Contributors to this thread:
For those that are Guides...
My question is mostly for those that have done some time as a paid guide, guiding complete strangers .
What is the best client you ever had and why?
I ask because I want to be "that" client.
Last year I took my 1st guided hunt. Everything about the hunt was great... except my guide.
I've thought about that hunt every single day since, often asking myself what I would have done differently. I've keep coming back to the same conclusion....the guide was a complete asshole. I tried getting to know him. Asked questions about: his family, his life outside of guiding, the country, the moose and non target flora and fauna. But, I never questioned his decisions through the week concerning his hunting tactics. I tried to be a great client. Looking back, I am totally convinced the guy did everything he could do to keep me from getting an opportunity. We saw plenty of moose. 29 to be exact... of which I spotted 26 initially. I had an either sex tag and was willing to shoot any moose. I was in shape and willing to walk, run or crawl to get to any of them! We made one stalk. ONE FRIGGIN STALK! Which he sabatoged by showing his full self with the moose in plain site.
Once the outfitter heard my recap of the week, he was extremely apologetic and majorly pissed. He offered to bring me back at half price, which I accepted. I'm going back in 2020.
Sounds like a stand up outfitter. Good luck this year.......I bet he gives you his best guy.
Iv only guided people that I knew beforehand, but I agree with straight arrow sounds like a good outfit I’m betting on not only you have his best guide this year but I also bet your guide from last year is no longer around that outfit.
You should have talked to the outfitter after about the tenth moose sighting. Sounds like the guy just didn't want the work of skinning and packing.
Sometimes with a bad guide you have to be a butthead yourself and read him the riot act and make sure he understands who is paying who and that you won't decide on whether a tip is appropriate until the hunt is over. You should always let the outfitter know if your guide did not meet expectations as the outfitter wants/needs repeat clients and won't get them if a bad guide is running them off. Personally, I would have left the guide sitting on his butt and attempted some stalks on my own provided all was legal and the outfitter did not have any imposed restrictions which would prevent me from making the stalk.
Fuzz, I used to spend time in my younger years guiding waterfowl and upland game hunters. It sounds to me like you were an excellent client. Just be a nice guy, be ready to hunt, offer to help out if you see a chance to do so and the rest will take care of itself. There's bad guides and there's bad clients and sometimes people just don't get along. Even if you don't get along you should still expect a good hunt and a good effort from your guide. Sounds to me like you may have gotten a lazy guide who didn't want to do the work involved with getting a moose out of the bush? Heck I had clients one time that didn't give me a tip because they "shot their limit of birds too fast". There's all kinds out there!
The best clients I ever had trusted me. Sometimes people just don’t get along. That’s what keeps the world spinning.
I agree with Ambush...sounds like the guy didn't want to deal with breaking down/ packing out a moose. Sorry excuse for guide IMHO.
Sounds like you did your part but ran into a low percentage of bad guiding ,especially in moose country.
I would believe that if you got back to the lodge kicking and mouthing off the outfitter would not have been so generous on your return trip. Good luck on your return hunt hope you get a good one.
Ollie: I kept thinking that maybe I should be more assertive and start being a "butthead" but that's not how momma raised me lol! The only stalk we we on was because I politely suggested " maybe we should try to get a little closer"... that did NOT go well and ended up in a real pissing match. Im sure thats why he intentionally showed himself during the stalk. Yes Brotsky, I tried everything to build a good rapport with the guide. And made it known I would butcher & pack the damn thing out myself if need be. Like you said, he was just plain lazy and didnt want to work.
Hunt man. Thats what I kept telling myself. "Just trust him... he's been doing this for awhile...trust him, he's gonna pull through!"
In the end, I'm glad I wasn't one of those guys bitching all the time and conducted myself as a gentleman. The country and camp was great. Plus, I made new friends that had a lot of laughs at my expense due to my guides daily antics.
There is a balance between not guiding the guide which is a major no-no and being taken on a hike vs a hunt. Each situation is different and only the guy in the middle of can decide what to do.
With that said the hunt means more to the hunter than it ever will to the guide so don’t be too shy particularly if you have experience on that type of hunt
This is why some hunters say their worst hunts have been guided hunts. Some refuse to use a guide....but if you want certain species you have no choice.
Some people just suck! That's the risk you take when going on a guided hunt with an unknown guide, sounds like the outfitter tried to make it right though. I've guided some fly fishing trips and the vast majority of the anglers were great, but there were a few who were just turds no matter how nice I was or how many trout they caught. Jerks are an inescapable part of life...
