Wyoming: a Plentiful Playground

Thanks to Covid-19, our daily routines and priorities have clearly changed. What SNS is doing however, is ramping up planning and preparation for you! Let me explain why.

I was on a conference call with part of the SNS team when it was mentioned that a surge of interest would be likely following this time of isolation for Americans. I fully admit, at times I am out of the loop, busy with my family and nursing shifts. But I did risk a ‘jab’ at my being out-of- touch to ask why. What was explained to me next, made absolute sense!

I was educated on two times in recent history that impacted the hunting industry in our region.

The first came after the terrorist attacks of September 11th, 2001. Interestingly enough, SNS only had one client cancel their hunt and bookings the following year did not see an impact. What did change, however, was how sportsmen traveled to camp. Prior to 9/11, approximately 50% flew to Wyoming and the other half drove. In the years that followed, the number of clients driving to camp sky rocketed to 85%!

The second lesson was when America faced a financial crisis in 2008. While the nation wide recession loomed well into 2009, reputable Wyoming & Montana outfitters saw an absolute influx of bookings. 2009, 2010 & 2011 were even described as “banner years”. How could this be?

The business world’s pace may have drastically slowed but sportsmen & women still wanted a hunting experience. During that time a shift was made. It was discovered the ‘grass is greener’ right here at home and that America’s backyard is Wyoming’s plentiful playgrounds!

Hunters began to rethink those high priced packages. Extensive travel plans were cancelled. Consumers avoided flying altogether and gravitated to their roots. Alaska’s high dollar bear hunts suffered and African Safaris went ‘belly up’. One third of them went out of business to paint you an even more graphic picture. Booking agents struggled to refund customers of African outfitters who went out of business.

SNS Outfitter, Sy Gilliland, remembers a phone call he received during this time. A gentleman called to book a group for an antelope/deer combination hunt. They had plans to hunt in Africa but because “times are slow, we’ve decided to go ‘slum’ in Wyoming.” Sy is still chuckling about the man’s wording. That “slumming” in Wyoming, however, meant a $6,000 hunt versus a $30,000 hunt. Those savings were no laughing matter.

A more recent client relayed delight in his mode of travel; “I’ve never driven across the country. It will be relaxing and nice to see. Plus, I can bring all my gear and guns with me. I have no worries about flights and will bring my meat home to enjoy.” 

As I said, this does make absolute sense!

Now, I am not sharing what I learned with you to make any kind of a sales pitch! If there is one message I want readers to take home from all this it is: REASSURANCE. We agree it is prudent to rethink travel and vacations. You may already be rearranging your hunting plans for fall and looking into an experience in America’s backyard rather than abroad. Be reassured that SNS will be here! We know what you are looking for after all; experience, reputation & quality!

Please don’t feel a need to rush your plans. Wyoming’s next license deadline for deer and antelope is not until May 31st. Elk draw results will be released May 21st. Unsuccessful elk applicants will have 10 days to line up a deer or antelope hunt before the May 31st deadline. Cow elk tags are readily available and fall black bear licenses are sold over the counter. You have plenty of time and we have plenty of options!

These are challenging and uncertain times for our country. The SNS team is thinking of you! We hope you all are affected as little as possible by the pandemic. If we can answer any questions or concerns, please give us a call or email. We look forward to hearing from you!