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Guiding Bird Hunters in South Africa, I need some advice please
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Hi Guys
I have been guiding foreign clients on and off for nearly 20 years and the time has come for me to start my bird shooting operation on a full time basis....I was in the retail industry and time was always scarce but now I am ready to guide clients on bird shoots exclusively.
I have numerous excellent spots to shoot Egyptian geese and Rock Pigeon/ dove over decoys .

What is the best way to market this service? What do clients expect on a particular type of shoot etc ? Do's and Dont's too , any and all advice will be much appreciated.

Thanks in advance
 
Posts: 867 | Location: Eastern Cape, South Africa | Registered: 08 January 2010Reply With Quote
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I am a dedicated bird shooter. Been to South America over a dozen times (but a lot less some others on AR) and will go annually or more as long as my health holds up. Happy to share my good and bad experiences with you. If you are on WhatsApp PM me and we will schedule a time to visit.


"Never, ever, book a hunt with Jeri Booth or Detail Company Adventures"
 
Posts: 447 | Location: San Antonio, Texas | Registered: 09 November 2010Reply With Quote
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Many thanks . Will send PM
 
Posts: 867 | Location: Eastern Cape, South Africa | Registered: 08 January 2010Reply With Quote
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I can’t say anything about birds in South Africa, but I work with a top lodge in Argentina. I can offer some advice.


I meant to be DSC Member...bad typing skills.

DRSS
 
Posts: 2548 | Location: Dallas | Registered: 19 March 2008Reply With Quote
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quote:
Originally posted by DCS Member:
I can’t say anything about birds in South Africa, but I work with a top lodge in Argentina. I can offer some advice.
Thank you very much , I will PM you soon. Regards
 
Posts: 867 | Location: Eastern Cape, South Africa | Registered: 08 January 2010Reply With Quote
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Like drj, I have been to South America for birds many times.

The basics.....

Easy access to the hunting lodge from the airport, either by road or a domestic flight. Complicated domestic flights and/or long drives to the lodge after a very long international flight don't get it for bird hunters. There are too any places in Argentina that are very, very easy to get to.

Comfortable, clean accommodations, especially with respect to food & beverage. Establish a place where your clients can get clean, warm up, and enjoy a good meal from a clean kitchen after the hunt.

Short, and I emphasize--SHORT-- drives to the shooting fields. No client wants to get in a truck and drive for an hour or more just to shoot birds.

If you're going to offer rental guns, get some good ones. Offer a variety of quality over/under and auto-loaders of reputable make.

Good ammo. Ammo that will reliably chamber, extract, and cycle auto-loaders.

Train your field staff to know and understand the habits and flight patterns of the birds you're hunting.

Be in the field with your clients. Make it a fun and mutually enjoyable experience. Most bird shooters are as much social animals as they are shooters. There is so much more to talk about. It's a fraternity.

Start with the best shooting experience you can offer. The rest will follow from there.

As for the marketing? Just be honest. Don't BS. Don't offer what you can't deliver. Start out modestly and see how it goes.


114-R10David
 
Posts: 1616 | Location: Prescott, Az | Registered: 30 January 2007Reply With Quote
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Forgot to add that I wish you all the best. Please let us know when your operation gets off the ground.

Best.........TWL


114-R10David
 
Posts: 1616 | Location: Prescott, Az | Registered: 30 January 2007Reply With Quote
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What he said.... and good luck. I would love to bird hunt next time.
 
Posts: 68 | Location: Eagle River, Alaska | Registered: 24 February 2003Reply With Quote
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Many thanks for all the good advice, much appreciated.

I will be busy preparing myself for the New Year so I may have some more questions to post , thanks in advance.
 
Posts: 867 | Location: Eastern Cape, South Africa | Registered: 08 January 2010Reply With Quote
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quote:
Originally posted by TWL:
Like drj, I have been to South America for birds many times.

The basics.....

Easy access to the hunting lodge from the airport, either by road or a domestic flight. Complicated domestic flights and/or long drives to the lodge after a very long international flight don't get it for bird hunters. There are too any places in Argentina that are very, very easy to get to.