The guide/client relationship can be a tricky one. When I was outfitting and guiding, I could usually tell which clients I would get along with during the initial phone conversation before booking. I'd ask them what their expectations were, and what they considered would be a "good" hunt. If their answers suggested that killing a trophy animal was the only criteria that mattered, I'd usually pass on booking them.
That said, once in while I'd still get a client who thought there should be 200" bucks hiding behind every bush. In general, rifle hunters were more guilty of that than archery hunters. Bow hunters tended to understand and appreciate the challenge of the hunt, versus just wanting to be shown animals, like picking out steaks at the grocery store.
OP, it sounds like you weren't assertive enough with your guide to me. Was he also the outfitter, or just a hired guide working for the outfitter? If the latter, you should ask for a different guide on your return trip in 2020.
My best one was a fellow who told me the night before our elk hunt, "I want you to teach me as much as you can about how to hunt elk, so I can go on and kill one on my own next time". He was a wonderful, attentive student, didn't care if he killed a bull (he didn't).
The next year he sent me a letter and photo of his bull, thanking me and telling me he wouldn't have been successful without all the knowledge I shared with him. He was a great client.
Reflecting back, my best clients were an 80+ year old man, who wasn't in good health, and his son. The son recognized that this would be his father's last opportunity to shoot his first elk, and perhaps his last hunt ever. I felt extra pressure to make it happen.
The weather was hot and hunting was slow. The old man couldn't get around much, so we spent hours upon hours sitting, glassing, and talking. Despite not seeing any elk for 4 days, his positive attitude and genuine appreciation for the outdoors never wavered. On the last day of his hunt, I called in a favor from a rancher friend, who gave us permission to hunt his property. I managed to call in a nice 6x6. The old hunter's eyesight was poor, and I thought he was never going to see this bull. Finally he found the bull in his scope, and dropped him with one shot. His son, who was watching nearby, came running up to us with tears of joy streaming down his face. I have to admit, the old man and I were already crying like babies, too.
The old hunter died just a few months later. Shortly afterwards, his son wrote me a very heart-felt thank you letter for my help in fulfilling his father's life-long dream to kill an elk. It still warms my heart to think about that hunt, and that old hunter.
That's a great story Matt! I musta got some computer dust in my eye!
My best clients trusted me to work hard for them. The worst client was the non Hunter boyfriend that thought it should be easy for me to get her an elk. I took them for a good long walk about over hill and dale. After a couple days he shut up and then we really got down to business. On the fifth and last day I called a bull into 30 yards broadside and she missed! Oh and worse tip ever.
I have a buddy who guides. The biggest issue he sees are guys lying about their conditioning, their hunting experience, and their expectations.
The Perfect Client ------ 1) Be honest about your expectations, don't tell us you won't shoot anything under a 180" and then shoot a 120" on day 3 of a 10 day hunt 2) Give every animal that you shoot the respect it deserves. Nothing makes me more mad than someone shooting an animal just so they could kill something and then donate the meat and leave the head behind. That tells me a lot about who you are as a person. 3) Try to keep a good attitude. We want you to harvest a great animal probably more than you do. *USUALLY* most outfitters are working their butts off trying to put you on a good animal. While you're in the stand, we are putting on the miles trying to locate a good animal for you in case you didn't see much. 4) Be accurate with what you see while you're on stand. If you see deer moving 300 yards away, let us know and we will look at putting up another stand or moving you to one that is over there. Telling us that all the deer were moving past a tree that is 300 yards kind of maybe to your left doesn't tell me anything. 5) Try to Keep a good attitude 6) Don't brag, it doesn't look good on you. I don't care if you have $1 in your bank or $100 million. To me, you're here to hunt and have a good time, and i will do my best to give you that. 7) Try to keep a good attitude 8) Be proficient with your gear. It does me no good if you say you can put 3 arrows in a pop can at 60 yards and then continue to miss animals at less than 20. Yes I know buck/bull fever is a real thing, but when I take you to the range and you can't hit a 2ft X 2ft target at 20 yards, we have a problem. 9) Let us know what you like and don't like for food when you show up. This is your trip and I want it to be the best possible trip. If you tell me you don't like something when I serve it on the table, I'm not about to cook another meal. If you tell me you don't like pasta when your first show up, then bob is your uncle and I will not make you pasta. 10) We live where we hunt year around. Sometimes it may sound silly where we want you to setup, or it may not look like a good spot, but we live here and have for 100 years, please trust us, we are trying to get you the deer of your dreams 11) Please try to keep a good attitude. 12) Communicate, if the stands are too high for your, or you don't like blinds, or you'd like us to do something other than what we are, lets have a chat. We can't know we are doing what you like if you don't tell us. 13) Please remember that this is a hunting trip and not a killing trip. If you wanted a killing trip, go on a high fence hunt. I can't control the weather (sure wish I could) so if you show up and get a week of +105F and the animals aren't moving, I am just as mad as you. 14) Be prepared - If I tell you the weather could be +90F or +30F with snow, try to bring the clothes that you need. I have had way too much great gear wrecked by lending it to clients who didn't show up prepared.
