Do I have the right to be upset?
General Topic
Contributors to this thread:
Shug 11-Feb-24
standswittaknife 11-Feb-24
mountainman 11-Feb-24
Ace 11-Feb-24
Shug 11-Feb-24
Grey Ghost 11-Feb-24
Ollie 11-Feb-24
Bou'bound 11-Feb-24
TEmbry 11-Feb-24
bowhunt 11-Feb-24
HDE 11-Feb-24
Matt 11-Feb-24
g5smoke21 11-Feb-24
WV Mountaineer 11-Feb-24
Glunt@work 11-Feb-24
Aspen Ghost 11-Feb-24
wildwilderness 11-Feb-24
Don K 11-Feb-24
Husker 11-Feb-24
Bou'bound 11-Feb-24
WV Mountaineer 11-Feb-24
Woody 11-Feb-24
Boreal 11-Feb-24
spike buck 11-Feb-24
bigeasygator 11-Feb-24
Pat Lefemine 11-Feb-24
Grey Ghost 11-Feb-24
Bou'bound 11-Feb-24
Pyrannah 11-Feb-24
Grey Ghost 11-Feb-24
Trial153 11-Feb-24
Ambush 11-Feb-24
TEmbry 11-Feb-24
Trial153 11-Feb-24
RonP 11-Feb-24
JohnMC 11-Feb-24
Trial153 11-Feb-24
Bou'bound 11-Feb-24
molsonarcher 11-Feb-24
Ziek 11-Feb-24
be still 12-Feb-24
MichaelArnette 12-Feb-24
Tilzbow 12-Feb-24
Trial153 12-Feb-24
duckhunterbrad 12-Feb-24
Bou'bound 12-Feb-24
Shug 12-Feb-24
huntr4477 12-Feb-24
KY EyeBow 12-Feb-24
caribou77 12-Feb-24
Bou'bound 17-Feb-24
DonVathome 17-Feb-24
Slate 17-Feb-24
Shug 17-Feb-24
Bou'bound 17-Feb-24
Trial153 17-Feb-24
caribou77 17-Feb-24
From: Shug
11-Feb-24
I’ll try the abridged version…

I had a woodland hunt booked for this year. (2024) I booked the trip last year 2023 at Harrisburg What I thought was a reputable outfitter I had to cancel the caribou due to my 2023 grizzly hunt being put off by the outfitter till 2024… I was able to find a cancellation woodland hunt for this past September.

As soon as I knew I was gonna cancel a full year in advance I called to let them know. Normally I would understand about keeping deposits on cancellations but I had someone who was going to take my spot.. I was told they have a list of hunters to take open spots … and the real kicker was when they said they wouldn’t take my guy filling my spot because their hunter would have to pay the higher 2024 price . OK semi understandable but why keep my deposit? It wasn’t much due to booking so far out in advance $1000… but that not really the point…

I will mention the outfit further down after unbiased thoughts are posted.

11-Feb-24
I honestly go into every booked hunt that I have with the knowledge that as soon as I hit the go button on a deposit, that more than likely that is a sunk cost. I have also been fortunate when things don't go as planned, that the outfitter has worked with me but in all honesty they did not have to do that. I, like you, would have been disappointed under the unfortunate circumstances if the outfitter would not have worked with me, but not really upset. I'd chalk it up to the price of booking hunts and let my blood pressure decrease.

From: mountainman
11-Feb-24
What does the contract say regarding deposits and cancellations?

From: Ace
11-Feb-24
YES you have the right to be upset. It may not do much but ... I believe that you are justified in your position. Definitely name names, I sure wouldn't hunt with someone who goes out of his way to screw someone over.

From: Shug
11-Feb-24
Mountain man… No contact was signed yet… The outfitter himself was at the show just a couple locals that were managing the booth.. all I have is a receipt of deposit

From: Grey Ghost
11-Feb-24
It happens way too frequently it seems. Perhaps the lessen is to never give a deposit until you have a contract and know what the cancellation policy is.

