Mathews Inc.
Tipping you Guide?
Elk
Contributors to this thread:
Scotty 17-Aug-17
Brotsky 17-Aug-17
MTNRCHR 17-Aug-17
kentuckbowhnter 17-Aug-17
Rob Nye 17-Aug-17
Crusader dad 17-Aug-17
Missouribreaks 17-Aug-17
Glunt@work 17-Aug-17
jdee 17-Aug-17
Crusader dad 17-Aug-17
Glunt@work 17-Aug-17
Trial153 17-Aug-17
Charlie Rehor 17-Aug-17
happygolucky 17-Aug-17
HDE 17-Aug-17
Missouribreaks 17-Aug-17
Mike Ukrainetz 17-Aug-17
DL 17-Aug-17
LKH 17-Aug-17
Crusader dad 17-Aug-17
drycreek 17-Aug-17
elk yinzer 17-Aug-17
boman 17-Aug-17
Glunt@work 17-Aug-17
Dan Mallia 18-Aug-17
huntabsarokee 18-Aug-17
Glunt@work 18-Aug-17
Alpinehunter 18-Aug-17
BTM 18-Aug-17
LINK 18-Aug-17
Bowfreak 18-Aug-17
sticksender 18-Aug-17
ElkNut1 18-Aug-17
sticksender 18-Aug-17
Ollie 18-Aug-17
ElkNut1 18-Aug-17
Surfbow 18-Aug-17
LBshooter 18-Aug-17
Trial153 18-Aug-17
duvall 18-Aug-17
Shiloh 18-Aug-17
Aspen Ghost 18-Aug-17
Pigsticker 18-Aug-17
Mule Power 18-Aug-17
lucky2hunt 21-Aug-17
sticksender 21-Aug-17
Brotsky 21-Aug-17
BTM 21-Aug-17
Neubauer 21-Aug-17
Royboy 22-Aug-17
Fuzzy 22-Aug-17
kscowboy 22-Aug-17
LaGriz 22-Aug-17
From: Scotty
17-Aug-17
I am going on my second outfitted hunt. The last one was in 2005. So how do I determine my guide tip? I know these guys must work for minimal wage. So do I try to determine how much he is worth to me per hour? What if I kill nothing? What if I kill a real slob? How do I figure out how much I should give this guide for his efforts? Thanks for your help!

From: Brotsky
17-Aug-17
10-15% or so of the hunt price is fair. Don't forget to take care of the cook and wrangler too if necessary. Shortly some guys will be along to tell you that if the guide expected a tip he should have included it in the price. Don't listen to those guys:) Also, whether you are successful or not shouldn't matter, it should be based upon the overall experience and how hard they worked for you.

From: MTNRCHR
17-Aug-17
^^^^ x2

17-Aug-17
get ready there are a lot of guys on here who will tell you to never tip because they dont. i tip with 10% as a starting point and also tip the cook staff. the guys that dont tip on here i am sure are not repeat customers any where they have ever hunted.

From: Rob Nye
17-Aug-17
Good advice from Brotsky I can tell he would be a good client to have in camp. Guides can tell quickly if clients have a good attitude about the overall experience or if the kill means everything. Good luck on your hunt hope your guide works hard for u.

From: Crusader dad
17-Aug-17
If you're happy at the end I'd go 20%. Split 1/4 between your cooks/horse guys and give your personal guide the other 3/4.

Whether you kill or not shouldn't matter. If you feel like they worked for you, go 20% the worse you feel, take a little off. Always do at least 10% of the cost. And make sure the cook gets something unless the food is terrible. If that's the case. Tell him. Honesty is always best.

17-Aug-17
Crusader is correct.

From: Glunt@work
17-Aug-17
The guide is in charge of doing his best with whats available. He's not in charge of the deal you made wth the outfitter, he didn't lease the area, buy the equipment, etc.

10% is a good number and adjust up or down from there. A custom knife or a set of binos is common but its hard to fill your gas tank or make a truck payment with them. Cash is king.

From: jdee
17-Aug-17
Guide - 15% of the total cost of the hunt.

Cook - 15% of total cost of the hunt.

Wrangler - 20% of the total cost of the hunt.

If successful.... the owner should be tipped 15 to 20% of total cost of the hunt.

If there are any other hunters in camp I would also tip them 10% of the total cost of the hunt.

If flying I would tip the pilot 20% of the total cost of the ticket.

