Anyone hunt or know these guys? Any info good or bad is appreciated.
Do you have experience with them as a paying hunter?I know them extremely well. Be glad to share. What would you like to know?
Anybody elseI have hunted with WHO as a paying customer several times. I shot my biggest buck to date with them (167 1/8 full velvet) and had an encounter with a beautiful booner that I didn't get a shot at. I say that so People don't think this is the review of an unsuccessful hunter. From the outside, WHO looks to be who they claim to be. They are big and flashy with tons of give aways and for a period of time I was drinking the WHO Kool-Aid etc. It's only once you truly get to know them or can see beyond all the hype that you start to understand what is really going on there. Not only did I get to know WHO as a hunter, but I also was one of the vendors that sold them many of the items they have for sale on their website and online store. So I know them from a business standpoint as well. I have personally been in camp for a bow hunt with 40-50+ people in camp. I have a buddy who hunted there with me and was there for rifle opener and they had 80+!! They don't have enough space to house that many hunters. I know people who showed up for a hunt only to find they don't have a place to stay and get shuttled off either to a motel or in some cases employees houses! The reality is that this is an operation with an owner who is in some trouble. He has things going on that takes an abundance of cash to keep up with. Has anyone ever wondered why if they are the best in the business and if no one does what they do, why they GIVE away so many hunts?? It's not because they are raking it in. Any true businessman knows that you create demand by limiting supply. If WHO was as good as they claimed, they wouldn't have to give away a single thing. They would be booked out yearly and yet they constantly have room. What people don't think about is that giving a free hunt away doesn't cost WHO anything. Ever notice the always available cancellation hunts? There aren't any cancellations. They simply never say no! They don't turn anyone away. They can't afford to. They need the cash! They are very good at marketing and put a ton of time and energy into it because it is those raffle drawings and discount hunts that keep the doors open. So they get us suckers drinking the Kool-Aid to buy armfuls of raffle tickets and gift cards because they are at discounted rates in hopes of winning a hunt of a lifetime. Only to show up to a camp overcrowded 3 times over. If any of you have followed them for more than a year do you notice any of the old managers around there? Or most of the old time guides? Nope. Know why? They don't pay their staff. It literally can take months...you read that right...months to get a paycheck from them. They can afford to sponsor their son's elite traveling baseball team with zero cost to the other players and take the family to multiple weeks vacation in Africa but won't pay the staff on time. Maybe some of them but definitely not all. If you have noticed vendors on their online store that change out. Maybe tree stand or trail cam manufacturers. They don't pay some of their vendors. I sold them a lot of the stuff in their online store for years. Majority of clothing and logoed goods (backpacks, duffels, power banks, all the hats, etc. you get the point). They averaged 60-90 days past due. When I would get paid it was a portion of what was owed. Soon the checks started bouncing. I am not talking checks in the tens of thousands that you may think ok that might make sense. I mean checks that many personal checking accounts can cover without issue in the $2-4k range. I have copies of these NSF checks. It got so bad we would call their bank before attempting to cash the check and the people would literally laugh when we asked if there was money in the account to clear the check. One time they said yes today but by the time your check comes through it will be gone. I asked how they knew and they said it happens daily with them. It literally became a joke to the people at the bank. But because of the name and the family behind the business the bank was willing to let it slide. It's a mad rush to see who can get their money first. They had one employee who felt bad for being put in the middle and she attempted to give me a heads up when money should be available but that rarely worked. Finally the payments stopped altogether. I had friends call to see what was taking so long with the shipping of their order and WHO was saying the reason the items were not being shipped was because of being back ordered with the mfr. Not true. I have pallets of WHO logoed gear sitting in my warehouse right now and it is the stuff that was being said was on back order by the manufacturer. They would lie and say whatever it takes to not make themselves look bad. Also if you have hunted there before. Some of you would notice that they started not hunting the same amazing pieces of land that they used to. Lost the leases. Didn't pay the landowner and many quit working with them. That's why you will see former employees of theirs that are now running their own guide services hunting the land that was once leased by WHO.
I was asked above about the season pass members. One of my good hunting buddies that hunted there with me bought one of those passes one year. He was told he could hunt whatever buck he wanted wherever he wanted. That was until someone came along and wrote a bigger check saying they wanted to hunt a certain buck. Suddenly areas became off limits and that buck "moved to a different farm." It always came down to who wrote the biggest check. So yes, if you spent more money you got better treatment for sure! I have good friends who love it there and spend a ton of money with WHO. They are treated like royalty. They think the place is the best. It can be. Someone can win a raffle and go hunt there and have an amazing experience and have it be truly the trip of a lifetime. It has happened over and over. The food is amazing. The North and Central lodges are beautiful. The experience can be really awesome, however, the majority of the people will never experience that.
I never won a hunt but I have had amazing experiences there. Once I learned how the politics worked and I wasn't up for playing their game I got immediately thrown out of the inner circle. This is all first hand knowledge from my own experience or with people very close to me. I am very good friends with dozens of current and former employees of WHO. I could give tons of names and references who could and would verify this. I know it's long but you wanted to know the true inner workings of the place there you have it. I am definitely not saying to not go hunt with them. In fact the owner is definitely a wheeler and dealer. You should never pay full price to hunt there as he is very willing to negotiate. I would just leave you with the old adage of "buyer beware."
These guys absolutely did all this. Not saying anything bad about the guys or treatment. Just saying I know the inner workings and why so many are no longer there. Many of those guides are great dudes and good friends of mineWe were drinking bud light lol, but that's just what we drank. I'm sure he'd have gotten us whatever we wanted.