Comfortable, clean accommodations, especially with respect to food & beverage. Establish a place where your clients can get clean, warm up, and enjoy a good meal from a clean kitchen after the hunt.

Short, and I emphasize--SHORT-- drives to the shooting fields. No client wants to get in a truck and drive for an hour or more just to shoot birds.

If you're going to offer rental guns, get some good ones. Offer a variety of quality over/under and auto-loaders of reputable make.

Good ammo. Ammo that will reliably chamber, extract, and cycle auto-loaders.

Train your field staff to know and understand the habits and flight patterns of the birds you're hunting.

Be in the field with your clients. Make it a fun and mutually enjoyable experience. Most bird shooters are as much social animals as they are shooters. There is so much more to talk about. It's a fraternity.

Start with the best shooting experience you can offer. The rest will follow from there.

As for the marketing? Just be honest. Don't BS. Don't offer what you can't deliver. Start out modestly and see how it goes.


Thank you !
 
Posts: 867 | Location: Eastern Cape, South Africa | Registered: 08 January 2010Reply With Quote
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I am sharing this to keep perspective.

I am not high on experience - One low cost trip - just hunted rock / specked pigeons / doves in South Africa one day - 3 hour drive from OT airport!!!

The guide had an old Italian hammer SXS shot gun his grandfather brought back from Italy in WW2!.

His friend came along with an auto loader. With 2 guns we shot over 80 birds. We must have missed over 300 (2 cases of ammo). Lots of birds in Sept - stubble fields with cattle and chicken farm around.

I had a good time as a first experience - It cost me $360 for the day including a simple basic brai lunch and 200 shells.

The guide was a jack of all trades. I found him on the web by chance. He normally does only local clients. Also does other part time work, deals etc. A really good genuine guy - Andre. His lady came along for company & looked after lunch. Very cordial, hospitable and fun day out like with friends.

Are you going to do this as your primary source of income? Are you targeting top end clients?

There are plenty of people around the wold who are keen to experience fun bird hunting as a group hunt.

A friend of mine in India goes to South Africa each year with a group from India. I think they pay around $1500 to $1800 each for 4 days of mixed shooting. It is on a private farm and the owner is the outfitter / guide. They shoot geese, ducks, dove, francolin & guinea fowl. Again part time hunting operation.

I suspect that what I have described with these two examples is the lower end of the market.

At the other end of the scale - an operator in Kenya who used to do top end hunts costing $5000 to $7000 per head shut shop a couple of years ago.

Wish you all the best.


"When the wind stops....start rowing. When the wind starts, get the sail up quick."
 
Posts: 10164 | Location: New Zealand | Registered: 02 July 2008Reply With Quote
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Take good heed what TWL said. Many couldn´t have said it better.

As a personal note, I would say:

- Many bird hunters treasure food (specially in the field), and I mean good food. Game meat well cooked.

- As well as food, we enjoy beverages. Sharing our successes and shortcoming after the shoot over a cold beer or a very nicely aged wine is unforgettable.

- We really enjoy our guns. So make it possible to bring them. Or as TWL said, have excellent guns available. Price is of lesser importance.

- Good ammo is a must. You must have a constant and varied supply.

- Have an array of good bird dogs. Bird hunters have very specific preferences (slow, fast, bold, obedient, and so on) but they all like to see a swell gundog working.

- Make sure your guides understand the means of the field. And you yourself be present at some moments. Your clients expect to be having the time of their lives, and this intimate moment with people makes everybody more confortable.

And, finally, send us some pictures. Good luck, mate.
 
Posts: 130 | Location: South America | Registered: 26 September 2004Reply With Quote
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Thank you for all the good advice I most certainly appreciate your efforts very much. My apologies to one or two members unable to reach me via mobile telephone, I can assure you it has been a challenging week for me.

Initially I wont have more than two shotguns available but Im hoping the PH , Outfitter will be able to assist. Initially I will reach out to PHs and Outfitters , if their clients have free time and would like to shoot birds, I will arrange that.

I also will try to keep a shooting party small, upto max of 10 guns on a Dove shoot and 4 max on Egyptian geese. These two gamebirds are my specialty and we shoot them in quite high numbers.

Ammo wont be a problem ..

