Alaska Sheep Hunt Pricing

OP
D

DBMR

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May 5, 2023
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84
As @cbeard64 mentioned, there are too many variables....are you going to carry a little hourglass and then when a ram is within 400 yards, look at the client and flip it over and say "if the ram is still there when the sand is gone, you owe me $20K"? What if the wind is blowing sideways at 30mph? What if the only presented shot was frontal? etc

I think what would accomplish your intended goal of "caring about the client", without the risk or fanfare is, you require all money paid before the start of the hunt. If they show up in shape, ready to grind, and give it their all throughout the hunt, and you don't get them a shot opportunity at a legal ram (due to 1. a lack of rams in the area - which is perhaps your main concern, or 2. your inability to find them - impossible...is this the guarantee?), then you can choose to give them money back. If you have to practically drag them up the hills, or for whatever reason they are a "bad client", then don't.
Appreciate the feedback. Thanks
 

Corhunter

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Dec 26, 2023
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47
Population is not recovering in Alaska. We have set record low harvest numbers the last three years in a row. Fish and game had a public meeting in Fairbanks and the outlook was extremely pessimistic across the state. If you are going to spend crazy money on a sheep hunt go to Canada
AK will recover, it’s a natural cycle of populations
 

Suera

FNG
Joined
Nov 27, 2021
Messages
76
Your structure is good, in Europe we use more or less this structure in prices.
But like the folks say you is better they pay you per example 10k in expenses or the price you want to cover you and in everyplace in the earth the trophy fee is if they hunt or wound the animal then they have to pay you the other 20k. What you want to make if they have a opportunity shoot until 400 yards it will be you only problems... because maybe the wind is so hard , maybe is raining or the angle is terrible to make a good shoot...
Also if you first may some interviews with the clients it will be easy for you choose these ones that will be capable to kill or wound the trophy at this shooting distance...
 
Joined
Jul 17, 2022
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I’ve never been on a guided hunt, but I’m an Alaskan resident hunter and a small business owner. I applaud your motivation and think that could be a great idea in THEORY, but I in practice you’re leaving yourself open for a LOT of interpretation. If you’re dead set on this pricing structure, then you’re way better off charging full price and then offering a discount/rebate/guarantee if you don’t provide them with a harvest opportunity… and make sure your fine print is ironclad. And keep in mind, at the end of the day you’re providing a SERVICE, not a product. There’s no guarantees in hunting.
 

mtwarden

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I think the option of an additional harvest/trophy fee is a lot less open to interpretation vs a refund if you don't harvest.

You charge a reasonable price for the hunt, if the person harvests (or wounds) an animal, you add the fee. If they don't harvest one for whatever reason (lack of animals/guys out of shape/not confident on the shot/doesn't matter)

I think this model would be very attractive for folks that have to save a loooong time for a sheep hunt vs spending $30k up front and not knowing if you'll even find an animal. For guys w/ lots of $ it doesn't matter a tinker's damn one way or the other- they're going to hunt at any cost.

I do like your original idea, but am afraid there are too many variables and too many what ifs to hold up if it came down to demanding an additional fee and the client contesting it.

A harvest (or wounding) is pretty straight forward.
 

Mojave

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Jun 13, 2019
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This is 5 pages in, I don't know if my comments will get read or not, but it is worth a shot.

A $10,000 ($8000 plus $2000 charter) and $20,000 for a dead or wounded legal ram is great.

$20,000 for a 400 yard shot and the guy misses is assinine.

A trophy fee is the way to do it. That was more common in the early 2000's in Canada, but everyone is charging more now.

Most European hunts are priced this way. It is fair.

Straight priced hunts on the North American model are not fairly priced. The guide doesn't have to work at all, and the outfitter still gets $30,000.
 

Sneaker

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Joined
Jan 6, 2024
Messages
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Yeah it does feel like things are a little out of whack with that, there should be or will eventually be some way for the market to punish/communicate to outfitters that hunts with no kills are not desired, and hunts with high chance of no kill are really not desired. The invisible hand theoretically will fix it in the long run…
 

cbeard64

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Sep 8, 2016
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Corsicana, Texas
I’m not so sure. I’m becoming more and more convinced that there are so many very wealthy hunters in the sheep game today that many will pay the going prices for just the chance to take a ram instead of an expectation to take one. Especially if current population trends continue. Sheep hunting has risen to a whole different level and I don’t think the market will ever reverse itself.

I hope I am wrong.
 

