I just got off the phone with one of our hunters that rebooked for the 2013 Spring Snow Goose Season. In the conversation we talked about the 2010 spring snow goose hunting. It was his first year booking a snow goose hunt with us (it was also hands down the worst snow goose season we have ever seen). He explained “I wasn’t too happy when I got the call that our hunt was postponed that year. Several of the guys in the party wanted their money back. When you explained you would issue a credit for a future hunt…well let’s just say it didn’t go over well. However after following your hunting reports page for the rest of the season our opinion of what you had done began to change. In 2011 we used that credit and had a great hunt. All of my guys were sold on your guide service and were thankful for what you had done. We intend to book every year with you. It is a credit to your guide service that you don’t do only what is financially good for your business in the short term but take a long term view that if you do what is right, your hunters they will be appreciative and come back year after year.”
It is always a judgment call on our part when a situation develops forcing us to make a call about postponing a hunt. It doesn’t happen that often, there is no exact science to it, and it’s a pretty unpleasant decision to make because everybody is disappointed. There have been times when we made the wrong decision. However the vast majority of times we have made the right choice. We value our customers and want to show them a good time on a successful hunt. Believe me when I say this…it is no more fun to be a guide than is to be the hunter on a slow day. It is part of hunting and nobody has a banner day every time out in the field.
Our policy is we hunt under all weather conditions unless they become hazardous. Occasionally we postpone hunts. If a hunt is postponed it can be rescheduled in the remainder of the current or a future season as the schedule allows. We do not refund money.
The reason why many snow goose guides have this policy is most of the money we collect from our hunters goes to pay for expenses we incur for your upcoming hunt. These expenses are massive, few of them can be reversed, and most are paid out months before the hunt takes place. When I have to make this type of a decision I always say to myself “what would you want done if the roles were reversed?” So if it was me, I wouldn’t want my snow goose guide to have to make a decision between what is best for the hunter or a big financial hit to him. That is a situation where everybody loses. Many guides will not take the big loss but instead hunt groups when they know they probably shouldn’t. That is bad for the hunters. Those hunters will not come back and won’t give a referral which is a bad for the guides business. A guide service is built on repeat customers and referrals. I would rather have a snow goose guide make a decision between what is best for his hunters and a wash on the postponed groups. What does a wash mean? If he postpones a group of hunters to a future hunt he doesn’t take a big loss but he doesn’t make any money on them either. It is about a break even deal for the snow goose guide. He is paying for most of the expenses to run the hunt twice but only getting money from the hunter once. Since most of the time it is only a few days to a week of hunts that need to be postpone. A breaking even deal most established outfitters can live with.
At Up North Outdoors, Inc. we feel that what is best for our hunters is also best for us. We want repeat customers. We feel that when the conditions merit postponing a hunt it is far better for everyone to postpone the hunt. The hunters who are mad about a postponed hunt are also going to be upset with poor hunting. The vast majority of hunters appreciates our honesty and understands that the future hunt will likely be far superior to the one that was postponed. Hopefully when considering a guide service for a spring snow goose hunt you will see the value of this policy and book your hunt with us.