Alaska Sheep Hunt Pricing

OP
D

DBMR

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May 5, 2023
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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.
It was one of my many many reasons to go to a trophy fee/opportunity-based pricing model.

What incentives do these outfitters have to NOT oversell a product they 100 percent know they can't produce?
They get paid whether they are successful or not. Why not sell everything that you can? Even in Canada this is happening.
I used to think that having a federal concession would hold back some of this vacuum cleaner mentality but I see more and more of it. Its almost exclusively by some outfitters on OTC state land outfitters but it is starting to show its ugliness on these sought after federal concessions as well. Sad
 
OP
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DBMR

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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.
Having a "sound business" decision is an opinion only as you have stated. You are correct about it may not be the best if my main goal is to make money with no regard for a quality product.
But I will put quality/success well above my bottom line.......though I think the two will go hand in hand with my pricing model as quality always sells.

I have changed my mind on the "trophy fee" inclusion in my pricing model because that is mainly associated with a harvest or wounding of an animal. I plan to have a "reasonable opportunity on a full curl or double broomed ram" fee. Same metrics apply for hunter effort, attitude, physical ability and a shot under 400 yds......mainly because it is a quantifiable number. These conditions IMO would be easily understood by client and guide.

This definition change is something after reading and reviewing these comments has helped me to understand how it could be interpeptide in the classical sense.

And to answer your question.......Yes I will be "interviewing" clients that will be hunting with me. There will be certain qualities these clients must possess before I will even entertain bringing them on a hunt like this. Harvesting of a Dall sheep is something I still think is very special and I imagine most of the folks on this forum feel the same. But if I don't feel a client shares those values.....I'll pass.

Thanks again for comments. It allows me to get additional thoughts and ideas out after reading so many.
 

WalterH

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May 14, 2020
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It was one of my many many reasons to go to a trophy fee/opportunity-based pricing model.

What incentives do these outfitters have to NOT oversell a product they 100 percent know they can't produce?
They get paid whether they are successful or not. Why not sell everything that you can? Even in Canada this is happening.
I used to think that having a federal concession would hold back some of this vacuum cleaner mentality but I see more and more of it. Its almost exclusively by some outfitters on OTC state land outfitters but it is starting to show its ugliness on these sought after federal concessions as well. Sad

I think Mont's success rate is something like 90% or better. He is selling trips to that volume of clients because he can produce rams, or at least has been able to in the past.

Correct me if I am wrong, but don't concession permit limit/dictate the number of animals a guide can kill each year? I know in some cases at least, these limits are much higher than I think is reasonable. Mont's spot in the AK range was a combination of state and fed land in 19c, and we all know the situation there...
 

WalterH

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May 14, 2020
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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.

Seems like this is the primary driving factor behind what you are proposing. As many have pointed out, there are numerous strategic and financial downsides and risks to you, and few tangible benefits.

As such, I applaud your effort and I hope it serves as a positive influence on the industry and resource. Good on ya!
 
OP
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DBMR

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May 5, 2023
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I think Mont's success rate is something like 90% or better. He is selling trips to that volume of clients because he can produce rams, or at least has been able to in the past.

Correct me if I am wrong, but don't concession permit limit/dictate the number of animals a guide can kill each year? I know in some cases at least, these limits are much higher than I think is reasonable. Mont's spot in the AK range was a combination of state and fed land in 19c, and we all know the situation there...
You are correct on all statements but the "number" that is in your particular concession is a number you as the outfitter comes up with. Prior to "winning" a federal concession...........When all concessions proposals are weighed by the federal land manager, and a winner is picked........that winner has dictated what his limits will be.
 

WalterH

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You are correct on all statements but the "number" that is in your particular concession is a number you as the outfitter comes up with. Prior to "winning" a federal concession...........When all concessions proposals are weighed by the federal land manager, and a winner is picked........that winner has dictated what his limits will be.

Interesting. Self-imposed limits doesn't seem appropriate in that situation. Seems crazy that the land and resource "managers" wouldn't be the ones dictating that.
 