From: Ollie
11-Feb-24
You sure do. You found a replacement hunter to take your spot. Outfitter has a waiting list. Outfitter is not out any money. He should return your deposit. At worst, he should apply your deposit to a future hunt.

From: Bou'bound
11-Feb-24
If he’s filling the spot and filling it at a higher price and that higher price is $1001.00 or more than your deposit he should be paying you for backing out and allowing him to generate more revenue for the spot.

I’m kidding that he should pay you obviously, but he certainly shouldn’t be double dipping in benefiting from the cancellation and the fee upgrade for the other hunter

I’m assuming this is a very well-known outfitter that well respected in Newfoundland because that’s really the only guys for the most part that are hunting Woodlands these days. Besides that you would not have booked with a second tier player. Just seems a little bit unnecessary in terms of keeping your deposit under those conditions

Is the guy a bum, a cheat, a bad deceptive businessman, immoral, and scum of the Earth dude? No.................... but that’s a cheap maneuver for a grand. He is certainly entitled technically to keep a non-refundable deposit. Honestly, though I would hope for a more equitable course of action than acting within one's technical rights in a case such as this.

He is in no way obligated to take your chosen substitute as he may have preferable know clients he has a relationship with that are on that waiting list.

One thing is guaranteed and that is that by the time this thread dies, it’s going to cost that outfitter a lot more than $1000

From: TEmbry
11-Feb-24
I’d be upset as well, out of principle. You already have someone lined up for the spot and the total hunt price will be higher than when you booked. The one or two times I had to cancel something in the past I knew the deposit was sunk to hold my spot, but they were more than okay with me “selling” my spot to someone else to recoup my deposit and let them fulfill the balance due to go in my place.

From: bowhunt
11-Feb-24
I don’t think you have any reason to be upset.

You put a deposit on hunt.

Things came up for you, AND you found a better deal elsewhere, so you didn’t want to do the hunt with them anymore.

Loosing the $1000.00 deposit seems like a pretty cheap solution.

I imagine these outfitters spend a decent amount of time dealing with people booking, and then wanting to cancel/change what they committed to do.

I do see how it might feel a little wrong from your perspective.

From his perspective it probably wasn’t that great to hear you want to cancel because now you have a bear hunt, and found a better deal on the hunt you are canceling with him.

From: HDE
11-Feb-24
Nobody has the right to tell you whether or not you should be upset. Your money, not theirs...

11-Feb-24
the way i see it...if the outfitter is going to keep your deposit...you can fill the hunt with someone you choose as long as he pays the rest of the original cost. that is what the outfitter agreed to...a hunter at a certain price.

if the outfitter chooses to fill the spot with someone else...at higher rates...your deposit should be refunded. he will have a new hunter at a new price.

the outfitter should just be made whole...not enriched.

yes...i would be upset.

From: Matt
11-Feb-24
This is America, where the national past time has shifted from baseball to finding things to be upset about. Have at it...

From: g5smoke21
11-Feb-24
I get it that most contracts and booking understanding that the deposit is non refundable however its getting old. If you find someone and the outfitter isn't loosing money you should get it back. They aren't doing extra work. 20 years ago sure they booked most hunts at shows and what not that cost money but now it's mostly internet word of mouth. I see so many discount hunts that someone cancelled and they are say offering a few thousand off an alaska moose hunt. Many outfits require 50% at booking so why isn't it down to 50% price? I think there is some outfitter greed going on. Not all but some if they see a way to make some extra coin.

11-Feb-24
Shug, I love you brother. But, bowhunt post is the other perspective. And, one I imagine is easy to see from the other side.

From: Glunt@work
11-Feb-24
Bummer. Always better to have cancellation, refund, postpone details known before exchanging funds but it doesn't always happen. I couldnt see keeping the deposit withe the circumstances you described. I could see keeping something to offset some time spent on scheduling, contract, etc.

