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Thread: Interesting hunt planner thread on PV forum

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    Member Chisana's Avatar
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    Default Interesting hunt planner thread on PV forum

    I'm not sure how many folks on here check the Pristine Ventures forum, but I've found this to be an interesting thread discussing hunt planners:

    http://www.pristineventures.com/cgi/...1235175785,s=0

    Anyone here ever run into a situation like this?

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    Member AKDoug's Avatar
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    Yep. I also bet that I know the air taxi and the general area that guy was looking at too.

    The air taxi makes money providing quality hunting opportunities to it's customers. They manage the resource by not over crowding their landing strips that they use, use only certain strips for guide customers, and certain strips for hunt planners like Larry's opperation, and certain strips for the air taxi's general population customers. I certainly didn't get hosed by using a strip that the air taxi picke for me. It worked out extremely well and I will use them again.


    There is nothing to stop you from using these same strips if you have a way to get there. You probably aren't going to convince another commercial opperation to get you in there though.
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    Yep, gotta love Alaska's hunting rules, those posted and those not posted. Fishing is the same too.

    I've seen things like this all over, but especially here in Alaska. Just reading the regulations should clue in anyone that there is some funny business going on here. There seems to be a whole bunch of "back scratching" going on.

    Don't get me wrong, I've done well here with hunting and fishing and I do appreciate the opportunities I've been given in my short time here. I've only been here about 3 years and I'm relocating to the lower 48 soon. Seriously though, this wink... wink... nod... nod system, shouldn't be allowed. Let the biologist and other state game managers run things.

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    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Default Not ALL hunt planners do this!

    Just a word of clarification here; I am a commercial hunt planner, but I do not lock up areas, or make agreements with air charter services to keep other hunters out (so please.... don't paint all "hunt planners" with the same brush). On the other hand, I do ask the air service if they intend to drop other hunters on top of a group I place in the field, and if they do, I go elsewhere or use a different charter service. I do this with my own personal hunts too. But this is vastly different from overtly keeping other hunters out of an area.

    If I did this as a registered guide, I would lose my license, and rightly so.

    Correct me if I am wrong, but isn't it illegal for a charter operator to refuse to carry someone to an area they want to go? I heard that a long time ago, but I'm not sure.

    -Mike
    LOST CREEK COMPANY: Specializing in Alaska hunt consultation and planning for do-it-yourself hunts, fully outfitted hunts, and guided hunts.
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    Member Chisana's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Strahan View Post
    Just a word of clarification here; I am a commercial hunt planner, but I do not lock up areas, or make agreements with air charter services to keep other hunters out (so please.... don't paint all "hunt planners" with the same brush). On the other hand, I do ask the air service if they intend to drop other hunters on top of a group I place in the field, and if they do, I go elsewhere or use a different charter service. I do this with my own personal hunts too. But this is vastly different from overtly keeping other hunters out of an area.

    If I did this as a registered guide, I would lose my license, and rightly so.

    Correct me if I am wrong, but isn't it illegal for a charter operator to refuse to carry someone to an area they want to go? I heard that a long time ago, but I'm not sure.

    -Mike
    Sounds reasonable Mike. As a "hunt planner" for myself I ask the same thing of air taxis I work with and I've found that to be pretty standard policy for most of them throughout the state.

    As I read the PV thread it made me wonder how many hunt planners there are out there. In addition, are there booking agents out there booking non-guided, drop off hunts for individuals and do you consider them hunt planners?

    Lots of interesting stuff here and I appreciate your willingness to discuss this segment of the hunting industry.

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    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chisana View Post
    Sounds reasonable Mike. As a "hunt planner" for myself I ask the same thing of air taxis I work with and I've found that to be pretty standard policy for most of them throughout the state.

    As I read the PV thread it made me wonder how many hunt planners there are out there. In addition, are there booking agents out there booking non-guided, drop off hunts for individuals and do you consider them hunt planners?

    Lots of interesting stuff here and I appreciate your willingness to discuss this segment of the hunting industry.
    Chisana,

    Hunt planning is a strange duck. As far as I know, there are only three commercial hunt planners who call themselves "hunt planners" and offer personal assistance directly to hunters. All three of us have some similarities, and some major differences. From there you get others who offer different levels of help. Some of these are the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, some air charter companies, books, videos and other resources.

    In the end it's all about what the hunter needs.

    I am more than happy to discuss this, and the related issues.

