Thank you for making us aware of this claim. We are well aware of Mr. Steven Holtsmaster and his hunting party of four's false acquisitions regarding this hunt and to this date, approximately 100 days since his hunt took place, the only correspondence we have received from Mr. Holtsmaster is an email (one month after his hunt) threatening to have Ed Tibljas in jail for interstate fraud. His email was directly responded to via our attorney. To this date neither our attorney nor our company has heard from Mr. Steven Holtsmaster's attorney. The only other correspondence we've heard from Mr. Steven Holtsmaster, to date, his initial email, is two letter's to the BBB, and a hunter in his party has filed a claim for a charge back to his Visa bank card and to American Express.
This hunting party has tried to get a chargeback from their credit card companies, report us to the BBB and make false claims on sites such as yours. Below you will find the brief facts of the hunt as well as a letter written by Mr. Bob Foulkrod, a professional hunter and 15 year client of ours, regarding the same hunt Mr. Steven Holtsmaster claims he was 'baited and switched' on. You can also view other client’s stories on our website, www.triangletoutfitters.com.
We have never taken advantage of our hunters in the past 46 years of business nor will we begin doing so in the future. Our attorney has been involved since the beginning of Mr. Steven Holtsmaster’s false claim and has authorized us to respond in the following manner.
Here is a brief response to Mr. Steven Holtsmaster's false claims (as we couldn't include all 36 pages of evidence) supporting that Mr. Steven Holtsmaster and party is falsifying the facts and claims against our company.
Mr. Frank Holtsmaster, Steven’s dad, was a referral from a long time client, Trapper G. Mr. Frank Holtsmaster hunted whitetail with T.T.O. before T.T.O. ever began hunting elk in New Mexico. If Triangle T Outfitters was such a scam or did ‘bait and switch’ guiding tactics, then why in the world would Mr. Frank Holtsmaster want to book himself, his son and two other friends go on an elk hunt??? Mr. Steven Holtsmaster stated that ‘his dad was so excited to go on this [NM elk] hunt.” Mr. Frank Holtsmaster couldn’t have ever been excited about going on a New Mexico elk hunt (as Steven Holtsmaster implies) as we have only been guiding elk in New Mexico since 2009 and Mr. Frank Holtsmaster hunted Texas whitetails with us prior to that. So that claim made by Mr. Steven Holtsmaster is a bold face lie. Mr. Steven Holtsmaster and his party of four were booked on a discounted rate hunt (since a party of four booked) cost $7,000 each hunter, for a 5 day NM elk hunt in unit 10. Mr. Holtsmaster and party wished to hunt unit 12, however they didn't get a 50% deposit (as stated in their signed contract) to hold the unit 12 tags. Mr. Holtsmaster was made aware that all unit 12 tags were gone and his party agreed to book in unit 10 (as stated in his contract and signed by Mr. Holtsmaster.) Also as stated in Mr. Holtsmaster's contract a hunt is considered booked when a 50% deposit is in our office and the balance of the hunt is due in full by September 1, 2011 or the hunt is subject to late fees and/or cancellation without refund.
Mr. Holtsmaster claims that we falsified his contract, stating that he never had seen much less signed it. That is a complete lie from Mr. Holtsmaster as it would be impossible to falsify the date stamp with Mr. Holtsmaster’s fax machine phone number printed at the top of the contract Mr. Holtsmaster signed and dated. Mr. Holtsmaster nor his party ever gave a 50% deposit and yet we held their party of four, each a guaranteed landowner permit, in unit 10. It was late September before Mr. Holtsmaster and his party had their balance of the hunt paid into our office. We graciously waived their late fee and we didn’t cancel their hunt. Hindsight is 20-20!!!!!!! The party of four hunters went on this hunt, arrived a day early in camp and weren't charged an extra day for lodging or meals. Mr. Holtsmaster and Mr. Salansky, of the hunting party, scouted with the outfitter and guide the day before season opened in unit 10 and saw three herds of elk. The weather during this hunt was unseasonably hot and dry with a full moon, for the seasoned hunters, you are aware that this means that the elk move early and late and bed during the day. The party of hunters saw elk each morning on the way to the hunting area and on the way from the hunting area each day (before and after shooting hours). The acquisition regarding the helicopter and gun are an absolute fabrication of Mr. Holtsmaster's imagination and a desperate attempt to gain empathy for him and his party in order to get a credit card refund!!! During this parties hunt none of the hunters ever stated that they were 'baited and switched' as Mr. Holtsmaster claims, nor did they complain about the hunt. In fact they had such a good time (despite the weather and moon phase) that the party tipped their outfitter and guide upon leaving camp. It is our belief that this party booked a hunt beyond their financial means and are trying every way possible to get a refund from their credit card company. Furthermore, the owner, Ed Tibljas, as a seasoned professional hunter, offered this party two free Colorado elk hunts ($5,000 each) to the two physically able sons and two trophy whitetail hunts in Texas ($3,250 each) to the two fathers who aren’t able to physically hunt Colorado, as a way to say he was sorry that the animals, moon and weather didn't cooperate during their hunt. After all the state of New Mexico sets the hunting seasons. Furthermore the claim that his outfitter or guide didn’t know anything about hunting in unit 10 or elk hunting is bogus, as Ed has been hunting elk for 54 years ( Ed grew up in NE NM hunting elk since a child and has been guiding elk professionally since the late 60’s) and Ed has been guiding in this hunting area since 2009. The young guide, Wes M., has been hunting elk since a child and has guided in elk for almost a decade, as Wes grew up and has spent his whole life in Colorado. Mr. Holtsmaster’s claims about the website being changed as a ‘coincidence’ to his ‘bait and switch’ hunt is not a coincidence at all. Each year we update our website beginning in November and usually finish all updates by early January as we prepare for the upcoming hunting season. You can follow this pattern since we began our website in the late 1990’s.
