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The State of Guided Hunts - 2018
Awesome link and interview thanks Pat
He pretty much said it, you get what you pay for....And that it comes down to what you want to hunt!
Midnight, Saturday night, the man is posting features. That's dedication.
He does have a regular job. Does his side hustles whenever.
Glad to see this feature....especially coming from a reputable Bowsite sponsor. I'm pushing 57 and been a DIY guy all my life. Hired my first big game guide a month ago for an August sheep hunt. As my list of desired species and bowhunting destinations (particularly Canada) expands, I foresee more guided hunts in my future.
I have always liked Neil whenever I have watch him on any of the hunting shows, decent and honest guy.
Although, the only Guided hunt I have ever been on was my Colo Mnt. Lion hunt, turned out great.
Thanks for the link and topic Pat
Good luck, Robb
Great interview/article! A lot of valuable info. Like most, I prefer to hunt without a guide, but when I do I have found that quality outfits usually have quality guides. And even using an outfitter for drop hunts, the best are usually booked 2-3 yrs out and a little more money. I had to book last years drop AK moose hunt 3 yrs prior to get the dates I wanted. I like most have tried to save money in the past and shopped price. And ended up with lazy people that did not help but often would hinder the hunting. IE too lazy to go after animals that are “too far away” for example. I have learned the hard way not to always shop price. But reputation,area, potential animal quality. Also using a quality booking agency saves time and money.
BSC has a stellar reputation. I have a couple friends that use BSC (one of which I steered to BSC) and they have been very happy with their services.
Wow, just wow! Love to hunt, but will have to stay with whitetail, turkey and bear.
Another reason I see for the dramatic price inflation in guided hunts is the Baby Boomers hitting retirement. (The youngest boomers are about 55) They comprise a large percentage of hunters and now have the time and money to go. They also see health and fitness limitations ahead, which starts around 65 and causes a large drop off in hunting participation.
I hope in 15-20 years when I hit that retirement age prices will have stabilized with the passing of boomers from the market (but not from this life :-) !)
Would be interesting to hear the effect the internet has made, specifically the ease of research and planning with DIY as an alternative. I've never been on a guided hunt but do a lot of DIY trips out of state, including three out West for elk. I cannot imagine planning that stuff pre-internet. The mapping resources available today are incredible and replaced a lot of the purpose of guides and outfitters in my mind, at least within the lower 48, with the exceptions where lobbying has created welfare like the WY wilderness and reserved tags. I never really researched guided hunts but those prices quoted gave me some serious sticker shock. Holy balls. Went from "maybe someday" to "hell no". I'll never look at a sheep hunter the same again.
Good points. As we boomers die off, there probably will be a much lower demand for these expensive hunts.
Good interview. The comment about joining organizations to fight for hunting is interesting. I do a lot of work with state legislative bodies and I've been surprised by how naive most hunting organizations are. Many seem to think that writing a few heart-felt letters will result in a pro-hunting outcome. It rarely will. To be effective the legislative arena, it takes professional help - which means money. If your hunting organization doesn't have professional help, they probably aren't very effective. Something to keep in mind when you consider where you want dues money to go.
If I remember correctly my moose hunt in Alberta in 2000 cost $2,750 including the tag. That was with rifle during the rut.... I booked it in 1998. Those were the good old days of prices..... ha !!!
Fred Bear lists his entire 4 week Alaska adventures at $800. That was the 60’s/70’s.
Thinking that prices will level off in the future is not likely. Everything good costs more in as time goes on. Fuel, equipment (planes/ATV), access to concessions. These hunts are the cheapest right now. Take a trip of a lifetime, every year!
"Take a trip of a lifetime, every year!"
There's a good number of guys on this site that will never be able to afford a trip anywhere other than the back 40 for whitetails. My advice is to turn every trip you do take into the "trip of a lifetime"! Memories are all we'll have left some day whether they are from the Mackenzie's or from grandpa's deer stand. Make as many as you can!
"There's a good number of guys on this site that will never be able to afford a trip anywhere other than the back 40 for whitetails."
Until the back 40 gets sold or leased to another hunter!
Spot on Brotsky.
Midwest, make the sacrifices to purchase. That is what a lot of average and less than average guys have done, myself included.
HFW, I'd rather travel for DIY hunting and fishing. Made the decision that's where my hunting money will be spent.
Right on Brotsky! Easily My best memories are from the “back 40” (95%)
Midwest, If we sold the farm and all the related equipment, I could take a lot of hunts. We just think differently. I would rather be in the outdoors every chance I can instead of taking two weeks each year for the hunt of a lifetime.
We both found ways to do what we want, and the vast majority can if they make the sacrifices. I think hunting will survive for a long time, or at least I hope! LOL.
