Southern Ohio OutfittersOhio
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SOUTHERN OHIO OUTFITTERS REVIEW
Not only was the hunt disappointing, my whole experience with them was as well. Sorry for the long rant but wanted to put all the details out there. In brief:
Very unorganized and didnt seem to care much about your success. Very few bucks seen and no shooters. Crappy stands and very pressured and over hunted deer.
Continue on for the rest of the details: Being my first guided hunt I took my time in choosing a place to go and contacted many of their references. With nothing but great reviews from everyone I decided to book. I booked my hunt a little over a year in advance and waited in anticipation seeing all the great posts on Facebook about all the improvements to their stands and all of the very impressive trail camera pictures. I read everything on their website about how you will receive a welcome packet about a month in advance of your hunt letting you know all of your information for when to arrive and which lodge you would be in. This I never received. I called them two weeks prior to my expected arrival and could not get a straight answer from the girl I spoke to on the phone regarding which camp I would be in. I was told they would call me back in a couple days after she spoke with the owner, Dave. I understand it’s hunting season and they are busy. I got a call back two days prior to when I planned on leaving for their site. They asked how many people were in my group. I told them I was going solo. I got a call back later the same day telling me I was staying at the Oak Ridge Lodge arriving on Sunday, November 6th. I got the feeling that I was forgotten about.
When I arrived, the two guides and one hunter from another group were at the lodge. The guides had no clue that I was coming. But were all very pleasant and welcoming. Shortly after I arrived, another single hunter arrived and got the same welcome from the guides. They did not know he was coming either. We all shot our bows on the range they had setup. Nice 3D targets out to 50 yards and bag targets as well. The guides all left shortly after dark to go pick up the hunters that were already in camp. When they arrived, it was not with the great stories of what they had seen from the week that I’d expected. Instead, it was gloomy stories of not seeing much of anything and telling the other new hunter and me that we pretty much wasted our money and to get a refund and go somewhere else. After dinner (which was very good) the guide pulled the other new hunter and me aside and asked us to give him and the other guide a chance. I thought it reasonable that the departing group had bad weather or were perhaps just bad hunters. Also, I wasn’t about to turn around and drive 9 hours back home. The guides left for a couple hours and we were told they were working on the game plan for locations for all of the hunters. There was a total of 12 hunters in our camp Monday.
November 7th was my first hunting day and the day after daylight savings time. We woke at 3am to get everyone out into stands before daylight. We were trucked to locations, dropped off at a spot and given directions to a stand in a spot we have never seen before. I got lost the first morning and did not get in the stand until after first light. I sat until lunch in a small hang-on stand that I am glad that I brought my own pads as there were none. I did not see any movement. I was moved to a different spot in the afternoon over a bait location. I noticed several cigarette butts around the base of the stand before I got in, but gave it a shot. Saw a couple doe and some fawn that all stopped to look directly, specifically at the stand. I wear two layers of scent lock almost every time I hunt and spray down with scent killer before I walk in and before I go into the stand. None of the deer spooked and ran off waving their tails but all knew there was a stand there. Monday afternoon the groups that were there before I arrived left, and a group of 4 new hunters showed up. Same thing Tuesday- a new stand in the morning and new one in the afternoon and no deer at either location. On Wednesday I was placed in another new stand and finally around lunch time saw a couple doe that (once again) stopped to look directly at the stand. Around 3:00, two small young 6-points walked by me- also stopping to look at the stand. All 5 stands that I had been in were all within a 100 yard radius of each other. By now I was getting a little annoyed- no one in camp had seen a shooter buck since I’d been there. That night (Wednesday) 8 more hunters showed up in our camp. I asked my guide if I could be moved to another property. Guides from other camps have posted all over Facebook about other hunters in other camps seeing big deer and missing shots. I was told at this time that he only had 3 properties that he could put people on and would see what he could do. Thursday came and once again I was on the same property. I went back to camp for a quick lunch, and didn’t see anything that evening but a couple small doe. When I was picked up, I was filled in on some interesting information.
First, I found out that earlier in the day, another hunter hit a deer. The hunter said hit the liver, so they let the deer lay for 2 hours. The owner, Dave, picked up the hunter and the guide and took them to the location. They followed the blood and spotted the deer laying down still alive with its head up. Dave asked the guide and the hunter what they wanted to do. Both said to let it lay- it would expire over night. Dave decided that wasn’t a good idea and proceeded after the deer. When the deer got up to run off he continued to chase it and yell at the hunter to try to shoot at it with him chasing it. When they lost sight of the deer, Dave told the guide and the hunter to go to the bottom of the hill- it should be down in the creek bottom. The side of this hill was covered in thick briars that were 6 feet tall. Meanwhile, when they went to try tracking the deer, he left them there and went to the Masters Lodge because someone there shot a deer.