All comments above are from the perspective of a lodge hunt, we drive you to your stands, and you get 3 meals a day from the lodge.
You sound like a great client. Figuring out what you want out of the hunt before you go, and communicating exactly that with the guide is a great first step. Attitude is everything on both sides of the equation. When I think back to tough clients their attitude sucked and for those people the results good or bad won't change their life. They need an attitude adjustment.
My worst client was the guy that bragged how much money he made and then gave me a $50 tip for a 172" 11 pt whitetail. A good guide will be conversive and more worried about your needs than his own. A good guide will also explain everything so you're not constantly questioning why things are the way they are.
"Nothing makes me more mad than someone shooting an animal just so they could kill something and then donate the meat and leave the head behind. That tells me a lot about who you are as a person."
So what conclusions do you draw about a person who donates the meat to those less fortunate and may not care about nailing another dead animal on the wall?
Thanks for the input guys. My biggest dissapointment of the trip was that I didn't come away with the feeling that I was truly moose HUNTING. I'd dreamed of hunting, not KILLING, moose since i was a kid and with that, I felt I missed out. I woke up and went to bed every day smiling, just so appreciative of the chance to be there. Several times my campmates asked "How can you be in such a good mood?" or "Why are you smiling so much.... Id be mad as hell?" Even though a shot opportunity never came, I felt blessed to be there.
I can't wait to go back!!
I’m a full-time guide. I’ve been at it over 20 years and have personally guide everyone of my clients...there have been over 1,400 of them. Some guys are awesome and some horrible. I guided one guy this week that asked me really great questions and then corrected me every time I gave him the answer. That was kind of odd...he did his whole hunt HIS way and had horrible success. Each time I tried to help he pointed out why his way was better. Sometimes you have to let people fail at their own pace. He’s far from the worst client. The first outfit I worked as an apprentice with had several guides who would talk about their worst clients...John Wilkes Booth/Lee Harvey Oswald...they knew ALL their names but couldn’t remember “who was that one really nice guy that tipped us when he ARRIVED in camp BEFORE the hunt???” They could remember the bad but not the good. I thought that was a weakness in their character. I deliberately “forget” bad clients because they aren’t worth it. Generally the know-it-all’s who haven’t done it and guys with unrealistic expectations because they’ve read all of the articles and blog posts from BS’ers (of course nobody on this site BS’s or stretches their expertise!) and people who mentally collapse when they have to adapt make-up part of the bad clients. But the WORST are just horrible people from the get-go...at home and in camp. They are the kind of people everybody back home hates too. You know if you’re him. Don’t overthink it. The BEST clients tend to be eager. The fact that you’d like to be a good client and are willing to adapt makes you a GREAT client. Many people ask me if I’ve ever taken a big-money butthead. Self made big money guys are rarely hard-cases because you don’t get to be big money without understanding you have to change your plans sometimes and things don’t always go good. Small money guys aren’t going to let anything screw up their good time. The ding-a-lings are almost 100% middle money guys who THINK they are big money guys...that guy that makes a little more than all of his buddies from high school has the best chance to be bad. He’s gotten lucky and caught a few breaks but insists it’s all because of his superiority...the ”I always succeed” guy. The best guy: 1. Be coachable 2. Be adaptable 3. Be ready for fun 4. Be ready for adventure 5. Leave your measuring tape home 6. Leave difficult people home 7. Show up with a tasteful house warming gift like food, hat, wine 8. Have a good attitude 9. Find good things to notice and talk about 10. Leave racist comments home 11. Leave most booze home 12. Be guided by the owner of the business so you know you’re not going to get a problem guide and tip him before the hunt starts. 13. Offer a hand 14. Be a companion in the field not a snowflake. 15. Limit your stories about your kid and your dog to one per day 16. Don’t expect your guide to listen to the story behind each of your successful hunts 17. Listen at least half as much as you talk 18. Limit bragging appropriately The good part is that almost all of this is second nature to all of us. That makes almost all of us great clients. The bad clients know who they are and tend to gravitate to each other. They also gravitate to the same outfitter’s because those outfitter’s typically over-promise, exaggerate, offer discounts, offer add-one and deals too good to be true...a person has to have a little larceny in their heart to fall for that trap and that leads to congregating of hard-cases.
