1 more question for outfitters and customers of them

Raghorn

New member
Joined
Dec 11, 2000
Messages
25
Location
St. Charles Mo
This is a long one, but I would appreciate your opinion on the service I received.

About three years ago, I went with an outfitter in Colorado. It was a standard 2 on 1 guided hunt. I got kind of lucky, in a sense, because the other guy I was paired with had to go home on the second day of a seven day hunt, due to something unfortunate happening at his home.

Anyway, I had a great time and came pretty close to some great animals, but no shots. This was my first trip west, and I was archery hunting. On the second to last hunt day, another guide and my guide decided that the other guide and his two hunters would hunt with us. This wasn't discussed with me at all. That meant two guides and THREE hunters together. Here are my thoughts on this, and I would like your input.

We all paid a good price for a guided hunt, and a chance at harvesting an elk. While it is certainly unrealistic to expect everyone to harvest one, I do think that the guides should try to get us opportunities. There was no way more than one of us, hunting all together, were going to get the chance to shoot at an elk.

The way they worked it, each guide had a territory to work. These guys went in the territory that we had been hunting and they sat us all, about 75 yards apart, by a wallow. Sure enough, a nice bull comes out and comes by one of the other guys before getting to me, and he killed it. My guide then spent the rest of the day helping that guys guide clean and quarter the elk.

Now in my opinion, I think that was BS. Had we not joined, I would have, at the very least, had a clean thirty yard shot at that bull. Plus, even after the guy killed the bull, I was paying to watch my guide clean someone elses elk while I sat there. In my opinion, they were trying to get one killed so that their kill statistics went up for future marketing, rather considering me as an individual.

Anyway, that has been my only experience with an outfitter. Was I given poor service? or is that standard?

Now that I have corporral tunnel syndrome and can no longer type or move my wrists, I would like to hear some of your thoughts.
 

R/O

New member
Joined
Jan 15, 2001
Messages
3
I certainly wouldn't have done it that way! Although I don't know the circumstances and the hunters abilities, it appears to me, as some might say, they "punted" for the last 2 days of the hunt. Safety might have been a factor here. Three guided hunters, 75 yards apart, on the same wallow or stand is not only a poor deal, it's dangerous. You don't put hunters close enough to each other so that they can kill each other!

Now please remember that every outfitter has their own way of working a hunt and nothing irritates an outfitter more than to have the hunters start telling him how to run a hunt. After all, you are paying him as you might pay any professional for advice. But the assumption here is that the outfitter is honest, knows his business, and is working hard to get you a shot. I think that in this case there is evidence these guys were not always working in your best interest and maybe got a little lazy. Although you did say you saw animals and had a good time so it wasn't a total loss!

Now sometimes a guide needs to take a few minutes to help another hunter gut out an elk and has to leave his hunter alone for a while, but they don't need three guys on an elk the rest of the day. A good guide can dress out an elk in just a few minutes if you get out of his way! And it doesn't take three guys very long to quarter an elk! The guide needs to come back, check on you, and start looking to take care of you.

Here's my philosophy about where I put a guy on a stand or hunt. I put every hunter, every time, in a place that I myself would be satisfied with and would expect to have a reasonable chance of seeing animals and getting a shot. Of course this varies with each individual, there's no way you can put a 100 lb overweight out of shape guy in the same place that you can put an Olympic athlete, but most hunters recognize their own limitations and take it in stride.

In short, not knowing the all the facts and making a judgement based upon what you said, probably everything wasn't done right! Just my opinion, however.

[This message has been edited by R/O (edited 01-19-2001).]
 
