If you are interested in booking that turkey hunt of a lifetime to finish your Grand, World, or Royal Slam, then there is likely a good chance that you will want to or need to book a hunt with a turkey hunting outfitter, or professional hunter, to complete your goal. The process of researching turkey hunting outfitters and booking a hunt can be a daunting task. After the hunt is booked and the hunt deposit paid to the outfitter, then the excitement begins to build. Unfortunately, many times the hunter is disappointed or upset after arrival at the outfitter’s camp or after a few days of hunting. Of course, the hunting outfitter can never guarantee you will have success (beware if he or she does), but oftentimes that disappointment can be avoided by asking the right questions before you book your hunt. Here is a list of questions for you to ask all of the turkey hunting outfitters you speak to before you book your turkey hunt:
1. Is lodging included in the cost of the hunt?
2. Is indoor plumbing available?
3. Is there a shower inside the camp house?
4. Is the camp house heated and cooled?
5. Are the bedrooms heated and cooled?
6. Are hunters provided separate bedrooms and baths?
7. Are linens, towels, and pillows provided?
8. Is there a washer and dryer available to me, if needed?
9. Will a TV be available to keep up with weather forecasts, sports, news, etc?
10. Is internet available?
11. Is cell coverage adequate at the camp for my provider, _____________?
12. If there is no cell coverage, is there a land line available at the camp?
13. Is there a fax machine available, if needed?
1. Are meals and snacks provided at no extra cost? If so, which meals?
2. Are alcoholic and/or nonalcoholic beverages provided at no extra cost?
3. Who cooks the meals? (You are asking this question so you’ll know if you need to bring extra money to tip the cook)
If meals are being provided, now is the time to mention any food allergies or intolerances you may have.
1. Is transportation to/from the airport included in the cost of the hunt?
2. Is it possible to extend the hunt a day or cut the hunt short, if needed?
3. If the hunt is semi or unguided, will transportation be provided to and from the hunting areas in the morning and afternoon?
1. What is the cost of the hunt?
2. How many days and nights are included in the hunt package for that price?
3. How many mornings and afternoons of hunting are included in the hunt package?
4. How many acres of land are available to hunt?
5. Is all of the land private land?
6. What is the primary purpose of the land (cattle, farming, mining, oil/gas, timber, hunting)?
7. How many hunters will be hunting this land while I’m there?
8. What 3 or 4 days do you recommend I hunt in order to have the greatest chance of success or hear the most gobbling?
9. Do you run and gun or hunt from blinds?
10. What was your hunter success rate for turkeys last season?
11. Is afternoon hunting allowed?
12. What is a typical day of turkey hunting for one of your hunters like?
13. Are there any special calls that you recommend I bring?
14. If the hunt is guided, will only the guide be calling or will I be allowed to call in my own turkey?
15. How far is the average shot taken?
16. Do I need any special equipment (range finder, snake chaps, blind, etc)?
17. Is the hunt fully, semi, or unguided?
18. If unguided, how will I get around on the ranch?
19. If using my own vehicle, do I need 4 wheel drive?
20. What is the average age/size turkey taken last season?
21. How has the hatch been over the past couple of years?
22. How has the weather been over the past couple of years during and immediately after the season (any unusual amounts of snow/rain or periods of drought)?
23. Were there many jakes seen or killed during last year’s season?
24. How many hunters do you typically book during a season?
25. How many turkeys do you typically kill in a season off of your land?
26. Can you provide me with the names and phone numbers of 3 hunters who have turkey hunted with you over the past 2 years?
Of course some of the answers that you get to the questions above will spark other questions that you will want to ask the outfitter. My best advice to you is to go with your gut. You have to work within your budget, of course, but you do have many options available to you depending on where you want to go and what subspecies you are attempting to take. Be sure to call the references that the turkey hunting outfitters send to you based on your request above and ask if they were successful and if they would hunt with the outfitter again in the future. Ask the references if there were any surprises, pleasant or unpleasant, that they had on their hunt. If you have any questions that you like to ask an outfitter before booking a turkey hunt with him or her, then please leave those questions in the comments section below.