Contributors to this thread:
Many of you guys have it backwards...
Just a simple PSA: Every year we have dozens, maybe hundreds of guys who book a hunt, then come on line and ask whether the outfitter is any good?
You have it backwards. You should do your homework first and then book after you get enough feedback to remove any concerns. We have lots of tools, including our Outfitter Reports and forums that are invaluable for anyone looking into an outfitter. I hate to hear the reports of guys who saved for two years and experience a terrible hunt.
Good luck to everyone this year.
Pat is so right. I did exactly as he described 2 years ago prior to booking a moose hunt. Although I didn’t kill a moose, the experience was just as described by the several individuals who responded to my questions.
Bohunter who did you go with?
Use the outfitter report. Every year there are a certain few outfitters that get bad reviews here. If only one would have had a peak at the outfitters reports, they would have never booked.
I might not be the sharpest tack in the box, but even I would have not done that,,, I am surprised that many do, as you stated..... seems common sense to me........
My wife is going to pay for a mule deer hunt for me, so I am doing the research as we speak,,,,,,,,
I went to the Conne River archer only camp
That's like getting married first and THEN courting your wife!!! It's bad enough when you DO court her for a few years or so! YIKES!!! But at least by that time you know what you're getting......mostly......
Celk not all of us live out west so yeah we use outfitters.
"That's like getting married first and THEN courting your wife!!!"
Hey, there's a TV show on that very topic. Maybe we should start a TV show like this about hiring an outfitter. It can't be any worse than much of what is on outdoor TV networks these days!
Unless you are forced by regulations to use an outfitter / guide, given availability and easy access to information in these times, one can do the same for less $$$ when hunting game in the WILD. We are really paying for convenience (food, room, bed, bathroom) because nobody can guarantee 100% success in the wild. The best hunts, animal down or not, are the ones you prepare for yourself from start to end.
Thanks for defining what everyone’s hunts are. Very helpful.
Six I agree with you, but I am keeping in shape, and looking at 70, and it would be a treat for me, once a year,,,, access to prime mule deer country, on the grasslands, is what I would like to have,,,,,,,
believe me I have chased all over public, and enjoyed it, but prime access would be a treat
"Celk not all of us live out west so yeah we use outfitters."
I live out west and I don't use outfitters when I hunt back east... I frequently travel 1000+, miles to hunt and hunt DIY several times a year at that travel distance, sometimes two to 3 times that distance.
There's thousands of guys from the east and south who hunt DIY. If you want to use an outfitter, use an outfitter, but just being from the East side of the country doesn't mean you need to. The same gear you use to hunt WTs can be used to hunt multiple western species and a little bit more gear expands the list.
Pat, I think you're preaching to the choir.
I think the kind of guys who read sites like Bowsite on a regular enough basis to get that message are also going to spend the time to do their research.
Most hunters are not avid hunters. If they do a guided out-of-state hunt once every 2-5 years, don't hunt much in their home state (few days a year or less), don't spend part of every day thinking about, reading about, or researching hunting, don't practice much, etc, these are the type of guys that are going to spend 15 minutes on Google looking at hunts and book with losers, probably due to it being a cheaper hunt.
Sure, anyone can get burned, but you get out of any venture what you put into it and that goes for everything in life. Likewise, the level of ambition, devotion, passion, etc, that go into any venture are generally evident in its personal importance to the person giving the effort.
Every year, there's a few guys who draw a Tok sheep tag and don't even hunt.
It bothers me too, though. I feel sorry for guys who pay a lot of money and have lousy hunts. These guys shouldn't be in business, but the demand + the lack of due diligence keeps them in business.
Just a smaller scale of 'Hey guys, I just ordered a TotalBloodBath bow from this place called Gullible's Archery. Anybody else have good luck with either??"
I’ve noticed some outfitter reports have been removed. I find this a bit disconcerting and challenges the credibility of the outfitter reports.
Outfitters aren’t limited to the west.