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bcat

Guest
R/O your opinion matches with mine!! I think it was a little out of line but I dont know the circumstances first hand. I do know its hard to please all the people all the time! Seems like there was a wallow somewhere else that someone could have been watching or however ya did it! I dont think 3 hunters close to each other is good or the guide helping the others for the rest of the day. Wasnt fair to you and I personally wouldnt do it that way! This is the kind of thing that happens when ya get to big in the outfitting business. Ya just cant hire guides off the street that know what it takes to make EVERY client happy! WHen ya get into the mom and pop operations, and there isnt as many hunters in camp to start with, this kind of thing dont happen! When the outfitter isnt there to keep everybody lined out this kind of thing happens!!!! THe guides dont care whther ya show up next year or not! I am not slamming good guides at all, but there are a heck of alot of the two week wonders out there that get guiding jobs because it makes them look Kool!!! "I'm A guide" or "I guided for such and such" and that doesnt make them a guide!! I am sorry I came off with this but this is exactly the point I have been trying to make forever and have had topics discussing this very thing! SOme outfitts have very good guides, and the ones that hammer me on this are probably the ones that take it personally, because I sure dont have any problems with GOOD GUIDES!!!! Its just hard to find them or they have worked for the same place for 20 years and are darn good! The guides were the problem here and if the outfitter was part of it I wouldd look for a diiferent one! Sorry this was os long. bcat

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If you aint the lead dog the scenery never changes
 

Death From Above

New member
Joined
Dec 14, 2000
Messages
21
I'd have been really upset! That was BS for them to have you in a situation like that! I'll bet thay split the tip.

I've not had a good experience with guides either. Maybe someday i'll get to hunt with a pro like Bcat!

Later
DFA
 
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Shadowrider

Guest
Raghorn,
I can relate. I have been on exactly 'one' guided hunt.`It was for elk, sixteen years ago in New Mexico. Two buddies and myself hired an outfit to guide us for a weeks hunt. The outfitter had one other guide hired. On the first morning, one of the guys killed a bull, which left two hunters and two guides. At the end of the second day, a man and his son, who were hunting on their own, unsuccessfully, came to our camp, and unknown to us, made arrangements with the outfitter to have him start guiding them the next morning. We were not asked if we would mind or for that matter, were even told. Next morning, this man and his son show up to go hunting with us. We split up and the man shot an elk. The rest of the day was spent getting his elk out. We didn't get to hunt anymore that day. We did wind up killing our elk, too, and I'm sure that took some of the sting out of it, but I always felt like that outfitter did us wrong and certainly put money before client. He solicited me a couple more years to go hunting again. Obviously, I didn't.
As a side note. On this same trip, this outfitter had an altercation with three hunters from California and pulled a six gun on them, but that is another story.

I know by now everyone is saying we should have done our homework better. We researched this guy as well as we knew how. Calling past hunters, checking with the FS and even the Guide and Outfitters Assoc. He was an officer in the state's GOA as well. I honestly don't know what more we could have done to check him out. SR
 

Elkhunter

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Joined
Dec 20, 2000
Messages
11,273
Location
Jackson, Wyoming
Although I am not an outfitter or a guide I would have to agree with R/O and bcat.
I would also have said my 2cents to the outfitter about the guides. Is it possible that the outfitter does not know how some of his guides are operating? Indeed it is if it is not brought to his attention.
Every year an outfitter has to hire guides to take hunters out. There are a lot of good guides out in them hills and a lot of wannabe guides as well. How can a guide take you out and expect to give a hunter a reasonable chance to harvest game if it is his first time into the country to are hunting. Some of these guides I don't think even hunt themselves and do not have the knowledge.
If you were not happy with the hunt and/or the guides, you need to talk to the outfitter.


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Elk Hunting 101: Everything You Need To Know About Elk Hunting
www.jacksonholewyoming.net/elk
 
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bcat

Guest
Thats the only way an Outfitter will know how to correct the problem, if he knows what the problem is. Shadow-If the outfitter you went with only had three guys to sart with, and one of them filled out, and he had aquired two new clients at the last minute, and you got your elk, I dont see the problem. Still a two on one hunt, ya still filled out, and maybe if ya wouldnt have it might have been different. Did ya have a good time otherwise? Outfitters are human and make mistakes just like anybody, but they also have bills to pay just like everybody else. This guy was aparently a small operator if it was just him and his guide. I know how much it costs to saty in business and provide service to those that want to use it. I am gonna take the side of the small operator here in this case, mainly because of how the hunt turned out. If ya wouldnt have gotton your elk and the other fellas did, I would maybe swing the other way although I sense a little jeoulosy here. He didnt specificly tell you that it would just be you him and the guide did he? Did he say it would be you only at any cost? Not wanting flames, it just seems that some people cant be pleased no matter what. I think he did what he had to do. I may or may not have done the same thing myself. If it was a big operator I would say greed got the best of him. If it was a small time operator, I would say he had bills to pay too! bcat

