No hype or pitch. This is the true guide on how to select, purchase, pack for, and experience your next Hunting Lodge trip. We have learned from our guests from the many questions they have and we want to pass this on to you.
Selecting the Best Hunting Lodge
When you are looking for the best hunting lodge, there are many factors you must consider. Price is always a concern, but in most cases the same thing is true, “You get what you pay for!” If you are looking for the most inexpensive hunting lodge, then be sure to lower your expectations. The cost of everything has increased substantially over the past few years. The only way to cut prices is to cut back on things offered to your guests. Otherwise, you do not have any profit left at the end of the day. The lodges that seem a little high are usually trying to keep the guests feeling like a king a or queen while they are there. Meals are typically above standard and the accommodations are above average. Look for referrals or reviews to see what others have experienced there. Learn from others! Lastly, call the outfitter and talk to them. If you do not feel comfortable with them on the phone or they do not make you feel like someone other than just another number, you will probably be uncomfortable when you get there.
Purchasing a Hunting Lodge Excursion
Most hunting lodges require a non-refundable deposit before booking your excursion. Make sure you can change dates in case of an emergency. You never know what may happen. You need to know what is included in your price. Some places are all inclusive and some places charge you for every little thing you do. With these, the price sounds great at first, but when you get the bill at the end of your stay, it is no where near what you had planned. Also, find out how who will be there, especially if you are bringing your family. Not all hunting lodges are family friendly. Also a cot or bunk bed may not be your wife’s choice for excellent sleeping arrangements. When mom is not happy, no one is happy. Find out what time of year will be the best time for you. You will have to base it on: available time off, what type of game is being offered at that time, what the temperature should be that time of year. Weather has a lot to do with hunting and no one can predict what is going to happen more than a few days away. Be sure to find out what the plan is if bad weather comes in during your stay. Most of your top notch outfitters are equipped to handle all types of weather. Some of the best times to hunt is right before or right after a storm moves through. Do not be discouraged by a little rain. This year I decided to use a couple different pellet guns, they have advanced a lot and are a great gun for hunting.
The Hunting Cabin Packing List
- Clothing (hunting and lounging)
- Your hunting and fishing gear (weapon, ammo, rods, calls, lures, boots, binoculars, shooting stick, GPS, bug spray, etc.)
- Be sure to practice at the range and sight in your equipment before you get there.
- Always check your rifle once you get to the lodge, before you go hunting (We have seen a lot of “Sure it’s on, just checked it.” After they miss the animal, we check it and it is not on. Excuse, “Oh, I changed my ammo for this hunt!”)
- Coolers for your meat
- Snacks and drinks
How to Get the Top Notch Hunting Experience
We have talked about your stay at the lodge, now let’s see what you are expecting in the field. You first have to decide what kind of hunting you want to do. Many lodges in the east are canned hunts or smaller pen hunts. They offer a guaranteed no kill no pay policy. That sounds great, but realistically, it is a sales gimmick. They know you are going to kill your animal because it can not go anywhere. You and your animal are in a small enclosure and it is going to keep running around until you shoot it. They can not stay in business if they are letting people come stay at their hunting lodge for free. Most hunters appreciate the skill and art of having to actually hunt an animal. They definitely want to harvest their trophy, but the thrill is in the hunt. Once you pull the trigger, most of the excitement is gone. Most hunters remember every little detail of the hunt leading up to the kill. They remember belly crawling through a pine thicket or sneaking down a creek bed. They also remember when they almost got him. “Just another second and I would have had him. Boy, he’s sneaky!” Moments like this are why we hunt. It is not supposed to be easy. Every time one gets away, we figure out what we could have done different to make it happen. You can’t teach someone how to sneak through the woods. They just have to learn. Most hunting ranches that do not offer a no kill no pay policy are true hunting ranches. They work hard to maintain their animals in healthy condition and work hard to find the right one for their customer. They know the hiding places and the best sights to set up an ambush. They understand animal behavior and use it to make your hunt successful. They do not guarantee a kill because they understand it is hunting, and so many factors come into play when you are truly hunting. You also need to decide if they have the type and size of game you are looking for. There are many different sizes of trophies out there and the bigger they are the more they cost. When comparing pricing, always remember to compare size for size. A younger, smaller trophy will be less expensive than an older, larger one. Your budget will decide what size trophy you will be able to harvest.
What to expect after you leave
How was your hunt? Did you enjoy your time in the field? Were the accommodations and meals acceptable? Did you have a good time overall? Lastly, did you harvest an animal?
Why did I put that question last? Because if you are a true hunter, you know you do not always harvest an animal when you are hunting. If you enjoyed everything else and harvested an animal. Then that was just icing on the cake.
Are they handling your meat processing and taxidermy needs? When we will they be ready? Did you forget anything? Did you get plenty of pictures? Did they make you feel welcome? Have you heard from them since your visit? Will you go back?
If you enjoyed your trip, tell someone. Try to get others involved in hunting. Take a youngster out hunting. Hunting is slowly going away and the only way we will be able to preserve this wonderful way of life is getting more people involved and teaching our children what is all about. I hope this article was helpful in planning your next hunting trip.