Great article. What Neil stated is spot on. BSC is a top shelf operation with top shelf folks running the operation. They provide great services that can be trusted.
Good interview. Definitely everyone needs to make diy a reality. I’ve gone to other states to hunt and it’s scary but usually the overall experience is worth it even if you don’t harvest an animal.
I've always been on a budget with guided hunts and I've shot some really nice animals for cheap. But ,I have found that DIY leaves me with an awesome feeling of accomplishment- something that was rare with guided hunts. I fear we are starting to see the beginning of the end for the hunting of some species. Over hunting is mostly to blame. Predators kill more when they have competition.
I looked up a moose Dall sheep and griz combo in ak and its running 30K prior to tags airfare and meat transportation to ak. I’m glad I live here and only have Dall sheep and mountain goat left on my list. My grizzly from sat morning cost me 270 bucks after bait and gas and will be another 550 after tanning. Once I change careers and leave alaska I’ll never be able to justify the 15-20k price tags on Sheep and grizzly hunts.
Fred bears 800 bucks would be about 7k today which I would consider a fair value. The prices today are out of reach for the average American unfortunately and I hope we don’t have lands transferred and sold off removing future opportunities for the working class
I am sure I am going to get killed but here goes anyways.
It is just regular price increases. Most hunts are just keeping up with cost increases. An Alberta moose hunt for $2750 in 2000 at 3% compounded annually would cost about $4600 today. If you use 7% which would be a normal return in the stock market, your $2750 invested in 2000 is worth over $9000 today.
You can but great Alberta moose hunts today for $5000-6000.
I have been on a lot of guided hunts and I have not met a lot of rich guides.
I appreciate all of the hard work they do. I do believe they earn their money.
Not worth all that to kill something anymore, I still like target shooting.
Interesting I have used BSC for some hunts and do recommend them,very happy with their services ,I am looking at another elk next year as the years are flying by ,it seems when I make up my mind to go it has taken me 9 years to save for this hunt of course if prices stayed the same probably could have done it in 6 years, this will be my 4th hunt of a life time and unless I win the lottery my last. then will stay with whitetails
Well...guide services who are charging more than 5-8k for a hunt can go shove it...speaking as a millennial who makes decent money. To me it’s just not worth it. I see alternative more DIU options expanding in the future especially for Canadian hunts.
I also see the use of public land in the US increasing over the outfitter/private land/lease
I enjoyed the article/interview, good info and insight into the present/future. I am lucky to live in Colorado with 10 hunt able big game species of which i have killed 8 DIY except for the mt lion hunt with a local hounds-man with success.
I will be representing the CBA at the June 23rd CPW Goat and Sheep Orientation and will be able to address the crowd on the importance of supporting the State Bow Hunting Association, ie, CBA and also the Rock Mt Big Horn Sheep Society at help keep sheep and goats on the mountain. This will be the 24th year the CBA has helped sponsor this Orientation. There will also be state Outfitters looking for business and answering question by already books clients.
I totally agree that hunters need to support their state organizations.
my best, Paul
I have shot a ram, and a goat, and guided on some nice bears, but in my memory book, nothing beats, my own cabin in the UP, and the deer shack in SW Wisconsin....... I wanted to hunt moose, but life got in the way, I have no regrets,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,
I understand the costs out of country, and Alaska etc, but no way would I pay, what some here do, to hunt deer for a week,,,,,,,,,,,, we all have different thoughts, and what I enjoy the most, is just the hunt itself, not the size of the rack, but that is me.......
Whatever you do, respect the other guy, the land, the animal, and support state organizations I agree, and if you do pay for a guide, "don't guide the guide", seen that a few times
Another great interview. Thanks Pat. Keep them coming.
I can't imagine spending the kind of money some of you dish out to go on a hunt. Don't even want to read about such hunts. Have zero interest in what big money buys.
you just read about them in this thread.
Nope, just skimmed through it.
If you don't want to read about such hunts , dont. If you don't want to get out and go to places that cost money to get to, dont. I love reading about them. And I love getting out of boring old iowa. Unfortunately some of the greatest adventures cost a lot of money just to get to. And in many places guides are required in those places. Not to mention "big money" to one man is pennies to another.
people either have dispensable income or they don't.
if they don't it is a non issue as there is no money to spend
if they have it they can choose to collect stuff or to collect memories
Having dispensable/disposable (depends on what coast you're from) income isn't necessarily the qualifier that means you go on guided hunts or not.
There are plenty of people with disposable income who only hunt DIY and a number of guys who live paycheck to paycheck, but scrimp and scrape and go on guided hunts.
A PROVEN booking agent like BSCis a no brainer from the hunters perspective. No downside what so ever.