    -Mike
    LOST CREEK COMPANY: Specializing in Alaska hunt consultation and planning for do-it-yourself hunts, fully outfitted hunts, and guided hunts.
    CLICK HERE to send me a private message.
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    "Dream big, and dare to fail." -Norman Vaughan
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    Member PatrickH's Avatar
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    Default Same thing?

    Mike,
    If you give a bush pilot a significant amount of business and you do so every year, don't you think he will "self regulate?" He knows you may go elsewhere and use a different flight service if he flies other groups into the same area as your group. He will try to keep a good, repeat customer (you) happy at the expense of others who may only use him once in a lifetime.

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    Default Not exactly

    Patrick,

    In your senario, the pilot is simply helping a prefered customer (the hunt planner). The hunt planner is the one trying to "self regulate" an area by influencing air taxis. I may be way off here, but this is where I see the problem. We are talking about public land, right?

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    Member tboehm's Avatar
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    Default tough cookie

    I think that this is a tough one all the way around and there is many ways to look at this. I don't think that there is one right perfect answer but it seems that ethics would and should make up a big part of this..

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    This only means that Larry's services are more valuable knowing that air taxi's give him exclusive rights to certain areas. It also prevents cetain areas that Larry uses from getting over hunted.

    Why would a hunt planner send clients to areas that anyone could fly into? That means they have to compete with any joe smoe off the street.

    B

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    Default a shake of hands

    I do not know the transporter and have only spoken to Larry a couple of times and traded some e-mails with him.

    While I have never done business with Larry (and he was trying to sell me a service), I did find him ethical and honest in his dealings with me.
    I think Larry and his transporter have probably entered into a symbiotic relationship, one that benefits both. I'll bet it is not written down nor does money change hands based solely on the deal.

    When I fly to Anchorage I sometimes get told the seats are sold out, but for a little extra $$ I can move to 1st class and get a seat. I also have the option of finding another airline-some of which may not service my intended destination. I have other options. I do not think that Alaska Airlines has plotted with other hunters against me, only that they are doing whatever is best for business, legally.
    I applaud the respectful way in which this discussion is being carried out.

    P.S. I have used Lost Creek and will again!

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    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JHardy View Post
    This only means that Larry's services are more valuable knowing that air taxi's give him exclusive rights to certain areas. It also prevents cetain areas that Larry uses from getting over hunted.

    Why would a hunt planner send clients to areas that anyone could fly into? That means they have to compete with any joe smoe off the street.

    B
    Hardy,

    I think you are correct concerning the financial motivation. Nobody is going to turn away business, especially in today's economy.

    As to your comment about keeping areas from becoming over-hunted, this is the job of the Board of Game and the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, not commercial operators. If we left it in the hands of commercial operators, everything would be sold off and shot out eventually, simply because not all commercial operators are making business decisions along ethical lines. Furthermore, such an assumption presumes that the commercial operators have a good working knowledge of all the biological and environmental factors necessary to make harvest decisions. Simply put, they don't. And really, would you want to put such decisions in the hands of someone who stands to make money on the outcome? I wouldn't.

    As to why someone would want to fly with an outfit that places you where others can go, well, that's just the way it is in a country where we all share equal rights to the resource. A better question would be this: "Would you want the entire state locked up by commercial operators who will dictate if you could hunt at all, when you could go, where you could go, and how much it would cost you? In the example given, if it is correct, a group of hunters was told that the charter operator would not take them to a specific location. If they are the only commercial operator in that area, the hunters are out of luck. If not, the hunters are free to seek other transportation.

    As I mentioned earlier, the current guide regulations expressly prohibit guides from keeping other hunters out of "their" area, specifically because the land and the resource belongs to the general public; not the commercial operators, whether they are guides, transporters, air taxis, or hunt planners. I would be very interested in knowing whether this regulation applies to the air charters / transporters.