From: Aspen Ghost
11-Feb-24
Seems like the best course would have been to keep the caribou hunt on it's original schedule and tell the grizz outfitter that his hunt would need to be in 2025 because you already had 2024 booked. Why pass the grizz outfit's problems on to the caribou outfitter?

11-Feb-24
Yes

From: Don K
11-Feb-24
The outfitter is making more money now by you having to cancel and has a list of hunters plus you had one ready to fill your spot. Why keep the grand? Hes not out anything, made more money, and doesnt take but what 15 min max to change the name on the booking?

11-Feb-24
"Why pass the grizz outfit's problems on to the caribou outfitter?

he didnt. the only thing he passed on was a full paying replacement hunter. how is that a problem?

From: Husker
11-Feb-24
My thought is your outfitter should give you back the deposit, but that probably won't happen. If you give anyone money, for anything, don't ever expect it back. I have no faith in people being honest!

From: Bou'bound
11-Feb-24
Nobody was dishonest in any way.

11-Feb-24
Exactly. While I feel the outfitter should have given him the money back, I can see why he didn’t. And, being that he deals with this a lot from potential hunters, can understand he has to draw a line some where. Not sure he picked the right scenario to do that here though.

From: Woody
11-Feb-24
I'm glad I don't have hunting partners that cancel out on me due to changing to another hunt. It better be a death in the family or someone on their death bed if you cancel on me and expect me to suck it up.

11-Feb-24
"Nobody was dishonest in any way."

i guess that depends on whether you think a deposit is for a specific person or for a hunt.`

From: Boreal
11-Feb-24
He could give you your money back. In my opinion, he should give you your money back. He doesn't have to give you your money back. The circumstances say a lot about this man and his business. I agree with Bou'bound, this could cost him a lot more than $1000 in the end. But if he's booked out a couple of years he's probably just grabbing quick cash while it's raining and not worrying about his reputation or future business.

From: spike buck
11-Feb-24
I ask for a deposit. A non refundable deposit. I do not take full payments until they arrive at camp. I hate to give money paid (in full less deposit) back. But would. All deposits I take again are non refundable but transferable to another season, person or year. But I don't have to transfer to another time, I just do!! I am in business for a long time not for a short time.

From: bigeasygator
11-Feb-24
I think you’re protected by the Ninth Amendment here, Shug :)

But I would find it frustrating and upsetting too if the outfitter was financially whole and chose to still hold onto your deposit.

From: Pat Lefemine
11-Feb-24
When it comes to outfitting I’m afraid it’s now firmly a sellers market. They don’t have to do anything to make you happy or to do what some people would consider the fair thing to do.

That’s why the prices keep rising to ridiculous levels and they keep booking up because there doesn’t seem to be any resistance by hunters.

I don’t think he’s screwing you over because you backed out, regardless of the replacement. But an honorable outfitter would likely just send you the deposit back because it’s the right thing to do.

Not many of them left. Outfitting has become a sad state of affairs.

11-Feb-24
sample contract...

seems fair to me.

DEPOSIT POLICY

- TO SECURE HUNT, ALL DEPOSIT CHECKS ARE TO BE SENT WITH THIS COMPLETED CONTRACT

- A deposit check of 25% of the hunt cost is required to book a hunt

- A second deposit check of 25% post dated for January 15 (fall hunt) or Dec. 01 (spring hunt) of the hunt year

- The final 50%, GST tax and licence fees postdated for July 01 (fall hunt) or Mar. 1 (spring hunt)of the hunt year.

- Deposits are non-refundable and may be transferred to a friend but not a future year.

- If XXXXXXXX cancels the hunt then XXXXX will return your deposit in full.

- Stated hunt dates and pricing within this contract are not negotiable.

