As a big game outfitter in Alberta, I am asked often what is a trophy fee?
A trophy fee happens when you buy an add on tag to combo up a hunt at a certain price, and if you take that add-on animal, you pay an additional price for its harvest.
(Moose and an Elk). The outfitter will charge one rate for the main tag, and another lower rate for the second tag. Looks like a deal right?
As an outfitter I do not agree with the hidden trophy, or obvious trophy fees.
If you pay for a seven day hunt, then that is what you get. You can shoot 3 animals in that 7 days and it shouldnt matter beacuse, that is what you are paying for. If you buy the tag, then just hunt until your time is up!
Moose Tag = $4,000 and an add-on Elk tag = $1,500
If the hunter takes his Moose the second day out, on a 7 day hunt, he will now chase an Elk to fill his elk tag.
Here is where the trophy fee comes in:
Trophy fees vary in price from outfitter to outfitter.
If the hunter tags out on his Elk as well, alot of Outfitters will add an additional $1,000 to the add-on tag as the trophy fee, claiming that you have taken an additional trophy animal. Now the Elk tag has just cost you a grand total of $2,500 even thou it may not be a real trophy at all.
On our website, we tell the people who visit, there is no trophy fee for the second animal being taken. If we add an additional tag to your hunt for $1,500, then that is the price you will pay weather you shoot or not. (Not $1,500 for the tag, plus another $1,000 if you shoot the animal.)
Why wouldnt the outfitter just cut the crap and charge a flat rate of $2,500!
The upside to this method is that if the hunter does not take the second animal, he/she will not have to pay the additional $1,000 fee attached to the harvesting, just the original cost of $1,500 for the tag. Thanks for the cash!
Alot of times the hunter pays for the tag, not knowing until he arrives how much the trophy fee is, and once the outfitter gets you there, it is to late to change your mind. You have already payed your deposit. When booking a hunt, ask if there are any trophy fees? and how much?
I know this is a long letter but, I hope it helps you when booking your next hunting adventure and selecting an outfitter.
The + side to trophy fees though is that if you do not harvest the animal your hunting (and everyone doesn't) then you pay for only the guiding and Misc. fees.
The obvious Trophy fees only benefits the hunter not the outfitter. With the trophy fee the outfitter can only make the full amount he wants to for any given hunt if he produces.
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