    -Mike
    LOST CREEK COMPANY: Specializing in Alaska hunt consultation and planning for do-it-yourself hunts, fully outfitted hunts, and guided hunts.
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    Member BRWNBR's Avatar
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    i find this ironic that folks get all buttered up when an air taxi won't fly them into an area because of a guide. But this hunt planner has the same situation and guys are supporting him and backing him up and or on the fence with how they feel about it....
    can we say...double standard???
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    Default capitalism

    Jake,
    I have never paid for a guide or hunt planner, so I am screwed either way. I was pointing out that even without overt scheming to keep others out, business realities can make it happen anyway.
    Hopefully hunt planners (all of them) do not want to put clients on top of each other, so they limit the number of people in any given area. They need to do that because it gives the client a better experience and is good for business.
    The air charters try to keep long-term repeat customers (guides and planners) happy, so they do not do something that they know will piss off the long-term repeat customer- like placing too many people in one area.
    As Mike Strahan said above, "I do ask the air service if they intend to drop other hunters on top of a group I place in the field, and if they do, I go elsewhere or use a different charter service."
    I am sure there are guides (and maybe planners) who overtly try to keep others out of "their" areas and coerce their transporters into limiting access. That is wrong and hopefully illegal. The Pristine Ventures example does NOT fall into this category.
    Either intentionally or unintentionally the result can be the same. Without other transporters competing in the same area there are no alternatives and the area is locked up. Competition is what keeps capitalism fair. Monopolies or limited competition are rarely fair. That is why brown bear and sheep hunts can demand such high premiums. It is also why it cost more to charter a plane into sheep country during hunting season than it does during the spring. Demand exceeds supply.
    On the other hand, if there are lots of transporters and competition is keen, the experience and possibly game populations can suffer. When the Mulchatna herd was at it's peak, there were lots of transporters and it was common for groups to get dumped on top of each other. Competition kept the prices low, but the experience itself was sometimes also diminished.
    On yet another side, if there is not enough demand to make an operation profitable, the service will not be available. No guide can afford to offer quality brown bear hunts for $2,000. (If I am wrong, let me know where to get it!)
    It sucks that money drives the world since I do not have lots of money. If I were rich, it would be a great system to keep others from ruining my areas and my hunting experience. Who said life is fair? How do we get around this or fix it?
    Patrick

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    The taxi is free to do whatever he chooses. If you don't like it, figure out another way.

    I've not yet faced this situation, but I'm going to have a rough time moving on from hunting areas "locked up" in this way. Stubborn, I guess.

    Anything stopping you from hiring another licensed transporter from farther away and springing for the extra dough? Some kind of professional courtesy on their part?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Strahan View Post
    As to your comment about keeping areas from becoming over-hunted, this is the job of the Board of Game and the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, not commercial operators.
    -Mike
    The above quote is not the attitude you have taken in the past, Mike. Your starting to sound like me. I guess that means I've been right all along!!
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    i see where your coming from patrick, i was just mentioning that some guys in here have gotten pretty wired about the air taxis in say the wrangells catering to the guides over there and pushing joe res outa the picture for lack of access. but a few guys seem to think whats going on with this other hunt planner is ok..just make it seem ironic.

    I'm a guide and i've talked with my transporters about this as well. i've asked that if i'm there, please leave me alone, if someone else is there, please let me know so i can plan accordingly and go to plan B. But i've never asked for them not to fly someone to places i hunt...never. If they choose to not fly someone there, they've never told me and i've never asked. big state, i don't own any of it nor do i have any more right to the animals or some gravel bar than the next guy.
    I'd think it wrong for my air taxi's to turn people away just because its an area i hunt. Always have a plan B...always always...
    do a search for my post about big brown bear and to many clients...some guys (actually a guide but not guiding) used my name to have the air taxi i use fly him to the bay i was scheduled to hunt three days later..made for some interesting hunting..but you know what. they came out with a nine foot four and we came out with a ten foot six...so. Deal the cards your dealt, make lemonade and everything happens for a reason.
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    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by martentrapper View Post
    The above quote is not the attitude you have taken in the past, Mike. Your starting to sound like me. I guess that means I've been right all along!!
    Well, there is another possibility; it could be that you are finally understanding my position a little better. Either way, it could be cause for celebration. Bake a cake, put a candle on it, make a wish and have a party!



    -Mike
    LOST CREEK COMPANY: Specializing in Alaska hunt consultation and planning for do-it-yourself hunts, fully outfitted hunts, and guided hunts.
    CLICK HERE to send me a private message.
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  19. #19
    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Default A legal perspective

    Okay, I asked the legal expert that is sitting at the BOG meetings this week. His take is that there is nothing illegal about an air charter / taxi agreeing with a hunt planner to refuse to transport people into an area. He did comment that there are some ethical issues with this, but nothing illegal. He also said that if enough people brought situations like this to the attention of the Big Game Commercial Services Board, it is possible that they would pass a restriction prohibiting such action along ethical lines. Of course the problem you end up with then is that some will just refuse to transport on the grounds of "availability". In other words, no matter what dates you came up with, they would just tell you that they were not available to transport you on that date.

