This is the first article in a 5-part series on 5 important things you need to consider when planning your backcountry hunting adventure…
Unfortunately, planning a backcountry hunt takes money, and in some cases a lot of it. Of course, it is worth every penny if you do it with the right attitude! The important thing is to do your homework and plan for it. Unless you have a high-salary job or are independently wealthy, you are probably going to have to save up the cash to finance this adventure.
First, if you are married, you had better communicate with your spouse what it is that you want to do. If your spouse is not on board with your plans, you will find it very difficult to make this hunt happen. It may be that you make a deal with your spouse, like “I’ll build you a greenhouse if you let me go on this hunt.”, or she may say, “If you go on this hunt, I want to go to California with my girlfriends.” That may not be the case at all, but you do need to be considerate of how your loved ones feel about your investment.
Some outfitters offer group rates, so it might be worth talking your buddies into going with you. I have guided several hunts where 6 or 7 guys all plan and save for years to come out west on a hunting adventure, and when the big adventure finally happens, these type of groups often have the most fun. Why? Simple…because they are in it for the right reasons. I will cover this later.
Some of the most touching moments I have ever experienced were guiding people who came with a family member. Most of the time it’s a father/son, husband/wife, father-in-law/son-in-law, and even a father/daughter combination. No matter the relation, special moments happen in the high country. That might be worth a little additional investment to some of you.
Have you heard the term “Sticker Shock”? Well, I am going to try to hit you with that right now so that you can get over it and move on with planning the adventure of a lifetime. The numbers I am going to give you are not some calculated national average, they are real numbers from a real backcountry outfitter, real taxidermists, and real meat processors. These are some of the biggest costs of your hunt, so I want to share real numbers with you.
There are outfitters out there with big, fancy lodges and lots of “kill” guarantees. This example will not be one of them. This outfitter is a family-run operation with nice facilities and the most genuine people you will ever meet. They do not measure their success by the amount of dead animals their clients take. They measure their success by happy smiles, tearful goodbyes, clients who have been coming back for 20 years, and returning their clients safely home to their families…hopefully with a trophy animal.