Then, after the guide recounted that story, he opened up about his limitations. He can make recommendations on where to put hunters but the owner and master guide all have the final say. The Masters Lodge gets to hunt all of the good/new properties with all of the deer that you see posted on Facebook. All of the people that stay in the Masters Lodge are friends of the owner and have been coming for years.
Thursday night all of the hunters were in a foul mood. The owner Dave, his mater guide, and another guide from the Masters Lodge came to talk to all of us. They proceeded to tell us Ohio whitetail are different from all other whitetails. "They will watch from a half a mile out and if they see you scratch your nose they are gone". I then asked why all of the deer taken this week came from the Masters Lodge. He told me they all scentlock down and spray down before they go out. I got tired of listening to the bullshit and lies and went to watch tv. The guides and the owner all stayed and worked on the game plan for Friday for all of us and put us all on different properties and new spots.
I didn’t hunt Friday- I decided to go help them look for the deer that the hunter had hit the day before. We were unsuccessful. In addition to that buck, there was another deer shot Wednesday and one shot Friday- neither of which were recovered. The only time we all met Dave was when he came down because we were all disgusted with the hunting. I would have thought someone who says he cares as much about his hunters would come the night they arrive and introduce himself. All of my friends who have been on guided hunts all say the first day the guides take them directly to their stand so they don’t get lost. Yes, it’s more time consuming, but if you didn’t have 12-15 people in camp each day it wouldn’t be an issue. It seemed to me all Dave cared about is putting money in his pocket and getting big deer for his friends.
Would I recommend someone to SOO? Only if they could get into the Masters Lodge. Would I go back? Not a chance in hell. Sorry for the long rant and boring details but have seen other negative reviews about them and they always put it on the hunter for not providing all the details or on bad weather. Yes, it was a little warm the first two days but not warm enough to completely kill deer movement. The food was good. The lodging was ok- I have been in worse. The guides at our camp were very knowledgeable and willing to do what they could for you. Dave Lusk on the other hand only cares about your money.
Was the outfitter notified of problems? - NO
First and foremost I'd like to express that customer service is first when it comes to SOO. We are a full time operation with full time employees, a full time office with full time secretaries and a full time owner. It's all we do. So a customers feed back is important.
With that being said, the first thing that is covered in orientation is that if you have a complaint, address it while your there so it can be handled promptly. As you can tell, it's Oct 28th, **2017** and we are hearing about a hunt from 2016, and nothing was ever addressed.
Also, as stated on the website, the owner is busy. He bounces from the lodges making sure things are going smooth and is on 99% of track jobs. He can not be every where at once. All lodges have appointed managers and appointed guides under those managers. The managers live at the lodges, along with guides so there is always someone to address and be held accountable.
We track more deer in general than anyone hands down. I don't have to explain myself on why or when I do certain things as most goes off gut instinct and what sign we are seeing. Saying we let it lay for two hours is a lie. It laid for 8, before ever pursuing it, and they wanted to let it lay over night. It was a liver hit. After giving the buck 8 hours, it did in fact, jump up and take off running. If a proficient kill shot would have been placed, this would never have happened. Just like any and all shots, placement is everything and in outfitting, your relying on your customers to make great shots and that doesn't always happen. This customer, who was at Oak Ridge, did rebook again.
We can not help that the weather was blistering hot, that guys won't sit all day, that people want to jump stands or give them a chance to produce because some, not all, want instant results. The guys who were patient, who sit where we asked at Oak Ridge, seen and shot bucks. I have videos posted on social media of that week, at Oak Ridge who seen stud after stud after stud, and several were shot, around 5-6 to be exact. Hunters who, in fact, had the time of their lives. Also, if you never bothered to hunt your entire time, your doing nothing but hurting yourself. We absolutely do not let EVERY employee decide where to hang stands and do their own thing. At the end of the day it's done as a team and organized. With the size of our operation, if it wasn't like that, it would be a total cluster.
All this about the Masters Lodge, Absolutely False!!!! And total fabrications. All lodges have their own designated properties, that way it's fair. All the lodges do great. Watch it all right on social media.
FOLKS, keep track of social media, watch us, watch what we do ALL YEAR, EVERY YEAR for the last 13-14 years..... we have a ton of references. We believe in SOO and what we are doing and are very confident in our skills. I wish reviews like this could be avoided and they should be. We are very level headed and the customer is important to us.
The first two days it was warm. The rest of the week cooled down and there was a storm coming by saturday.