If you're in the market for an outfitted bowhunt, take advantage of the dreaded October lull to plan for the 2018 season and beyond. According to Whitetails columnist Jason Snavely, reputable outfitters are typically booked solid several months — or even years — in advance and often have a lengthy waitlist, so now is the time to begin your research.
Investing thousands in a high-ticket item like an outfitted hunt can be risky. Trail-cam photos on a website can be misleading, and even chatting with a convincing salesperson at a trade show can land you in an overbooked camp on an over-hunted property.
Some of the best outfitters forgo marketing and only book new clients by word of mouth, and you could be missing out if you don't have buddies who are in the know.
So, if you're going to drop a few grand on a once-in-a-lifetime hunt, consider working with a consultant or booking agent to ensure you find the best match with a high likelihood of a shot opportunity.
These third parties can be especially helpful when you're traveling to locales you're unfamiliar with or don't understand the licensing system. They can also connect you with special deals and reduced prices on last-minute cancellations.
Check out these three great options for getting some help when booking your next hunt.
Argali is putting on a new spin on the process by "revolutionizing the hunting experience one connection at a time," according to the company's mission.
After spending hours online conducting research for a potential trip, Argali founder Jeremy Williams knew there had to be a better way for hunters to connect with outfitters. Inspired by a popular dating website, he developed a unique matching system that takes the burden off the hunter.
Hunters create personalized profiles then submit hunt requests with their specific criteria including species, location and weapon type.
"At this point, there will be outfitters competing for a hunter's business," Jeremy said. "Now the hunter is holding the cards to get the best deal."
Members can currently select hunts for all 29 North American big-game species, and Argali is planning to expand to fully vetted international outfitters in the near future.
Just as you first associate the word "yeti" with coolers rather than the abominable snowman and the word "apple" with MacBooks instead of Granny Smiths, Jeremy wants Argali to become synonymous with the outfitting experience.
Argali offers three membership levels. All hunters begin with a free membership which allows you to create a profile, view outfitters and submit hunt requests. To review responses from outfitters, you must upgrade to a Gold membership at $149.99/year which includes access to their hunt matching system, plenty of Argali swag, special hunt offers and entry into an annual giveaway for paid members only. Or you can choose the $499.99/year Platinum membership which includes all the benefits of Gold membership as well as one-on-one assistance in creating a profile, a blog post highlighting the hunter and a social media post.
Members at every level are also automatically entered into a monthly product giveaway. For October, three members will win a full suit of Kryptek Altitude apparel, at a total value of $3,995.
Catering specifically to archers in search of a dream hunt since 1986, Bowhunting Safari Consultants is committed to worldwide fair chase hunting. The booking service is completely free to bowhunters, and BSC assists with airline reservations and provides important travel information.
They also offer a license application service to help hunters acquire preference points and licenses in the western states. A free catalog with details on their extensive list of outfitters around the world is available on their website, or you can request one by mail.
Worldwide Trophy Adventures pairs hunters with outfitters for international big-game hunting as well as fishing and wingshooting. The service is free for hunters to use, and WTA requires only a 50-percent deposit for trips within the next 12 months or a 25-percent deposit for trips outside of a year from booking.
Users can search for outfitted hunts by species, location and weapon type. Results provide information on what's included, license fees and the physical requirement level of the hunt. Additionally, WTA Tags — a full-service licensing program — and WTA Travel — a full-service travel agency — are available to hunters to simplify the process.