Hunting season 2013 isn’t even underway yet, but smart hunters are already thinking about next year. With sporting shows and conventions only a few months away, Dallas Safari Club (DSC) is offering a three-part series of tips on how to choose, find, and book your 2014 adventure of a lifetime.
Part one: Preparing for upcoming hunting expos
There’s no substitute for speaking face-to-face with hunt operators, guides, and outfitters. Shows like the annual DSC convention and expo, where hundreds of hunting opportunities from around the world can be found beneath one roof, are do-not-miss events. Slated for January 9 through 12 in Dallas, the DSC expo is the first major hunting show of the year. Attendees get first dibs on the best hunts and dates. See details at www.biggame.org.
Here are three tips to help you prepare for the shows to find your perfect hunt.
- Forward thinking: Decide now what kind of hunt you’re interested in. Along with your interests, think honestly about your capabilities. If you’re not in good shape, a backpack mountain goat hunt or a spot-and-stalk brown bear hunt in muskeg probably isn’t a good idea. Instead, look at boat-based hunts. Start to learn now as much as possible about the type of hunt you’re interested in so that you’ll know the right questions to ask.
- Fit your personal ethics: Make sure you understand the fair chase standards for the type of hunt you’re considering. For example, much of the hunting in South Africa is on fenced ranches. Some are very large. Others are not. Some hunts are for one specific animal on a ranch. Other hunts allow you to look at numerous quality animals on a single property. Many operations in New Zealand, Argentina, and Saskatchewan are behind a wire as well. Some New Zealand operators use a helicopter to hunt tahr and chamois. Others offer foot hunts for the same species. Be sure to think about such specifics of your hunt.
- Make a plan to visit specific exhibitors: Check out hunt operators in advance of the shows. DSC lists exhibitors on its website and in its expo literature. Look over the list and spend some time online researching the operators that interest you. Better yet, contact them in advance. If there’s enough time, ask them to send you some information. That way you can narrow down your search before the show, and you’ll already be familiar with the operators you visit.