Guided hunting trips take out the guesswork of what, when, and where to hunt. The best guided-hunting trips are an investment in the experience of being in nature with friends and professional hunting guides. The expedition itself has a high price tag, especially if you choose an exceptional outfitter. But the actual cost of the guided hunting trip involves more.
You cannot show up to a hunting expedition with subpar gear. Depending on the season, the location, and the prey, you’ll want high-tech hunting gear. The right gear will keep you comfortable and dry no matter the weather. It will also help make your expedition a success.
Before you set off on an overnight guided hunting trip, consider the quality of what you already have. Evaluate the comfort and durability of your footwear and whether your clothing makes any noise.
If your goal is to walk away with a trophy, you’ll want to have gear that helps you achieve your goal. Noisy clothing, uncomfortable shoes, and subpar rifles and accessories prevent you from succeeding.
Even if you are a low-tech hunter and prefer to use your ability and instincts, you might enjoy your trip with the gear you already own. Of course, adding some high-tech gear can’t hurt but prepare to shell out serious cash.
From the hunters to the staff, true professionals should receive compensation for the work they do. When you invest in a quality expedition, you’ll have hunters who know the area because they scout it regularly. They know the local ranchers and game wardens who keep them in the know about the latest sightings.
Along with the professional hunters, the best outfitters also hire scouts, cooks, and professional office staff. These people are available to answer questions and make your experience the best it can be. When you invest in a high-end outfitter, your fees help these people make a living doing what they love – working with other hunters.
The Expedition itself
Other costs to consider when paying for a guided hunting trip include those related to the expedition. If you are hunting overnight, your guide will provide comfortable overnight amenities. These don’t come cheaply, especially if a cook, guide, and other staff attend the trip.
Hunting involves physical labor. The entire hunting party will need to eat up to 9,000 calories per day, usually in the form of healthy carbohydrates, fats, and protein. Your fees include paying for the food and the cook to prepare it.
All professional services must be insured, which they will include in the expedition’s cost. The outfitter also must have up-to-date licensing and permits to stay in operation. The scouts and office staff also must be paid for their work.
Don’t forget that all employees will have safety training. When you are far from civilization, the staff will have to take care of any emergencies. Preparing the hunter, cook, and other team members for emergencies involves many hours of costly training that the guide will factor into your fee.
The Animal you are Hunting
What you hunt affects the price of a guided hunting expedition. A simple turkey or deer hunt will cost less than an elk or bison hunt. When you choose a trophy expedition for the big game, your guide will have years of experience learning about the land, local laws, and survival techniques. These experiences add up in value and increase the price of the trip.
Dressing the Animal
Field dressing is a tough job and can take hours to do well. The outfitter team will have the proper gear for the process, but the weather, conditions, and outdoor lighting can complicate the process.
The cost of the expedition also includes field dressing and packing the animal out of the area. When you pay for someone else to do this work, you get to enjoy your time with your friends and family, not get dirty cutting open an elk, deer, or bison.
Transportation and Lodging
How do you expect to get to your guided hunting trip? Your trip will include airfare and airport transportation at a minimum. You might also need a passport if you’re hunting out of the country.
Before you schedule your next guided hunting expedition, consider what factors into the price. When choosing a guided hunting expedition, consider more than the trip’s price. Consider the experience, quality of services, and gear that will make the trip a success.