The great outdoors

COVID-19 and the hunting industry

Like all companies in the tourism sector, BookYourHunt.com couldn’t possibly be unaffected by the COVID-19 / Coronavirus situation. We are not experts in pandemia prevention, and we can only trust the WHO recommendations and support the local and national governments in the measures they take. We believe that in a situation like this it’s better to overreact than to underreact. Our thoughts and prayers are with those who are affected by the epidemic. We wish every patient a speedy and complete recovery, and we salute the doctors and nurses who are on the frontline of the pandemia, as well as the unsung little heroes of the essential services that make life still possible, and the researchers who are working on the cures and vaccines. 

As for the hunting industry, BookYourHunt.com is at a unique position: with hundreds of outfitters and thousands of hunts, we have our finger on the pulse of almost every hunting destination. The information that we receive from all corners of the world comes down to this:

The threat is real

At the time of writing, most countries of the world have closed their borders and cancelled or greatly limited both international and domestic travel. This includes such popular hunting destinations as South Africa, Namibia, Argentina and Russia. New Zealand’s borders are technically open, but almost all foreign nationals who land on the islands will have to go through a mandatory 14-day quarantine on arrival. From the point of view of hunters, it’s as good as a travel ban. In Europe, many hunters can’t make even local trips due to stay-at-home orders. Similar measures are undertaken in South Africa. The situation changes so rapidly that the above information may be obsolete before this text is uploaded. 

What is not about to change, though, is the damage that the pandemia did to the hunting industry. So far, the outfitters that suffer most are those who see most action in spring and early summer, such as the red stag “roar” in New Zealand and Argentina, or spring roebuck hunts in Hungary. But it was hard for South Africans, who had only begun to recover from the terrible drought, as well. Even with fall hunts, many hunters (and this is perfectly rational) decide to hold on their money and not book until the coast is clear. It doesn’t help that some outfitters had problems with marketing their 2021 season hunts, too, as many trade shows and conventions (including the influential IWA Outdoor Classics in Germany) had to be canceled. This is definitely a hard time for the hunting industry, but you can do your part to help it.

Reschedule, don’t cancel!

Chances are that your plans for this season’s spring hunts have been affected by this situation. It is surely a frustrating situation, but we strongly encourage you not to cancel your booking, but reschedule it instead.

In these difficult times, we all must do what we can to help other people and businesses survive the pandemia. Quite a few outfitters, especially those who do not have alternative sources of income, might go broke if they had to return all deposits. You sure don’t want it to happen. After all, no pandemic is forever! You will need somewhere to hunt next year, or the year after that. If the Coronavirus has stopped you in your tracks, reschedule the hunt for later in the season or next year! You will find that most outfitters will only be too glad to meet you halfway. 

Act responsibly

You’ve probably seen lots of memes already about how hunting is the best form of self-isolation. All viruses are much more contagious indoors than outdoors. Healthy exercise on fresh air is the best way to boost your immune system. Positive mindset is being increasingly recognized as one of the most important factors in health. Last but not the least, the fewer people you contact, the lower are your risk of contacting any infection. Nobody understands the wish to drop everything and go hunting, far from the madding crowd, and escape the coronacraze better than us. But will that be a responsible thing to do? 

According to health experts, the priority at present is to slow down the spread of the virus, especially to remote rural areas which may not have the most advanced medical facilities. You may self-quarantine before your trip, wear a mask and surgical gloves in public places, use antibacterial solutions (e.g. hold door handles, gas pumps, etc., through an antibacterial tissue), choose take-aways and drive-ins instead of regular eaters. But can you guarantee you won’t bring the virus into that small town where your guide lives? If you are 100% sure you won’t infect anyone – fine, otherwise the responsible thing to do will be to stay home. 

And of course there is absolutely no reason to break game laws. If you absolutely can’t do without meat in your freezer, go to a game farm in your locality. Management hunts on game farms are usually quite affordable, and for all the stigma associated with high-fence hunting, it is nowhere near as despicable as lamping a deer. At least, game farms are legal and sustainable! 

Stay positive – it’s not the end of the world! 

Some of our team members remember the terrible blow that the African hunting safari industry took after September 11, 2001. There was a shockwave of cancellations and all international travel was barely existent for many months afterwards. And yet the industry survived and emerged from the challenge stronger than ever before. There’s every reason to believe that the same will happen after the CoronaCrisis.

Nobody can tell how long the travel bans and quarantine measures will last, and how the world will change after they are lifted. For instance, South Africa announced that after it opens the borders, foreign nationals including Americans will require a visa to enter the country, and the visa will only be granted to those who can prove they aren’t infected with the COVID-19. We also expect a surge of interest in extra medical / travel insurance. Our partners at Ripcord have proven themselves, time and again, to offer a service you can rely on. 

Sooner or later, it will be over, and we’ll be going hunting again. And there may be many great last-minute hunts that emerge when the travel restrictions and quarantines are lifted! 

BookYourHunt.com will be there for you

The everyday operations of BookYourHunt.com are in no way affected by the COVID-19. Most of our team members work remotely. We will fulfill all our obligations to all of our clients, and we will continue to offer our services to both hunters and outfitters. Are you an outfitter? Take advantage of the fact that most hunters are bored with self-containment and surf the Internet for hunting-related content. We’re only happy to help you set up your BookYourHunt.com account, present your hunts to best advantage, and promote them. Are you a hunter? Let’s work on your bucket list, show you some of the options you probably never knew existed, and build plans for when this craze is over. We’re also working on ways to help the hunting industry survive the current crisis without much damage, including more flexible ways of booking hunts. Stay tuned! 

4 thoughts on “COVID-19 and the hunting industry

  1. James, I agree with everything in this blog except for one thing – we cannot trust the WHO!!

    Best,

    Rick

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