Mojave

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Jun 13, 2019
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I’m not so sure. I’m becoming more and more convinced that there are so many very wealthy hunters in the sheep game today that many will pay the going prices for just the chance to take a ram instead of an expectation to take one. Especially if current population trends continue. Sheep hunting has risen to a whole different level and I don’t think the market will ever reverse itself.

I hope I am wrong.
You are not wrong.

Demand outstrips supply by quite a margin.

I am going to Jagd and Hund Dortmund at the end of the month, and Hohe Jagd in Salzburg in the middle of February. These are two of the bigger hunting shows in Europe. I speak to the sheep outfitters every time, but I don't honestly know why I waste my time. I can afford to go, but think it is a stupid way to blow $30, 000 for any sheep. I missed my chance when I was 19, and dall hunts were $4000.

My $4000 will get meet a mid-grade mouflon and a chamois fall of 2024. Quite a financial savings.

In the 1990's through the 2010's Canadian outfitters would over book their sheep hunts (mostly in BC) and then take the hunters on a road march. If they "dumb luck" happen into a ram, the guide will then tell the dude that they don't have a tag for that ram. I think the BC government changed this, but I am not sure. That is why BC, has always been such a sketchy place to hunt for sheep. Tags were held by the outfitter not by the hunter for sheep. I don't know if this is still going on or not. The interwebs are full of these stories from back then, and I have even seen it written in magazine articles.

Goats in BC and Alaska are hovering around $20,000 and going to be the new sheep.
 
Joined
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Alaska
I’m not so sure. I’m becoming more and more convinced that there are so many very wealthy hunters in the sheep game today that many will pay the going prices for just the chance to take a ram instead of an expectation to take one. Especially if current population trends continue. Sheep hunting has risen to a whole different level and I don’t think the market will ever reverse itself.

I hope I am wrong.
I think it's because it has become a status symbol and not a passion for the experience for many of the folks you are referring to.

This is one of the reasons I think the OP's idea of pricing structure is a great idea.
 

Sneaker

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Jan 6, 2024
Messages
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That type of pricing effectively lowers the price and therefore increases demand and would have that many more guys lined up for a chance to hunt, regardless of their motivations for wanting to do the hunt. As long as harvest chances stayed reasonable, there would be a lot of interested hunters lining up in the “kill fee” type model.
 

Bambistew

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Jan 5, 2013
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392
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Alaska
I guess my question is, do you really need an incentive to market/sell a sheep hunt these days? It sure seems like there is no shortage of people with money lining up to hunt them even in marginal areas with low numbers. People are rolling the dice at 50-60% success rates already.

If anything I would offer a refund of some amount if they don't kill one, vs a trophy fee. I would also do fewer days at that price, or increase the base rate.
 
OP
D

DBMR

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May 5, 2023
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Thanks, Ivan, for your input. I was hoping you would comment. I really am trying to change the way sheep hunts are priced and viewed by the non-sheep hunting world. And.......I am.........maybe looking for those folks that are not able to afford these out-of-control rates but are prepared with both attitude, physical ability and equipment. If I had clients that were "just good guys" that were like my buddies I hunt with, I would not have it as such a "job" and priced the way these others have gone. Again, appreciate it, take care buddy.
 

LivinGood

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Feb 22, 2017
Messages
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Location
Fairbanks, AK
You've got a good blueprint drawn out here. I would suggest, for contract simplicity, charging the 30K upfront and if a reasonable opportunity (your 400 yd mark) is not met then the client gets 20K refunded. Also, to instill confidence in your clients, in terms of a legal ram, I would suggest keeping it to fullcurl or double broomed. No age only legal rams. I think getting a client to 400yds on a presumed 8-year-old (not fullcurl or broomed) ram and saying, "There's your opportunity, that'll be $20k", could lead to some interesting interactions.
 

cbeard64

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Again, I applaud your intent to open up an opportunity to sheep hunt to those that might not otherwise have that opportunity.

That said, what you propose is not so much a business model as it is a charitable model. The demand for sheep hunts has never been higher. Full price hunts with good outfits are booked years in advance . As a business proposition, you don’t need to do anything different than others are doing. Simply put,if you are good, your success from a business standpoint will take care of itself Period. End of story. That’s just capitalism.

New trucks are $70K and the demand is still strong. What you are proposing is like Ford saying “We’re going to lower our prices back down to $45K to give other folks a chance to buy a new truck.” Charitible to be sure, but unnecessary and not very good business.

Also, there is nothing to stop wealthy guys from booking your hunts anyway. Which they will do if you have success. So how are you going to make sure you’re actually accomplishing your stated objective? Make everyone who calls you provide a certified financial statement to ensure only working guys book with you, etc., etc., etc.?

