Contributors to this thread:
Outfitters hunting same land as customer
What is everyone’s thoughts of an outfitter Personally killing the largest animal in the area. While still having hunters booked for same area.
When a customer askes the guide, " Do you know how to get it done" and guide produces proof of accreditation, picture of trophy, no problem!!! Just not while hunters are actively hunting area.
I go to work and hunt. He goes to work and likes to hunt too. I see no problem with it.
Your an idiot, wait you are an idiot, no no wait you're an idiot. Oops you would think I would learn my lesson.
Personally no way I'm paying to hunt while the outfitter is hunting same land or any land. That is just bad business all the way around. But I have learned that folks don't always think the same as me.
Depends on the species and the characteristics of the land involved, but in general, no. I'd have no problem with, say, an outfitter that has rights to a vast area for mountain goats in BC hunting some of the more difficult to reach areas where they'd be unlikely to take clients and them shooting a world record. If it was a whitetail outfitter who kept clients out of an area where they knew there was a big buck, I'd probably feel a bit differently - just depends what kind of opportunities and success they're having on the rest of their property.
LOL that's about as big of a conflict of interest as they come. Bigtime No-no. Only caviat to that I would say is if it's something like caribou, or water buffalo or something where there are tons of different animals. It's not like a whitetail or an elk where you have small numbers of specific animals.
Expecting an outfitter not to hunt is....shameful. Should an outfitter be discreet and not hunt the same property as a client, sure. I’m sure if an outfitter wasn’t a hunter first he wouldn’t become an outfitter. I wouldn’t expect him to quit hunting once he has a title. The outfitters I know advertise an opportunity at a 140-150” deer with a possibility of something bigger. Why would I care if the outfitter shoots a 190”er. I seam to be reading a lot of that entitlement mentality that comes with to many guided hunters. Those same hunters are probably the same ones that expect a plethora of big deer walking in front of them every day when they are paying for a 140”.
It’s unethical as heck if he’s selling it as a trophy hunt. I’d take it one step further and say if he shoots the biggest AFTER the clients are full it’s just as bad because that buck, Bull or Boar he killed will be one more that won’t be there NEXT YEAR. My experience is that most people don’t worry about NEXT year until NEXT year. Conservation is as much an art as a science and heavily misunderstood. Protecting animals after the hunters are tagged out is extremely important to produce toads. Outfitters that practice good conservation on land they don’t own is a precious commodity. It’s a HUGE value to hunt with an outfitter that does and worth a HUGE premium.
This is touchy.. If he advertising that he got this for you to hunt and your paying $$$. I would say no. I would feel he's more for himself than his client if he's hunting the same area. I think he's using your money and time to scout for himself. I would also thing if there's a 180 whitetail in a area and he's planning on hunt, I would say he's not taking his paying customers to this local. Ed
Old Fuzzy Barton had an entire roof truss in his shop lined up with spike bull antlers. He was an old geezer at the time and the filters had come off any comments he had for us. So I asked. What the heck is with all the spikes. His response was golden. "I worked many a year guiding for Silvertip outfitters in the Bob Marshall wilderness. The outfitter would not let us shoot an animal in that district while employed by him. So I shot a spike bull every year while packing out camp, showed that grumpy old @#$@"
He had more stories than a person could imagine. Had I been old enough to understand the impact he had I would have asked to write his stories down. They were all embellished, but funny as heck. The old fart had seen and done many things (legal and illegal) by his account when Montana was young.
Hmmm...I could see different perspectives here. It so happens that I experienced this a couple of years ago...sort of. A little background...I was on a western, guided hunt that did not end successfully for anyone in our camp, so by the end of the week all of us were a little down about that, but no melt downs, no finger pointing, etc.
However, as we were traveling back into the nearest town I overheard a conversation between two of the guides and they were talking about returning the next week to hunt themselves. OK, no biggie in my mind...but then one of them said something to the effect that they deliberately didn't go into a given area with us so as to preserve it for them the next week.