You don’t even want to read about such hunts...... but you clicked on a thread about the state of guided hunts......hmmmm
Shocking that most don't see prices like this as a very real threat to hunting!
A great, complete interview with Neil. BSC is a squared away, honest operation. They truly have high standards and seek quality outfitters who will offer a client top shelf service and great, memorable hunting opportunities.
I have used BSC on two different hunts and was never disappointed- the hunt lived up to the description shared with me by BSC.
I will be happy this year to pay my $20,000 for healthcare . Our previous President spent my hunting trip money.
"My advice is to turn every trip you do take into the "trip of a lifetime"! Memories are all we'll have left some day whether they are from the Mackenzie's or from grandpa's deer stand. Make as many as you can!"
Now there's a dude who gets it! Regardless of your pay grade, enjoy what you have and don't envy those who have more. I'm very blessed, and I assure you I'll never hunt sheep, or musk ox, or lion, or a cape buffalo. But, I'm thrilled with what I am able to do and who I am able to do it with. Having the perspective Brotsky conveyed is a blessing in life and anyone who has it or can get it will benefit from it.
Can a hunter bypass Neil and do his own research to save money by finding a guide that books by word of mouth. The archery elk bugle and moose rut are short time periods. I would think outfitters would have a return or word of mouth after setting up at outdoor shows for a couple of years. Rather than prices going up by baby boomers, I think it is TV shows with celebrities and big animals bringing a new wave of bowhunters that mostly did not start as a kid. Bought a compound, ordered the fancy camo, booked a hunt. That is new demand against somewhat static supply (whitetails the supply has increase but not moose, elk, sheep tags).
Shocking that most don't see prices like this as a very real threat to hunting!
Agree. This place is so detached from reality it isnt even funny.
The over Monetization of hunting will be our downfall and we too caught up in ourselves to even see it.
Anyone who wants to can hunt anything they can afford. Seems fair to me.
The fact that some of us can’t afford to hunt what others may be able to seems fair to me too
I guide many USA hunters each year....the smiles on their face and knowing they were not ripped off by some Canadian stranger is worth it.....all our clients become friends....thats the way a great outfitting business should be. Sure we have to make money, but we are not here to just run high numbers of hunters through our lodges. TH
Canadian outfitters are only strangers until you show up in camp and then they become friends. Happens every time. Wondferful people and places. No shortage of smiles either.
Glunker......my understanding is that the booking agent gets his cut from the outfitter and the cost of the hunt is the same whether you book through the agent or directly with the outfitter.
If you can’t afford the hunt or refuse to pay that kind of money for a guided hunt....then don’t! Quit worrying about someone else’s lot in life.
I used to buy candy bars for 15 cents. Ha Ha The average guy could never afford to go sporthunting because the average guy has always had a wife that wants new carpet and friends with a nicer pickup. You have to be dedicated enough to put your money towards hunting and not let all of it go towards pickup upgrades, curtains and boats. Its not for everybody but fun as heck for those of us that like hunting. I'll pay a good outfitter good money because he'll show me a great experience AND I'll learn something from him.
From: Scoot10-Jan-19Private Reply "My advice is to turn every trip you do take into the "trip of a lifetime"! Memories are all we'll have left some day whether they are from the Mackenzie's or from grandpa's deer stand. Make as many as you can!" Now there's a dude who gets it! Regardless of your pay grade, enjoy what you have and don't envy those who have more. I'm very blessed, and I assure you I'll never hunt sheep, or musk ox, or lion, or a cape buffalo. But, I'm thrilled with what I am able to do and who I am able to do it with. Having the perspective Brotsky conveyed is a blessing in life and anyone who has it or can get it will benefit from it. Agree! I would love to go on a moose hunt. However I will go elk hunting this fall and take a couple young friends to show them my area so as to pass on information on the area. Hunted it first in 1971. This may be my last trip. And really looking forward to it. Enjoy every opportunity you get. And I don’t care what others do with there my money. Greg
There is no doubt that hunting trips are getting more and more expensive but if there is a will there is a way. If you want it bad enough, you will find a way to make it happen. Anyone can find a way to save a little bit more money each month. Anyone can work a couple extra hours here or there. It all adds up in the end.
For the most part, the men and women who are super slammers or travel to the far ends of the earth to chase animals that most don't even know to exist all have one thing in common. These people are driven in all walks of life and they do not make excuses for or accept failure. These individuals go out and actively look for circumstances where they can succeed at their goals and if they can not find them, they make them. Go out and make your destiny and do not let anyone, especially yourself tell you that you can not do something. I was told a long time ago by a man much smarter than I am "Whether you think you can or you cant, you are right".