COVID has had a monumental impact on conservation hunting in the year 2020, but that’s about to change dramatically. The hunter with dreams, plans and goals is acting now to fill up his or her 2022 and beyond hunting schedules by booking in countries that are opening or soon to open.
With less pressure due to no international hunters for a season, mountain hunters can look forward to great trophy potential in 2021 and 2022.
Fortunately, those countries that employ the North American game conservation model will see no decrease in quantity or quality of game overall. In fact, some areas for certain species will see an uptick in trophy quality given a year of no or lowered harvests due to travel restrictions. 8-year-old rams, for instance, should be easier to find in 2021 in Canada and parts of Alaska.
What’s more, while many hunts were cancelled in 2020, some of those hunts were “rolled” to future years, mostly 2021. All of these “rolled” hunts have caused a decrease in inventory especially for 2021. At True Magnum we are seeing that our outfitters, which are certainly among the best in the business, are on average full for 2021 and booking their few remaining spots already for 2022. Hunters with big plans need to be aggressively booking hunts with the best outfitters now for 2022 if they can find a spot, and most hunters need to be making 2023 plans. I know that sounds like a long way out, but it’s going to be part of the process for a while until these rolled hunts work through the system and outfitters have inventory again.
As borders begin to open, hunters will be among the first to return to the areas they love to hunt.
A hunter needs to be more cautious than ever in making sure he is booking a hunt with a reputable and financially solvent outfitter. COVID will affect each outfitter’s game and abilities to conduct a hunt differently but the fact still remains that some outfitters are entering 2021 in shaky financial condition. For this reason, we are vetting “cancellation” hunts very stringently for our members. We see the next couple of years as a time where many “cancellation” hunts are more like “this outfitter has really gotten himself into trouble” hunts. We don’t expect to see many legitimate cancellation hunts coming out of successful outfitters camps in the next couple of years.
For many, it's time to get back to Africa.
At True Magnum we have been extremely impressed at how resilient the adventure hunter is in pursuing his or her passion. For the most part, adventure hunters were willing to go hunting insofar as governments were willing to let them. The great news is that we will see restrictions lifting now and we will all be once again visiting our favorite places around the world. I expect adventure hunters to be among the first to break out. We’ve always been a lot more fearless than most, don’t mind getting a shot, and are used to long lists of travel requirements. And at the end of the trip, it was all worth it.