When booking with a outfitter
General Topic
Contributors to this thread:
Wapiti Chaser 20-Jan-23
Kydeer1 20-Jan-23
Matt 20-Jan-23
Thornton 20-Jan-23
pav 21-Jan-23
Missouribreaks 21-Jan-23
Ziek 21-Jan-23
Bou'bound 21-Jan-23
Grey Ghost 21-Jan-23
Mike Ukrainetz 21-Jan-23
caribou77 21-Jan-23
drycreek 21-Jan-23
Ollie 21-Jan-23
MPN 21-Jan-23
Sam 21-Jan-23
Buffalo1 22-Jan-23
Ambush 22-Jan-23
Blood 22-Jan-23
RK 22-Jan-23
kscowboy 22-Jan-23
Glunt@work 23-Jan-23
Blood 23-Jan-23
Buskill 23-Jan-23
Bou'bound 23-Jan-23
Mad Trapper 23-Jan-23
jconman 23-Jan-23
Ziek 23-Jan-23
Although many hunters here never do, there are many that do.

Booking with a Outfitter is a always a calculated risk.

For those that do, do you expect to harvest your animal …..


If you don’t, and the outfitter did his best under ANY condition, would you be satisfied and content?

Parting with hard earned money after months of preparation, investing in gear, time and away from family can be upsetting when you don’t attain your goal.

IMO, you must understand this going in.

Although I have never hunted with a guide I have hunted outfitters land in Canada. If you are expecting to harvest an animal you should book a high fence “hunt”

From: Kydeer1
I do guided hunts quite often now. My time is very limited with my work so I basically view it as having someone scout for me, have access to the land/resources, food plots etc. In the large number of cases you get what you pay for with opportunity, but isn't always a guarantee. Personal example: Just got back from a late season elk hunt where I saw a 310 6x7 last day and other than that it was slow. Wasn't the caliber of bull I was looking for so I passed. A 360 bull was killed same spot the next day. Just wasn't meant to be for me. Had a good time in camp though and enjoyed the experience. Contrast to: a few years ago had a terrible outfitter experience deer hunting is Saskatchewan. So bad I actually did a review here on the site just to warn people of what to expect. That hunt was a classic TV style hunt that totally caters to money and tv people. Way overhunted. Just a terrible operation all around unless you fall in that crowd. Not the place for me. That hunt I was terribly disappointed, but did learn a valuable life/outfitter lesson. Did not even see a shooter deer the entire week. Everyone else in camp was hunting a specific shooter and had encounters that week.

From: Matt
Is this a serious question? I am waiting for the punchline.

From: Thornton
I've hunted with a few outfitters, and the longer I did it, the more I was disappointed. They all lied, embellished, or put in minimal effort except one guy in Canada. Craig never gave up til I shot my buck the last ten minutes of my hunt. My harvests immediately produced more and bigger animals as soon as I started DIY hunts.

From: pav
I've only been on one guided hunt in my life. Once in a lifetime tag for a species I had never hunted. Seemed like a good idea to hire someone with experience. Hunted with the guide for a week and then an additional two+ weeks of DIY. Wound up eating the tag with zero shot opportunities. Guide busted his azz the entire week and I learned alot from him. Absolutely zero regrets on that decision.

Most outfitters will increase your odds for a kill, but the kill should never be considered the end all. Some great hunts go without a kill, especially if one is hunting for score.

From: Ziek
"...can be upsetting when you don’t attain your goal."

If your only "goal" is to kill something, maybe you should raise a pig and kill it. Hunting is much more than just going out to kill something. If you can't afford to pay for the HUNT, then don't do it. I never did understand why a "bowhunter" would use a rifle near the end of a hunt just because bowhunting was too challenging, and they "had" to go home with something. That's really NOT bowhunting.

From: Bou'bound
Good point if you killed it With a gun it was not a bowkill. The reason they did it is because they didn’t care which it was.

From: Grey Ghost
Dealing with hunters who had unrealistic expectations was one of the hardest aspects of outfitting and guiding for me. It was certainly more prevalent in rifle hunters than bow hunters, in my experience.


I would say a lot of the acceptance of a no kill hunt depends on how much you paid for that hunt and how significant that money is to you? How many hunters are ok with paying $30,000 for an Alaska/Yukon moose or Dall sheep hunt and then not getting one? How about if you do it twice and still don’t kill? What if the outfitter did everything he could, guide was great, food was great but still no kill? Would you tip the same?

From: caribou77
Went on my most expensive hunt to date this fall, killed a B/c animal. Asked for a partial refund. The hunt was a joke and I got lucky.

On the flip side I went on a guided hunt In Wyoming once, only hunt I never killed on…. Had a blast and made life a long friend with the outfitter.

You should never expect a kill on a hunt. Just that the outfitter / guide will work as hard or harder than you.

From: drycreek
I’ve been on four “outfitted” hunts in my life. One was awful, another was so-so, another was great, another was quick and dirty. I did not kill the target animal on three hunts. The awful one was in Iowa, been hashed over on this site. The quick and dirty one culminated in a 165” muley buck that was too easy, but beggars can’t be choosers I guess. The so-so one was in Kansas, saw some young bucks but no older ones. The great hunt was for muleys in CO. Young bucks and does is all I saw, but it was a true hunting camp in wall tents with a cook/dining tent and I enjoyed it immensely ! I saw a mountain lion for about ten seconds and killed a coyote that was running as fast as a coyote can run, (wish I had that on video). All of these were rifle hunts BTW because the guy that was hunting with me didn’t bow hunt.

