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Outfitter Reviews and Why You Should Read Them

The Importance of Selecting the Right Outfitter

Hunting outfitters are all the rage.  They offer incredible accommodations, stress free adventure, and the chance to harvest that buck of a lifetime. It’s no wonder across the country people are seeking out the perfect outfit to use. However, with anything, not all hunting outfitters are created equal.

Nor are they cheap.  In fact, many hunters invest thousands of dollars in an experience that leaves them without a harvest, a good night’s sleep, or without a smile on their face.  The worst part? They can’t get their money back.

Therefore it’s obvious that finding the right outfitter can be a challenge. Our outfitter selection guide goes through each individual factor that creates a quality experience.  However, it doesn’t cover how to know these outfits actually have those qualities.

That’s why it’s important for every hunter to do their research before booking. Research can include many things; but the best research can often come directly from testimonials and reviews.

Of course, not all reviews are created equal either.  That’s why it’s important to read the details, understand the source they came from, while also understanding individual expectations. Below we have compiled a detailed guide on navigating reviews that will help you through your hunting outfitter selection.

Finding Accurate Reviews

Before using reviews as a reliable source of information, it’s important first to check their validity.  This means checking their source website, their date, and analyzing the writer. In general, detailed reviews are the best reviews, as long as they are authentic.

Beneficial reviews can come from a variety of sources including: 

  • Website testimonials 
  • Review Based sites such as Facebook Business Pages 
  • Social Media 
  • Google 
  • Forums 

By looking through these resources, hunters can get unbiased, quality information about their prospective destinations.

Sources

Website Testimonials 

Website testimonials are a great way to get a detailed representation of an experience.  Although only the best are selected, they tend to be full of details ranging from hospitality to guide friendliness.

When in doubt of review authenticity, reach out to the resort owners to gather contact information of the testimonial giver.  Often times, they are more than willing to share!

Review Sites 

Although website testimonials are a great way to find out the details; looking around the internet can also confirm validity and give a different perspective. We recommend looking at many different sources when gathering information from review sites.

 This includes:

  • Google 
  • Facebook 
  • The Business Bureau 
  • Hunting Forums 

Below is an example of a Google review.

Reviews on these sites are not screened by the resort and are often very complementary information to the website.

Watch Social Media Content

Social media content is a great way to see “real life” action photos, video and reviews.  Not only can you see what people are saying about the outfitter on platforms such as Facebook, but as previously mentioned, you can also search for what other people are saying about them.

 

It also allows prospective guests to reach out to recent visitors, be mesmerized by the photos, and get a “real” feel for the environment. Social media is a great way to get on demand, real life references when seeking out the best outfitter.

Check the Dates 

The final piece of advice is to check the dates. As with many businesses, ownership, environment, and harvest rates change overtime.  That’s why it’s important to read recent and up-to-date reviews instead of just assuming anything and everything is legitimate.

Analyzing the Details to Find the Right Outfitter

After you’ve considered where your sources have come from; it’s time to go through them and analyze the details of the outfitter.

Often time’s people rave (or complain) about their outfitting experiences online.  From cleanliness to personalities, much of the most beneficial information comes from reading the opinions of others who have been there.

Factors to look for in and in-depth review include: 

  • Accommodations 
  • Atmosphere 
  • Hospitality 
  • Deer Management 
  • Additional Attractions 

Of course, the more specific the better.  Below is an example of a detailed review.

I have hunted Briarwood Sporting Club since 2012 sharing the experience with multiple family members. I have had the pleasure of hunting across North America many times for whitetail deer but none compare to the hunting grounds, rolling hills and scenic views that this club offers. Briarwood has world class whitetail deer with unbelievable genetics, exceptional lodges and a professional staff. Having the opportunity to fish with my Dad after the morning hunts was priceless. I would highly recommend Briarwood to anyone looking for a phenomenal hunting experience!” – Jeff M

Instead of just mentioning the deer harvested, he also highlighted the views, professionalism, and hospitality of the club.  These are all important when investing money into an outfit. So although he “recommended” Briarwood, the real quality lies within the details of his testimonial.

Below are factors that should be discussed in every detailed review.

Accommodations

Accommodations are an important part of any experience. From cleanliness of the establishment to the available amenities; often times reading the details is the best identifier for what to expect.

Common and beneficial topics discussed in reviews include:

  • Food quality 
  • Cleanliness 
  • Space 
  • Hospitality 

These types of topics are often not addressed by the owners, on the website, or even by individuals who recommend it.

However, they are incredibly important and can usually be found when reading reputable reviews.

 

For example, people will often discuss the condition, cleanliness, and practicality of the accommodations.  If the room seemed dirty, worn, or at all uncomfortable, reviewers will let it be known. As a hunter, it’s important that accommodations outside of the hunt are exceptional, and this is the best way to confirm that.

Atmosphere

When reading through reviews, it’s also important to gauge the “atmosphere”. The atmosphere is essentially the environment, hospitality, and general feeling experienced at the outfitter.  Determine the quality of the host(s), the guides, and the workers. A grumpy guide or host can make an outfitting experience terrible, no matter how good the actual deer hunting is.

Deer Management and Quality

The quality of the deer herd and its management can be misleading.  Often time’s prospective visitors will see photos of clients with massive deer and assume they will harvest the same thing. This is often not the case for a few reasons:

  • Photos don’t always come from the property they are advertising 
  • Photos can be very outdated (with no mention of the date) 
  • Photos are often of a guide’s historical success, not clients

Again, this is where reviews can help separate false expectations from reality. It allows the hunter to get a better idea of the actual hunt then relying on a vague photo. Knowing if recent guests have had success is incredibly important before committing to an outfitter.

Additional Attractions

 

Finally, it’s important to consider the quality (or use) of the resorts attractions.  This is important for a number of reasons, but one big one is because of party hunting.

Hunting in a group often means one or two hunters tag out before the others.   This can lead to a lot of down time for those individuals. However, there is no need to sit around and do nothing, especially after forking out thousands for an experience, not just a harvest. Instead, look for reviews on outfitters additional attractions.  For example, Briarwood offers world class fishing, complementary to its guided hunting. This is a fantastic addition to the outfitting experience.

Finding the Perfect Outfitter this Deer Season

It’s obvious that reviews are an incredible resource when finding the best outfitter for your goals this fall.  That’s why at Briarwood, we pride ourselves in our guest’s absolute satisfaction. Across the internet, you can find high quality, recent reviews on hunters overwhelming success and satisfaction with every adventure. We recommend you check out our reviews on Google, Facebook, and right here on our own site.

They are a freely available source of information every hunter should use before booking their next adventure.  We also recommend you check out our guide on what to look for when picking the perfect outfitter this season.