Sitka Mountain Gear
Stand-up Response from Negative Review
Whitetail Deer
Contributors to this thread:
Pat Lefemine 27-Jan-18
PECO 27-Jan-18
The last savage 27-Jan-18
LBshooter 27-Jan-18
ryanrc 27-Jan-18
TXHunter 27-Jan-18
Bou'bound 27-Jan-18
TD 27-Jan-18
Franklin 27-Jan-18
Thornton 27-Jan-18
Trial153 27-Jan-18
drycreek 27-Jan-18
Charlie Rehor 28-Jan-18
Genesis 28-Jan-18
Lee 28-Jan-18
Canuck 28-Jan-18
Backpack Hunter 28-Jan-18
marktm250 28-Jan-18
Trial153 28-Jan-18
marktm250 28-Jan-18
Bowriter 29-Jan-18
LINK 29-Jan-18
Joey Ward 29-Jan-18
marktm250 29-Jan-18
Bowriter 29-Jan-18
PECO 29-Jan-18
loprofile 29-Jan-18
elvspec 29-Jan-18
Duke 29-Jan-18
Bowriter 29-Jan-18
Bowriter 29-Jan-18
Bullhound 29-Jan-18
WV Mountaineer 29-Jan-18
PA-R 29-Jan-18
pirogue 29-Jan-18
XMan 30-Jan-18
JF 01-Feb-18
BuckBoy 02-Feb-18
Pat Lefemine 02-Feb-18
From: Pat Lefemine
27-Jan-18

Pat Lefemine's Link
I thought this response was pretty classy. Hunter had a bad trip and the outfitter didn't trash him, he agreed the trip was rough. Have to give him credit for honesty.

From: PECO
27-Jan-18
Or is it a snow job? That outfitter had another terrible review recently. Either way, I'm not going to Alabama looking for a trophy whitetail.

27-Jan-18
Right on homebrew,,I read that too,,

From: LBshooter
27-Jan-18
Hey thats hunting. The fact the outfitter came back with his Side and admitted hunting was bad says a lot. To many guys think just because they are paying big money that they will walk with a trophy deer. The hunters had a bad week, it happens. I think the review was honest and the response was too future hunters will have to judge for themselves. No, if your going to pay big money for a trophy whitetail , why wouldn't you go to Illonois, Wisconsin or Ohio?

From: ryanrc
27-Jan-18
Classy response. But. .. saying pressure was not an issue because they didn't hunt the prior 4 days isn't exactly understanding deer and pressure imo.

From: TXHunter
27-Jan-18
What else could he say? I’m not buying it. OTOH, my guess is a little due diligence on the hunters’ part would have avoided ever considering them in the first place.

From: Bou'bound
27-Jan-18
The guy spent 1,700 dollars to hunt in Alabama what was he expecting.......to have the place to himself.

From: TD
27-Jan-18
You guys are completely overlooking the Alabama scoring handicap.......

From: Franklin
27-Jan-18
Alabama might not be a "trophy" destination it is a high density state. What`s the tag limit there....a deer a day or something crazy. On any guided hunt the very least I would expect is to see the animal I am after. I could care less if I kill as long as I`m seeing animals.

From: Thornton
27-Jan-18
Sounded like many a Kansas hunt. I understand their frustration.

From: Trial153
27-Jan-18
1700 or 5k doesnt really matter most whitetail outfitters run to many hunters anyway. Sorry to say it probbly should be expeceted.

From: drycreek
27-Jan-18
I hunted a 6,000 acre place in STexas that had 20 people every day for most of the season. Didn't work out too well. The deer were there, and some pretty nice bucks too. To say they were skittish was an understatement. Hard to hunt behind someone who was there for the 3/5 days preceding you and you have no idea what their scent contol regimen was, how far they parked from where they hunted, if they roamed around, etc. I made that trip once and that was plenty for me.

28-Jan-18
Rifle hunt. Most bad reports are.

From: Genesis
28-Jan-18
Alabama Gobblers and The Tide are almost unkillable!!!!! Oh,this was a deer hunt,I'll digress.

From: Lee
28-Jan-18
I've hunted all over the country for whitetails - bowhunting public land deer in Bama when my dad was stationed at Ft. Rucker was the most humbling hunting I've ever done. Lots of pressure on that state!

From: Canuck
28-Jan-18
Wow see both sides! I feel so lucky as virtually all of my hunts are do it yourself hunts here in Ontario Canada. However, most years I do treat myself to an out of Province guided bear hunt (after I do my own bear hunt here in Ontario) in New Brunswick Canada. My standard for rating those hunts are: did i give it for every minute of every day possible? did my guide do the same? My only disappointment so far has been myself not doing my part! NOT trying to be an axxhole, just giving honest feedback!

regards from Canada!

