Master Rack LodgeAlabama
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Our experience with Master Rack Lodge was a huge disappointment and I would not recommend this outfitter to anyone. Master Rack is a commercial success from the aspect of the sheer numbers of hunters they funnel through their machine each week, but a failure at producing opportunities to see the legal deer (let alone large-racked bucks)they advertise. I believe our expectations based on discussions with management were realistic. Out of our immediate party of 8 people, we hoped to harvest a couple bucks and, more importantly, see a fair amount of deer. Unfortunately the results were far below expectations and it was the same for the rest of the 20 total people in camp. Not a single person saw a legal buck; we're not talking about a wall hanger...a legal buck. Most people saw very few deer at all. For example, I saw approximately 8 deer in 3 days...my son saw a single yearling doe on the last evening of our stay, that's it. One deer? The big winner among the folks I talked to saw a fork horn and a basket 6 point.
By the end of the second evening of the hunt the mood of the 20 hunters in camp was solemn. We received a "pep talk" that evening that basically said the culprit was too-high barometric pressure and an unfavorable moon phase (my guide later added the easterly wind didn't help). I should add the weather was quite nice with cool days in the 40s. Unfortunately nothing changed the last day. We sat in fields and over food plots, in the woods near thickets and in beautiful grasslands interspersed with pine trees and, again, saw nothing.
Everyone in our small group (and most of the other folks I talked to) have been hunting a long time and we certainly understand that "hunting is hunting", nobody is interested in a canned hunt. Nevertheless, we left feeling we had been mislead regarding the opportunity we would have to harvest a respectable buck and frustrated with the knowledge the money we had saved for a couple years for a guided hunt had been squandered on what seemed like a "hunting mill". 20+ hunters in camp and not a legal buck sighted? Days without seeing a single deer? Come on Master Rack. Do you think maybe the high volume of hunters you funnel through your establishment week after week impacts the number of deer and the quality of the hunt?
Was the outfitter notified of problems? - YES
Agreed the hunting was slow while Mr. Gionfriddo was here hunting. They brought a big group and we were glad to have them. The one thing that is impossible to predict is how the deer will be moving from day to day. The hunting overall for whitetail movement has been up and down all season and the rut is running atleast a week and half behind normal dates.
We do not guarantee any of our hunts because it isn't possible with fair chase. We don't misrepresent out place because we only work off of year to year data which is all logged. We do everything we can to produce day to day results but in fair chase hunting there is only so much you can do.
20 hunters is pretty standard for our operation after Christmas with some dates only having around 15. We have over 9500 acres and over 300 tree stands to hunt. For the hunt mentioned we were closed for 4 days prior to this hunt. Therefore blaming pressure would be a stretch.
Sometimes the deer do not cooperate the way we want and the judgment placed on our lodge is frustrating. However, I do understand that expectations are high and we are supposed to produce every day. Our efforts are consistent and the guides work very hard to produce with sometimes frustrating results.
The guide told us as long as the weather wasn't warm we would see deer. It was in the 40s but we were later told the barometric pressure was too high and the moon phase was wrong.