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If you aint the lead dog the scenery never changes
 
S

Shadowrider

Guest
bcat,
I understand the need to make money and have nothing against a guy taking an opportuinity to do so. Yes, being successful certainly took the sting out of the situation.
But, these guys didn't come along at the last minute. They came along half way through our hunt and solicited our outfitter to guide them. Even though we didn't ask our outfitter, prior to our hunt, if he would accept more hunters once our hunt started, we felt like we had hired him exclusively. Prior to the hunt, he made no mention of any policies or practices of accepting more hunters after a hunt has started. Since this was a limited draw hunt and the outfitter had told us prior to the hunt that we would be his only clients, we assumed (perhaps wrongly so) we would have him exclusively.
We had nothing against the other hunters and were glad they wound up being successful. I know it was the outfitters show so to speak, but this was our hunt. If the outfitter had asked us if we minded if he took an opportunity to make some more money, I doubt that we would have had a problem with it. But, since we were told ahead of time that we would be his only clients, I feel like he could have avoided some bad feelings if he would have said something to us. SR

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..."The man who follows the crowd will usually get no further than the crowd. The man who walks alone is likely to find himself in places no one has ever been"...
 
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bcat

Guest
Shadow,I can see where you might have claim to be a little upset if he told you that you were going to be his only hunters. I see in your post that you said twice "MAKE SOME MORE MONEY" I think it might have been better worded, "took on some cash flow". I doubt that this small operator if you were his only three hunter "MADE ANY MONEY". He may have came out a squeek ahead after he took on the other two hunters tho!!!!! I am sure you werent implying anything by the make money staement, but i can assure you that outfiter wasnt getting rich and if the truth were known probably broke even on you three hunters!!!!! Just giving you a little perspective from the other isde of the coin. If an outfitter tells ya something he better honor it, otherwise I think you may have overeeacted just a little knowing how it all ended. After filling all of you he should be commended for filling everybody up even last minute hunters!!! Not dragged theu the mud for "WHAT"????????? bcat

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If you aint the lead dog the scenery never changes
 
D

Deerslayer

Guest
Raghorn
In my opinion, you got "jipped" bad.....just as Shadow did. The sad fact is, many outfitters are interested more in you as a number, that your quality of hunt.

They may hire just anyone off the street to guide you, maybe even from the local bar, because they don't run the kind of operation to keep good dependable guides. That would be one of my main questions when booking a hunt, "how many guides/hunters? and what kinda of experience do your guides have?"
If an outfitter cuts corners on the guides he hires for you, you can bet he cuts corners throughout his operation. Instead of going all out for your success, they bide their time, hunting the easier to pack-out of locations, just waiting for the next hunters, so to speak. You seem to have experienced a similiar situation. There had to be other set-ups in the area, instead of 5 people setting up on the same wallow.

The good news is, most of the bad outfitters will struggle getting business, and in time, will be forced out of business. The good operations will have clients seeking them out, and they business will prosper. But you can never be too careful checking one out, for they tend to only give references of friends and those they know will give them a good report.

It is unfortunate that you and Shadow both left from "paid hunts" feeling as though you got ripped......in my opinion, the outfitter failed you, if you left with that feeling.
A fellow pays good money for an adventure he waits a long time for, he should leave it with a good feeling, whether he harvest or not........then the outfitter has done a good job.
That is my opinion....
DS
 
R

RavenBeauty

Guest
Shadow Honey, please forgive me as I didn't ask you first before posting this but I think to explain completely to bcat and the others you should maybe tell them the "rest of the story" about this outfitter.

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***Women and cats will do as they please, and men and dogs should relax and get used to the idea*** :)
 
S

Shadowrider

Guest
bcat,
I wasn't referring to his profit picture when I used the term "make money". "Take in cash flow" would have worked just as well. I am not without knowledge of the difficulties and tough times that outfitters face, as I have worked as a guide (turkey and duck) for a small outfitter, here in Texas for the past six years. It isn't so different from big game guiding I am sure, in that he has alot of overhead and has a hard time making a profit. I respect him and you for what you do, but wouldn't want to do it myself, for that very reason.