Common sense public announcement but I’d imagine most suffer from buyers remorse.
I at least make sure that the outfitter has coffee.
What outfitter reports have been removed TMac? I have only removed one in the last few weeks and that was because the person who posted it was registered under a fictitious name. I reached out to him he would not respond. The integrity of the reports go both ways.
"I at least make sure that the outfitter has coffee." Got the reference.....LOL Folks have different expectations on a "guided" hunt. Some want a bodyguard and wet nurse.....others want someone to point them in a direction with land access and get out of the way with a drop camp. It is important to evaluate your preferences and priorities, then select someone who is going to have the same philosophy going in.
Land access & expertise is the big draw for outfitters. Hunters that have a very limited time to hunt different game in different terrain look for experts to help them over a steep learning curve. Nothing wrong with that, I do it myself. Not every hunter wants to do DYI and prefer to get professional help. Of course everyone should do due diligence before making a commitment.
"There's thousands of guys from the east and south who hunt DIY"
Agree, wasn't there a turkey hunter from Alabama who came out west and killed an elk, on his first hunt, DIY?
"I at least make sure that the outfitter has coffee." LMAO
Pat I do not see any of “Trophy Hunter Guiding and Outfitting” on here any longer?
I always ask for a customer list with ALL of the client names and numbers from an outfitter. I know that ALL of them might not give glowing reviews but if the outfitter gives me only the names of the clients HE wants me to speak with, successful or not, I’m not learning anything except what THE OUTFITTER WANTS ME TO KNOW. If they won’t give me the complete list I keep searching because some outfitter’s will. Those outfitter’s that give me the complete list already have my respect. That is a big deal. Then I call some!
"Agree, wasn't there a turkey hunter from Alabama who came out west and killed an elk, on his first hunt, DIY?"
I think someone needs to dig that thread up...
Woods Walker they have "outfitters " for that too and you can skip the marrying. lol
Pat you are spot on.
We live in an age where people want instant results and no probing required. The “computer” knows the answer I need .
I had a man tell me this weekend, “we have allowed the smart phone to suck our brains out.”
Many of these people are just unable to 'pull the trigger' regardless of the research. They do the research but will continue to ask for opinions or reviews....and if some come in different than what they researched it confuses them even more.
One guy says it was the greatest trip in the world....the other guy says it was the worst. You wonder how some wipe their rearends in the morning if the internet didn`t exist.
Sooooooo..... you folks sayin' you get out of it what you put into it???
My goodness..... what a novel approach!
That's right Tom.
Here's another good one: Every road that goes north, also goes south. You're welcome!
My favorite threads are the folks that win an auction hunt bid, then want to know if the outfitter is any good. Now thats some in-depth research !!
It’s also important to realize that everyone is at a different place along their journey. My guess is that most of us made plenty of errors along the way and are still learning. As far as making a guy that uses an outfitter look or feel badly because they do is just ignorance. Geez.....even the guy that owns this website uses Outfitters. It’s just plain smart when you don’t have time available to scout and limited time to hunt. The reports on this site are very helpful!
Steve I don't feel bad about using outfitters as we own our own business. My time is very limited. So when hunting out of state I use every advantage I can get.
In many cases a good outfitter can save you time and money spent on other hunting, travel, and camping supplies. Might even save you making an extra trip to gather your quarry.
"My favorite threads are the folks that win an auction hunt bid" After a few reviews of these hunts, I would not ever bid on one.
"As far as making a guy that uses an outfitter look or feel badly "
nobody can make you feel badly about anything unless you allow them to. Your choice on what changes your attitude and thoughts.
All my hunts are referrals from trusted Bowsiters. I would have to intentionally choose to use an unvetted outfitter.
With the invention of the internet (Thanks Al!) there’s no reason not to do your homework...Period!