I thought that crossed a line IMO. I never said anything to anyone about it, our hunt was over...but it did kind of stick out to me at the time as "not cool". (I had already tipped these two dudes pretty well too...oh well.) I never really thought much more about it until I read this post FWIW.
To clarify, my question pertained to animals such as deer and Elk on private land. Not nomadic animals that may never be seen again. I read an article that had focus on the outfitter killing a huge Mule deer I think I would be upset if I paid and showed up to see a 230” deer skull laying there.
No issue here, guides can be hunters too.
Altitude sick, I agree. Where I hunt muleys on the plains, there are only a finite number of mature bucks on any ranch, no matter how big. Rifle hunting for them can be like stealing because they are so visible. If I had just paid $8000 for a hunt, showed up, and the outfitter had the rack of a 190 typical HE had killed earlier, I'd feel a whole lot different than if a paying client had killed it.
Definitely can't "blanket" this with one answer for every situation.
For deer/elk in the lower 48 on private land, I think the answer is an obvious "no". For Canada and Alaska, I think it's crazy to think the outfitter should not hunt his own zone. Two very different answers to two very different situations.
An old outfitter buddy of mine would hunt and allow guides to hunt if there was time between paid hunts or after the last customer of the season but NOT in the same areas that were guided. Always felt that was a fair deal all the way around.
I would not like to find out that the outfitter killed a big bull or buck in the same area I paid him to hunt before or during my time there. Bad business in my book
I knew a caribou guide that got his @$$ chewed out because he took a nice one after the hunters were tagged out. The outfitter said it "looked bad"...………………………...
Lets see, I work all year and save to afford a nice outfitted hunt. Let's say I'm paying 7 k for a elk hunt. I come into camp successful with a 5x5 and a smile, only to see the outfitter himself with a 6x7 ? I would be pissed, Isn't it the duty of the outfitter to put his clients first? Shouldn't he have contacted the guide and say bring client to this spot for a chance at the big one? Safe to say I would never hunt with that outfit again. No class in the outfitter, that's for sure.
You show me an outfitter that doesn’t hunt and I’ll show you a client that’s had the wool pulled over his eyes.
Is suppose as a client you’d want to see such prove of his knowledge of his properties? Right?
The question isn't "do outfitters hunt?" Of course outfitters hunt. They just shouldn't be doing it on the same land, during the same time as paying customers.
We only outfit for bear I wouldn’t kill a giant I would rather a client get him,
Most outfitters I know would never hunt when they have clients in camp. I know we never did. If we did any hunting at all, it was AFTER our last clients were gone. By that time, we were usually burnt out, and hunting was the last thing we wanted to do.
That said, if you think most outfitters don't cherry-pick areas and animals for specific clients, you're fooling yourself. It happens all the time. In fact, that's one of the reasons I got out of the business. My partner constantly saved the best hunt times, areas, and animals for certain "preferred" clients. I felt that was unethical, and we nearly came to blows over it several times. In hindsight, outfitting is a pretty sleazy business, IMO.
"outfitting is a pretty sleazy business" LMAO. Anything is a sleazy business if the owner makes it that way. If he doesn't, it isn't.
"You show me an outfitter that doesn’t hunt and I’ll show you a client that’s had the wool pulled over his eyes. " Actually a lot of outfitters are tired of hunting when they are done with clients, but for those that love to hunt still I would fully expect them to. Just not where it would have any impact on paying customers' hunts. For example in Manitoba outfitters have allocations. They can only outfit in a certain area. That give them the other 95% of the province to hunt personally.
Even as a fishing guide I was not allowed to fish while the client was fishing. What if I catch the giant? That was a fish the client is paying for a crack at. Makes perfect sense
Everything about that makes sense APauls. I’ve never advocated the outfitter or guide shooting the biggest deer on the same ranch he has all his clients and bringing it back to the lodge to show how good of an outfitter he is. I get that some outfitters lose the desire to hunt for themselves and care more about making money but at some point that same outfitter was likely hunting animals that he guided for. As others have said even if the outfitter shoots a smaller animal, he’s dipping into the same pool. I’m mostly referring to whitetails and I don’t know of any outfitting allotments in the Midwest US. I could get licensed in Oklahoma, Kansas and Missouri and kill the biggest deer in each state on my leases. I probably wouldn’t because as you refer to I’ve lost the desire for whitetails. If I did do that my clients/guides wouldn’t know about it and the mounts wouldn’t be in the lodge. I don’t think an outfitter should flaunt it or shoot one from underneath a client but what’s wrong with an outfitter cherry picking his stand to hunt a week that no one is hunting. I guess a whitetail guide in the Midwest can only hunt elk or he’s screwing his clients?