Bou'bound - I have no issue with people harvesting animals and donating the meat. It is great if you're in a position to be able to share your good fortunes with those who may not have the luxury of abundant food. The problem I have is when we have clients that only find success in the kill. Why would someone shoot an animal, donate the meat, and leave the head and hide behind and take absolutely nothing home with them. Not even a picture with them and the animal.
What was the point in harvesting that animal?
If it is just to simply "kill" an animal and be "Successful" then it is my opinion that they are missing the point of hunting
I never had a client who left the head and cape behind. I had several who had no use for the meat, which always kinda disappointed me. I never let it go to waste, but it did get old dealing with it during a busy and hectic season.
Why dont you tell us some more guide stories boubound?
You seem to be doing well as a client. The times when I’ve been let down by clients is when they show up and expect that just because they are paying to hunt that it’s going to be canned. Even with a guide and local expertise it’s still hunting. Clients that kept a positive attitude and worked hard were the best clients.
I also had to learn that some people just can’t be pleased. The food isn’t good, the quality of animals is never enough, the guide made them walk to far, etc...
Good luck on the next one and it sounds like your outfitter is planning on making it right!
Here's a somewhat related question to the guides out there. Do you take guided hunts yourself, too? I've never desired to, because figuring things out myself is half the fun for me. A guided hunt would be akin to kissing my sister. How about you?
Besides guiding over 200 days/year I go on guided hunts every year as the client. I think I’ve never been on a hunt as the customer where I didn’t learn something TO do or NOT TO do. I find it a little odd that a guide would not hire a guide...it is a bit like a union member telling us we should hire union workers because they are the best and most reliable but then hire non union workers to put in their new bathroom because they’re cheaper. Another great reason I hire guides to take me hunting is that they maximize my time off so I can make the most of the hunting part of the trip and enjoy the fun of hunting during my valuable time away from home/family/business. My career is at the point where my time is more precious than my money.
I expect my "clients"/hunters to have their act together. If I'm going to work my but off for them, I expect them to meet me half way...
you paid for a hunt and wanted to be the best client? sounded like you were the perfect client. you prolly worked your ass off, saved money, got in shape and hunted hard and you got stuck with a D bag. and your wanting to be the perfect client? maybe try and be the best consumer and demand you get what you paid for. if the guide was a complete A hole why not address that issue right away with the outfitter?? theres too much competition out there to have to settle for that kind of bs. glad the outfitter was a stand up guy. hope this time around things will be different...but that will be dependent on you being the best consumer and not tolerating bs like you did. good luck, report back on the hunt
" I find it a little odd that a guide would not hire a guide.."
That's why I asked the question. I actually find it a bit odd too, but I've resolved it. I was just looking for other perspectives.
I've been the guide and I've been on quite a few guided hunts. The best feeling in the world while hunting is when you go into unfamiliar territory on your own and come home successful. I hated the feeling I got after shooting an animal on an "easy" guided hunt. I was on one in Canada once that ended awesome because I shot a nice buck the last 5 minutes after I had hunted hard for several days with minimal assistance from the guide at my request.
I was an outfitter and guided a bunch before and after that. The guide/client relationship is just like a business relationship, coworker, spouse, mechanic, mother-in-law, etc. Be honest, communicate, don't be afraid to ask anything or express a thought but also be prepared for a reasonable answer or reaction. Treat others with kindness and don't be quick to judge people by their worst moment. Focus on solutions instead of fixating on problems.