If you kill an animal not only should you tip your guide 15% of the hunt but you should also give him a pair of Swarovski 10 X42 EL binos. or a custom bolt action rifle 300 ultra mag unless he bow hunts then go with a new BowTech bow.

From: Crusader dad
17-Aug-17
So jdee is paying double just because of tips... not realistic bro. I'm a good tipper. You, are either a rich man or a knucklehead. No offense.

From: Glunt@work
17-Aug-17
Lol

From: Trial153
17-Aug-17
I am thinking tis was a bit sarcasm...

17-Aug-17
Or Jdee is kidding around:) I have found guides don't really like gifts that they don't need so I'd stay with the cash.

If I have a fun time with my guide it doesn't matter if I got an animal or not so the tip is usually based on if he and I have fun and do our best! Team sport!

From: happygolucky
17-Aug-17
If it is a basic gig like a bear hunt guide who has baited all season and then just puts you in the stand and helps you get your bear out if successful, does the 10% still hold? I know the majority of their work has happened for quite some time before your hunt. This is my 1st ever "guided" hunt and I want to be fair. I am supplying all my own meals and I've rented a motel room for the week. He would not be skinning the bear if I get one.

From: HDE
17-Aug-17
Only real guided hunt I've done I tipped somewhere around 12%.

17-Aug-17
Cash is king.......... is correct. Gifts should generally be additional only. Tipping should be based on the quality of the experience and the effort, not simply the result.

17-Aug-17
As an outfitter in Canada who has several hard working guides I agree with the general 10% amount. Where I've heard some pretty big difference on that is say a draw tag in the US where you draw the tag and then can hire a guide for relatively cheap but still kill a giant animal, especially where the guide has tons of scouting time put in resulting in a pretty quick kill, that is where guides have told me they are getting more like 20%. Also some of the expensive hunts like a $40000 sheep hunt, guides are not always getting 10%, often less. My 2 cents.

From: DL
17-Aug-17
Years back I used an outfitter and the tip issue became an issue. I was new to this idea of tipping. I'd worked 35 years as a mechanic and never got tips. I got a paycheck for doing my job and that was fine. So back to the guides. I brought him$40,000. Worth of business In four years because of the people I brought with me. The last year I hunted with him he cost me a shot at a bull because he was taking with another guy instead of doing his job in paying attention. I was ready to draw when him and his buddy come walking up talking. Then the next to the last evening we left some elk in an area at dark. The next morning we never went back there. Just kind of dinked around. I came up to camp five days early to cook and scout for them. He would send me to different areas to check for elk and I could take my bow. Nothing came of it though. Then he was upset and sent me a nasty email about not giving a tip or paying the cook he brought in. In the past we would all pitch in to help with meals and clean up. I did end up sending some money but when my friends knew I wasn't going back they quit too. That was 3 hunters a season he lost over a couple hundred bucks. I'm better able to afford paying a tip now and I do it.

From: LKH
17-Aug-17
jdee, sarcasm is best served with a little bit of subtlety.

Some of the tips I've received: zero, an autographed picture, an air force squadron pin, an Echo chain saw, and various cash amounts. Some of my best tips have come from guys who did not kill an animal.

I would have a hard time thinking I should get a 10% tip on a 40k sheep hunt.

You'll know what you should tip by how hard you hunt, regardless of your success. Where I guide the client can ask to go back to town for lunch. I always point out that I've never taken anything in town. Most stay in the woods. They have limited days, spend a lot of time and money and want to be out, but I'll have to admit we do nap in the woods on warm days.

For the "I don't tip" crowd, at least be honest: You're cheap.

From: Crusader dad
17-Aug-17
Happy, 10% in your case seems fair. If you're happy with your situation. If not, maybe only 5%. The reason I say that is because if you feel like they "garhole" you than you'll be pissed and it's hard to give that tip when you feel screwed. You're doing more than your share so in your case. 10% is a big tip.

From: drycreek
17-Aug-17
Never did many outfitted hunts, but I agree with tipping according to effort, not success. The two hunts that I had the most fun on, I didn't kill anything except a coyote. On one I had to guide the guide back to the truck, but that's another story ! :-)

From: elk yinzer
17-Aug-17
Why would it depend on if you kill or not? What if he puts you on a giant bull and you muff the shot?

Seriously though, without ever having done an outiftted hunt, some base percentage, plus or minus for exceptional or lousy effort works for strippers and everywhere else in the service industry.

