Sports A Field

You can do this! How to afford your dream hunt

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It just takes some planning.

You’ve been dreaming about doing a big hunt–a trip to Alaska, your first African safari–but pesky necessities like mortgage payments and utility bills keep getting in the way. Despite the rising cost of guided hunts today, determined hunters of modest means need not despair of participating in a far-flung adventure. Here are a few ways to start working toward that dream hunt:

  • Plan and prioritize. Just like anything else worth doing, affording a great hunt requires coming up with a plan to set the money aside and deciding that doing the trip is going to be a priority. Especially when it comes to physical hunts such as those for sheep and mountain goats, you’ll have a better experience if you prioritize saving for the trip in your younger years, rather than “waiting until you can afford it.”
  • Set up an automatic savings account that will set a designated amount aside each month to earn interest in your “hunting account.”
  • Cut out small expenses, such as that daily trip to Starbucks, and make sure that money goes into your hunting account.
  • Sell some of your old hunting gear or guns to help pay for your trip. E-Bay, Craig’s List, and other online emporiums make it easy.
  • Accumulate frequent-flyer miles with a miles credit card. Don’t run up your credit card just to get miles, of course, but if you use a credit card anyway you might as well be racking up airline miles. By the time you’re ready to book your trip, you might even have enough miles for a free ticket.
  • Apply for tags. Some premium elk and deer areas (and even sheep hunts) in Western states are open to do-it-yourself or semi-guided hunters, but it may take years to draw a tag. In states that offer preference points, it pays to start early and apply every year. In the meantime, gain valuable hunting experience and learn the country by purchasing over-the-counter cow and doe tags for public land where they are available.
  • Get on e-mail lists and mailing lists of outfitters and booking agents who offer “cancellation hunts.” You’ll have to be flexible enough to take such hunts on short notice, but the prices can be attractive.

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