OP
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DBMR

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Interesting. Self-imposed limits doesn't seem appropriate in that situation. Seems crazy that the land and resource "managers" wouldn't be the ones dictating that.
In a sense they are dictating that by weighing all proposals and picking the one they feel (or how the current administration) fits best with the vision of that agencies use of land on a commercial side. These concession bids are very competitive
 

schmalzy

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Oct 1, 2014
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I think Mont's success rate is something like 90% or better. He is selling trips to that volume of clients because he can produce rams, or at least has been able to in the past.

Correct me if I am wrong, but don't concession permit limit/dictate the number of animals a guide can kill each year? I know in some cases at least, these limits are much higher than I think is reasonable. Mont's spot in the AK range was a combination of state and fed land in 19c, and we all know the situation there...

Not to get in the middle of something, but I’m fairly confident the past 2 seasons (2022 and 2023) in the Wrangells have not been 90% across camp. This is based off my personal experience in 2022 and subsequent conversations after.


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WalterH

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Not to get in the middle of something, but I’m fairly confident the past 2 seasons (2022 and 2023) in the Wrangells have not been 90% across camp. This is based off my personal experience in 2022 and subsequent conversations after.


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For Mont's operation or for guides as a whole in the Wrangells?

If that has changed, they need to update their web site.

Our sheep success rate for the last 13 years has been a 93% harvest rate (76 rams out of 82 clients). We have some of the best locations to hunt dall sheep and grizzly bear in all of Alaska.

Mont usually has every legal ram in his area of operation pegged well in advance of the season. But then again most guides do these days.
 
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schmalzy

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For Mont's operation or for guides as a whole in the Wrangells?

If that has changed, they need to update their web site.

Our sheep success rate for the last 13 years has been a 93% harvest rate (76 rams out of 82 clients). We have some of the best locations to hunt dall sheep and grizzly bear in all of Alaska.

Mont usually has every legal ram in his area of operation pegged well in advance of the season. But then again most guides do these days.

Just for his operation. I could be mistaken, so please take all of this with a grain of salt, but fairly confident. I think you are correct though in that website probably needs to be updated. Additionally, whether guys completed the full hunt or not and other factors probably needs to be taken into consideration as well.

Obviously a touchy subject and don’t want anything I say to be misconstrued; I had a hunt of a lifetime and am immensely thankful, but I think that is also in large part to the specific guide I hunted with and just some good old fashioned luck.

Didn’t mean to derail or change topic of thread, just giving what I thought was pertinent info.

Steve I commend your approach and hope to be able to swing another Dall hunt in the future with you if the stars align.


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Steven C

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Apr 23, 2018
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Sutter, California
Steve, I really think that you have a great idea here. I as a potential client often think about all of the things that are out of the clients and guides hands. Let’s say weather for one. If I paid you $30,000 and we have terrible weather for most of the trip and don’t have a opportunity. That’s a big bummer for me, and nobody’s fault. Or we hunt hard and have a great trip and for god’s sake I’m sheep hunting in Alaska. That’s worth $10,000 to me. Hell mule deer and elk hunts are going for that now days. I keep my $20k for the next go and save up another $10k for the next deposit. If it was $30k regardless, it would take me a lot longer to come up with $30k again. You’re putting your confidence in your sheep hunting and experience right out there in front of everyone. I like that. As you have stated, you will have to pick your clients wisely. I would have a lot of confidence in booking with you as I like your mindset. You’re basically betting $20k on your ability, work ethic and drive. I am 100% for this. One thing that’s always scared me is paying a outfitter for a really expensive camping trip. I think that you will have plenty of clients to choose from in a short amount of time. Thank you and good luck.
 

Mojave

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The only fair way to do it is drawing blood. It's your business to control. I would not book with a guy that was "fair opportunity". Too much smoke, mirrors and scheiss in that program.
 
Joined
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The only fair way to do it is drawing blood. It's your business to control. I would not book with a guy that was "fair opportunity". Too much smoke, mirrors and scheiss in that program.