From: boman
17-Aug-17

boman's embedded Photo
boman's embedded Photo
Never did a guided hunt but I did tip a fishing guide almost 50% once. At the last minute my grandson decided he wanted to go with me and my son trout fishing. I called the guide we had booked and he said bring him on. The guide spent most of his time untangling my grandson and pretty much babysitting him. I felt horrible about it and gave him $100 on a 250 dollar cost. The best part was my grandson caught a 33" brown trout, beating me and my son both.

From: Glunt@work
17-Aug-17
To be clear there are guides and there are outfitters. Sometimes the outfitter is also the guide.

From: Dan Mallia
18-Aug-17
10%

18-Aug-17
So if the outfitter is the guide you would still recommend 10%? I thought the idea of tipping a guide is he is usually working for less while the Outfitter owns the business. I mean I tip a waiter but I don't tip the guy that owns the restaurant. Just asking. Never been on a guided hunt.

From: Glunt@work
18-Aug-17
If the outfitter is the guide I will normally tip. If the restaurant owner waits on my table and does a good job I leave the same tip I would for the regular waitperson.

There is no set rule and some situations are different. A drop camp is different than a fully guided hunt and a 1 on 1 is different than a 2 on 1. With a bear hunt doing your own meals, lodging and skinning, that isn't the level of service that a fully guided deluxe hunt is but it should also cost quite a bit less so I would still figure 10%. You also may get poor service or service that goes beyond your expectations. Either one might steer you to a different amount.

Whether I get a slice of pie and a glass of milk at the counter for $5.00 or an hour long meal with friends, drinks appetizers and dessert for $200, I still figure 20% for either. If I'm just picking up a take out order I called in, that might be no tip or just a buck in the jar.

I used to be an outfitter. I usually split any tip I received with the crew and if a guide that worked hard got stiffed I would make up for it. Even well paid guides usually aren't making much especially if their own vehicle is involved. Right or wrong, tips for guides are the norm and the industry is set up to run that way. If tipping disappeared hunt prices would go up to compensate just like the cost of a restaurant meal would.

From: Alpinehunter
18-Aug-17
I think that a daily rate based on the guide's attitude, effort, and knowledge makes much more sense than a percentage especially for more expensive hunts. Does a Stone guide deserve three times more than a Dall guide just because he works for an outfitter that has a concession with Stone Sheep? I would multiply by the daily rate by the scheduled hunt days if I killed early. Obviously, the daily rate would be much more for a sheep guide than a whitetail guide due to the effort required but I can't see how someone could suggest that one is under-tipping if they don't tip Stone Sheep guide 6-8K.

From: BTM
18-Aug-17
Re. tipping being dependent on killing, a few years ago I took a young man on an annual California hog hunt (rifle) I put together every year. Things were a bit slow that year, but he was lucky enough to get a slam-dunk, no-brainer, 50-yard shot on a standing, broadside hog. He missed it clean with a rifle! At the end of the hunt I was asking everyone to chip in 50 bucks apiece for a group tip for the hardworking guides. When he said, "Why should I give a tip when I didn't get nothing?" we all ripped him a new one!

From: LINK
18-Aug-17
I guide whitetails and it's not near as labor intensive. I most often get tipped between 10-15%, have got 20% on a number of occasions. Got 2.5% tip from a preacher that owns a dirt construction company. Guides draw for short straws every year to see who gets him. Only guy that hasn't tipped me in 15 years got shot in a gun deal gone bad. Kinda speaks for itself.

From: Bowfreak
18-Aug-17
If your guide and the staff works hard for you, tip them. If your guide sucks and puts no effort into your hunt, I feel he owes you money.

From: sticksender
18-Aug-17
I tend to tip based on effort, skill, enthusiasm, attitude, results, and normal daily rate of pay. The old "10-15 percent of outfitter cost" doesn't work for me because there's no logic to it. Instead, I find out or estimate the guide's normal daily rate of pay, and then, after considering his performance, base his tip amount on those factors. If he does a fantastic job I might give a tip equal to his daily rate times the number of days the hunt was scheduled for. Or even more if he did exceptionally well. If his effort is marginally acceptable, perhaps I'd only tip about half his daily rate. There's no guarantee of a tip if a guy does a poor job, but that's pretty rare among guides. This system works better for me, as opposed to the 10-15% thing, because there's just way too much variation in outfitter cost from one hunt to another. Let's say you do a Mexican island sheep hunt and the outfitter charges 75000. No way I'm tipping one guide 10 grand for 5-7 days of work. Something in the range of 1000-2000 is a fantastic tip for a week's work on a sheep hunt. By the same token, a similar effort put in by a guide on a 4000.00 alpine deer hunt shouldn't condemn the guide to a tiny tip based only on the 10% rule. Although the poor bloke is probably accustomed to it. If he's being paid 200.00 a day by the outfitter, I still might double his pay on a 6-day hunt for an exceptional job, even though the old 10% rule-of-thumb would make that seem like an unusually high tip.

