One person’s loss is another person’s gain. I am sure most people have heard this phrase before. In the hunting trip industry, a cancelled hunt is a hunt that someone has put a deposit down on to secure a range of dates for specific type of game. Cancellation hunts could be anything from a whitetail deer hunting trip to a leopard hunt in Zimbabwe and everything in-between. Once an outfitter receives a deposit, he takes that specific hunt and dates out of inventory and starts trip preparation for his client as early as a year ahead of time. Most hunters don’t realize that leases and concessions have to be secured, guides and trackers have to be hired, equipment maintained and then there is the general overhead that comes with just about any business and the hunting trip industry is no different.
People can cancel a hunting trip for just about any reason. Most of the time that reason is economics, family emergency, joss of a job or an unexpected financial expense. When these scenarios happen, the hunter must sometimes cancel their planned hunt. These cancelled hunts most always come with a consequence to the hunter. They lose their deposit. Hunting trip deposits can run anywhere from 25% to 60% of the total cost of the hunt. Since most cancellations usually happen close to the time of departure, the outfitter or lodge owner must still try and fill that spot as they are counting on that revenue stream and want to keep the guides they have hired for the season without going into the red. Hunters can help reduce the financial strain of a cancelled hunt by purchasing trip cancellation insurance.
Since the outfitter or lodge owner already have a partial payment, usually half the cost of the hunting trip, they can offer the cancelled hunt at a significant discount in order to fill the gap in their hunting season. They must also offer these deep discounts because it requires the hunter to plan their trip with very little time and this often equates to higher travel expenses and airfare. In the end, the hunter usually gets a great trip at a large savings. Quite a few hunters make themselves available for cancellation hunts and usually just wait for them to happen as the hunting seasons approach each year.
Hunting Consultants and Booking Agencies usually work with a large network of Outfitters and Lodge Owners and are usually the first to hear about the cancellation hunts. Hunters can get on email notification lists from their hunting consultants usually just by requesting it. With a little planning and some extra free time, the savvy hunter and get the best bang for their buck (no pun intended).
Rick Kennerknecht is a partner and Hunting Consultant with Global Sporting Safaris, Inc. and runs a website that posts Cancelled Hunts and Fishing Trips as they become available. A free “cancelled hunts” subscription is also available by RSS.