Gary Reeder
things aren't all they seem
Tuesday, May 10, 2022, 14:17

I just talked to a fellow that got back from his first African safari. He bought one of the "special" hunts at SCI. It was a 7 day hunt with 5 species for $8500. He was a bit bummed out as it ended up costing him a bit over $22,000. They told him the airfare would be less than $1500. It was $5200 but that included a $1200 charter flight to camp. He said it was all worth it as he took 5 animals that would go high record book. He showed me the pics and I was embarrassed for him. His Impala was around 12". Record book is 20" or up. His Kudu was 46". Record book is 50" or more. His Blesbok was 12". Record book is around 15" or more. His warthog was small as was his Grey Duiker. I told him they were great animals. I didn't want to burst his bubble anymore than it already had been.
If you are planning on going to Africa stay away from the "special packages" and tell your PH you just want a good respectable animal, record book if possible. Most PHs will want you to get a record book animal as when your name goes in the SCI record book so does his as your PH/outfitter. So it is good business for him to get you a record book animal.
I know it is good business for some of the outfitters to get new people to Africa for the first time but in many of the cases in the "special package" the new hunter gets low grade animals, often yearlings and are told they are record book animals and then there are all the hidden costs that the hunter doesn't know about until he is over there.
Like on any hunt talk to folks that have been there and if the outfitter has references, check them out. Ask questions. Ask him how many acres he hunts. If it is less than 50,000, pass it up. Ask him if he can guarantee you a record book animal, if he says no, pass him by. Look at the pictures of his previous hunts and if their animals have tags in their ears, pass him by. Ask him if you can look the first day and then pick the species you want to hunt. If he says no, then pass him by. There are many really good outfitters in Africa but also a lot selling canned hunts for 5 or 6 animals that they will buy at a game sale a week or so before you get there and turn them loose on a 300 acres plot. Unfortunately that happens a lot. The head of their game department is trying to get canned hunts vanned but it is really hard to do. Especially when SCI lets these crooks have a booth at the convention. Somewhere down the line this hunter will get his mounts back and will realize they are very immature animals.
As far as this guy that came into the shop, there are a lot of outfitters that will hoodoo you if you let them. He just got one of them.

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