You’ve already stated that it’s a stupid way to blow $30K no matter so I’m doubtful you would be booking anyway.

But I just want to be clear what I am reading from you.

It’s the only “fair way to do it is drawing blood” on my idea of giving a $20K refund on a “fair opportunity” that you call a “smoke and mirrors or scheiss in that program “ but you are ok with 99 percent of other outfits and guides charging full rate with zero guarantees at all?

Ok. Don’t at all see your logic on that one but again it is capitalism and it will tend to sort things out.


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WalterH

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The only fair way to do it is drawing blood. It's your business to control. I would not book with a guy that was "fair opportunity". Too much smoke, mirrors and scheiss in that program.

What if a dude empties his rifle at a ram at 85 yards and doesn't draw blood? Yes, that happens...
 
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The only fair way to do it is drawing blood. It's your business to control. I would not book with a guy that was "fair opportunity". Too much smoke, mirrors and scheiss in that program.
I would 100% book with a guy with a proven two decade track record that’s offering a potential refund over the guy across the valley that may send me some “guide” that’s a college kid from Colorado and ultimately charging the same non refundable price. Even if we see a ram day 2 that we disagree on and the fee is activated, I know my guide is still putting out the same for the next 8 days. God knows what you get across the valley. And honestly, even if I was charged the fee at the end for a ram we didn’t agree on, I think you’d still be ahead just based off booking with someone who has a proven track record and who shows they actually give a shit about you, your wallet, and the sheep. For the record, I’m not trying to sell the OP, we wouldn’t know each other if we ran into each other face first at Wal Mart.

In a sense they are dictating that by weighing all proposals and picking the one they feel (or how the current administration) fits best with the vision of that agencies use of land on a commercial side. These concession bids are very competitive
Don’t want to derail too much, but are these ram allotments subject to change given population fluctuations? Or are these bid at potential high population times when say 15 rams are allotted in the concession and that’s the annual number for the life of the concession? Huge bummer if that’s the case. Any word on starting to push state land concessions from APHA side to prevent what happened in 19C from happening other places?

I do commend you for trying man. I have a buddy that goes to his office and almost pukes every time he has to shake the hand of an unsuccessful hunter and send them home. He could double his number of hunters and increasing costs by 25%, and the market would certainly allow it. It would essentially be legalized theft. And we see it all across the state with every species. So kudos and best of luck.
 

Bambistew

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Alaska
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.
I don't think its a bad idea at all, but I would price the base cost of what you feel your time is worth. You will have a line out the door with this price model, especially if success is similar to full price hunts.

If a guy passes, given a chance at a legal ram, you could look at it as a lost opportunity for them, but that ram is available for the next guy, an you know where he is. :D

If it was me, I'd reduce the days in the field, or increase the $/day base cost. I've considered the exact thing you have proposed, but run a 7 day hunt. Put some risk/reward onto the client for a potential "bargain priced" hunt. You're already giving them an out if they don't kill one.
 

Rowndy

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Oct 22, 2012
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I'm not sure why there is as much negativety towards your idea as there is in here. If anything, sure its a risk to you that you don't have to take, but as you stated you have a reason behind doing it that way and high confidence that you can produce. That model is sure to gather attention. I've priced some of my own hunts the same way, not as the standard but in special situations where I felt like it made sense for the hunt I had planned.

Side note: While a lot of outfitters in AK(at least the ones that advertise hard) are in the high 20's to low 40's for sheep, not all of them are. There's still at least a few well below that that take very few hunters and have very high success rates. They just fly under the radar not having websites or advertising all over because they consistently book up via word of mouth and repeat clients.
 
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cbeard64

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I’m not trolling you I promise, and I hear your responses. But it’s clear you are set on doing it your way.

No doubt a model that doesn’t require full price up front will get you clients. But IMO opinion if you think by doing so you are going to change the way the entire industry operates (which seems to be your reasoning) I think you will find that’s not going to happen. The market as a whole drives pricing, not what one guide does. Maybe I’m wrong but I guess time will tell.

