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Hunterstrailhead paid outfitters program
Elk
Contributors to this thread:
txhunter58 04-Feb-18
Mule Power 04-Feb-18
txhunter58 04-Feb-18
Knothead 04-Feb-18
txhunter58 04-Feb-18
DonVathome 04-Feb-18
txhunter58 04-Feb-18
WapitiBob 04-Feb-18
elkmtngear 04-Feb-18
txhunter58 04-Feb-18
WV Mountaineer 04-Feb-18
WapitiBob 04-Feb-18
DonVathome 05-Feb-18
Brotsky 05-Feb-18
BTM 05-Feb-18
txhunter58 06-Feb-18
From: txhunter58
04-Feb-18
Anyone heard about this or put in for it? Looks intriguing. You sign up and put in your number of points for each species, and it gives you a list of hunts you can start paying an annual premium for. Less money for hard to draw hunts, more for easier to draw hunts. If you are already within a couple of years of drawing the tag already, that hunt is not even an option. These premiums will add up to a max of $3500 for a deer and $4500 for an elk. When you draw, heunterstrailhead will pay $1000 more than that: $4500 for a deer and $5500 for an elk to an outfitter/guide for your hunt. If you reach the max premium total before you draw, you are still in, but you don't have to put in any more money.

So if/when you draw, you will save at least $1000 over what you would pay if you book an outfitter yourself. And if you are lucky enough to draw before you reach your max, that is all you pay. In other words, if you draw the first year, you are out only that premium. But the worst you can do is $1000 less than the going rate most outfitters are charging.

He ranks the hunts as level 1 thru level 4. 1 is easiest to draw and 4 is hardest, so 1 is most expensive, etc. You can also change to a new hunt in the following years as long as it is in the same level as the hunt you first put in for. It is also possible for you to move up in levels, but you would then have the make up the difference in the premiums you would have paid under the higher priced options.

Assuming you eventually get drawn, and want to hire an outfitter, I can't see any reason not to do this. He has a good product in his website and I foresee him being in business for the long run. So, as with any business venture, it could fail, but this one seems well thought out so he should be funded enough to easily make the payments when they come due.

From: Mule Power
04-Feb-18
I know nothing about it. But I do know that unlike Huntin Fool the program that United States Outfitters offer requires hunters to book through them which means using their participating outfitters. I know for certain that those outfitters are NOT always the ones I would choose if I drew my precious tag. Therefore if this system is the same I’d be hesitant to jump on board.

From: txhunter58
04-Feb-18
About that, you don't have to use "program outfitters":

Program Outfitters have agreements with HuntersTrailhead. All hunts will be at least 5 days and include: lodging, meals, 1x1 guide, and other legal requirements. Non Program Outfitters can be used, but hunt rates can not be guaranteed. Additional rates and fees will be the hunters responsibility. We also can't guarantee any aspects of a hunt with a non Paid Outfitter Fees program outfitter. Booking Fees HuntersTrailhead will pay the booking fees for your hunt to the outfitter of your choice

From: Knothead
04-Feb-18
I see you can manage your own applications and account. What would prevent a guy with very low points signing up for this service and declaring their points like they require. However, the person applies with someone who has a lot of points and gets drawn. The person who has lots of points is not signed up for the service and has no interest in using a guide?

It appears to me that a person with low number of points is not charged as much for the annual service because the have very little chance of drawing a coveted (#4) hunt. In the scenario I listed above there is some room for abuse.

I have zero interest in hunting with a guide (maybe for mt. lion or bear) so this does not interest me at all. Just something to think about.

Maybe they got it all figured out and I just don't understand the system. Surprisingly, I have been wrong before.

From: txhunter58
04-Feb-18
I see they closed the loophole that allowed someone to put in as a "group" with someone that had more points than they did, then the max point holder backs out of the hunt. Now you have to surrender all tags in the group application to get your points back. Page 24 application brochure

From: DonVathome
04-Feb-18
I’ve been thinking about this also the conclusion I came to is the bottom line is I agree it sounds like I can save money on a guide which I only use for Alligator but would consider for elk. That said if it works out the way we think they obviously cannot afford to keep doing it so I opted not to!

From: txhunter58
04-Feb-18
I am not sure I understand what you are trying to say. If what works out the way we think?

I would assume that the vast majority of people who sign up for this thing will be NRs. And if he gets any participation at all, he should be taking in way more money than he will ever have to pay out. Just like Vegas, he has the odds/math figured out in his favor, and the elk hunt I am putting in is not even an option under his premium system because I am getting close to drawing. So I can see that it should work is he gets enough people to put in. I have not yet, and it will only be for deer if I do.

I sent a question to him asking about putting in as a group with someone with more points who was not signed up for the program. See if he has thought about that. Will let you know what he says. Can't imagine that this would be a big issue because those kind of arrangements are hard to set up and few and far between. Doubly so because you will have to find someone that will actually hunt the tag if drawn, not turn it back in like they did in the past.

From: WapitiBob
04-Feb-18
Perfect setup for suckers.

From: elkmtngear
04-Feb-18
I guess this is beneficial, if you think you need a guide.

If I drew a premium elk unit, I sure wouldn't feel the need for a guide.

From: txhunter58
04-Feb-18
I could probably do a swap hunt for some good intel and do a DIY hunt, but since it would probably be just me going from Texas, and it will be a once in a lifetime hunt for me (since I am 60), I will probably use a guide.

Call me a sucker then, cause it sounds pretty good to me as long as you know that you will draw a tag someday and want to use a guide. If I were a resident, I too would see no need.

04-Feb-18
It just a way to promote outfitters that are paying this service a fee to do so.

From: WapitiBob
04-Feb-18
It may be fine but I wouldn't give him money unless I was certain my funds were held in escrow. Three or four years down the road and he disappears in the night, then what?

The difference between this and Zero Guide Fees is that ZGF is the outfitter, they're not collecting your funds to pay an outfitters discount.

From: DonVathome
05-Feb-18
What I meant was if they keep paying out more than they take in it’s going to stop and has to

From: Brotsky
05-Feb-18
...and when it does stop and they file for bankruptcy protection good luck getting your funds back.

From: BTM
05-Feb-18
What the three previous posters said! You're gambling that they'll be in business for the long haul.

From: txhunter58
06-Feb-18
So it sounds to me like you guys main concern is that he might not have enough money to pay out on hunts and you lose what you have put in. I will send him an email with those concerns and see what he says. He may have a program in place to guarantee funds. I don't know but it is a good question.

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