28-Jan-18
"Rifle hunt. Most bad reports are."

I have seen this before, and can't help but wonder why that isn't considered normal? Wouldn't it stand to reason since there are many more rifle hunters that there would be many more bad rifle hunt reports? Conversely, there should be many more good rifle hunts as well, but we all know people report bad events far more than good events.

From: marktm250
28-Jan-18
Tough call ... with free chase ... anything can and will happen. But with 20 hunters in camp, either something was amiss or there was some really bad karma. If was only 4-5 hunter it might be more plausible. I mean you think someone would have least stumbled upon a half-decent racked buck, even it was just crossing the road in the dark while you were driving to you stand? I have only been on 6 guided hunts so far; 3 for deer in IL and MT and 3 for elk in CO, UT and MT. I only let 2 arrows fly on all those hunts ... 1 clean miss in IL and 1 nice 130 class in IL. However, on each one of those trips, I was able to lay eyes on multiple "shooter" deer and elk, so I could myself very fortunate in that respect.

From: Trial153
28-Jan-18
I bet you average success, I am talking arrowing a good buck for the location on guided whitetail hunts is probably in the teens nation wide. Lots of money being paid to be unsuccessful.

From: marktm250
28-Jan-18
My expectations going into these types of 5 or 6 day archery hunts is that you are doing pretty darn good with a 20-30% harvest rate. That does not count misses or other blown shot opps (which of course are not the outfitters fault). With 8 archers in camp, 1 or 2 may actually take venison home ... on average. At least that is what I have observed on my hunts. I have not yet been on an "outlier" hunt where either everyone tagged out or nobody did (as in this particular hunt), but it could happen even if everyone puts in their best effort.

From: Bowriter
29-Jan-18
I don't know what is meant by legal buck. AL does not have AR's. I guess they are talking about lodge imposed rules. I know of Master Rack, know little about it. But I do have over 26-years experience with a large AL hunting lodge, one that routinely booked over 400-hunters a year, albeit on over twice the acreage of Master Rack. Plus, I slept at Motel Six, once. So, I shall make the following comments.

First, my guess would be those deer had been gun hunted pretty hard for a month. Therefore, a bowhunt is double tough. Second, nobody in the their right mind goes anywhere in AL on a trophy hunt if you define trophy as 125 or better. That said, I cannot imagine sightings of deer that low on any well managed property with temperatures in 40's. That is great for AL. and the time of the hunt was just about pre-rut. There should have been some chasing.

That said, the outfitter is dead on. You cannot predict what the deer will do. Blaming the moon and an east wind is BS. Plus this factor-on a bowhunt in AL, at a lodge that also takes rifle hunters, 10% kill rate is great if they are hunting the same stands. On our bowhunts, which took place before gun season opened, including does, we ran about 15-20% but that was on deer killed, not bucks killed. We also had a 16"-8pt. restriction and that truly was on unpressured deer. Here is a tip for anyone on a "lodge" hunt. It is not rocket science to tell if a stand has been hunted hard. Do some looking around and if the stand shows signs of heavy hunting, talk privately with the outfitter and ask if you can use your own stand. If he agrees, find a place on the opposite end of the greenfield from the existing stand.

From: LINK
29-Jan-18
Where I’m from you can’t hardly take 20 bucks a season on 9500 acres and expect good results, much less 20 buck a week.

From: Joey Ward
29-Jan-18
I'm not surprised by either side.

From: marktm250
29-Jan-18
I go into these looking for the experience, but the odds can be steep. Good points on min antler size and weeks of pressure factoring into the equation.

I admit to not crunching numbers before booking hunt. If you take the acreage and plug in the # of 3.5 yr bucks (assuming that is the min target) per square mile (20 deer per square mile is about the best you can get?) , # of hunters per week and average harvest rate, you will get a rough idea of what the odds really are.

Of course there are a lot of other factors here which will pressure deer, such as how stands are accessed each day to not blow deer out. I hunted with Tom Ware in 2003 and was impressed that he rotated the farms he hunted on a weekly basis to better manage pressure.

You never know what can happen though. On my first outfitted hunt to IL in 2001, I arrived to a camp that was overflowing with hunters. I ended up being assigned to hunting around the house. First morning was a bust with the outfitters beagle running around. That evening I went to another stand that had candy wrappers around the base of the tree ... not very encouraging. But later on, a 150-160 class brute stepped out chasing a hot doe. No shot opp as he was just out of range, but coming from PA, that was by far the largest deer I had ever seen on the hoof. So I did get to "experience" that and also learned a valuable lesson on selecting outfitters.

