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How to book a hunt
Contributors to this thread:
DonVathome 06-Jan-23
Dale06 06-Jan-23
wisconsinteacher 06-Jan-23
Charlie Rehor 06-Jan-23
Oryx35 07-Jan-23
TravisScott 07-Jan-23
DonVathome 08-Jan-23
Franzen 08-Jan-23
Oryx35 09-Jan-23
t-roy 09-Jan-23
pahoyt 09-Jan-23
wytex 09-Jan-23
DonVathome 10-Jan-23
Nick Muche 10-Jan-23
MA-PAdeerslayer 10-Jan-23
Nick Muche 10-Jan-23
Smtn10PT 11-Jan-23
Bou’bound 11-Jan-23
smarba 11-Jan-23
Quinn @work 11-Jan-23
Nick Muche 11-Jan-23
iceman 11-Jan-23
From: DonVathome
Generally speaking how far our are hunts booked? What states are hunts likely to be scheduled? I understand that certain weather is required to hunt mnt lions. I would like to do a mnt lion hunt if I do not draw any other good tags. I do not need to schedule it - I am available to hunt most of the time. I am trying to get a feel for what I need to do and when - and what states I should look at. I do not want to go to Canada. Are there states where I need to buy my tag months before the hunt?

I do not need a B&C - but I do want a nice lion. Ideally I would decide in summer if I was going, after most rocky mnt state draw results are out.

Some easy to access units and states have quotas and some areas get pounded. So in some areas and states it’s already late for this year. It’s important to get a feel for how many locals and other houndsman will be in the same area as your outfitter.

Guys with more knowledge will weigh in I’m sure.

From: Dale06
There’s no easy answer to the OPs question. I will say in most cases, the better hunts are usually booked several years out. And if a hunt has openings just several months before the hunt, proceed cautiously.

I booked my dates 2 years out. I would contact a few guides and see if you can get on a call list or put money down for a hunt next year. I know the guide I went with was looking for a hunter and had to make a few phone calls to fill the week after me due to someone changing dates.

Check with t-Roy on Iowa opportunities. He’s “the man” for big cats in Iowa.

From: Oryx35
In New Mexico, hunts can definitely be booked late summer. Licenses can be purchased online and need to be bought at least 2 days before hunting. Of course the best hunting is on snow, but there are certainly guides down this way that can run dogs on dry ground. If your schedule is flexible you might consider an on-call hunt to better align favorable conditions.

I'm currently working with Lazy D Hounds for an on-call hunt a couple of hours from my house. Casey runs hounds year round. New Mexico is on a quota system, but the area he hunts hasn't even come close to closing since I started paying attention a couple of years ago.

From: TravisScott
Nevada and Idaho are no quota states. Most outfitters there prefer on call clients that can hop on a plane with a weeks notice as they see weather coming in but a lot of them will work with a fixed schedule as well. On average, I’d say you can get booked for the same year hunt if you are flexible. Otherwise you may be looking at a two year booking.

From: DonVathome
Thanks guys this answers a lot of my questions! I did not even know that Iowa had cats? This would be for next year at the earliest. I don't mind booking a guy a year or two in advance but I don't want to screw him and cancel if I draw several good tags that summer. That's kind of what I'm trying to feel out. I I'm also curious how they can book people years in advance but need certain conditions to hunt. Obviously I would guess that they would book the hunters they think they can handle and not over hunt and then hope for the best with weather?

From: Franzen
Iowa probably has about 5-10 mt. lions at a given time... but the tag is free.

From: Oryx35
The best houndsmen don't need particular conditions to hunt, but it can increase the odds of connecting significantly. For the most part the weather conditions have to do with finding tracks to let the dogs out on versus free casting with dogs trying to find a track. It also impacts how long the scent holds. Cats tend to leave a lot less of a scent trail when compared to bears. In the end, it's probably not all that different then any other mountain hunt where weather plays a significant role.

In my experience, the guys regularly running dogs have a better pulse on the population than anyone else. They definitely keep tabs and are selective with female harvest to manage the population.

From: t-roy
The quota has already been filled in our area, Charlie. ;-)

From: pahoyt
I would consider Back 30 Outfitters in Idaho. I believe they are booked 2 years out now. When I booked with them, I just picked a week that worked for me and my hunting buddy. We booked 1 year in advance, and we were both successful. Hope this helps.

From: wytex
Shaymus Wyman in Laramie has great dogs and takes some nice cats. Quota system here but tags are OTC. Arizona has some big cats too judging from what gets posted, Utah as well.

From: DonVathome
Thanks guys, this is for at 1-3 years away.

