Hunting consultants: Personal service in an impersonal world
Hill Country Outdoors
Are the old ways still the best ways?
In these days of 24-hour access to anything the world over, Google Translate, online airline reservations, and sporting conventions the size of small cities, the question is why would anyone use a hunting consultant (booking agency) to book an adventure?
I asked two such entities, one with several decades of experience and the other relatively new, why utilizing their services is better than going it alone.
Gordie White is the owner of Gordie White Worldwide Hunting and partners with Col. Dennis Behrens in Expedition Adventures.
White has almost 30 years of experience as a hunting consultant and has directed clients to hunting, fishing and sightseeing the world over. Ninety-five percent of his clients are repeat customers and most book several adventures per year with him and have done so year after year after year. White feels the reason for this is fairly simple but one that causes him to laugh when he explains, “I take care of everything.”
He really does.
He finds the best outfitters, the best game, takes care of flights and hotels, handles transfers and transportation, deals with visas and permits, and so on and so on.
“We live in a world of information, but going through all that information takes a lot of time and most people don’t have a lot of time, especially when it comes to booking an adventure like a safari or wing shooting,” White said. “I bring ‘been there, done that’ service and knowledge to the table and free clients from the hassle. What I do is allow the client to just enjoy the trip. He or she doesn’t have to deal with anything else.”
So, how much extra does having someone take care of every detail cost?
“That’s probably the biggest misconception about what I do,” White admits. “My services don’t cost anything extra. You pay the same going through me as you would if you went through the outfitter. And the airline, and the hotel …. The only real difference is what you get in return for spending that same amount.”
That leads us to a new question: Why spend the same to get less by booking direct?
Will and Lauren Cowan often wonder the same thing.
As owners of HookFire, an exclusive collection of luxury hunting and fishing properties, they have been sending clients to the best destinations in the world for over a decade. “We like to describe the HookFire experience by paraphrasing famous sportsman, Viscount Grey,” Lauren said.
“He said, ‘In penetrating the precise nature of happiness, any event given real pleasure is thrice enjoyed. There is the pleasure of anticipation, then the pleasure of realization, and finally, the third pleasure of retrospection.’ We help the client experience all three of these with ease and at no extra cost,” she said.
In addition, Lauren also brings something to the booking table that many outfitters can’t — a woman’s perspective.
“It’s true that there aren’t a lot of women in this industry and I feel that that’s really something that helps HookFire to stand out,” she said. “As a woman, I can offer clients or clients’ wives the female perspective on the location, the service, and the amenities and activities offered at each lodge. And this holds true for couples, as well. Will and I travel and research what we offer as a couple so we certainly bring that perspective into the mix. We are also able to personally host many couples and families throughout the world from the Bahamas, Argentina, Brazil, Africa and a few other locations every year and feel that this is a very special perk we can offer our clients.”
And this is a good thing as more and more hunters and anglers are traveling as couples and/or as a family.
So, are the old ways still the best ways?
In terms of servicing and getting the most for your dollar and time the answer seems to be a resounding, “Yes.”
Young is a Fredericksburg resident and avid outdoorsman whose work appears in this paper, Rock & Vine magazine and other outdoors publications.