Feb 8, 2012, 1:01 AM EDT
By Bill Miller
For a lot of hunters, especially those of us in the northern climes, this is the time of the year we just grind it out. With the turning of the calendar page to February there’s less and less out there left to hunt. Rabbits, squirrels and some late season quail down into Texas and elsewhere in the South. Of course, there are coyotes and hogs. While they are a blast to hunt and their numbers need serious thinning everywhere, it’s just not quite the same as hunting deer, waterfowl or upland birds.
February is sport show season, however, and thebiggest of them all is going on right now in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. In fact, it’s where I’m headed this weekend. I’ll be joining a few hundred thousand of my closest friends who stream through this event every year. There are so many halls and so many exhibitors, it really takes a couple of long days if you want to see everything and take in some seminars and associated events to boot.
I’ll mostly be hanging out with my buddies at the OutfittersRating.com booth. A longtime friend and fellow former North American Hunting Club staffer, Doug McDougal, works for OR.com now, and has introduced me to the founder of the site and service, Doug Hamric. After visiting their site and learning more about it, I’m now a big fan.
For many years the North American Hunting Club laid justifiable claim to the world’s largest guide and outfitter report system in the world, but their system was based on the simplest technology – paper and snail mail. That’s a tough row to hoe these days! OutfittersRating.com uses bits and bytes and email to get the job done. They’ve also built their system to ensure honesty in reporting and to be “self-policing” of outfitters who don’t deliver on what they promise.
OutfittersRating.com is a free service to both the hunter and to the outfitter. Outfitters “sign up” by registering at the site. They agree to provide email addresses of their clients to OR.com (these are held in the strictest confidence and not used for any purpose other than the reporting program). After the hunters have concluded their hunts, OR.com emails a short survey asking hunters to rate the outfitters fulfillment of the basic commitments made when they sold the hunt. It’s a simple 1 to 10 scale. When OR.com receives the surveys back, they average the ratings and that’s what they post on the website for any hunter to check out … absolutely free. It’s pretty neat and a much-needed service in the hunting world.
Currently they have more than 1,000 outfitters from around the world signed up in the program and the “Doug Brothers” as we are calling them, are adding more every day. They’ve branched out into fishing outfitters and charters as well and have renowned professional fisherman and television celebrity Hank Parker in on the program, too.
OutfittersRating.com program is so good, North American Hunting Club agreed to a partnership in which OR.com will “power” the NAHC Approved Outfitters and Guides program as it’s transitioned “on-line.” As always, NAHC members will have access to more information about the outfitters/guides provided by fellow club members and see whether they are “member recommended.” And this additional level of research will remain available only to NAHC members.
So if you take a tour of the Eastern Sport Show or one in your own neck of the woods, and you’re considering booking a hunt with an exhibitor there, whip out your smart phone and punch up www.outfittersrating.com to see if he’s part of the program. If he is, you can check out his rating. If he’s not, then you should ask him why!
More Top Posts
- None found
- PHT: Blackhawks beat Bruins in OT to tie Stanley Cup Final series
- PFT: Report: Hernandez accused of prior shooting
- PFT: Hernandez reportedly 'not ruled out' as suspect
- PBT: Celts, Clips restart Doc, KG trade talks
- Puig shines, help Dodgers get doubleheader split with Yanks
- Posnanski: How Heat won a game of mistakes
- Woods to rest elbow, skip AT&T National