What’s in this number? Couple of things, it’s the distance from Calgary to Queenstown NZ. It’s also the cost, give or take a couple of bucks, of a 5-day gold medal Stag and Bull Tahr hunt with Telford Hunting NZ Ltd.
Telford hunting has been operating a guiding business since the early 90’s, 25 plus years of Stag, Bull Tahr, Chamois and Fallow deer hunting with the occasional Elk, Pig, Arapawa ram and feral goat thrown in for a bit of variety. For the last 7 years we have been working together to support your Drayton Chapter with a Red Stag auction at your September Banquet.
Each year at the annual SCI Convention in the USA, Sue and I look forward to the smiling faces of Paula and Shannon as they visit with us on the opening morning of the convention to renew our auction donation and extend an invitation to the awards night and entertainment evening, Coby and Bill are never far behind.
As I pen this report its the middle of winter for us, well truthfully the solstice was a month ago so we are beginning to get a little more daylight every week now. Sunrise this morning (8th August) was 7. 50a.m, sunset 5.50 p.m, its -2C, there is a solid frost, not a cloud in the sky and by 2p.m it should be 7C. Typical August winters day.
By Canadian standards not at all cold, cold enough for us, good hunting weather, you are sweltering in the mid-30s.
Our hunting is over for the season so ALL my efforts for the next 2 months are about connecting with potential clients with the sole aim of filling the 2018 hunting schedule. As with most small family run hunting operations we rely heavily on referral business from our existing clients/friends.
Marketing and advertising are expensive and in most cases extremely difficult to measure and quantify. Building relationships with Chapters such as Drayton Valley are as important for us as they are for you. It may surprise you to know that on average it takes 3-5 years from initial contact to the actual signing of a hunting contract, we are into building relationships well before the actual hunt takes place.
For those of you wanting to come to NZ, it’s not just about the hunting nor it shouldn’t be, you need to plan a tour and have a real holiday.
All you need to do is organise work, family, and finance, no easy task for any of us.
I’m working to schedule the guiding, not that difficult as it myself or Duncan or a combination of both. But good guides need to be looked after and Duncan is better than good so I need to make sure he is kept busy during the hunting “season”. He is the single biggest asset our business has, I must keep him busy. He has a family and mortgage to pay and plenty of guiding is the easiest way to keep him happy. It’s worked for the last 12 years which has as much to do with Duncan’s loyalty as it is to the volume of work. Duncan and I are a formable team once the hunting starts. On that simple basis the ideal hunt for us is 2 hunters guided 1×1 or 3 hunters split between us, 4 is our maximum, the exception (always plan for exceptions) is a family hunt. All about relationship building.
Next on my check list is securing your accommodations with our local Hawea Hotel. The Hotel is adjacent to our main stag hunting lease and 3kms from our home. It’s fun setting up the spotting scope on the room balconies and spotting stags. It’s an awesome little hotel, it’s also our local pub.
With guides and accommodations sorted we move to the animals available to hunt. Do we have 25 silver medal stags on our lease? How many Golds, if we have bookings for 25 stags we need 40 plus stags. What about Fallow? 10 booked can and often becomes 20 as hunters find the temptation irresistible. Shoot to many and we have nothing or not enough for next season.
Game management is critical to our annual planning process and is a continual equation throughout the season. Season; well technically we don’t have one but in reality, we hunt from early March through to the end of August.
Our key word is consistency, consistency of quality animals, consistent delivery and service, as we look to fill our booking schedule for the season. To achieve this has many variables, it will help explain why I put a large effort into marketing in our “off” season. I’m a planning zealot, so the earlier I know exactly what the next season requires the easier it is once the fun starts, the hunting is the fun and easy part.
- ‘can we afford this hunt’,
- ‘are we booking with the right person’,
- ‘can we get time off work that works in with a March-August hunting season?’
- ‘Who’s looking after the kids, grand kids, do they come, can they come?’
- ‘What work am I missing out on by going to New Zealand?’
On the other hand, we know our business, properties and animals. Our prices are competitive so would you people get organised and send that deposit. Repeat that process 20 times and our season is full, easy!!!
One big benefit of 25yrs experience as both a hunter and a guide/outfitter is we have an extremely good understanding of what it takes to put a hunt together from all persons involved.
The key is good communications and addition to detail.
So, bid like crazy at the banquet in September and talk to us via email or phone us.
This article was dedicated to the Drayton SCI Chapter, but the points made in preparation to YOUR hunt with us all apply. Talk to you soon!