Okay, I actually made a commitment, and told my wife this weekend that I would like to take a trip with my Dad to hunt whitetails in Alberta or Sasketchewan in 2012.
Since I was in high school, my Dad and I have always talked about going to one of those places to hunt whitetail. It was our "Hunting" dream. I said that when I got out of college and got a steady job, we would plan a trip. Well, 15 years into my steady job, I think it's time.
My Dad is 63 and not getting any younger. We'd like to hunt somewhere that there is a mix of decent deer numbers, and decent chance at big, big bucks. I don't want a "guaranteed B&C buck", or anything like that, just a chance to hunt the big guys. I also understand that this will cost me some $$$$, but I still don't want it up in the $8-$10,000 range. I was hoping that I can do it for less.
Here are some things I can think of, questions I may have, and I wanted to bounce them off my neighbors to the north. If you are an outfitter, feel free to respond with answers, and a link to your website.
1) Cost. As said before, I don't want it too expensive, but realize I will have to fork out some cash.
2) Animal quality/quantity: I would like to see a decent number of animals, with a chance at a great buck. That versus seeing tons of animals and very few good deer, or seeing hardly any animals, but guarantedd to be a biggie.
3) Can I bring the meat back? Are there any U.S. importation rules in regards to CWD or such that would prohibit that. Also, I remember hearing something where guys were hunting on a reservation, and had to give the meat from one deer to the tribe. Ever heard of that?
4) Gun laws. I have heard they are a pain, but I would obviously like to bring our own guns.
5) Length. What is a good amount of time? If I see a "7 day hunt", is that 5 days of hunting, with a travel day on each end, or is it truly 7 days of hunting.
6) Trophy fees. Are they usually included in the hunt, or do they tack them on later, depending on what you shoot?
7) Hunt together or apart? I know the more you split up, the better your chances at each getting a deer. However, do outfitters offer places where Dad and I could sit together to witness each other's hunts?
8) Amenities: I would like it "comfortable", but it doesn't need to be a 5 star resort. Kitchen, fireplace, common room, etc. Nice place to dry off and warm up at the end of the day.
I am sure I am forgetting tons of stuff, but this is only for starters. Oh, and how far out should I try to book a hunt? Will places be filling up now for 2012, or not yet?
Thanks for any advice or info you have. I appreciate it.