As for the “opportunity fee”, I’ll just be straightforward: that’s going to do nothing but cause you headaches. You’ve already been provided several examples of why that won’t work, and you have not actually addressed the issues/scenarios put forth illustrating that. Perhaps you know enough potential clients personally who trust you enough to overlook those potential problems and you will book up anyway.

But as a nonresident who does not know you, if I saw a guide advertising the “opportunity fee” as you describe it, I would never consider it. Clients want their hunt terms to be simple and unambiguous. Not open-ended and subject to interpretation, which only opens up avenues of potential conflict with their guide.

That’s why the “kill or draw blood” trophy fee has been the norm for well over 50 years. Sure, the guide takes some risk that the client may miss, but that’s why you try and get as close as you can to give your client the best opportunity. The client’s risk is that if he wounds the animal his hunt is over and the trophy fee is due. Blood doesn’t lie.

This arrangement incentivizes both the guide to give the client the best opportunity and the client to shoot well and take advantage of that opportunity. Which is why it works. Your way creates uncertainty which incentivizes potential conflict between you and your client. Which no one should want.
 

Mojave

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What I am saying is that I would not do $30,000 hunt on a public OTC hunt in Alaska. Other than the Chugiak and Tok there is no control on what an outfitter takes.

I am past the point on caring on Dall sheep at $30,000. Even in the TMU and Chugiak.

If I was going to do a $30,000 hunt for dalls outside of the TMU and Chugiak, I'd do it in the NWT for another $10,000.

It isn't a matter of effort, it is a matter of control. $10,000 may seem like a lot, but going 3 or 4 times to take a sheep will cost way more than the $10,000.

In the NWT there is control over who can hunt the same units.

I know 3 people that have hunted dalls in Alaska to pay $18,000 5 years ago and be covered up with residents and not get it done. This was all in the Brooks, could happen in OTC area.

When I was an Alaska resident, I put in for the TMU and never drew. If I was to do it today, I would live in Glennallen and hunt the park if that is still an option. I might do that when I retire.
 
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What I am saying is that I would not do $30,000 hunt on a public OTC hunt in Alaska. Other than the Chugiak and Tok there is no control on what an outfitter takes.

I am past the point on caring on Dall sheep at $30,000. Even in the TMU and Chugiak.

If I was going to do a $30,000 hunt for dalls outside of the TMU and Chugiak, I'd do it in the NWT for another $10,000.

It isn't a matter of effort, it is a matter of control. $10,000 may seem like a lot, but going 3 or 4 times to take a sheep will cost way more than the $10,000.

In the NWT there is control over who can hunt the same units.

I know 3 people that have hunted dalls in Alaska to pay $18,000 5 years ago and be covered up with residents and not get it done. This was all in the Brooks, could happen in OTC area.

When I was an Alaska resident, I put in for the TMU and never drew. If I was to do it today, I would live in Glennallen and hunt the park if that is still an option. I might do that when I retire.

You are semi correct on outfitters in some areas not having any kind of limit. Some OTC federal areas they certainly do have limits.

When you were an Alaskan resident you could not get it done because you didn’t draw a drawing permit? Did you even try the OTC areas?

In 24 years I drew one sheep permit. Was not successful. Other than that one draw permit, Only hunted OTC “crowded” areas and have ZERO issues harvesting IF I CHOOSE. Rarely see another hunter out there.

Some years harder than others to find good rams. Some years have passed on rams. But 13 rams ALL
out of OTC areas……it is not tough to do.

Guided another 30plus rams in OTC areas. So again if guys want to spend another $10-20k on a dall because of lower success ratios in AK more power to them. My successful Dall hunts will be $30K. IN 4years from now they will go up I’m sure but not to the level that NWT hunts will. I predict in 4 years they will be $60K plus in NWT. A successful client of mine will be able to almost pay for another hunt with me in 4years.


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