Integrity is not just in our name. In fact, our entire operation is predicated upon this simple but meaningful word. All too often there is some sort of fishiness going on- We are deer hunting, not fishing here!
How many times have you gone to an outfitter and trail camera pictures were “deleted to save space because we get so many pictures” or “the camera’s batteries died”? Storage space should never ever be an issue with external hard drives or a myriad of online storage services. An outfitter should be constantly holding onto these and relaying this information to their clients. Furthermore, recent pictures of stands that you will be hunting should be shared. What good are photos of nocturnal bucks on farms hours away? Yes things do happen and usually at the worst times, however if mistakes are constantly being made on such a simple task, what else is being misplaced, misused, or forgotten?
Have you ever heard “this is the first time this stand has been hunted” only to be let down upon arrival after finding candy wrappers at the base of the tree? Further letting you down upon a closer inspection, there are dozens of gear hook holes that look as if a woodpecker went to town for days right where your bow should be. How about every deer passing the stand looks up at you though the wind is perfect and you haven’t moved a muscle? Places conducting business in this light give all outfitters a bad name and even leaves a bad taste in my mouth. For these very reasons, we are further driven and motivated to set ourselves apart and above the rest.
Numbers, numbers, numbers- know them. Know how many hunters will be in camp, how many have been in camp, and how many more will be in camp for the duration of the season. If any of these do not line up and do not appear sustainable, proceed with caution. Why do these have to be so secretive in the first place? From a business perspective, I’d think these details should be promoted and not covered up.
It baffles me to no end how some outfitters boast “low pressure” and yet their properties lack integrity by the second week of hunting season. Through not hunting the wind wisely, failing to have planned entrance/exit strategies to mitigate intrusion, and haphazardly checking trail cameras your hunt is compromised. Among countless other reasons, bucks will have you patterned ten fold how much an outfitter has them patterned.
Speaking of patterning, everyone knows bucks can be patterned outside of the rut. Outfitters should know at least for the most part what stands have certain bucks visiting. It should be their job to warn any client of certain bucks not meeting their size requirement instead of just slapping them with trophy fees anywhere from a couple hundred dollars to over a thousand. Trophy fees should not be a revenue generator! With this philosophy in mind, we let our clients know what bucks are on the hit-list and which ones need to be passed in order to have quality bucks the following year. Moreover, we strive to be fair regarding size requirements. Often times whether to pull the trigger or not is a split second decision- one that can be very costly if not comfortable accurately gauging an overall inch score. For this very reason, we have in place an outside spread minimum of 18 inches. Ear tip to ear tip is roughly 15 inches so if the buck is past his ears, has good mass and tines, likely the buck would gross at minimum 130 inches.
Similar to Monsanto pushing to remove GMO labels from food to blend in with non-GMO products- if it really was better then why are you trying to hide it? We live in a crazy world today with very few things being a given. Integrity Outfitters living up to its name is one of them.