Whatever else it is, an outfitter letting clients find out he is hunting the same area as them is very dumb. To let them know he is killing bigger animals than them is even dumber.
Interesting issue. I have some experience in this area. Few years ago, I went on a guided bowhunt for whitetails. Guide put me in a tree stand. And then he went several hundred yards away and sat in another tree stand. He arrowed a 170” buck that evening. I saw nothing. And I hunted for four more days and never got a shot at a deer and never saw one that would score 100”. Do you think I was happy.
I have guided with quite a few outfits on private land and in no case have guides been allowed to hunt on the property. In most cases guides can hunt on adjacent public ground, but only if the outfitter doesn't have BLM or Forest Service permits, so you are never hunting areas the clients have paid to hunt. As some have mentioned a lot of guys want to rest between hunts, but I live to hunt and usually head for the public between hunts. I've killed quite a few bulls this way.
As I fly fishing outfitter I usually carry a rod. Sometimes I'll make a few demo casts or fish a spot after the client has already gone through using a different technique in an attempt to figure out what's working. I lot of times guys will ask the guide to make a few casts. People get tired and often enjoy watching a more accomplished fisherman fish. It's different than hunting as you aren't putting all your effort into finding one animal. We usually catch a lot of fish and there's normally plenty of action for all, but you still have to be careful not to put yourself ahead of the client. It's got to be about them in hunting or fishing.
My feeling is he is a hunter just like me. As long as he was up front with me and said "Hey we have a giant running around this farm and if you don't mind I am gonna try and kill him and give you a chance as well"!! I would be ok with it, ecsp big whitetails cause it ain't that easy for anyone to kill true giants, luck does come into play. Unless of course he is hunting over bait like they do in spots in Canada and several states here. Shawn
+1 Brun, especially with flyvfishing. When I guided if I was catching fish and the sports weren't, I'd immediately stop and work with them more. But as you know, with technical presentations sometimes they just couldn't figure out the nuances. A number of times I've had them tell me to keep fishing so they could watch. But thats different from guiding hunters.
When I guided rifle elk hunters on a ranch where we were allowed to bowhunt (the outfitter didn't guide bowhunters so the ranch owner let us hunt), the outfitter REALLY didn't want us to tell the clients what size of bulls we'd killed, mostly because he didn't want them holding out for big bulls. Instead, he wanted them to shoot the first legal bull and get out of the woods.
I’ve developed a great friendship with my Kansas outfitter. Last year I hunted alone the last week of the season. Kent and his son refused to hunt until I tagged out. I really wanted them to, they refused.
As long as it’s understood between both parties then I don’t see that much of a problem. But they should never be anywhere near their client. Better yet, a completely different farm.
There is a whitetail outfitter by us in Ohio that hunts mostly over bait aided by cameras. His daughter often shoots the biggest buck of the season. This year she shot a huge buck, he shot a huge buck and his brother shot a nice buck. I think that they shot 2 of the top 3 bucks of the year. Due to the quantity of bucks they take the quality and number of bucks his increasing number of hunters take is dropping. He outfits in one of the best areas in Ohio so he seems to attract enough clients. Over the years and in the early years they have taken some huge bucks. I notice that the harvest dates do not seem to be a prominent on his website.
I guide on a 12000 acre private ranch for elk and we see different elk everyday in different areas. Some elk show up later in the bow season when the rut kicks in . The elk often leave our property to bed elsewhere. If the outfitter wants to hunt a particular day he just goes to the other side of the ranch from where we plan on hunting. He hasn’t killed an elk during archery season the last five years that I have been there. With whitetail hunting I could see a major conflict.