From: ElkNut1
18-Aug-17
I've never been on a guided hunt, I enjoy DIY. From the looks of these costs I can see it's another good reason I haven't! (grin) I think I need to become a guide! (grin)

ElkNut/Paul

From: sticksender
18-Aug-17
Elknut, I think we all enjoy DIY hunts, but that may not be enough to satisfy us forever because it heavily restricts what species we can hunt. Sure we're all heroes when we do it on our own, but it might eventually get boring if a guy has to keep hunting the same home-state species over and over and over again with no variety in-between. For someone living in Idaho like you, or Indiana like me, it's not legally possible to DIY for Stone's Sheep or Cape Buffalo or Polar Bear or Leopard or Red Deer or Quebec-Labrador Caribou or Altai Argali or Alaskan Brown Bear or Warthog or Muskox, and the list goes on & on with dozens of other species across the planet. Too many species, too little time & money!

From: Ollie
18-Aug-17
I understand that many say they would not tip a guide 10% on a 40K Stone sheep hunt. What you fail to take into consideration is that the guide may have been living in a tent the last few weeks glassing for rams prior to your arrival as well as scouting out new territory. A very common practice in sheep hunts. I don't need to worry about the amount to tip a Stone sheep guide as I will never be able to afford that hunt!

From: ElkNut1
18-Aug-17
Sticksender, very true! I was basically referring to our elk hunts! I can see your point about other species, sometimes I have a one track mind, elk, elk, elk! (grin) Thanks!

ElkNut/Paul

From: Surfbow
18-Aug-17
If you come to Colorado to hunt or fish, DO NOT try to tip your guide with your leftover weed (if you're into that sort of thing). That happened to my buddy after he worked his butt off on the river for a group of knuckleheads on a frat reunion. They said "We know you'd probably prefer cash but we don't have any, so maybe you could just resell it or something..."

From: LBshooter
18-Aug-17
Wow 70 % of hunt cost as a tip, Jdee I hope you get a happy ending with that tip. I understand why tipping necessary for the guides due to the crap pay they get from the outfitter. Why is it that the outfitter who charges 5500/ 12000 for an elk hunt make the Hunter pay the guide? because we the hunters have gone along in this farce. It is the outfitter who would not survive if he had no guides, sounds like the guides need to organize a little. I think regardless if you kill as long as you feel the guide work his butt off for you them 15% is fine, more if you can and want.its time the outfitters start to pay the key employees that make their business a success.

From: Trial153
18-Aug-17
always interesting to note the additional cost for 1-1 guiding VS 1-2 for some outfitter. seems to run between 1000-2000 extra on a week hunt. I would say that's a safe assumption that cost is for the the most part the guides pay for the week hunt. I almost always up grade to one on one guiding if I was going alone out of fear of getting a dud of a partner to share a guide with. I often think about if I am already incuring the guides pay do I factor that into the too? that said I always tip and it's dependent on the service and effort more then the outcome, but it's all factored in. I have a buddy of mine that is a fly fishing guide and he is booked about 150 -175 days a year. He often days that the biggest tipper are on the internet.

From: duvall
18-Aug-17
I hope by organizing you don't mean union. Could you imagine a strike when people have saved for years to go on a hunt only to have it cancelled? And people complain about the cost of hunts now...I've never been able to understand why people care so much what others make. Obviously people are willing to guide for what they are paid or they wouldn't do it. And guess what? If an outfitter can't find the guides for what he's paying he'll either go out of business or have to pay them more. Blame the people who are willing to work for that pay. Nobody is forcing them to do it

From: Shiloh
18-Aug-17
If I had an outfitter that would tell me no tips are allowed because he takes care of the guides I would do business with him if I was interested in what he had to hunt even if it cost more. I am definitely not against tipping guides, but it is very subjective and there is a lot of room for hurt feelings and I don't like the added stress of how they might feel when the tip is handed over. Typically when I have spent a week with someone I have worked really hard to become their friend and I loathe the thought of upsetting them by not giving them enough of a tip. This is not a place I like to be in and for that reason I have really scaled back any interest in guided hunts. I will go on more in the future, but I will have the tip situation worked out before I go so there is no added stress. I will give props to Mike U.......I called him about a muley hunt and told him how I felt and he was honest with me about his recommendation for tipping. I appreciate that even though he didn't have any room for me this year;) Just for full disclosure I felt like I was in a bad situation last year on a guided hunt. Me and my dad felt like we went over an above for the guide only to feel like he and the outfitter were upset about what we gave him. It really soured what should have been a decent hunt.