I guess the moral of all this diatribe is that you don’t have to kill something to have a good time on a hunt, at least I don’t.

From: Ollie
I expect to be put into a good area where the game is present. I expect competent guides that know the area and habits of the game being hunted. I expect a comfortable camp with good equipment. The rest is pretty much up to me.

From: MPN
Guided/outfitted doesn’t equal kill! If one can’t afford tag soup, he/she has no business booking. Steering clear of the clown outfits helps.

From: Sam
Mike Ukrainetz


From: Buffalo1
I’ve always enjoyed the ads for “guaranteed kill” hunts with an outfitter !!

From: Ambush
Unfortunately, some of the most expensive hunts come with the lowest expectation of success.

To me a "successful" hunt is one on which you killed an animal you wanted to kill. You might still have had a great hunt, maybe the best time of your life, but without the kill, you were not successful. You simply did not meet the goal you set.

But if we didn't enjoy the journey, we wouldn't spend the time looking for that end goal either.

Well, unless you're a Bowmar type.

From: Blood
Every single time I enter the woods whether with a guide or not, I expect to kill something. Every. Single. Time.

From: RK
That must get old living in CT :)

From: kscowboy
As my dad always said, if you are going to hunt North America, there are times you will be disappointed. This isn't the Serengeti and sometimes you're just going to come up empty handed. Sans an antelope hunt in some units in WY, I wouldn't bet on anything being 100%. It's called hunting not killing for a reason.

From: Glunt@work
I always intend to kill something, I rarely expect it.

Disappointment comes from expectations not being met. Satisfaction comes from expectations being met or exceeded.

I try and keep hunting all on the satisfying side.

From: Blood
RK, ouch. Yeah, CT hits ya different. ;)

From: Buskill
I’ve only hunted with 2 guides, one multiple times. Both in Canada. I’d never expect a kill but I expect effort on the guides part and an accurate description of the hunt. I got both. One did slack and failed to procure a bear tag I had paid him for but he made up for it nicely. No real complaints.

From: Bou'bound
I think the expectations are different for different species and different types of hunts.

Anything can happen on any hunt there can be weather issues there can be decisions not to shoot there can be no game spotted whatever

The duration of the hunt makes a difference as well. If you book a four day antelope hunt over water and it rains. That’s a lot different than if you were going to be hunting for seven days and short hunts are subject to a lot of issues.

My expectation is that everybody give us their best efforts, and that the service provided by the outfitter is what they advertised when the decision to book was made

If that condition is met then the hunter has knowingly accepted the odds based on the terms and conditions of the hunt

If someone books a five day, 2x1 elk in Colorado in an over the counter area, where the outfitter tells you that the success rate runs 50% expecting to kill just because you’re going on an outfitted Hunt is crazy.

From: Mad Trapper
I would suggest to the hunter thinking about booking a guided hunt to do some serious "soul searching" before signing on the dotted line and this would apply to any hunt, regardless of the cost. First, ask yourself, would you be OK coming home with nothing if you had a good hunt. If you can't answer yes - without reservation - then you probably should not book the hunt. If your answer is yes, -assuming I had a "legitimate opportunity" - depending upon the type of hunt and animal being hunted, you may want to book it as a rifle hunt and leave your bow at home. For example, on many guided sheep hunts (which are typically the most expensive hunts), you will be lucky to get one opportunity, regardless of type of weapon you are carrying. If you are bowhunting, your odds are going to be precipitously smaller and there is a huge difference between getting a legitimate opportunity with a rifle than getting a legitimate opportunity with a bow. For the most part, when you are sheep or goat hunting, your physical ability and your shooting ability are going to play a much larger role when you are hunting with a bow than when you are hunting with a rifle. Your outfitter and guide have no control over those variables. I have met several guys in sheep camps who have carried their bow and then used the guide's gun to take their sheep. That is why one of the most famous sheep bowhunters who gets on here from time to time once said that the best piece of advice that he could give to anybody who wants to take a sheep with a bow is to leave your rifle at home. As far as what you deem as a legitimate opportunity, you should be honest with yourself and your outfitter before booking the hunt. Ask questions. Be honest with the outfitter about your capabilities. What does the outfitter deem to be a legitimate opportunity for a hunter with your physical and shooting abilities? If that doesn't match your expectations, then you probably should not book the hunt. My 2 cents.

From: jconman
we all must remember outfitting is a business-they are going to do what is best for their them-had friend who worked for outfitter owner told him if four hunters in camp and two kill early do all you can to make sure others do not kill /we have other hunters on later hunts and need opportunities for them-unfortunately this is the way it works -not all hunters are treated equally and you find this out after the hunt when it is too late and you have paid for a hard learned lesson-this is the risk most take when hiring outfitters the good ones are booked early and then you are left searching for someone who will treat you fairly -all these outfitters tell you what you want to hear-remember this is a money thing for them

From: Ziek
Unless you are truly subsistence hunting, this quote pretty much sums up what your attitude should be. The amount you spend should have nothing to do with whether or not you kill. It's ALL about the hunt.

“To sum up, one does not hunt in order to kill; on the contrary, one kills in order to have hunted.” Jose Ortega y Gasset - Meditations on Hunting

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