Planning the Hunt Part 3: Book the Hunt

Planning well in advance is a key to experiencing adventures of a lifetime. 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.

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 must 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.


Many hunt operators provide a contract that you must sign. Some destinations, such as the state of Alaska, 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 sales 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 weeks or months in advance, so prospective buyers have plenty of time to research details. But there’s an even bigger benefit to buying through DSC − 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.


Remember, it’s not too soon to begin planning hunts for 2018 and beyond. Keep all these tips in mind as you prepare for the upcoming Convention. Legacy will be held Jan. 4-7, 2018.


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