt that we filmed in Montana this year may end up being one of my all-time favorites. We booked a “general deer” hunt for a guest on the show, and I didn’t realize that this tag would allow him to take either a mule deer or a whitetail! What a wonderful surprise. The area that we hunted in had a very healthy deer population, and we finally filled his tag on our last day of the hunt. I should also mention that we were seeing an average of 70 deer per day, with about 35% being bucks. We used Bearpaw Outfitters to guide us, and if I book a hunt in Montana for next season I’ll call on them once again to be in charge.
It’s a wonderful thing to find outfitters that you can trust, so here are a few tips if you’re looking to book a hunt…
1. Do your research and find out if they have references. It’s easy to research companies in today’s world, just beware of information overload when you’re doing your research. I don’t read the reviews on their personal websites because of obvious reasons. I always check around online to see what other people are saying in forums. We’ve only had one really bad experience with an outfitter ( I won’t name names ), which isn’t a bad ratio considering how many hunts we book every year. I should have done more research on that one, and I learned my lesson from it.
2. Book early. If you wait until the last minute you run the risk of either not getting prime hunting dates or not getting your tag at all. Some states allow you to purchase tags without being drawn in the lottery through over-the-counter or leftover tags. But if you want a specific tag for a specific area, you’ll need to buy them online while they’re still available. Coordinating your license / tag purchase with your outfitter and their available dates is a very good idea.
3. Go with your gut. If you feel uneasy about the outfitter right away, then chances are that you should look elsewhere for a guide. Some personalities just don’t mesh well, and you should know pretty quickly when talking to someone on the phone if they are a good fit for what you’re looking for. Don’t let the big trophy photos online change your mind about what makes you comfortable.
4. Ask a lot of questions. I actually keep a list of questions sitting on my desk that I go through with every outfitter that we book. Small things like “Do you have wifi” and “What are the sleeping arrangements” will be important for you to know. I also clarify what’s included in the price. Do they include meat processing? What is their cancellation policy? Think about what’s important to you and don’t be afraid to call them back if you think of something you missed. They should be concerned with making you comfortable and happy, and they can’t do that if you don’t ask the right questions.
As soon as the holidays pass I’ll begin booking our hunts for next season of Brotherhood Outdoors. I always welcome suggestions on outfitters and locations to look into, and with social media being the way it is today I actually get a lot of feedback from fans of the show on what they’d like to see.
Our wonderful partners over at the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance allow us to get creative and think of new places to go each season, and I know that Season 7 of the show is going to be extremely fun to watch.
Brotherhood Outdoors will begin airing on the Sportsman Channel on January 4th 2015.