by Brian McCombie - Monday, August 17, 2020
With the global COVID-19 pandemic, you’ve likely heard stories about hunting outfitters losing business, and that some may go out of business if the various travel bans and other COVID-19 restrictions remain in place. Well, the stories are both true and false, but one thing is for sure: If you are a hunter, NRA Hunter Services can help make your upcoming hunts easier, safer and more productive. It is pleased to announce its affinity partnership with NRA HLF member and outfitter Mark Peterson, owner of Worldwide Trophy Adventures (WTA), a free service that connects sportsmen and sportswomen with hunting and fishing opportunities around the world. By booking your trip through WTA, it does the legwork for you and you are assured of being in a good location with a reputable outfitter that WTA has certified or endorsed. And whether you book directly with an outfitter or through WTA, your cost is the same.
Now as far as the true and false I mentioned goes …
Yes, many hunting outfitters overseas have lost considerable business due to the pandemic’s travel bans and fears about traveling in general. Some outfitters may go bankrupt or sell off their outfitting concerns, according to Peterson.
“Hunting outfitters in Argentina were particularly hard hit,” he said. “Their hunting seasons run from essentially March through June—right when the COVID fears and restrictions were at their peak. Between the travel bans and hunters being unwilling to travel, many of these outfitters lost their whole year, financially speaking.”
While African outfitters, for another example, also have had numerous hunt cancelations across the board and continue to rebook hunters into 2021, Petersen did have some good news to share. As this NRA Hunters’ Leadership Forum (HLF) website has been tracking, Peterson shared, “But business is actually very good for outfitters in this country. We’re seeing U.S.-based hunts actually at an all-time high for sales.” NRA HLF articles such as “Turn That Safari into a Stay-fari” continue to promote the great opportunities here at home.
Peterson believes several pandemic-related factors explain the brisk sales of U.S. hunts as the hunters who cancelled overseas hunts have shifted to a hunt or two within their own borders.
“While they were not comfortable flying 15 to 20 hours to get to another country for a hunt,” he explained, “they are fine with driving a day or two here in the U.S.”
With the pandemic closing down so many traditional recreational opportunities in general—professional and college sports, concerts, theme parks, etc.—American hunters realize this also frees up extra time this fall as they add more hunts here at home this season.
As a result, Peterson says not to expect big discounts on hunts this fall and winter, even for U.S. hunts with last-minute cancellations. In previous years, last minute “cancellation specials” would have outfitters offering hunts up to 40 percent off. Now? He says cancelled hunts are only generating discounts of maybe 10 percent—and the hunts are selling within a day or two.
“We have some great waterfowl hunts still available, and a number of very good whitetail hunts are still open,” Peterson added. “But if you want to book a hunt somewhere, my advice is, do it soon. U.S. outfitters are filling up their schedules fast.”
So while COVID-19 definitely has put up some barriers to life as we knew it—and that includes our hunting and other outdoor adventures—with a little help from the NRA and WTA, our 2020 hunting seasons still can be special, memorable and fulfilling.
Let Worldwide Trophy Adventures Research Your Options—Free of Charge
If you’re seeking assistance with booking your next big game hunt or fishing trip, get in touch with Worldwide Trophy Adventures. A member of the WTA professional team will recommend guides or outfitters, application strategies and/or landowner tags consistent with your goals. Then he or she will follow up with recommendations and help you book a trip of a lifetime. WTA takes into account the maturity of the animal you want to hunt and your physical ability, point status, time constraints, desire to hunt guided or unguided, fishing desires, and budget to find the best match.
WTA takes the guesswork out of the picture. It provides advice on locations and opportunities, knowledge of the outfitter and trip details. WTA also offers tips on preparing for your trip and dealing with your guide and operator as well as advice on gratuities and other details. For just one more bonus, whether you book directly with an outfitter or book through WTA, the cost is the same because WTA’s service is free.
Worldwide Trophy Adventures’ consultants are passionate in their outdoor pursuits as well as the gear they use in the field or on the water. It takes pride in being an NRA affinity partner and in having so many great outfitters to refer sportsmen and women to, all based on their species and hunting method of choice.
If you are an outfitter interested in working with WTA, click here.
Tap into NRA Hunter Services and Resources This Fall
As you prepare for upcoming hunts, remember to check in with the NRA and NRA Hunter Services for help and information. Here are a few examples of what you’ll find on the NRA Hunter Services Web page:
State Hunting Resources: Make sure you’re up to speed on current fish and game laws, seasons and bag limits, while checking out a list of hunter education programs and poaching hotlines for all 50 states!
NRA Hunter Education: NRA’s free Online Hunter Education Course is available 24/7 to help new hunters of all ages learn how to be safe and responsible afield. The course features attention-grabbing videos, eye-catching graphics, interactive modules and more, right at students’ fingertips whenever and wherever they are able to complete it.
NRA Women’s Wilderness Escape: This program provides women ages 18 and older with opportunities to get away and experience firearms education plus exposure to a variety of shooting sports, hunting and outdoor-related activities.
Hunters for the Hungry: The NRA’s Hunters for the Hungry initiative is a state-by-state cooperative effort among hunters, sportsmen's associations, meat processors, state meat inspectors and hunger relief organizations to help feed those less fortunate in your own community.
NRA Adaptive Shooting Programs: The NRA has compiled a list of organizations that specifically offer outdoor opportunities and adaptive shooting programs for people with disabilities, including disabled hunters.
Of course, the NRA is the source for the safe use of firearms, and online it all starts at the Safety and Education portal. Be sure to take advantage of your NRA options this fall and maximize your odds of success in the field.
About the Author
NRAHLF.org contributor Brian McCombie is a field editor for the NRA's American Hunter and writes about firearms and gear for the NRA’s Shooting Illustrated website. He is a member of the National Rifle Association and the National Shooting Sports Foundation. Brian likes hunting hogs, shooting 1911s chambered in 10 mm and .45 ACP, watching the Chicago Bears and relaxing with his two cats, Peanut Morgan and TigerJoe.
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