Ganglers Canadian Sub Arctic HuntingManitoba
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I was part of a group of 6 who booked a Caribou hunt with Ganglers Sub Arctic Hunting adventures and had a very disappointing experience.
The first issue, that the outfitter really couldn’t do anything about, was the caribou were not anywhere near our camp. He claimed they were 15 miles to the north but after 3 days and not seeing anything, we got in a plane with his pilot, who was female and from Australia and we flew north over 100 miles into Nunavut to find the caribou. There were no caribou east or west of camp so there was unfortunately no where to go hunt. Also, a group of game wardens landed via helicopter to check our licenses, just asked for our names, but said they told granglers 2 weeks before we got there the caribou where no where near our camp.
The second issue, our group paid for 2 caribou tags each but were only issued one. Since we never were issued the second tag we were told by the outfitter multiple times we would be reimbursed. Refunds never happened even after multiple requests.
The third issue, one member of our group ordered 2 bottles of liquor and paid the outfitter in advance. However the outfitter forgot to get the order filled and called another member of our group to pick them up on the way up. He promised to repay for the liquor upon arriving in camp but this never happened.
The forth issue, one member of our group ordered a case of coke and paid the outfitter in advance but the coke was never delivered to camp. We were told this too would be reimbursed but this never happened. He charges $60 for a case of coke which in a hunt that cost about $10K doesn’t seem like a big deal but I wanted to mention it.
The fifth issue, upon returning to the main lodge, after a week of not seeing any caribou except from the airplane 100 miles to the north in another province we couldn’t hunt in we found that Ken had left and returned home to Ocala Florida and no one at camp knew anything about the refunds he said he would make. We emailed and called multiple times but no refund.
The sixth issue, it appeared that we were very strategically kept away from the next group of caribou hunters going into the very same camp we were at, so not to share our poor experience.
The seventh issue, two members of our group had equipment lost while being transported by the outfitters staff from the float plane to the plane heading back to civilization. I do not believe this was intentional, more than likely loaded on another plane by mistake but these two were not refunded.
The final straw, after seeing a post on Facebook on the outfitters site about how they moved a group to find more caribou, we asked again for the refund. The response was to contact his office which we did both via email and facebook. Guess what... the outfitter blocked our group.
I’ve hunted or fished in nearly every state in the US, in British Columbia east to Ontario, in Europe and in Africa, taking well over 100 big game animals and thousands of fish with dozens of outfitters and guides. I have never expected an outfitter to deliver filled tags or fish on the line, my expectations are merely a solid effort and honesty.
The only thing I can say good about our experience was the guides were friendly, the cook was great and the scenery amazing.
Was the outfitter notified of problems? - YES
The Manitoba caribou hunt has proven over 20 years to be one of the most successful, consistent and high quality caribou hunts in North America. However, in 2015 and 2016, the Manitoba caribou hunts were terrible, with a delayed migration resulting in almost no animals in Manitoba. Things appear to have resumed in 2017 with another great hunt. The writer was on the 2016 hunt. We have not heard from this writer since fall of 2016 until a recent article we posted last week on last year's hunt appears to have reopened old wounds. Let me address his issues-
ISSUE ONE- There is much the hunting public does not understand about caribou. Their migration can be wildly erratic and varies each year. Outfitters must 'read' the migration and adjust if they must. Caribou do not just move North to South. They move in all directions, and in many cases after moving South will suddenly turn and move North again. They also rarely move in one mass but come down in clusters or groups. A simple thing like 10,000 animals breaking off of the main herd (260,000) and traveling through our area can be all we need for a great season. The Manitoba herd uses a 'corridor' ranging about 150 miles wide when coming down. Some years they will trend to the west, some years to the east. The majority will migrate as far south as 150 miles into Manitoba and spend half of their year there. However, different parts of the group do different things and a study of the satellite collared animals will show most animals wintering in Manitoba, while some may head west towards Saskatchewan and some actually head further North. Outfitters need to be ready to adapt and we have flown our hunters to different locations many times.
Our operation constantly tracks the herd by plane. I have spent countless hours flying in Nunavut trying to get a read on what is happening. This is very expensive. In a challenging year, I will spend an extra $ 20,000 doing recon. We also talk to our other outfitters and local airlines to get as much info as possible. In 2016, we tracked a group of animals that had moved down to 25 miles of the Manitoba/Nunavut border (we can not hunt in Nunavut). We monitored this group of animals but instead of moving south, they sat there and suddenly disappeared . It can be very hard to find and see caribou from a plane as they can be spread over a large area so aerial searches are not as effective as one would think. Our staff put the reviewer on our plane, the one he went on to do an aerial search. That flight alone cost me $ 3500. We certainly were not trying to hide something, as we allowed the hunter to go on the flight. As for the gov helicopter and their 'warning' us about no caribou, absolutely ridiculous. The gov concentrates their flying in Manitoba, we do much more recon then they do. Most of the time, they are asking us for reports.
