Unlike much of Europe, hunting in the United States is really not all that cost prohibitive. Sure, there’s the expense of a resident hunting license, shells, a gun and a little gas to get you afield, but the average American has the means to enjoy the outdoors.
A guided hunt for elk or another dream animal? Well, that can be another story. A quick Internet search turns up outfitter fees ranging from a $3,000 archery elk hunt in Colorado to a $10,000 rifle hunt in a prime area of Utah. And that doesn’t include license/tag fees or transportation!
So, what’s a working man to do? Not long ago, closing your eyes and dreaming of elk hunting was the only realistic option, but then along came NRA Outdoors (NRAO), a partnership between the National Rifle Association and the Outdoor Connection. NRA Outdoors is affiliated with a multitude of outfitters (all vetted), and can help a hunter find an the right fit, based on how much they want to spend, what they want to hunt and where they want to hunt (a vast number of fishing trips are also available). A quick search for elk reveals hunts starting at $1,950. Best of all, a portion of that fee goes directly to NRA—you’ll hunt, save money and defend freedom all at the same time.
Hunts for Any Budget
$500 or less
$500 to $1,500
$1,500 to $3,000
$3,000 to $4,500
$4,500 and up
How Are Costs Kept So Low?
Still, sometimes you get what you pay for. How can interested hunters be sure that the guy they’re paying a measly $150 to hunt deer won’t provide a lousy experience or—worse yet—rip them off entirely
Ray notes the Outdoor Connection’s Approved Destination program. Every outfitter in the NRAO database has been inspected to ensure it meets quality standards. The vetting process also helps NRAO to learn more about each outfitter in order to pair them with appropriate clients. Additionally, every hunter who goes on an NRAO-arranged trip is asked to provide feedback on the experience afterward.
“We’ve heard from past clients on numerous occasions that our attention to detail is one of the things they like best about our service,” Ray said.
For example, when a prospective client calls, they ask the right questions to find out exactly what they’re looking for in a hunt, and then offer two or three choices to best fit their needs. NRAO then narrows it down to one destination and follow-up with a phone call after the client has had time to review the information.
If the hunter decides to book the hunt, NRAO will even help with travel arrangements, a checklist of recommended gear, licensing and international travel documents for those hunters pursuing game outside the country.
Even if you aren’t ready to book a hunt, the NRAO database is fun to browse and dream. And, if you are ready, it’s arguably the best service available to find a reputable outfitter within a specific price range. For more information, call 888-712-NRAO or email firstname.lastname@example.org.