I agree with all the costs and deposit policy above;

SIGNATURE______________________________________________________________________________

From: Grey Ghost
11-Feb-24
I outfitted for 3 years. We averaged 30-40 hunters per season. We'd always have a few cancellations each season, but we NEVER kept a deposit, even though our contract stated they were non-refundable. We'd either apply the deposit to a future hunt, or send it back. It seemed like the proper way to conduct our business. Jim Shockey would vehemently disagree.

Matt

From: Bou'bound
11-Feb-24
"i guess that depends on whether you think a deposit is for a specific person or for a hunt."

no you guessed wrong. If the deposit, which i believe should have been returned, was deemed non-refundable that means you are not entitled to get it back. there was no lie here. There was not a broken word or broken trust here. The outfitter did what he said he would, that being take $1000 non-refundable to hold a date for the guy that gave it to him. He did that. That's actually honest. Had he sold the hunt out from Shug that would have been dishonest. If the deal was this 1000 is for you or a reasonable facsimile thereof and he did not return it that would be dishonest. That was not the deal. It was for one person since that one person booking the hunt did not indicate he was applying the money to him or on behalf of someone like him.

my point is don't confuse being honest with not doing the honorable thing. If someone tells you they are going to punch you and they punch you they are not dishonest. They may be a lot of bad things, but they are not dishonest in that interaction. If they said they were going to punch you and didn't they would then be dishonest...................but you wouldn't complain!

The outfitter should 100% have returned the money.............not out of a nonexistent obligation, but out of reasonableness given the total lack of economic harm he experienced.

From: Pyrannah
11-Feb-24
pat for the win!

i been on too many busted, scammy, shitty hunts even by "reputable" ones found here

From: Grey Ghost
11-Feb-24
Ricky, close your italics.

From: Trial153
11-Feb-24
Make sure you tell us the outfitter so we know who it we are dealing with. Well said Bou, being honest and doing the honest thing isn’t always one and the same.

From: Ambush
11-Feb-24
If you found a replacement, then it would be up to you to get (or not) the deposit from your chosen replacement. That's really no different than you going and no more work for the outfitter. Unless he really wants to see your handsome face in person.

If the outfitter rejected your replacement and booked his own, then you should get your money back.

From: TEmbry
11-Feb-24
I guess we are arguing semantics here, but I guess that was a good point raised above… is a deposit for a block of dates on a hunt or a specific person? Just curious how outfitters typically view it.

I also view deposits slightly different depending on the type of hunt. A lot of remote hunts and bear bait hunts the vast majority of spending happens well before your arrival.

Either way you have a replacement for the spot ready and able to take the spot, seems crazy they won’t allow that. You essentially were a free booking agent on his behalf.

From: Trial153
11-Feb-24
Shit like this really hammers home some of the bad rap outfitters get. There are some real douche bags among them

11-Feb-24
"If the outfitter rejected your replacement and booked his own, then you should get your money back."

sounds to me like thats what transpired...

"I was told they have a list of hunters to take open spots … and the real kicker was when they said they wouldn’t take my guy filling my spot because their hunter would have to pay the higher 2024 price ."

it would interesting to know who the outfitter is...and what his contract says...if he has one.

From: RonP
11-Feb-24
An outfitter is reputable because he is paid and delivers for his clients, and safe to say, makes a profit. This reputation is built partly on his contract and cancellation policy. If he wasn't paid, didn't make a profit, and have a contract with a cancelation policy, he would not be reputable, and most would not book with him in the first place.

you have no right to be upset.

"The outfitter should 100% have returned the money.............not out of a nonexistent obligation, but out of reasonableness given the total lack of economic harm he experienced."

i disagree there was a total lack of economic harm and nearly every for-profit seasonal small business would too.

From: JohnMC
11-Feb-24
Tell him you are not canceling then. Then cancel the last minute before you have to pay him more money. At least he will have to work a little harder to fill last minute.