Regarding Mr. Holtsmaster’s latest claim that we are in state and federal violation for not being a licenses outfitter in the state of New Mexico: you don’t have to be a registered outfitter/guide if you are an authorized agent of the landowner, which we have in writing with the landowner.
New Mexico State Statue 17-2A-3 NMSA 1978 exempts a landowner or the landowner's authorized agent from becoming a registered outfitter or guide. It states that a landowner or their agent can outfit or guide pursuant to a landowner's permit(s) issued by the Department for the landowner's private property OR for the landowner's shared private and public property within a big game management unit. Furthermore Mr. Holtsmaster and his party were aware that Ed Tibljas is an authorized agent as Mr. Holtsmaster and the three other hunters from his party each signed an agreement with the ranch acknowledging that Ed Tibljas was an authorized agent of the land.
All I have left to say is you, the hunter, will have to make your decision as to which story you will buy into. A disgruntle hunter who is trying every way possible to get a refund on his party’s hunt or a professional hunter who has built a business of customer service and exceptional hunter relations over the past 46 years?
NOTE: Mr. Steven Holtsmaster has been asked to contact our attorney regarding any further information etc regarding his claims. At this time it is clear that Mr. Holtsmaster is more interested in spreading slander and trying to ruin our reputation via forums and facebook than actually following through with his claim. Our attorney has been involved since Mr. Holtsmasters's initial claim made to our office on November 11, 2011. To this date we haven't heard from Mr. Holtsmaster's attorney nor anyone else regarding this matter. We have upheld the law as written and to our knowledge we have not broken a single law. Our business was established since 1966 and to date has had no violations.
We are plum up to our eyeballs in Mr. Holtsmasters continued lies and fabrication and continual added details regarding this manner; to the point that fellow unknown hunters and outfitters have been emailing us all the links where Mr. Holtsmaster is making his claims and telling us that he sounds like a complete liar and that they hope we will sue him for slander and to not let him get away with all the lies he has posted ALL OVER the internet.
IF anything should change I assure you that our office will post the update as we have nothing to hide. IF you would like to contact our office regarding questions about this false claim please feel free to go to our website where you will find all information to contact us. www.triangletoutfitters.com
Here is what professional hunter Bob Foulkrod had to say about the same hunt Mr. Steven Holtsmaster and his party were on.
January 23, 2012
To Whom It May Concern:
My name is Bob Foulkrod and if you want to find out more about me, go to:www.bobfoulkrod.com
I have been a guide since 1972. I had deer, bear and caribou camps, which I took 40 hunters each year in my deer and bear camps and 250 hunters in caribou camp. I got out of the outfitting business for the same reason Mr. Ed Tibljas is going through [party of NM elk hunters that are claiming they were baited and switched and are trying everything in their power to get a refund, even if it means lying and spreading slander about T.T.O.] Hunting fair chase is NOT a guarantee, but neither is life!
I’ve hunted with Ed Tibljas for approximately 15 years. Most of this time was successful, but sometimes not. Let me give you details on the last three years hunting elk in New Mexico. Three years ago, on a rifle hunt, the snow came in and pushed the herd off the mountain. This was NO fault of Ed’s, just bad luck with the weather. Last year, it was a full moon, but after sitting and hunting everyday, I had a shot, (I missed), again, NO fault of Ed’s. So two years in a row, I came home empty handed. I am booked again for this year in the same camp, same area for another hunt and if it is not too hot nor too cold, too much snow, the wind doesn’t blow, or
We don’t get rained out and I don’t miss again, I might just get me one of those totally awesome great big elk that I know are there for I have seen them several times.
I’ve have known Ed for over 15 years and I know one thing, that is: when you shake Ed’s hand, that is a bond. Maybe this is why we get along so well.
Maybe I should tell you about the time I spent in the bush for ten days on a totally different hunt just waiting for the fog to lift! There I was….. that’s called hunting.
God Bless America for I Love Hunting.
The absolute best line I have ever heard in camp was, “NO Whining”!