Be sure to ask the TOUGH questions. Success rates? Trophy quality? References? Are all questions that don’t tell you a lot. It kinda tempts the guys to be tempted to exaggerate. You don’t need that...you’re gonna hunt in the REAL world so you will benefit if the answers you get are in the real world. Dig in and ask the guys you are going to hunt with the tough questions. Then ask some of his hunters the tough questions too. You can learn a lot if you ask the right questions.
It’s no different than bear hunters in Wi. it takes 7 to 11 years to draw a tag and they wait till after they draw to find a outfitter. Most of the better ones are booked well before the draw takes place.
"nobody can make you feel badly about anything unless you allow them to. Your choice on what changes your attitude and thoughts."
Perfectly put Grant. I not only agree, but salute that perfectly put piece of advice. That's one of the best posts I've read on Bowsite in a long time.
Look, a lot of guys who take guided hunts, for some reason, take offense when DIY guys give DIY advice. We're not looking down on you guys. We're just diffusing the notion that because you've only hunted WTs your entire life and live 2000 miles from these animals, that you need to either a) hire a guide or b) have some Herculean ability/effort to hunt these animals.
It's not rocket science. It's hunting. We've been doing this since the dawn of Mankind. If you've figured out hunting WTs, you can figure out hunting anything and the gear you use for WT hunting is 90-95% of what you'll need to hunt most species in the lower 48 so long as you have the stuff that an avid hunter will have already purchased.
On the other side of the coin, if you've figured out hunting elk (insert whatever specie here) and are successful at it - grats! but big-friggety-deal - it's not rocket science - these animals have IQs lower than dogs and I can teach a dog to shit in a corner with a bag of milk bones and a free weekend and he'll shit in that corner for the rest of his life without another single milk bone.
Some of us just don't want guys from the east/south who cannot afford guided hunts yet want to hunt in the west, thinking that they can't make it happen without a guide, when the opposite is the case. Yes, hiring an outfitter is most likely going to accelerate your learning curve and success rate and most likely, the hunt will be more comfortable. But you can do it either way and no one should be telling you how you ought to do it and if you have any guilt for hiring an outfitter or take offense to what someone says on the internet about hiring an outfitter, you're allowing someone else to get into your head and perhaps you need to either tune that out or there's something inside of you that desires an extra challenge and you'll find peace in that effort, success or no success.
Make sure the outfitter/guide you get will give you a list of ALL folks that hunted with him/her. No cherry picking references. PS to the mule deer hunter, there is some great mule deer in SD,
"nobody can make you feel badly about anything unless you allow them to. Your choice on what changes your attitude and thoughts."
Heard a great quote this morning related to this...."Be a thermostat, not a thermometer."
Pat, Thanks for the followup work to check out the outfitter reports.
Owl nailed it.I would not even consider an outfitter for a certain sppppeeeshhheess without a trusted bowsiter recommendation
I take no umbrage about not DIY But too assume I'm being lazy for not doing it that way is BS. My money my time. I guided WT hunters for 3 seasons never again. That experience does make me appreciate a great outfitter and his/her guides.
Highlife, who said you're being lazy for hiring a guide?
One thing to consider when asking for references is certain hunters may not want to be on a reference list and have there info given out to the general public. I have hunters who definitely do not want to be used as a references. I do try to at least provide one person from each week or group to represent the season. I am also fortunate enough with repeat clients that I also try to screen out people that I don’t think are a good fit for what we are trying to do so the process works both ways.
Mea culpa I cross threaded
The problem with outfitters reports are that this site only has a small amount of the outfitters that are around. Most people rely on Facebook or google to do their research. Facebook allows the outfitters to remove bad posts, which is where most advertising is done google on the other hand doesn’t but all the outfitters has to do is get his buddies to write reviews so when you pull the website up it gives a lot of stars. Unfortunately outfitters are in it for money so either spend yours with them or find your own lease. Public land is also an option but if your like me you work for a living and live far enough away that it’s hard to find time to scout enough land to have options in case someone has already set up in an area. My experience is the bigger the outfitter the worse the hunt.