By Jeff Warren, January 2013
The 2012 hunting season is now a memory. It's time to clean and organize your gear, put your pet bows and firearms in hibernation, and start planning for 2013. The time to make plans for next season is now. If a guided hunt is part of your 2013 hunting strategy, you need to look no further than The Huntin’ Fool magazine or our HuntFinder.com website. The guys and gals here at The Huntin’ Fool are back in the office full-time with some great memories, some wishes for do-over's, and a number of taxidermy bills from the 2012 season. The phones are ringing, and most members that we have talked with seem to, once again, be doing early research and trying to book their hunts now. If you are looking for any big game species to pursue in North America in 2013 and beyond let us be the first place that you explore.
How Do Outfitters Make Our Endorsed List?
From our many years of experience in the hunting industry we feel that there are a small percentage of outfitters that provide top-quality hunts year after year for their clients. They all claim to be great, but many just don’t produce what has been promised. We’ve spent the last 17 years researching outfitters with the goal of finding the best in the business for the big game species our members are interested in. It has been, and will continue to be, a very involved and time consuming process.
When we locate an outfitter ourselves or get word through the grapevine of one that seems to be providing top-shelf hunts, we contact that outfitter and talk candidly with them about their hunts. Much can be determined from this conversation, but that is just the start. We then contact some of their recent clients for their views on their recently completed hunts. We like to talk with hunters who filled their tags and those who did not. Having been in the outfitting industry for more than 20 years I can pretty much tell where we are going at that point. One of the biggest factors in endorsing an outfitter is the rate of return clients that the outfitter has each season. If the percentage is high and everything else pans out, we probably have a new outfitter to add to our endorsed list.
No matter how carefully we choose our outfitters, sometimes problems arise. When they do, we do our best to look at the facts from both sides and then make a decision on whether or not to continue using that outfitter.
Our outfitters are some of the best in the business. They should be commended for the great hunts that they provide for their clients. All you have to do is call or e-mail us and you can see for yourselves. We are constantly researching new outfitters and adding the ones that “make the grade” to our impressive list of Endorsed Outfitters. If you want to go on a guided hunt, you need to give us a call!
Finding an Endorsed Hunt in The Huntin' Fool Magazine
The monthly Huntin' Fool magazine is a great way to research hunts and is the traditional way that we put guided hunt information in your hands. We will continue to offer this information in the magazine. With that being said, we put less than 1/3 of the hunts that we have available in the magazine simply because of space constraints. Also, we understand that not everyone is comfortable with using a computer for their research. If you are interested in a particular hunt you find in the Hunt Finder section of the magazine, call us at 435-865-1020. We’ll be glad to visit with you about that specific hunt or any other hunts that might fit your needs. We will then give you a list of names and phone numbers of the outfitters whose hunts you are interested in.
Finding an Endorsed Hunt Using HuntFinder.com
For those of you who are comfortable with a computer, the HuntFinder.com website is a great tool to research hunts on your own, at your leisure, any time day or night. From our website you can search for hunts that fit your budget and/or calendar perfectly. You can also e-mail outfitters directly with specific questions about each hunt!
To use Hunt Finder simply go to www.HuntFinder.com, click on the photo of the species that interests you, or click on the “Advanced Search” heading. If you already have a hunt code from the magazine for a hunt that you want to research, enter the code in the white box at the bottom of the page and that particular hunt will come up. By clicking on one of the nine big game photos all hunt opportunities for that species will appear. You will then be able to research all of the hunts available for that particular species, or you can click on the “Advanced Search” heading located just above the big game photos. Doing this will allow you to view states, species, weapon choices, price ranges, and dates for all hunts that are available. Simply check the boxes that interest you, type in the price range that you need, and click on “Search Hunts” located at the bottom of the page. For example, if I was interested in an elk hunt in Utah using a rifle during September and could spend $8,000-$12,000 (no commas needed for the dollar amounts, i.e. 8000 or 12000), I would check the appropriate boxes for each category.
All hunts that match those criteria would then appear. Click on “More Info” for each hunt and a more detailed description of the hunt will become available, along with the outfitter’s e-mail address. At this point you can call our office with the corresponding hunt code and we will give you the name and phone number of the outfitter, or you can e-mail him directly by clicking on the “E-mail Outfitter” heading above the photo. It is a very simple process and will put a wealth of information at your fingertips.
We work very hard all year to keep the important details of our Endorsed Outfitters’ hunts current so that your plans can be made quickly and easily. Information such as dates, openings, and prices are updated as soon as we receive the updated information from the outfitter.
The holidays are almost a memory for 2012, and this fact is a great reminder that the next hunting season is only about 100 days away, if you like to kick off your new hunting season with turkey or bears. Some outfitters are already close to being fully booked for 2013 — after all, these guys are in high demand. We have worked hard over the last 17 years to be your western big game booking agency, and we think we have a better system than anyone else. Call us and you’ll see what we’re talking about!