From: Nick Muche
Such a challenge to book a hunt these days. Imagine if there was a huge directory of all sorts of things that you could search for what you wanted then reach out to them individually, explain one’s situation and desires, ask questions, ask for references, etc. Then they could respond back with what they’re able to do to accommodate a person. If only something like that existed.

You mean something like an internet messaging system Nick? Could make good money making something like that.

From: Nick Muche
I was thinking Google or similar. The hunter could search for something as simple as “Guided Mountain Lion hunts” or even something more challenging like “How to Peel a Potato”. Ideally, after typing that in, an enormous amount of results would pop up. Then the hunter, or potato peeler could contact a few of the links and ask questions directly to them about their unique situation. I’ve found most potato peeling websites do not offer left handed instructions, so if you’re a southpaw please be advised you’ll have to reverse the directions. Anyhow, we may be a few years from something like this being available.

Also, I found a list of questions a hunter could ask, assuming this searching system is ever created and utilized. This list is not all encompassing, you may need to add a few dozen questions depending on your situation.

Name of outfitter:___________________ Phone number________________ Year_________ Game________________ State______________ Price___________


How many years have you been guiding (in business)?

How many guides do you have and how long have they been guiding?

How many hunters do you take each year? Will this be a 1 on 1 hunt?

How many hunters have been in the area before we will be there?

What unit do you hunt? Will we be hunting public or private ground?

Is there a minimum size for game to be taken?

What is your success rate of game taken and opportunities?

How many legal game animals should I expect to see on the hunt?

How many opportunities would you expect me to get?

What is the average size/age of game you take? What is the trophy quality? Did these trophies come from the area I will be hunting? What animals do you specialize in?

Do you bowhunt? Do you take clients that bowhunt? How often?

What optics do you use?

Do you use horses, planes, cars, ATV’s or boats to get to hunting areas?

Do you have a reference list with unsuccessful hunters on it?

How is what base camp is used chosen? What type of accommodations are there?

Do you have several different locations to hunt in case one is not good?

Will camp be moved if game is not located?

If required will you spend a night on the mountain to continue after game?

Is there any other game I might be able to hunt at the same time?

Is there fishing?

How do you hunt? (ie call, glass, tree stands stalk etc)

How often, when and how do you preseason scout? Has the area been scouted by my guide?

How large is the hunting area and what is the elevation?

What can expect as far as competition from other hunters?

How will our guide be determined?

Do the guides live and hunt this area year round?

If the hunt ends early what do we do?

How is game transported to camp?

How many repeat customers do you have (percentage)?

How much of the day do you hunt?

Will you take care of meat & capes, and prepare a head to take to a taxidermist? How is meat cared for?

Is there a practice range at camp?

What is the best time of year to hunt?

Do you call or use bait?

Do you track wounded game at night?

Are you fully licensed? (Lacey act)


What does this hunt cost? What is the payment schedule?

What are the additional (hidden) costs (license, airfare, meat, capes etc)?

Can you sell me the license or do I need to find a place to purchase it?

Is there a refund policy?

What is not included with the hunt?

Do you pick us up from the aiport?

Is there a trophy fee or harvest fee, cost to get meat out etc?

Can you take care of caping and shipping meat, cape and horns home?

How long is the hunt? Does this include time getting to camp?

Is that hunting time or total time without transportation?

Is this a 1:2 or 1:1 hunt?

Can extra days be added?

What is your cancellation policy?

What type of food will we eat?

What is the biggest problem you see with your hunters?

What is your wounding policy?

What if something beyond both of our control happens to cancel the hunt?

Sheep Questions:

How experienced are your pilots?

What happens of bad weather delays a hunt?

Will we be hunting from main camps, spike camps or wherever the game is?

What do you think of 2:1 hunts?

How many hunters will be there before me and how many sheep will you take out of your area?

From: Smtn10PT
That seems like a lot of questions

From: Bou’bound
The only question I would add to that list would be applicable to an outfitter who bothered to answer the ones above. In that case I would inquire as to “ why are you so desperate for clients that you took the time to answer all my prior questions.”

From: smarba

Yes, Google is a great resource and I use it a lot and realize everything ever posted online has to be true.....Too bad there isn't another resource online that is specifically dedicated to bowhunters, where other bowhunters could reach out and ask other bowhunters who have a great deal of personal experience with topics of similar interest....OH YA, WE CAN DO THAT ON BOWSITE!

From: Quinn @work
Great list of questions Nick but I was hoping for questions to ask a potato peeler vendor? Do you have any? :)

From: Nick Muche
I cannot take credit for that list, I found it somewhere on here.

From: iceman
LMAO @ Nick. Way to bring it around full circle. :)

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