Trail Escapes Outdoor Adventures
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Insider Escapes 

January 2013

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Here We Go Again!

It’s just about time to put up the rifles and shotguns, clean up all the gear and get ready to do it all again. You know one of the things I love about being a hunter and fisherman is there’s always something going on in the great outdoors. Sure, there’s deer hunting and duck hunting in the fall and winter, but there’s so much more than that. Here in Louisiana the fishing never stops. The speckled trout and redfish are here most of the year, as well as freshwater fishing for one species or another. The end of late season deer bow hunting and squirrel season is followed closely by spring Turkey season. However, that’s just the beginning! If you expand your horizons, there are several states with spring bear hunting. There’s also fishing and hunting in Alaska right around the corner. And just in case you didn’t get enough duck hunting this year, since South America has the opposite seasons from North America, our lodges in Argentina and Uruguay will be starting their duck season soon, as well as Dove and Pigeon hunting. One of my associates set his personal best last year in Argentina with 3500 doves in one day. Way to go George! (Personally, I think my shoulder would have fallen off around 1500.)

If you’ve never had or even thought of these experiences, it might be time to make it happen. That “bucket list” isn’t getting any shorter by itself. We would be happy to discuss these adventures and more with you anytime.

Thanks, Dennis

Choosing an Outfitter, a 5-Part Series
Part 2 

Last month I touched on some of the research tools and procedures used to choose a lodge, charter fishing service or outfitter. This month we will start breaking down the different aspects and features you should consider in making a decision.

Ok, the meals and accommodations provided are more important than you might think at first glance.  You’re there for the hunting and fishing, right? Well, trust me, if you were promised steak but got an industrial size can of Beanie Weenies instead and if your bedroom is a hardwood floor and a sleeping bag, it can ruin your trip. (True story) Sure, most of us can relate stories of sleeping in the back of a pickup truck rolled up in a blanket and eating potted meat and crackers for days on a hunting trip. (Hmm, tell me again why we call those the good ol’ days?)  But seriously, if you’ve made the decision to pay for what may be the experience of a lifetime, why not let the lodge take care of those things for you? I understand if you like to cook or if you’re trying to save money doing your own meals. However, after a full day in the outdoors, walking into a warm lodge with the aroma of hot food welcoming you while the guide is cleaning the game, well, in the words of one of my clients on his first guided duck hunt “I could get used to this!”

Now, let’s talk about the “do-it-yourself” trip for just a second. If you choose that route, make sure you discuss exactly what you are responsible for. Does the lodge provide cooking utensils, pots and pans, etc.? How about pillows and blankets? MATTRESSES??? It’s better to get all that information before you get there instead of looking for a Wal-Mart in the middle of the night. Now you start to understand why we recommend letting the lodge provide those services.

So let’s assume you’ve decided you want the whole package and are ready to be pampered. Just exactly what does that mean? Usually a lodge can be broken down into three levels of service. Remember, for the moment, we’re only talking about meals and accommodations.

We’ve discussed the DIY option so next up the scale is the “middle of the road” location. The food is great but not gourmet and the accommodations are clean and comfortable, but not luxury level. These are most often the lodges a client will chose. Everything is provided by the lodge, so you simply show up with your gear and enjoy. However, there are still questions you should ask before you book the trip. What are the sleeping arrangements? Will you be sharing a room with your buddies and if so, how many to a room? Will you be in a bedroom with a stranger you don’t know? ALERT!!! If the answer to that last question is yes, keep looking for another lodge! What type of food do they serve, hamburgers and hotdogs, home-cooking, steaks, or (God forbid) BEANIE-WEANIES? This is also the time to discuss special needs. For example, if you or someone in your group is on a low salt diet, can they accommodate that? How about food allergies? Again, think about these things before you call.

Now we get to what we lovingly call the “Prime Rib and Lobster Locations”. Yes, if you want to make an impression on that client you’re taking on a hunting (or fishing) trip, nothing compares to white linen tablecloths and a wine list at dinner. Ok, maybe that’s a little bit over the top but there may be an occasion when that’s the level of service you want. There are certainly locations like that and Trail Escapes has some of the best. This is where it gets a little tricky because, while you should accept that an experience like that is going to expensive, you should definitely get your money’s worth. Again, we are just discussing the food and accommodations at the moment, so the meals should be spectacular and your room (private, unless you request otherwise) should have all the amenities of a fine hotel.   Some of the extra’s you should look for might include a sauna, hot tub, massage room, a bar that includes top shelf liquor and wine (and a bartender), above average bed and linen’s, and a gourmet menu. Along with these items should be service to match.

Now, you should have a clear idea about your expectations before you make the first phone call. When you are planning your trip, be very clear with the lodge or outfitter what you want and expect. Ask questions and make sure the answers you receive are clear and concise. If you hear vague or evasive answers, keep looking! Also, listen to the tone of the person on the line. Are they courteous and professional or do they sound bored and uninterested in talking to you? You can learn a lot simply by their attitude on the phone.

Ok, by this time you should have a good idea of the services and facilities available but let’s remember, first and foremost, this is hunting or fishing trip. Next month we will discuss those aspects of your search, including what to look for, realistic expectations and how to determine what it should cost.

See you next month, Dennis


Company Phone (225) 664 - 4167