From: Trial153
11-Feb-24
What was the harm or hardship incurred by the outfitter? He actually had two options open for him. First he could have booked the replacement that Shug provided and retained the same margin And second he used someone from a his list and to charge an increased price while padding his margin even more with shrugs deposit. While it may have been contractually okay based on their agreement it obviously wasn’t the moral thing too do. Considering he profiting willing from doing the wrong thing, in a known and calculated way it’s speaks volumes about him. Let us know so we know who not to book with in the future

11-Feb-24
"no you guessed wrong. If the deposit, which i believe should have been returned, was deemed non-refundable that means you are not entitled to get it back. there was no lie here."

you apparently think being "dishonest" only applies to lying. I dont happen feel that way.

dis·hon·est

adjective

behaving or prone to behave in an untrustworthy or fraudulent way.

thats ok...were allowed to have different opinions.

From: Bou'bound
11-Feb-24
The most amazing thing about this situation is someone could book woodland caribou hunt for less than two years from booking for $1000.00. That is unheard of.

Heck you can’t book a lousy antelope or deer hunt for a grand down. Let alone a $18-25K woody hunt.

From: molsonarcher
11-Feb-24
I can see both sides. When I book a hunt, and send a deposit, I consider that money I wont get back if I have to cancel for any reason. I do ask up front what the deposit policy is. Fortunately Ive never had to cancel.

Some outfitters are ok with substitute hunters, some arent. I would say its their discression as to who they take. You could have someone ready to take your spot, and the outfitter has a previous client that wants to come back, or a new client. Ultimately, when you forefeit your spot, I think its up to the outfitter as to who gets it.

Your deposit IMO should be refunded, but without a contract or something in writing describing the policy, I wouldnt expect it. That being said, if the outfitter receives the deposit from the new hunter, there is no reason not to send yours back.

From: Ziek
11-Feb-24
Since there is NO contract, just a receipt for the deposit, get the deposit from YOUR replacement, give him the receipt. Problem solved. There was no contract making any specified claim on who the hunter would be. The outfitter has no claim to the deposit, only a deposit for a specific hunt, and a hunter that would show up for that hunt. Without a signed contract, who's name is on the deposit is irrelevant.

From: be still
12-Feb-24
Again this shows what a lot of outfitters are about and yes I think you have the right to be upset.

It’s probably been over 20 years since I hunted with an outfitter until last year. Sounded like a really cool drop camp hunt in Idaho for elk that I seen advertising right on this forum. Asked the outfitter is there a good chance I will at least see Elk. His words…oh yes where we will be putting you you’re going to be right in the middle of em and it’s your job not to booger them out. Took us 14 miles back on horseback early that morning. Didn’t see or hear any on the way in so when we got dropped I asked one of the guys where we might find em.

His words…oh y’all will have to go about 10 miles and drop in elevation. Also learned that where our drop camp was located was not in the zone we could hunt. We had to hike back up the ridge and get on the other side just to get in the right zone. Never seen one or even heard one. Don’t regret it too much cause had a good time with my friend but I doubt I’ll ever go with an outfitter again. They could at least been truthful before they took us 14 miles. All they had to say was that the Elk wasn’t there at that time and took us somewhere in lower elevation and hiked in from the road. We would’ve had a lot better chance that way since it was all public ground anyways.

12-Feb-24
I believe a deposit is a deposit, you are agreeing to go on the hunt and the outfitter is agreeing to provide the hunt. The outfitter is still upholding their side of the agreement, you are not. So technically you can’t be overly upset.

On the other hand it’s bad business to not refund your deposit when it is that far out. So I’d be upset too. I’m in the custom bow business and have always refunded deposits even though I technically reserve the right not to

From: Tilzbow
12-Feb-24
No contract = no justification to be upset at anyone but yourself. I’d walk away and make sure next time I booked a hunt I had a contract especially if I didn’t already have a long term relationship with the outfitter.

I remember a long time ago when one could get a really good discount on cancellation hunts but with demand now far outpacing supply that’s no longer the case, especially for more exotic hunts.

From: Trial153
12-Feb-24
So did I miss it? Who is the outfitter ?

