Booking the right hunt So you’re thinking about booking a Kentucky deer hunt with one of the many western kentucky outfitters, where do you start? Well we all know most start out by looking and surfing the internet. Most will type in “Kentucky deer hunts” or “Kentucky deer hunting outfitter” on Google.com. There you will find like 40 Kentucky outfitters. Now what do you do? You do what anyone else does, and that is you start looking for “rates and dates”. Then you slowly creep over to seeing the photos of deer. Then you get sucked in the rabbit hole of looking at all the photos of huge deer and forgot where you were. Your expectations get scope-locked on the guarantee of a 165 inch bruiser. Then you start sifting through websites trying to get the best-priced hunt that is matched up with the biggest photos of deer you see on camera. Am I close?
1. If you know someone who has been on a paid Kentucky deer hunting trip they’ve enjoyed, see if it’s within your budget and book that same hunt! That’s valuable information you should take advantage of. Most of us don’t know people who have done paid ky deer hunts, which takes me to my next point.
2. Go to a Kentucky deer hunting forum website. Here you will find people either praising an outfitter for their wonderful experience, or people bashing a certain hunting outfitter because they basically didn’t shoot a trophy buck. Being critical of food, or the quality of the stands or the how likable the professional hunters are usually isn’t the real issue. I personally can overlook anything and everything as long as I see deer and shoot a nice buck. Right? You’re going to have to do more sifting than looking through forums, but like in poker, all information is worth something. You’ll have to decide how much weight you put to that information, but it all helps in making your decision!
3. The success rate question – Outfitters get this question a lot. It’s a good question, but only to see how the person answers it. Opportunity rates are more relevant because often times hunters will pass up nice 130 inch deer and never come across the 165 inch deer they seen on so many magazines. Ask yourself this, what would be the ideal advertised “success rate” on a website? Yes..be honest…100% should be your answer not 0%. Under that premise, this entire concept of a “trophy buck” turns into a “participation trophy” that we all despise. There is nothing wrong with 100% success rates. These are AWESOME KENTUCKY DEER HUNTING OPERATIONS. High fence operations are for people who have already “won at life”. They make tons of money and can afford it. Maybe this is a 1-time experience for a middle class person who wants a 175-200+ inch deer as a “art piece” in their house. There is nothing wrong with this either. I’ve gone on advertised 100% success rate hunts and they are the best! There is no right or wrong, it’s what you want to do.
4. What type of amenities are you looking for? Yes, you get what you pay for, but that doesn’t mean some are charging slightly more for similar services than others…so you should shop around! The fact is, some people have great reputations and can charge a little more as compared of newer places that offer the exact same service. Some spend more in advertising, some are retired and do this as extra income, some inherited their land so they have less overhead, etc. My point is shop around and decide what suits you. If you can afford to be treated like a King, fed well, etc., then that’s exactly what you should do! Maybe you can afford what you want, but you want more of a rugged do-it-yourself experience where the whitetail outfitter has been there 8 months out of the year making sure the place is managed well for you to come hunt. There is no right or wrong way to go about this.