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Starting a business

How to Start an Outfitting Business

Approximately 8.4% of Canada’s population hunts, but as you know if you’re a hunter, it can be frustrating to spend days in the wild just to come home empty-handed. Guides and outfitters help hunters avoid this fate by leading them to prime hunting opportunities. If you’re interested in starting this type of business, here’s what you need to consider.

Getting Land

First, you need land for your hunts. If you already own a large ranch or a plot of land with lots of hunting opportunities, outfitting might be a perfect way to diversify your income. On the other hand, you don’t necessarily need to own your own land — many land owners are willing to lease their land to outfitters. To ensure the land meets your needs, you may want to spend a few days or weeks scouting for animals or talking to hunters in the nearby area. In all cases, make sure that you check out the competition from other outfitters in the area.

Securing Permits

Once you have the land, you need to make sure that you can legally offer outfitting services there. For instance, in Alberta, you need a guide designation or an outfitter-guide permit from the Alberta Professional Outfitters Society. Without that permit, you can’t legally charge people for guide services, even if they have a valid hunting tag and permission to hunt in that area. You also need liability insurance and an indemnity bond to get a permit. Other provinces and territories have similar rules.

Marketing Your Services

To find clients, you may want to start with word-of-mouth advertising, but eventually, you may need to branch out and start advertising in other spaces. Hunting or travel magazines focused on your area as well as local newspapers can be a great place to start. There are also websites such as BookYourHunt, which allow you to place ads about your hunting opportunities.

Beyond that, you may want to try influencer marketing. With this approach, you find bloggers, YouTubers, and other internet celebrities who focus on hunting or similar topics. Then, you pay these influencers to pitch your services to their followers — this is an ideal way to reach a niche group of people, and generally, this type of targeted marketing gives you a better return on your investment.

Going Hunting and Offering Extras

Now that you have land and clients, it’s time to go hunting. But, before you grab the guns or bows and take out your first clients, you may want to think about offering some additional services. A lot of rural hunting areas don’t have ample accommodations for hunters. To host your clients, you may want to turn your home into a bed and breakfast, build small cabins on the property, or set up hook-ups so hunters can bring in their travel trailers.

On top of that, you may want to offer catered meals or plan activities for the hunter’s family while the hunter is searching for prey. To make it easier for your clients to get the game back home, you may want to offer gutting and quartering or even butchering. Depending on your personal preferences, you can sell these services a la carte, or you can include all of them in your standard pricing.

If you love hunting and want to turn that passion into a business, an outfitting company may be a great way forward. It can be an extremely effective way to turn your passion into a profitable small business.

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