Grey Ghost - Just this past winter I went on my first ever guided hunt and it was a cougar hunt. I have nothing against guided hunts, just with being low 30's with a family, I don't have a lot of extra capital to go on all the hunts that I want to. I want to do a MTN Caribou, Alaskan Moose, Gator, Dall Sheep, Stone Sheep, Desert Sheep, MTN Goat, and Muskox. This winter I hunted 32 days before getting my cougar. I made sure that I helped as much as I could with the hunt as possible. I was up driving roads at 3 am, I bought meals for the crew, kept a positive attitude, praised their hard work, praised the dogs, and kept on smiling. I knew that with how hard they were working that it would all come together eventually. This year in Alberta, the cat conditions were far below ideal. I also knew that if they could change the conditions they would. I had an AMAZING time and learnt a ton. I'm sure I asked too many questions but I asked them because I was very interested in what all goes into being a houndsmen. I wasn't asking because I want to do it on my own, I was asking because I knew nothing and was so intrigued by what these guys do for a living. It was an amazing experience that I will never forget and it really changed my life forever in the best way possible.
Sometimes the logistics and expense of fly or shipping meat is the reason guys donate. Particularly when you still have two months of whitetail season at home. Nothing wrong with that as long as it is not wasted.
"Sometimes the logistics and expense of fly or shipping meat is the reason guys donate. Particularly when you still have two months of whitetail season at home. Nothing wrong with that as long as it is not wasted."
Absolutely nothing wrong with it, unless you're the guy hauling the meat to and from the processor, then to wherever it's being donated, on your own dime. Not all of us have places nearby that take whole carcasses. Handling the meat that clients left behind took up a significant amount of our time, when I was outfitting.
Nothing wrong with that meaning nothing ethically wrong with it. It’s not on the outfitters dime, or it shouldn’t be. The time and effort is covered at the hunters expense. It’s cheaper than flying home a whole butchered elk, especially when you still have deer tags to fill.
Good point, BC. What you intend to do with the meat is something everyone should have on their "What to ask the outfitter before booking" list. Sometimes I've had to pay a processing fee, and sometimes the outfitter simply says, "No worries; we already have a list of folks more than happy to take the meat."
Exactly, always discuss with your outfitter before you fill your tag.
Sounds like you were an excellent client. I have had lots of good and lots of not so good clients. As long as someone is honest about their expectations, experience, fitness and tries their hardest I usually get along fine. I always encourage hunters to be part of the hunt and not just blindly follow along. I like it when hunters ask questions and I often ask their opinion on the situation on what they they think we should do. Sometimes they have no idea, but occasionally I have changed tactics on the hunters recommendation. I want it to be a collaboration between us as much as possible. Of course some guys don't have much experience and you have to make all the decisions, but I enjoy it more and feel it's better for both when you feel like partners on the hunt. I have never been on a guided hunt. I don't really object to the idea, especially if it's a species I've never hunted, but I do like to try and figure things out on my own. Main reason is I've never had the time or money. Think I will have more time in the coming years, not so sure about the money.
I guide whitetail hunters so it’s not quite the same. The hunters I prefer are the ones that trust the guide to put them where they need to be. Don’t complain about the weather, stand type, animal sightings, etc. I’ll give the hunter what they want as they are paying but I have had guys that would rather move to a Cadillac blind that doesn’t see deer than sit in the elements and have good opportunities. I’ve also had hunters that want to be seeing 20 animals without much of an opportunity for a mature animal instead of setting the stand where you’ll only see 3-4 animals but most likely see a mature buck. Most hunters are good and listen to the guide but some guys are just a pita when the don’t kill the first day. Don’t be that guy! Sounds like you just drew the short straw as far as guides. I would however question the outfitter that hires guides like that.
Fuzz, if you were not recognizably "a good client," the outfitter would not have extended the discounted hunt offer.
I've been the hunter, along with my wife. Now I might be the guide and got the nicest compliment I could think of last week. The outfitter's daughter got married, we volunteered to help with the reception (got to play bartender - very interesting view from the other side of the bar!). Anyway, wife and I have hunted twice with this outfitter, both guides we've had were there. While chatting they simply told me "hopefully you get people like you and your wife as clients - makes it easy to guide"
So what do we do, as clients: - Talk, clearly about what we want and don't want (was antelope/mulie hunt).
- Came in shape, ready to put on mile+ stalks
- Realistic views of our ability with our rifles - can also read that as we practiced
- Helped once an animal was down
- Could chat about a variety of topics between the two of us :-)
- Asked questions and learned, especially about judging antelope!
Basically just be friendly!