Value and Other Things to Keep in Mind
Let’s talk about value and what you are genuinely looking for in your Argentina experience. This is your chance to look at yourself and what this really means to you.
Quality plus price equals value. It’s a simple formula. When you are looking to go to Argentina, not all outfitters are equal. If you go with the cheapest price, you will be reducing the quality somewhere. If you like to shoot and don’t care about accommodations and food, talk to the guys who offer the most birds. If you want it all – birds, food, digs – it’s going to cost a little more. It has to. The higher the scale, the higher the cost. If you have lots of money and want all the creature comforts , find the most expensive outfitter and go with him. Got money? Fly first class or business. It’s a lot more comfortable and the flights are pretty long.
Other Things to Keep in Mind
Here is a list of questions you need to ask yourself, followed by ones you should ask your outfitter. If you like them, use them. The answers to the questions may make your trip as valuable as you want it to be.
What Is Most Important To me?
- What is most important to me? Get a sheet of paper and rank these in order of importance: Price, opportunities for different species, weather, time of year, service, food, numbers of birds, distance to the lodge, distance to the birds, and food and accommodations. Concentrate on outfitters who will fulfill your first three or four most important items.
- How far in advance do I need to plan to go to get the best airfares?
- What do I want to do on my first hunt? (or ‘next’ hunt, if appropriate) Only doves? Doves and pigeons? How about ducks this time?
- How long can I be away from work? Three day hunt, four day, five day with a day in Cordoba or Buenos Aires, and one day of travel on each end?
- How many people can I get to go with me? And, am I willing to go by myself?
- What is my ideal time to go?
- What is available to hunt at my ideal time?
- Would I rather go in their Spring, Summer, Fall, or Winter?
- Looking at the numbers, I can plan to go in _________ (month) of ________ (year). (Make a plan; work the plan)
- Who do I know that has been there and can tell me about what to expect?
Questions for the Outfitter
- Why should I visit your lodge instead of any other lodge in Argentina?
- What is your relationship with this organization? (Booking agent, booking agent for many outfitters, principal/owner?)
- What kind of guarantees do you offer, say if one day of my hunt got rained out?
- Can you give me five references who have been there within the past month?
- How far are you from the Buenos Aires airport, or the Cordoba airport?
- How will I get to the lodge?
- Who will be meeting me at the airport?
- How will I recognize you when I get to the airport terminal, or how will you recognize me?
- How do you transport hunters to the lodge and to the field?
- What is the drive time from the lodge to where we will be hunting? (Ask the references, too. Argentina time and American time are not the same.)
- Is there a way for me to get shells cheaper than your advertised price?
- What kinds of fields will I be hunting?
- How many guests will be in the lodge when my group is there?
- I am bringing my own gun, do you have gun cleaning services? If so, what do they cost?
- Do you have US phone service? What does it cost?
- What is your tipping policy and to whom?
- Do you take credit cards?
- Is there any discount for cash?
- Do you have converters for US electric devices like razors, or do I need to bring?
- Do I need hunting boots, or will casual boots or shoes do?
- Tell me what a typical day in the field will be like.
- What kinds of clothing should I bring?
- Do you have strap on recoil pads if needed? For rent or sale?
- Are the rooms individually heated and cooled?
- Is there daily maid service? How about laundry service?
And anything else you can think of. This is a service business, and you are the customer. Plan, ask, do. It is one of the greatest times in recent history to go to Argentina. Outfitters want your business. Airlines want your business. All you have to do is make your plan, and work the plan – this year, next year, pick a year. See you in Argentina.
To return to part two of this guide, click here.