Let’s break that down.
You have a Guide that has never failed to put any of his clients on the game of their choice and desire. But not one of his clients has ever made a successful shot. What has your guide got to show you, the prospective new client, in the way of tangible results?
As far as you’re concerned, his success is all hearsay; no images of animals on the ground. One of the first thoughts that may come into your head is “does he even have access to decent concessions?
”As a result, your guide is possibly now feeling just as much pressure as you increase the weight on that trigger or arrow release.
How will he react to an unsuccessful shot? How will that affect you mentally, your experience and your confidence at the next opportunity?
These deep issues, I never really gave the thought they deserved before I left for New Zealand. Yet, in some respects it did not worry me. I am a bloke that has always taken responsibility for his own actions.
After my second “failed shot” on a Bull Tahr (I say this, because at the time, it looked like a clean miss but an hour later we discovered that the shot was right on the money and that bull had run over a 250 metre high cliff never to be seen again) I could sense the frustration in my Guides voice over two failed opportunities in twelve hours. And we had poor weather approaching that would likely see at least 24 hours lost out of our hunting time.
I immediately thought ‘I hope this hunt isn’t heading to the shit.’ And it didn’t, as my guide is a patient and doggedly determined man and on we hunted to have not one, but two successful opportunities.
Have you ever considered the guides position?
My first time experiences led me to think it is important when contemplating a guided hunt, that you take some quiet time to thoroughly think through what you want achieve on your proposed hunt.
It doesn’t matter to anyone else what your motivations are, or what your desired result is. It is your hunt.
What is important is that you understand your objectives so you can convey that to your prospective guide to see if he or she can deliver.
Have that discussion. Make it long winded and involved. $50 to $100 on international phone calls is an extremely small percentage of the final cost of a big game guided hunt. Time talking is time well spent getting to know each other’s characters.
And yes, there will be failures; that is hunting. That is why most of us keep coming back. And there will be challenges, both physical and mental.
Is your guide the person that can encourage you through those hurdles? Do you like his or her approach? Could you spend your hunt with this person in close company with no other interaction?
It pays to remember a guided hunt is a two-way street. Your guide may not be comfortable spending an extended period of time on a back country hunt with a character like you. This is no disrespect to any individual. We are all different. But it would be nice to know that you got on with your guide before you spent two or three days confined to a tent with him or her in a major storm.
I would also suggest taking time to seek out and have a quiet one-on-one discussion with some one that has completed a similar hunt. It will give the discussion the chance to avoid the bravado of fellow hunters, involved in a group discussion of “talking it up”. Hopefully it is able to provide insight into whether “this hunt” is right for you.I state this as two readers of my NZ West Coast Tahr Hunt report, I posted on Australian Hunting Net, commented to me that they had long desired to complete the same. One went on to say that they had reconsidered totally and would not be doing it at all after reading what I had experienced, and another said he would look at options other than the West Coast.
Let’s not kid ourselves; Hunts of this nature take a lot of hard earned savings and preparation. You want to make the most of it. Maybe hunt X is not for you and there is a better option out there. Alternatively, there may be a better suited guide than the one you initially considered based on recommendations. This is no slight on those recommendations, just an acknowledgment that we are all unique.
None of us, that I know, enjoy failure of the soul destroying type.
Make the best selection that suits your fitness, fears, loves, desires and character.
And for me? Well, my Tahr hunt has blown that glowing ember into a raging red hot piece of desire to pursue more worthy adversaries in the mountains. I just hope my body remains up to the vertical challenges till my four year old son Ethan can accompany me on one of these adventures.