12-Feb-24
As an outfitter, all deposits are non-refundable. However, if someone called and had to cancel their hunt but had someone willing to come in their place then I would take that particular hunter. If I sold the hunt at a higher price or even full price, I would refund the hunter. The only time I would not send back a deposit is if I had to discount the hunt price to get it sold on short notice. Unfortunately, as an outfitter, I have a set number of days to make a living and it becomes increasingly difficult to do so if hunters back out last minute, which you did not, however. You provided a solution to their problem that for monetary reasons they were unwilling to accept. They should have sent back the deposit.

From: Bou'bound
12-Feb-24
Who is the outfitter that books woodys for a grand ? Rays 2024 rate is 18,750 and effords 27,000.

12-Feb-24
"As an outfitter, all deposits are non-refundable. However, if someone called and had to cancel their hunt but had someone willing to come in their place then I would take that particular hunter. If I sold the hunt at a higher price or even full price, I would refund the hunter. The only time I would not send back a deposit is if I had to discount the hunt price to get it sold on short notice. Unfortunately, as an outfitter, I have a set number of days to make a living and it becomes increasingly difficult to do so if hunters back out last minute, which you did not, however. You provided a solution to their problem that for monetary reasons they were unwilling to accept. They should have sent back the deposit."

its a shame all outfitters don't operate with the same level of integrity.

if everything is as the op stated...he is getting shafted. i hope he divulges the name of the outfitter so nobody else here gets the same treatment.

From: Shug
12-Feb-24
I sent a link of this thread to the outfitter and haven’t heard back yet… They have a few outfitter reports I believe all good… As for the deposit I was told at the show $500 would hold the spot and send another $500 When I got home which I did.. I needed to send 50% of the hunt in January 2024..

From: huntr4477
12-Feb-24
I agree with the majority of answers on here. From a legal standpoint, he doesn't have to give you a refund, but morally he should.

From: KY EyeBow
12-Feb-24
I'm hoping to be going on a guided hunt this Fall. Gotta draw the tag first though. Thanks for the reminder of the necessity of a contract!

From: caribou77
12-Feb-24
Well without a contract you really don’t have much other than a man’s word. Which doesn’t mean much anymore. With no contract who says you didn’t book for your buddy years ago and it’s not his hunt to begin with?

With you providing a replacement for the spot you booked, there should be no issue at all in getting a refund. Especially if it sold for more. Now he’s double dipping.

From: Bou'bound
17-Feb-24
Any update by chance?

From: DonVathome
17-Feb-24
I would be upset but not surprised. I have very little experience hiring outfitters.

Playing devil's advocate: That said their thought could be you could be booking hunts years ahead then "selling" the hunt to someone else - they could pay you to get a hunt soon instead of waiting years and you have a better price.

From: Slate
17-Feb-24
Mark I won’t get into it here. I will just smack you the next time I see you.

17-Feb-24
"That said their thought could be you could be booking hunts years ahead then "selling" the hunt to someone else - they could pay you to get a hunt soon instead of waiting years and you have a better price."

even if that was the case...would their be anything wrong with that? the outfitter is selling his product...for his agreed upon price and time...regardless of who shows up to receive it.

the guy putting down deposits for future hunts hoping he could sell them would be taking all the risk.

From: Shug
17-Feb-24
I emailed a link to this to the outfitter with no response…

Anyway… it was Roberts Outfitters

From: Bou'bound
17-Feb-24
Thanks not familar with them. Would have been surprised if it was Effords or Rays

From: Trial153
17-Feb-24
Robert’s has good reputation. I am surprised at this. Good to know though

From: caribou77
17-Feb-24
I googled them after getting ahold of you on messenger. The first several reviews I saw weren’t great. I take that with a grain of salt though as I don’t know the people. My Yukon outfitter pry had the worst reviews of anyone and I had a blast and they worked hard for me. Hope they fix this for you

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