Contributors to this thread:
Reading this morning an outfitter claiming 50% success on whitetails. Many outfitter web sites claim a certain percentage success rate.
Is there an agreed upon definition for "success"? Is it an animal harvested, a legitimate chance at one, an arrow launched, just observing an animal...?
Would be helpful if there was a consistent use of the word.
Success = dead animal/tag punched...unless defined otherwise. It is an implied definition that most outfitters follow. One should always verify they mean "dead animal" and not "shot taken" or "animal in range".
Success rate is a dead animal and you punching a tag.
That said, in my mind there is more to it than just success rate. For example, if all the hunters in camp shot at animals and some missed or lost their animals and only half killed their animals, the outfitter would only be 50% success rate, although 100% of hunters had opportunity. I ask outfitters I am thinking about what their opportunity rate is along with having them define what an opportunity is. Does it mean that an arrow was sent, does it mean that a mature animal was within 30 yards from me, 50 yards? Lots to it.
When I was guiding and outfitting, I defined success as an animal wounded, either found or lost. If the hunter drew blood, unless we could verify the animal was okay, that was his buck for the hunt and it counted as a killed deer. That kept many hunters from taking shots they should not take. In addition, for our management purposes, it allowed us to guesstimate at how many animals were killed. Since we counted a wounded animal as killed unless we could verify otherwise, that kept us from killing more mature bucks than we wanted. That allows you to set "kill rates". That being, the percentage of hunters who are likely to kill an animal. For example, if we booked 20-hunters and had a 50% kill rate, we could anticipate the need for at least 10-mature bucks on the property. I smart guide/outfitter, will not book more hunters than he has trophy animals according to his kill percentage. It is always best to err on the safe side. So, for me, was an animal where blood was drawn.
I agree with Bowriter on this one.
If I was booking a hunt, I would consider an animal that was shot, recovered, and tagged as part of the success rate. Big difference to me between that and the “kill rate” if I’m thinking of booking a hunt. Why not add in seeing a shooter into the equation?!
Success = when my wife kills an animal. Because she gets downright surly when she hasn't arrowed something. :)
When I guided, I considered "success" as getting my client an ethical shot opportunity at a mature animal (whatever the hunter considered as acceptable) within his effective range. But we didn't advertise based upon "success rates" because free-range elk hunting is a different game than treestand hunting for managed whitetails over a pile of corn.
I ALWAYS ask the outfitter what they mean by success, sometimes it's animal is dead, sometimes it's a shot opportunity, if so, then I ask who defines "opportunity" because the guide saying I had a broadside 90 yard shot is an opportunity, I don't consider it one. I don't care what they use, as long as they are honest with the answers. Just ask questions.
Having it be "dead animal" means you can get a group in that flat out can't shoot and misses animal after animal, that messes with it. Story: we were looking at elk outfitters once, they had a chart that showed success rates, one year had a HUGE spike up close to 100%. I asked about it. They had a full camp one week of ex-Marine snipers, those boys went 100%.
I consider success as meat in my freezer. But I don't use an outfitter or guide so my #'s may be slightly askew ;)