I will also inform clients of what they can expect on a shoot. Birdshooting is a passion of mine and I will be very reluctant to accept payment if a client is not entirely satisfied, it is something that would leave a very bad taste in my mouth.

Something else Im wanting to know is what type of shooting the overseas client prefers, Rough Shooting, Wildfowling , over decoys ? I mostly setup a blind and use decoys , sometimes but not very often I walk up Guineafowl and Quail but it doesnt really appeal to me as much.


Thanks again to everyone for the sound advice.

Best Regards
 
Posts: 867 | Location: Eastern Cape, South Africa | Registered: 08 January 2010Reply With Quote
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I guided upland hunters for 4 years. Figured I had used up all the protection my guardian angels could provide and swore I would never do it again.

During that time, I was almost shot on 9 different occasions by excited hunters who, due to inexperience or blood lust didn't recognize the danger or didn't care. The definition of almost shot: the shot charge passed within 1 foot of my body at lethal range.

Never overestimate the client's skill, and never underestimate his/her ability to do something stupid.

Emphasize safety at every step. Don't expect your clients to be proficient, or to understand anything about guns.

I have seen folks who couldn't load an over/under - and who thought you had to move the barrel selector after every shot. It was HIS gun.

I have seen sports actually shoot at doves flying 1/4 mile away with size 9 shot.

I have seen shooters load and fire 16 gauge buckshot from a 12 gauge - five times!

Can't count the number of times I have seen clients with a mix of 20 gauge and 12 gauge shells in their vest while hunting or shooting skeet with a 12 gauge.

I have had hunters show up to hunt drunk.

I have seen clients rough shooting with a semi-automatic shotgun with the safety off and their finger on the trigger - and when I gently corrected one, he said "ok, but if I miss the bird because I didn't have enough time, it's your fault."

I have had clients shoot 4 boxes of shells at quail and kill only 1 bird - then call the parent company of the hunt club to complain that the guide didn't get them into enough birds to get a "limit."

I have seen hunters shoot one another. In the face. More than once.

I had a client who I seated on the bench in the back of the truck with an unloaded shotgun - load it while we drove to the field and shoot at a low flying dove in front of the truck just as I stepped out - missing my head by inches at a range of 6 feet.

Safety is paramount - and figure you are the only adult present in the field.

Good luck!
 
Posts: 400 | Registered: 28 February 2003Reply With Quote
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Thanks Acer . I have also seen those 1/4 mile shots on Doves too ! Big Grin
 
Posts: 867 | Location: Eastern Cape, South Africa | Registered: 08 January 2010Reply With Quote
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lal,

Send me a PM when you get started on a full-time basis. I have only hunted big game in South Africa and really want to do a week of wingshooting for a change of pace. I have not found many guides/outfitters offering such hunts.
 
Posts: 167 | Location: USA | Registered: 28 September 2014Reply With Quote
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Originally posted by accipiter1:
lal,

Send me a PM when you get started on a full-time basis. I have only hunted big game in South Africa and really want to do a week of wingshooting for a change of pace. I have not found many guides/outfitters offering such hunts.


Thank you ! PM sent!
 
Posts: 867 | Location: Eastern Cape, South Africa | Registered: 08 January 2010Reply With Quote
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I've hunted Guinea, Francolin and waterfowl in Zimbabwe and RSA numerous times. Only where birds were feeding (maize fields) were birds plentiful (upland & waterfowl). For the collector, field prep and dip & pack are paramount to receiving a mountable specimen. That is a major downfall with most dip & pack facility's but a real sour note to the collector, especially when they spend good money to process & ship terrible condition birds. Trophy consideration is part of the process for those coming half way across the planet just to add some birds to their collection. Get with Parks or agencies that permit export paperwork and know how to skin, flesh, salt birds skins for shipping and you'll be ahead of most "bird guides."


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Posts: 6374 | Location: Tennessee | Registered: 18 December 2006Reply With Quote
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Thank you Sir I will certainly look into trophy prep, etc. Im definitely going to do my best to stay ahead , thank you once again.
Best Regards
 
Posts: 867 | Location: Eastern Cape, South Africa | Registered: 08 January 2010Reply With Quote
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