The choices we make define us. So a guide or outfitter who kills trophy class critters in their guide area just shows me where his/her priorities are. The messaging in that case is bad for business. If, however, they are hunting within best management practices, that is good and actually a credit to the outfit.
This is one of the reasons I was soured to guided hunts. One particular hunt I went on in Pike Co. IL had a very impressive web page showing some very impressive trophies.
It wasn't until I went on the hunt and met a lot of the guides and the owners family that I realized that quite a few of the trophy pics on the website were actually killed by them.
When I was told that when guide dropped you off at a stand, they quite often went and hunted another stand on the same farm, and that was part of their deal with the outfitters, that just didn't sit well with me.
No thanks, I just hunt the scrubby bucks at my own camp now.
Let the best hunter win the spoils of war. Some people are better at having others do things for them. Some people are better doing things for themselves.
IMO, if an outfitter has time to hunt while he has clients in camp, he should be guiding, instead of paying for a guide, or he should be scouting for his paying clients. I just can't fathom an outfitter who would hunt while he has clients to attend to.
My brother and I went out to Missouri for a whitetail hunt , my brother saw a good deer 2 mornings in a row and asked if we could move the stand . The outfitter refused then one of his guides went out and moved the stand and hunted that buck for the remainder of our hunt !! All the customers in camp left early to go home and will never hunt with Sam the Sham Again ! Sadly I did not know about bowsite then , after we got home I checked out the outfitter reviews and he had nothing but poor reviews . Live and learn I guess !!!!!!
Every outfitter and area they hunt in will be different from other outfitters so this highly depends on those factors. I'm a hunter, guide and outfitter. The reason I got into outfitting was I loved hunting and working outdoors so what better way to do that than buy an outfitting business. Last spring after all my clients were tagged out and had left camp I decided that after I picked a few stands up I'd sit at the last bait which was right close to camp. I had one evening to sit so I had my guide that I was still paying to drop me off and pick me up at dark. So I grabbed the SD card and climbed into the stand. I checked the card and the target bear that we were after hadn't showed up in the last three days. No biggie I just wanted to sit and watch the bears and if a decent boar showed up I'd shoot it. Guess who showed up 4 hours into the sit. I let the arrow fly and now had a freezer full of meat. I didn't choose to hunt that stand because of just this bear. I picked it cause it was close to camp and was the last stand to pick up that day. I had hunters in this stand multiple times over the 4 weeks of hunting with only one sighting of the bear. I sat 4 hours and killed it. This was the biggest bear that we have ever harvested. (Not heaviest) but in skull size. Yes it was luck--Yes I was disappointed that a hunter never got to kill him. But in the end I'm a bear hunter like the rest of them and I will continue to hunt along with my daughters as well. I would like other outfitters to share their idea on this topic. I know their will be guys and gals that are ok with it and others that won't be . We have a very healthy population of bears in our area and it's always getting better so I have no problem killing a bear every 2nd or 3rd year.
Hunted the same outfitter in Colorado for several years. I passed on a few 200 class elk. However, The co-owner & one of his guides both killed elk in the low 300 class. I never saw a client kill an elk in the 300 class. My fault for hunting with this outfitter more than once....
This is a tricky one as it depends on so many variables . . . It the outfitter for example has a large buck ( Whitetail or Muley ) located & patterned in his area & intentionally does not put clients on that buck so that he can hunt it, I would say that outfitter was not one I would want to hunt with. On the other hand, if that buck was on property that the outfitter could hunt but not put a client on ( not leased, etc. ) it would be an entirely different situation.
Plum lake, your situation is fine, IMO, because you hunted after all your clients left. That's the normal MO here in elk country. If you had been hunting while your clients were there, different story. If you killed the biggest bear around before your clients arrived, that's your choice, but probably a good idea to not flaunt it in front of your hunters like Altitude Sick described in his OP.
I always felt my outfitter was facilitating my hunt, oftentimes required in Alaska and Africa for certain game. I never felt I was simply " buying a trophy " and was owed the opportunity for my expense.