From: Bowriter
29-Jan-18
There is a formula a reputable, experienced guide and outfitter will use. Simply take the number of "trophy" bucks you have, whatever definition that means and you can book hunters in approximately 150% of that number. That will usually insure a descent number of kiss-sightings-shot opps and still leave an adequate carry over. Say you have 20, "trophy" bucks. You book 30 hunters. You get 11 kills, (using a 30% ratio) and you have 19 carry overs for the next year.

If you have 20 TB and book 75H, you won't be in business long. On 25,000 well managed acres, we booked around 400-hunters and did quite well for over 28-years. We had 450 stands and shooting houses and 210 food plots with a strict antler requirement of 16 inches and eight points. Generally, not stand or house was hunted over five times a year.

From: PECO
29-Jan-18
20 trophy bucks, 11 kills leaves 9 carry overs, not 19. Is there a typo or am I not understanding something?

From: loprofile
29-Jan-18
"I thought this response was pretty classy. Hunter had a bad trip and the outfitter didn't trash him, he agreed the trip was rough. Have to give him credit for honesty"

Agree!

From: elvspec
29-Jan-18
I understand the frustration of the hunter. However, the outfitters response sounds reasonable for the southern states. This has been a strange year and I think his description of the rut timing is accurate based on mine and other hunters experiences.

From: Duke
29-Jan-18
Sounds to me like unrealistic expectations coupled with below average hunting conditions collided head first here. I will say that it is nice to see that the outfitter respectfully defended his operation here without making it personal. -The bottom line is this: all outfitters and areas are not created equally and it is HUNTING.

From: Bowriter
29-Jan-18
Typo-my bad plus been having puter problems since Sat. It has a will of its' own...at times.

From: Bowriter
29-Jan-18
yes, it was a crazy year in the south. We had longer than usual spells of extra-warm weather followed by below normal temps for a few days. In AL, when it is warm, deer move very little. But temps in the 40's as reported, should have had them really moving. I was also in AL between Christmas and New Year with very similar temperatures and I saw more bucks than does and good movement. But yes, it varies greatly fromplace to place.

From: Bullhound
29-Jan-18
was this actually a rifle hunt? It says it is in the review.

29-Jan-18
I still have a hard time understanding why anyone would actually pay to go whitetail hunting where they'd have to set in a stand. Deer hunting for whitetail deer that way is the LEAST amount of fun for me, considering all the hunting I do/have done. I dig getting on the ground and chasing them around. I dig big woods hunting. I just can't dig setting tree stands all the time. Of course, this is Just my opinion though so, don't get mad. God Bless men

From: PA-R
29-Jan-18
Hey , nothing is sure in hunting, if you don't know this by now, hunt some public land, maybe golf, what ever, Peter

From: pirogue
29-Jan-18
Not pressured or hunted in four days? To say a buck is going to forget about seeing and winding hunters in a time span as short as four days is heavily disputed.

From: XMan
30-Jan-18
I have been to AL on 7 late season rifle hunts over the years. Here are my thoughts: 1. Don't expect trophy deer, a 3.5 yo 110 inch 14 inch wide deer is the norm, if you see one kill it cause that's about as good as it gets. 2. Have to hunt small operations with fewer hunters that focus more on the hunt than on the food, party atmosphere, and accommodations. 3. Go to a place with a nontrophy and trophy area so if you want to shoot a small buck for meat, you can and enjoy the time there. 4. Plan on warm weather and hope for cold, it is was it is, you are hunting in AL for cripes sake. 5. This hunt should be about relaxing and having fun with buddies. AL doesn't have trophy deer at these lodges, they kill far too many deer every year to ever produce what the midwest and private farms will, so go with the right attitude and expectations.

From: JF
01-Feb-18
9500 acres / 20 hunters = 475 acres a piece... And none of them could find a decent buck with a rifle in 3 days??

Stop waiting for the deer to come to you; learn how to scout, learn how to hunt. Shouldn't have been that hard for at least 5 of those 20 guys to get off their butts and find a decent deer with a rifle...

Sitting and waiting in that situation is not hunting hard (or smart); I have to put this one on the "hunters".

Joe

From: BuckBoy
02-Feb-18
So 20 hunters at $1,700.OO dollars per person = 34,000.00 a week. Not a bad income for the outfitter. The big question is how many times throughout the year did the outfitter have 20 hunters in camp?? add that up for a season $$$ A DAMN GOOD LIVING! I am calling BS on the outfitter! way to many guys for that amount of land. If the outfitter was a stand up guy send half the cost to each one of the hunters or get them half off next years hunt . Hopefully the moon phase will change by that time.

From: Pat Lefemine
02-Feb-18
I disagree. Hunters know (or at least should know) what they are getting into. Anyone who is even the slightest bit knowledgable about outfitted hunts know that you are not going to have a CRO-like experience at $1700 a week. I think I paid more for a farm hunt in Maryland 20 years ago. Let's get real.

  • Sitka Gear