    In these kinds of situations you have to look at other aspects of the situation.

    First of all, do you really want to go in on top of another group? I have encountered hunters like this, who were just driven to end up on top of us. In one case it was a deliberate act, where two Super Cubs landed on the strip right in front of our guide camp. We were hunting eight hunters out of that camp that year (four for the first hunt, and four on the second hunt), and I explained this to the hunters, and even suggested another area that was really good, just over the ridge from our area. This alternate location was out of our Guide Use Area and nobody was hunting it, but there were good rams in there. But they insisted on hunting right on top of us. They got up really early and almost ran up the valley to get ahead of us. They hunted the best area in the entire zone, walking all over it for three days. We worked around them, hunting other valleys and ridges about three or four miles from them. After three days they left, without a sheep, and when we finally went in there on our second hunt, they had scared every sheep out of the drainage. Some people's kids...

    In my experience, most of the time these overlaps are unintentional. They don't know you are there until they arrive. In a perfect world, they would just fly off to their alternate spot. But sometimes there is no alternate and you just have to work it out amongst yourselves, so you don't end up on top of each other. Float hunts are different, because people travel the river at different rates, and often do not hunt the same locations along the way.

    Second, if an air charter operator tells you that they won't drop you on top of someone else, see that as a good thing! It's the ones who don't care that you have to watch out for. One of the first questions I ask air charter operators is whether they will drop hunters on top of us, or us on top of someone else. If they won't give us that assurance, we don't use that operator.

    Finally, if you really want to hunt this area, and the operator you have called will not take you there because of a current or anticipated client from another commercial operator, you already know that someone else will be there when you arrive. So go somewhere else this year, and find another operator to take you there next year. Start your plan earlier, and let the other charter operator know you will be there. If the charter and the hunt planner are primarily interested in the conservation aspects of this, they will go somewhere else next year if they know you will be there. On the other hand, if they hassle you about it, that may be an indication that they're more concerned about the money and in asserting the rights of their clients over yours. At that point you have another matter on your hands.

    In re-thinking this situation, the one that precipitated this thread, I'm not convinced that there is a legal or ethical issue here. This is just a case of user conflict, and the second group needs to make another plan.

    -Mike
    LOST CREEK COMPANY: Specializing in Alaska hunt consultation and planning for do-it-yourself hunts, fully outfitted hunts, and guided hunts.
    CLICK HERE to send me a private message.
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    "Dream big, and dare to fail." -Norman Vaughan
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  20. #20

    Default Alaskans resources

    "i find this ironic that folks get all buttered up when an air taxi won't fly them into an area because of a guide. But this hunt planner has the same situation and guys are supporting him and backing him up and or on the fence with how they feel about it....
    can we say...double standard???"

    I'm certainly not supporting this kind of thing! I think the whole point is that local residents who choose to live in this great state are finding it harder and harder to find a place to hunt that isn't locked up by a guide or now hunt planners! It's been pointed out time and time again that guides and hunt planners make deals with the air taxis and the result is the "local Joes" often get displaced having to find somewhere else to hunt. O.k, you don't want to call it "making a deal", but the end result is that the hunt planner or guide has booked ($$$) and placed the maximum # of hunters he thinks the area can handle and essentially locks it up with his clients. So affectively, and potentially, 1 hunt planner crowds out a bunch of RESIDENTS because they sent hunters to every nook and cranny they could think of. Sure, we might find another air taxi to drop us in there, but often times the taxi service nearest the area is the one being used because it's the most affordable.

    I mean when do we say enough is enough? Why do people have to try and make a profit on every last natural resource that a lot of us hunting types (RESIDENTS) moved here to enjoy? I mean, we have guides who take MANY hunters into the field every year, great, share the resource and maybe a once in a lifetime oppurtunity for hunters who might not be able to do it on there own. Then we have "how to books" (more $$$) that give actual names of rivers and gps locations which taxes the resource even more and could lead to crowding. Apparently that's still not enough $$$ so why not sell "hunt planner pkgs" to get even more people out competing for the resource! Where will it stop?! Whatever happened to "take what you need and leave some for others to enjoy"?

    Like Bartlett said, "free trade is a b_tch_", well, the bottom line is resident hunters are getting displaced and will find it harder and harder to find a hunting spot when we have people bent on making a buck ($$$) on the resource! Thanks (not).

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