I have started this thread following a conversation I had recently with a guest, regarding the pricing structure of stalking they had bought over the years.
Firstly, this is not a 'dig' at anyone, but as someone who does take out guests it has become obvious, especially with folk relatively new to the sport, that some have paid for days that later appeared not to be quite the 'deal' they thought they had been getting and have in some cases really been sickened by the experience. That cannot be right surely?
I do not want to introduce any names and I wholeheartedly accept that if a deal is struck before stalking then there is no complaint afterwards. This is more of an opportunity to discuss some generic pricing , (not the varying costs of medal class trophy stalking) and hear why some justify doing it the way they do. It is also not an opportunity for me to say 'my way is right and yours is wrong...'. But there are issues I feel are worthy of mention, especially when some on the SD appear to abhor anyone making too much of a living from taking out paying guests or think there are secrets in pricing which result in huge unexpected bills!
I will offer my own example. I charge £75 for a whole day out on sika hinds and only charge a further £75 if any are shot, regardless of it being one or more. Minimum for the day £75, maximum but only if successful £150. That is clear and I would think not over the odds. Some may be cheaper, some more expensive but I think with the chances of success it is a fair price.
There are a lot of beginners on this site and I hope this thread will be seen as a point of reference in what should be a guide to a 'fair' price in obtaining a days stalking, but it must also be said that distance and perhaps overnight accomodation if necessary also need to be factored in when pricing. It is not an advert for me or anyone else on here because that is taken care of elsewhere by trade membership and by use of the PM's.
The example that prompted this was hearing about a days stalking that is split into a stalking fee and then a shot fee. That is how I price mine and think it is a fair approach. Others do it differently and that is a matter for the guest to decide on as to which suits them best. If someone pays for a morning stalk and a beast is shot, then that guest has the option to carry on for another beast if any are available. Surely that does not mean though that another outing fee is applicable because the shot has been taken and that means the outing is over and the day effectively has to start again, at least not in my opinion and especially when after female deer. I was really taken aback that some fees are applied in this vein and can imagine what a guest would say if they got their beast 5 minutes after arriving and on the way home an hour later.
For me an outing (on Sika stags) lasts about 3-4hrs, morning and evening, but perhaps all day on the hinds though as the days are short. If during that outing 1, 2, 3 or whatever number of beasts offer a shot then the only fee in my eyes that is due is the shot fee, either per beast if on mature stags or for any number of hinds, not a seperate outing fee as well applied to each beast.
On a personal note though, I am getting really fed up of hearing about inexperienced new stalkers being taken a loan of by some out to make a killing, although that comment is not directed at the above example.
But without a mentor introducing them to the sport how can beginners know any better? They can ask on here but many do not for fear of showing their ignorance (not meant in an insulting way), so hence the reason for this thread.