IMO I just don’t think you have really thought all this through to make sure you are actually 1) making a sound business decision and 2)accomplishing your stated objective.
 

Mojave

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Couple more thoughts.

The guys that can get away with charging more, high success dall sheep hunts in the NWT and Yukon are $34,000 to $54,000. Would I spend $30,000 on a dall sheep hunt on the premise that you will hunt harder? No, I personally would not. I would spend another $8000, and hunt a leased area in Canada. If I drew a tag in the Tok or Chugiak of course, then a savings makes sense.

What are the other outfitters in Alaska charging. I know from WTA advertisements they range from $25,000 for draw hunts in Tok/Chugiak to $28,000 for OTC hunts in 26. There are probably some concession hunts for $30,000 ish. I do not see any equity in your program. You are doing it to make it more competitive to sell hunts, not necessarily to open doors.

Mont Mahoney is $33,000 for 2025 hunts. Plus $3000 air fare.

I do not see the value added there if you don't own the concession.
 
OP
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DBMR

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Couple more thoughts.

The guys that can get away with charging more, high success dall sheep hunts in the NWT and Yukon are $34,000 to $54,000. Would I spend $30,000 on a dall sheep hunt on the premise that you will hunt harder? No, I personally would not. I would spend another $8000, and hunt a leased area in Canada. If I drew a tag in the Tok or Chugiak of course, then a savings makes sense.

What are the other outfitters in Alaska charging. I know from WTA advertisements they range from $25,000 for draw hunts in Tok/Chugiak to $28,000 for OTC hunts in 26. There are probably some concession hunts for $30,000 ish. I do not see any equity in your program. You are doing it to make it more competitive to sell hunts, not necessarily to open doors.

Mont Mahoney is $33,000 for 2025 hunts. Plus $3000 air fare.

I do not see the value added there if you don't own the concession.
You don't see a value if I am not the owner of this concession?

From your previous post words....."but think it is a stupid way to blow $30, 000 for any sheep"........ any of these pricing models you would not blow your money on either.

Other AK outfitters are high $20's to low $40's. Prices are all over the place in the state of Alaska. And a federal concession (which I am assuming you are referring to when you state "own the concession") only keeps out other guides. It does nothing for local Alaskans who can hunt anywhere other than native Corp land (without permission) or drawing permitted hunts without drawing the tag.

I can tell you Mont Mahoney's area in the Wrangell's is heavily used by our local Alaskan residents (including myself) because of the ease/cost to get into his area. About the only sheep hunting federal concessions that are truly remote and similar to the NWT hunts are the concessions in the NE Brooks Range due to the limited air taxi operators and their costs. Those hunts will all be mid 40's by 2026. I know because I've worked for numerous outfitters there.........along with decades of personal hunts there.
Do any of the above outfitters or the ones you mentioned offer any kind of refund for a non-successful/no opportunity hunt? Including your mentioned Canadian outfitters? Oh, who by the way are having a drop off in success rates too.

I guess it's your option to spend another $8000 ($15K more like it at the end of the day) to a "better" outfitter to end at the same point of having a successful hunt.

For $28K i am offering a quality drawing or OTC hunt with a $20K refund if you are not successful with no opportunity (with some expectations of the hunter as I've mentioned).

I appreciate you taking the time to write your opinions, but I respectfully disagree with you on most of your points.

With this pricing model I am offering a great deal to hunters. Putting skin in the game for successful hunts for my future clients. Show me another outfitter who would be willing to do what I am. Could I do this without offering a guarantee? Of course I could. I do it to bring back some credibility and ownership in this guiding and outfitting world bottom line.

Are federal concessions better? Without question! Are they considerably more expensive hunts? Without question! Do i hope to get one? Yes, in the future (but I still will be offering my guarantees but with the mid $40's total pricing)

I guess my pricing structure is going to be the choice of my future clients. Is a $20K guarantee worth it going into one of my draw or OTC hunt areas? I guess the future will soon tell. With the serious interest I have gotten.....even if half of them bail...... I'll be booked through 2027. Most of them just regular working guys who can't get past spending $30K plus with the lower success rates across the board potential in the future at ALL of the above outfitter choices.
 
Last edited:

WalterH

Lil-Rokslider
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May 14, 2020
Messages
127
Mont needs to stop killing so many sheep. 9-10 sheep hunters a year is too many. He shot out his area in the AK range and is now doing the exact same thing in the Wrangells.
 
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