The best hunting trip destinations for first-time traveling hunters
You can find all your dream hunting destinations in ‘your own back garden’, so to speak. Thanks to the digitalization of our modern world, a high command of languages by just about all outfitters in the world and easy access to independent references, it is just as easy to book a hunting trip directly at the destination, as it is to say “hello” to your neighbour over the garden fence.
In this article Rainsford Hunting share their thoughts on just how accessible the world is to you, particularly if you are unsure whether to book your next trip directly at the reserve from an outfitter or to have an expensive third party organise it for you.
The editorial team at Rainsford Hunting have not used a hunting travel agency for the past 10 years. Here we share our thoughts on the best, highly recommended and totally practical destinations for first-time travellers that wish no costly intermediaries.
Hunting trip destinations within Europe
If your homeland is one from the western culture, the vast majority of destinations in Europe should be regarded as obvious targets for a hunting trip. In terms of both language and digitization, serious hunting providers on the continent are entirely on a par with customers, while the bureaucracy in most European destinations is easy to deal with.
Well in advance of your arrival, the outfitter can easily make sure that any firearms licences and/or hunting permits are ready and waiting, or send them to you.
If this is your first attempt at a hunting trip with no intermediary, countries such as Scotland, Ireland, England, Sweden and Norway are perfect. But other destinations, such as Spain, France and Germany, are ideal, while several Eastern European countries are fairly easy to navigate for the inquisitive hunter.
Africa and New Zealand as hunting trip destinations
There are also a number of destinations outside Europe, where the dedicated hunter will find it very easy to book directly at the outfitter instead of booking through a travel agency.
The physical distance to popular hunting destinations in both Africa or New Zealand is in many cases long, but the actual organising of the trip is a good deal shorter. The professionalism of outfitters in the likes of South Africa, Namibia and New Zealand is extensive, and the bureaucratic challenges in terms of weapons handling and transporting trophies home are relatively slight, when it comes to hunting trips to these destinations.
The outfitter will easily be able to advise you on the right airline for your route, and on how to get permission to bring your weapon into the country, unless you choose to rent a hunting weapon at the destination.
Booking your hunt directly at one of the three destinations above is just as easy as booking at a destination in a well-known European hunting country. Find an outfitter, whom you feel you can trust from the word go. Check him out thoroughly via references, and book when you have the right gut feeling.
In most ways, it is no different from booking with a hunting travel agency. You just have to regard the outfitter as a hunting travel agency. Any dealings between an agency and a customer also require trust. If you trust the outfitter, the booking process is more or less the same. The only difference is that, when you book directly, it’s cheaper!
Hunt destination Greenland
Digitization has also made its mark on one of the last wildernesses in the world. Greenland is one of the easiest destinations for hunting trips. Most reputable outfitters in the cold North manage to express themselves in English and, given that hunting trips to Greenland are not the cheapest on the market, there is a perfect opportunity to save a relatively large sum of money by booking directly at the outfitter.
Instead of spending time talking to a costly third party about your Greenland expedition, you might as well spend the same time talking to the person who has the greatest knowledge of the destination: the outfitter. When it comes to hunting trips to Greenland, there is no doubt that there is a potential financial advantage, when you plan everything yourself, avoiding costly intermediaries.
Hunting trips to Canada and Alaska
The language is simple and straightforward, and the outfitters here have a generally high level of information. In many cases, hunting in Canada and Alaska is expensive. If you slip up in the preparatory work, you can easily burn your fingers and discover expenses that you had not anticipated.
Hunting trips to this part of the world are not generally considered obvious for first-time traveling hunters from Europe, because they sometimes operate with both licences and trophy expenses. Many of the trips are also sold as packages with several species included, and a variety of shooting success rates, which can be hard to get your head around.
There is no doubt that it is adventurous hunting, but it is hunting that rarely carries any guarantees. You are definitely dependent on booking the right time of year for a particular species, and on the weather being favourable during your trip.
It is by no means impossible to book directly, but you probably have to take a much closer look at things than for some of the easier hunting trip destinations.
Hunting destinations Russia, Western and Central Asia
Nowadays and from a European standpoint it is possible to find outfitters who operate locally in both Russia and in Western and Central Asia. However, for the ordinary man in the street, it is quite difficult to find out what exactly you are buying and what the contract entails.
If you want to book directly at these destinations, it is more important than anywhere else in the world to safeguard yourself with a collection of good, independent recommendations and good tips and guidelines from hunters who have used the same outfitter on a previous occasion.
One alternative to the true blue hunting trip with no intermediary might be to use a Russian hunting travel agency. Of course, this adds the cost of a middleman to the trip, but, despite that, that middleman will add value to your hunting trip. Naturally you should still make sure that the agency has been recommended by impartial referees. But, once you have found an agency you can trust, it is definitely safer than booking with an entirely local provider in that part of the world. And even if you do book through a Russian agency, it can often still be a good deal cheaper than booking through a Western European hunting travel agency.
Preparatory work is the key to a successful hunting trip
Needless to say, whether you book through an expensive travel agency or directly at the destination, you still need to do your homework. There are black sheep in every industry and in all parts of the world. The same goes for the most obvious hunting trip destinations. Buying a hunting journey is essentially about trusting the person you are interacting with, whether you book through an agency or directly.
But a little bit of preparatory work will significantly limit your chances of buying a washout trip. Here are a few tips for planning your first/next hunting trip with no intermediary:
- Find a handful of independent referees, whom you can contact, prior to booking. Ask them the right questions to get an idea of what to expect from the hunt, the outfitter and your stay at the hunting destination.
- Discuss your expectations of the trip with the outfitter before booking. Direct contact with the outfitter (the person with the greatest knowledge of the specific hunting in question) will provide you with the best preconditions for reconciling what you and the outfitter expect the hunting to entail.
You can read much more about all the pre-planning for your next hunting trip in the hunting trip travel planning articles here. If you would like to find out more about the hunting trip concept with no intermediary, you can do so here.
Or you can have a look at the complete list of available hunting trips here.