Lou, My OP was aboit a magazine article
a prominent mule deer guide service.
This owner has been covered many times often times shooting the largest deer of the season. Even if I was slotted to hunt the following year I might think that is one more 200+” deer that will definitely not be around for me to hunt. I don’t care where you hunt there just aren’t many 200” deer around.
And yes it could get struck by lightning or hit by a car.
But If I paid a lot of money. Waited my turn for 2-3 years. And the owner is taking a 200” deer out of area every year.
I think I would book somewhere else.
Somewhere that leaves that one more deer for the paying customers.
I don’t begrudge him for wanting to kill a big deer.
It’s probably why he started guiding years earlier. To have a place to hunt for himself.
But all else being equal I would book somewhere else.
Hunted with Black Elk Outfitters once and that very thing happened to us...told the guy running the camp where we had the drop on a nice little herd and went off after them. As we were moving in we hear shots, only to see him and some gal friend of his tossing lead from the ridgetop. Blew the element of surprise, but as it turned out Karma was on our side and the outfitter was the only one that didn't score! He was sure miffed hauling out all our elk, but probably not near as miffed as when he didn't get a tip!!! I guess you know my answer on the subject..
There's an easy solution to all of this...quit hiring outfitters. They are ruining the sport for young and average Joe hunters, anyway. Without clients, outfitters will stop leasing up all the best land, and they will find something else to do. We could get back to the good ol' days when a hunter could get private access with a friendly handshake, or by helping the landowner out with chores.
I know that ship has already sailed, but I sure wish it would sink.
Make take on this from mostly the outfitter side is I would never hunt while I had hunters,on land that I would guide on. My situation is that I do RealEstate and Farm management work the rest of the year. Due to this I have farms that I am personally allowed to hunt but not guide clients. This takes away the problem of competing for a finite resource. The other problem is during the 3 weeks that I would be guiding Bowhunter there is way to much going on to even consider hunting myself. Have had some fun over the years with a few groups of repeat clients that Insist on me hunting I always let them pick my spot or the property.
If the Outfitter is hunting while the client is hunting the same property I don’t think that is right.
If the Outfitter is hunting the property when there is no clients there, I think that is ok.
I hunted geese one day with an outfitter that let the 12 hunters sit all day without a shot fired. 15 minutes of quitting time a large flock (300) birds come in and circle, everyone is waiting for the signal buzzer to go off and nothing. Walking out of the field his explanation was He didn't want to spook that many birds that late in the day so they would come back the next morning and his next group would get some shooting. Not one tip that day!
Happens every year on a consistent basis. David Westmoreland, owner of Prairie Land Outfitters in KS and MO shoots a booner every year. I have yet to see a client do the same in the 9 years I was his acquaintance/neighbor.
Well, this has been an interesting read through, sounds like there are some pretty sleazy guys out there. There are also some excellent guys! I will take this post to give a plug for Manitoba bow hunts a.k.a. stickflingers. I’ll be up there in June and have been very impressed with this outfit. He has some openings this year on a new area for those interested
You can say your paying for services, but the emotion of it dictates you are paying for their loyalty and their duty is to you as the paying client. Pretty simple answer. No.
Also, Who in their right mind would pay to hunt Whitetail deer! That’s nuts...as soon as people realize that it will be much more affordable too
Any time you see the same guide(s) in solitary pics with animals on their website year over year, you should immediately ask the outfitter about that. I don’t ever want to hunt with a guide that is posting pics of the animals they killed. The hunts are for their clients not for them.
Why is a paid deer hunt nuts. Some guys don’t have access to good deer or can’t use the tactics they prefer at home. Is a CT guy hunting deer in one of the Whitetail Mecca’s any different than hunting musk ox in the arctic. If what you seek does not exist at home you gotta go to it.
Agree with the comment about outfitters giving the TV guys the best locations. I know at least one former bear outfitter who did that, saw it first hand.
Makes me laugh they think the other hunters are dumb enough to believe those guys didn't get preferential treatment when they killed bears and at least half of the others in camp didn't even see one. Makes me laugh even harder all the guys who believe the outfitter's baloney.