From: Aspen Ghost
18-Aug-17
Shiloh, I think your best approach is to not consider the outfitters fee to be the cost of the hunt. Figure out what you think is a reasonable tipping % for a great hunt. Always add that % to any outfitters stated cost for your hunt budget. That becomes your new baseline. Then there is no pressure. You know up front what you are spending.

If a guide really disappoints you you can always tip less than planned and you would actually be doing him a favor by telling him what would have gotten him a better tip. But if it's worth it to avoid the conflict you can just tip what you planned ahead of time. Your choice.

And if a guide really wows you you can always bump the tip beyond what you planned.

From: Pigsticker
18-Aug-17
I am glad to see Mike U's post. Even though I have only tipped one guide (his) and one that helped search for a lost animal. I was slightly over the 10% but the guide was super. Would have probably given more especially if I happened to Beto have Canadian funny money. The other that happened to spot downed animal I just gave everything I had in coins which was about $60 bucks. The guide was with every penny if not more.

From: Mule Power
18-Aug-17
Glunt you saved me some typing. Thanks man!

From: lucky2hunt
21-Aug-17
I understand the tipping of guides... BUT, If you have an outfitter you book the hunt with but only go out with a guide (other than the outfitter), do you tip the outfitter as well as the guide and other essential camp staff?

From: sticksender
21-Aug-17
lucky2hunt, no reason to tip the outfitter. The fundamental logic for tipping any service worker, be it a guide or a waitress, is to incentivize nominally-paid, minimally-supervised workers to go out of their way to serve clients better. An outfitter can build in profits with his fee structure, whereas a guide has no such ability to influence his own pay. All he can do is work harder for the client in hopes of extra pay in the form of tips.

From: Brotsky
21-Aug-17
Lucky, no, if you hunt with a guide you tip him and the wrangler/cook, etc. You are already paying the outfitter the cost of your hunt in your scenario then no tip is warranted nor would one be expected in that situation by a reputable outfitter.

From: BTM
21-Aug-17
"Figure out what you think is a reasonable tipping % for a great hunt. Always add that % to any outfitters stated cost for your hunt budget. That becomes your new baseline."

Amen, Aspen Ghost!

From: Neubauer
21-Aug-17
I've never understood the idea of tipping an outfitter that is also the guide. Makes no sense to me whatsoever.

From: Royboy
22-Aug-17
I guide elk hunters here in Oregon and I am a whitewater raft guide in the summer. 10 percent seems average for both . I think you could tell if your guide was making a good effort for you. I make twice the wages rafting as I do hunting so the tip really helps in hunting. Very long hard work but definitely a joy to help people live their dreams. Getting totally stiffed( no tip) really hurts.Fred

From: Fuzzy
22-Aug-17
if the outfitter also guides, he is working a second job, and the pay is the tip. tip the same as if he/she were a staff guide

From: kscowboy
22-Aug-17
I had a hunt where I had a guide but the outfitter also helped do a lot of glassing for us around the unit. He didn't pack, stalk, etc. The outfitter ultimately found the ram we harvested. The guide got the lion's share of tipping but I still gave the outfitter $250 as a token of my appreciation for him helping us instead of sitting in camp and drinking coffee.

From: LaGriz
22-Aug-17
Who gets the money?

Be sure to put the money in the hand of the person being tipped! My Brother once quit a hunting operation after the successful repeat client followed up with a post hunt phone call. The sport asked if he gotten the tip he left for him with the outfitter. We are talking in the neiborhood of$250-300 dollars! This would have fired up almost anyone, and I'm surprised about how he handled it. I would have pressed charges, called the BBB, and let everyone in the industry know what a scum bag the prick was for doing so. It might even be worth an ass-kicking just to get some satisfaction. Can't stand a thief. Especially so if it is my compensation that got stolen. What kind of a business man he must be. The guides often put in 18 hours a day (or more) for a small salary. The tips are a key source of compensation. As a client I would be outraged that the tip did not go where I wanted to. The outfitter should remember, Karma is a bitch!

LaGriz

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