Here is how it works in regards to caribou, in other negative reviews the hunter and members of his party stated we should have cancelled or rescheduled their hunt. This herd spends its summer on the calving grounds 125 miles North of our camps. When they move south, they can move very quickly or slowly. Caribou can move up to 35 miles in a day when they really get going. It is not a question of knowing whether or not they are in your area. They could be in the hunters area two days before his hunt and move out by the time he gets there. We try to anticipate them knowing they will move south and circulate in our areas at some point. We have been outfitting caribou since 1996, our camps are in the middle of the traditional migration corridor with ancient trails visible from the air. The three weeks we hunt are the best time frame based on past experiences. We can not hunt going into late September as the weather gets too dicey and we are facing freeze up. What happened on his hunt is they simply did not move until our season was over.
On issue 2- Licenses are prepaid for. We used to have hunters fill out both licenses but after 2015, decided it best to hold off on filling out the second license as an unfilled license is easier to get a refund on. To get a refund, I must wait until after our season is complete, fill out our gov reports, and wait for a refund to be issued. This can take 7 months. They are not given at the camp and the hunter was never told they would be. We were definitely lax on issuing the refund but I also have not heard from the group on its request since early 2017. The refunds have been issued.
Issues 3 and 4- Definitely sloppiness on our end. We added extra staff to stay on top of this in 2017. In regards to a case of coke costing $ 60, I suggest the hunter investigate what it costs to get that soda to the Nunavut border by air.
Issue 5- I always return to my home/office in late September as I have business matters I must deal with. I have great, seasoned staff on site and we are in touch several times daily.
Issue 6- I wasn't there, have no idea what transpired. Our main lodge area isn't very big so not sure how to even do this. Can't stop people from talking to each other.
Issue 7- This is the first I have heard of this. One charter plane goes in and out. We received no reports of extra gear at the other camps and there was nothing extra left at the lodge. I am sure it did happen but my guess, based on past experiences, is it was probably on the charter plane south, tucked in a corner of the plane, and if the ground crew had been hounded and searched harder, would have turned up. I have had this happen three times with small tackle boxes.
The final straw- The Facebook discussion was initiated by the leader of the hunter's party, a booking agent. It was the first contact we have had with him in over a year. There were several 'mistruths' stated which I tried to answer. However, we drew the line and blocked the group when deliberate lies were put on there to smear us. The first- the leader stated the herd had been slaughtered, was in bad shape, and we should not be selling hunts. This was a misconception based on an erroneous media report. It has since been proven wrong by the biologists. The herd was under a census review the summer of 2017 and confirmed to be in good shape and sitting around the same levels, 260,000 animals. The herd is tightly maintained and if there was any issues, we would not be allowed to sell hunts. The second was even worse. The group leader alleged that they would never hunt with us again because of the caribou hunt and 'previous bad things' that had happened on earlier hunts. That was a deliberate lie. The year before, the leader came up on a spring bear hunt with other clients. His clients shot some magnificent bears, were very happy, and returned on the caribou hunt. However, the leader shot a Barrenlands grizzly, a rare, protected animal which we only have one confirmed sighting of in our area in 20 years. We had to report this to the authorities. The leader then argued with me, insisting he could take the animal home which was illegal. I absolutely refused and told him it would be turned over to the government. I do not know any specifics of what happened after the leader left our camp but when I tried to intercede for him with the government for leniency, I was told to not get involved. The government charged and fined him $ 12,000 and news accounts on the Internet will substantiate this.
The writer claims the group tried to contact me by email but I could find no emails since the spring of 2017.
It is terrible when a hunt goes bad and no one feels worse than the outfitter. I certainly understand paying that amount of money for a quality hunt and not having it pan out is tough to swallow. The writer questions our solid effort and honesty, read the above and I guarantee you no Manitoba outfitter did more than we did in a tough situation. There was nothing more we could do. Many of the complaints posted are the first time I have heard of them until they started to post on FB. Our FB post which started all of this was a story written by a 2017 hunter who thoroughly enjoyed her hunt (it is posted on our website). These hunters chose a hunt for a migratory animal and any responsible hunter understands the risk they take. We have hosted almost 2,000 hunters since 1996 and while we are not perfect, our reputation ranks amongst the best.
I would invite any hunter considering booking with us to give us a call. We would be more than glad to answer any questions. On another note, our 2018 caribou hunt is sold-out.
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