2019 Father and Daughter from Colorado during our October Doe only hunt.
2019 Father and Daughter from Colorado during our October Doe only hunt.
Last year the last hunter I guided at our wyoming pronghorn camp was my wife/best friend of 30 years. Between the two of us we took 4 pronghorn does. In 2019 we had 18 hunters take 24 pronghorn. Of the 24 pronghorn only 8 were bucks, 50% of which were P&Y class. We meet our managment goal for total number of pronghorn taken while keeping the pressure low on the bucks. Our goal is to get the number of P&Y class bucks up to 75% or better. We only allowed hunting for does in october. Our goal was to raise the age class of the bucks on the ranch by one year. There are some very good bucks on the ranch we just want our clients to see more of them. With our current management plan the buck hunting should keep getting better and better. We can't wait to see how our hunters do this year! I see nothing wrong with an outfitter hunting, to meet their management goals, after all of his clients are taken care of and on their way home.
A lot of comments saying its ok for guides to hunt when hunters are not in camp. I don't agree. (this is regarding whitetail deer) Every time a stand is hunted the local deer get a little more educated. Even if the guides do not take a deer from the stand they are reducing the chances for the next paying hunter that sits that stand. Guides are being paid to guide, not hunt.
I thought that was the whole point of outfitting. When there are no hunters left in camp, it's time to take your kids, wife or friends out on the ranch you don't own and enjoy it. That's what happens out here in Wyoming on most of the ranches I know are leased to outfitting. It's called getting your cake and eating it too.
It is entirely dependent on the species you’re hunting and the location.
Absolutely unacceptable !!!!
No way I accept an outfitter or any of the guides should be hunting a tag on property that is open for clients who also have an unfilled tag. How can an outfitter or guide justify being part of the competition to the client having a successful hunt? If you think this is okay then let me know when and where you are headed on your honeymoon. You don't mind a little competition, right?
Two well respected outfitters here answered "no". Says a lot about their ethics in general and no doubt why they are respected.
Unacceptable. Now if it was a once-in-a-lifetime tag like a sheep or something and they had to draw it with poor odds, I wouldn't have an issue with an outfitter hunting one of his units. However, the client should always come first.
May as well kill the big bucks before EHD does!
I only guide a handful of guys a year(4) for Whitetail’s. I have and will continue to hunt the same property as my clients but never while they are here. Thankfully I have had the same clients coming for the last 8 years. Over the years I consistently kill the biggest deer on the farm but all the clients have had an opportunity to kill them. We were chasing a giant buck one year and a client was eating a PBJ sandwich when he walked by and missed his golden opportunity at a booner! I killed him the following year but he shouldn’t have been around. Nearly every buck I’ve killed could have been killed by a client but somehow they always escaped. Another year a client was hunting the same treestands multiple days in a row targeting one buck, after his 7 days were up, I killed him 2 days later out of the same stand. I’ve only killed one buck while a client was in camp and that was on land that weren’t able to access over 15 years ago.
I think it shows poor judgement and should negatively effect his business.
This brings up a similar concern that I think deserves some discussion. I've noticed that on many outfitter websites, particularly for whitetails, many of the biggest bucks that they have in their photo album were taken by either the outfitter, family members or guides. Personally, I think that is an unfair representation of what they are selling. I realize that many people who purchase a guided hunt, are not as accomplished or capable, to put it politely, as they should be. Which in turn, diminishes the appearance of success.
I think the most important thing to consider is "how successful are the paying customers and what size animals do they take"? Having a photo album full of huge bucks taken by guys who live there year round does not mean an out of stater with only 5 days to hunt can or should expect the same results. At the end of the hunt, the paying hunter drives away wondering why he didn't see anything like in the photo album.
My friend guides on his farm in Iowa. No way, he would not hunt it, till they are all gone. He guides about 20 clients.... When he has time for himself he goes to other lands, he can hunt. He usually gets out very late in the season...I have lots of respect for him......
