Planning well in advance is a key to experiencing adventures of a lifetime. Dallas Safari Club (DSC) is offering a three-part series of tips to help you get started choosing, finding and booking hunts for 2014 and beyond.
The first two parts of this series featured tips on preparing for and attending annual sporting shows where hunting opportunities abound. Now that you’ve decided on a type of hunt and selected the right outfitter, it’s time to seal the deal.
Part three: Booking the trip
Adventure awaits, but first, paperwork. As you finalize plans with a hunt operator or outfitter, keep two things in mind:
- List of costs: Ask for a complete breakdown of all charges in writing. Some countries charge an ammo tax or area fee. In Zambia, for example, you have to pay a fee to transfer to a different game management area. Also, ask about charter fees. In many cases, the cost could double if other hunters are not on the same flight and you are the only passenger. Finally, be sure you understand any sliding scales for trophy fees.
- Contract: Many hunt operators provide a contract that you must sign. Some destinations, such as the state of Alaska, also require this. Be sure to read the contract in its entirety. Contracts should contain the terms and conditions under which you will be granted a refund should you have to cancel or if something goes wrong. Make certain that you are in agreement with all the terms and conditions.
About hunts purchased at auctions—many kinds of hunts can be purchased at fundraisers for organizations such as DSC. Typically, if the sale price is above the fair market value of the hunt, the difference is tax deductible as a charitable donation. Be sure to check with your tax preparer or the Internal Revenue Code for specifics. The winning bidder has essentially booked the hunt when the auctioneer’s gavel comes down, so be sure of what you’re buying. Hunts to be sold at the DSC annual convention and expo are posted to www.biggame.org weeks or months in advance, so prospective buyers have plenty of time to research details. There’s an even bigger benefit to buying through DSC, however, the organization only accepts hunts from exhibitors and members in good standing. This provides some assurances that the hunt will be as advertised. And, if it’s not, the buyer has additional recourse through DSC.