Had an outfitter put me in a stand first evening of my hunt and said there was a big deer named "Tank" coming out every night in the field corner I was going to. Showed me a trailcam of the big 4x4. He told me he was going to hunt a stand in a "remote" part of the 6000 acre farm that never gets hunted. No problemo, I'm thinking. Outfitter wounds an 8 pt that evening that he never finds. End of the week, last night of my hunt, (outfitter no longer in camp) one of the guides puts me in another stand 300 yards from field corner where I sat first night. On the drop off the guide mentions that this is the stand where the outfitter shot "Tank" the first night. I'm certain the guide had no idea I was hunting for the same deer 300 yards away that same night or I'm sure he would have never mentioned that. Of course, I was totally unaware the outfitter was hunting the same deer that he put me on the first evening, as he had told me he was headed for an exploratory hunt in a remote corner of this massive property we were hunting.
So in that case, I'd say, no bueno.
On the other hand...
I've hunted for years with the same outfitter that has a tremendously loyal repeat customer base, with some guys that have been hunting with him for as many as 30 years in a row. The outfitter takes 2-4 guys a week, max, and has way more ground and way more stand locations (125+) than they could ever cover. Everyone that books knows the outfitter may very well be hunting while they are there, along with his brother, and quite possibly be after some of the same bucks, albeit on a different property (or 2) a mile or two away. But no one, not any of the guys has the slightest problem with it.
But I admit, this is a very rare circumstance and a very special deer camp.
When hunting whitetails I would be more concerned with the amount of hunters that were hunting the stands before I got there.
^^^^^Bingo.... An outfitter that hunts is likely to manage for quality better than an outfitter that only cares about money.
100% unethical on private land unless the outfitter is also the landowner...then only after the last paying customer has left.
Man, I never considered an outfitter not hunting the same land as me. If he's out hunting and killing old critters im ok with it. If he's hammering a 170 three year old whitey (or the equivalent of another critter) is where it changes for me.
I keep seeing replies that say "....outfitters are hunters too", but that's not the true nature of the question. It's where and when the outfitters does his hunting. In short, it is completely unacceptable for a outfitter, or guide, to hunt the same area as their clients - doesn't matter if it's before, or after the clients hunt.
When you pay for a hunt, you pay for : 1. Access to animals 2. The time you are allotted for the hunt. 3. The expertise of the Outfitters 4. Food/Lodging, etc.. If the outfitter is hunting the same ground you are , WHILE you are hunting.....you have the wrong Outfitter. To believe that others should not hunt the same ground that you are hunting when you are not there is crazy. Just like thinking no other client should kill an animal if you are not there is crazy. Over hunted is over hunted and most will pay a premium if they believe that pressure is consistently limited. Likewise, the hunter and the outfitter have usually determined the level of pressure before AND after the hunt, if the hunter is concerned and paying for that exclusivity. Not really that hard.
I'd assume that the outfitter has the place thoroughly scouted. A LARGE part of what I'm paying for is his scouting. If he uses that to 'skim the cream' of the property, he's shorting me.
Never been on a guided hunt. If I were to pay for a trophy deer hunt my expectation would be the outfitter does not hunt where the customers are hunting. It seems like a conflict of interest where the guide and the paying customer are after the same animals. I feel this way due to the rarity of a trophy class buck.
If it were a guided fishing trip or duck hunt... I would expect the guide to have a pole or shotgun right there with me. Just how I see it.
Always get a kick out of looking through some outfitter trophy photos at Hunting shows only to find them, family, friends and guides pictured with the biggest trophies. [huge red flag]. The story is always the same = “we only hunt after the clients all leave,” or “we hunt different properties/areas than our clients.” In either case it’s abundantly clear that clients are less than a primary consideration. Not saying all deer outfitters do this (I’ve found a few reliable ones over the years and treasure them), but the ones using clients to finance their own hunting habit are usually easy to spot. When booking a hunt, trust your gut and don’t be naive = If it sounds too good to be true, it is! If it sounds fishy, it is! And NEVER, EVER, book a hunt where the owner, guides, or their family/friends are hunting the same species within the same state or province during the same hunting year. It is an obvious conflict of interest and would be considered highly unethical or illegal in many other professions.