Yes, this hunt had a happy ending, but, when the extra hunters were taken on, we hadn't yet killed our animals.

Raven sweety, I appreciate the support, but I am going to pass on the rest of the story because it has no bearing on my point above. It involves the behavior of the outfitter on some other aspects of the hunt and I'm not trying to run a smear campaign on this fellow. SR

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..."The man who follows the crowd will usually get no further than the crowd. The man who walks alone is likely to find himself in places no one has ever been"...
 

R/O

New member
Joined
Jan 15, 2001
Messages
3
No need to take on extra hunters after you promised the booked hunters the hunt was theirs. It was unethical. This is a common temptation for many outfitters, to take a few extras at the last minute or after the hunt starts. Usually what happens is some guys try to do it on their own, have some bad luck and get discouraged. Then they check with a nearby landowner or an outfitter to see if they can get worked in to the hunt, usually at a discount because they really only "want to hunt a day or two and can't afford any more". Most of them have some sort of sob story or hard luck tale, sometimes fully legitimate and true, to try and get the outfitter to take them.

Personally, I won't mess with them, I don't think it's fair to the booked hunters to do that. An outfitter needs to plan their hunt and budget their operation around the booked hunters. If you fill out early for most of the hunters, then you should switch all your attention and all the guides to the hunters that still need an animal. I figure if I book 6 hunters, my time is all theirs until the hunts ends and they go home. Since I hunt mostly private land, it's not fair either to the next bunch of booked hunters that's coming in to dump a another unbooked group onto that land. Give it a rest and make the next hunt even that much better for the following group.

Another point, no outfitter can offer a perfect hunt. Things can wrong and will go wrong, something is going to break down unexpectedly and despite the best efforts of everyone, things get screwed up, temporarily. The key to a having successful hunt is getting these problems solved quickly and to keep on trying. I think all that most hunters really expect is an outfitter to do their best for for them and to keep their word(honesty). If a hunter expects a guide to put him on an animal everytime and feels entitled to getting an animal, then that's not what real hunting is all about. It's about fair chase and sometimes a hunter can't get a shot no matter what anybody does. I do think however, that a hunter deserves the outfitters and guides time and undivided attention. In my opinion, it's "not good business" to try and take extras! Extra money or no money.
 
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bcat

Guest
Shadow-You are a true gentleman and a scholor!!!! Ya dont need to tell the rest of the story cause I can tell from your answer you got a raw deal!!!!! The very best you can do is not give him any more business! I think an answer that might be a good one is to get all the facts and in writing if ya want to before the hunt. If it was that bad of an offense, the next time you will be able to make a better call before ya go maybe. Nobodys perfect and I am not sticking up for the outfitter cause I know nothing of him, but I do believe its hard to please everybody all the time!!! The proper thing for him to have done is to have told the man and his son as soon as her had you fellas filed out that he would take them!! That would have been RIGHT! bcat

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If you aint the lead dog the scenery never changes
 
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Shadowrider

Guest
Thankyou bcat, and I agree completely.
R/O, in this particular instance, it was a draw hunt on public land with long odds. I doubt the outfitter had anymore planned hunts on this place. You make a good point about an outfitter taking care of his hunting grounds for his next group of clients. From your post, I assume you are an outfitter? SR

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..."The man who follows the crowd will usually get no further than the crowd. The man who walks alone is likely to find himself in places no one has ever been"...
 

hntrjohn

New member
Joined
Dec 10, 2000
Messages
382
Location
California, or Texas
raghorn,
In my opinion the guides should of asked you what you think about the plan. They might of been thinking that instead of a 2 :1 hunt you guys were getting a 1.5 : 1 hunt. The bottom line is they should of asked you guys what you thought of the plan.

shadowrider,
Did you book a 2 hunter per guide hunt or 3 hunters per 2 guides. If it was a 2 on 1 hunt you still got what you paid for. A 2:1 hunt. Maybe the guide felt sory for the mans son. I heard lots of stories of men drawning a sheep tag and planning a do-it-yourself hunt and after not seeing a ram after 10 days hire a outfitter out of an elk camp down the mountain a little bit in fear of going home with an unfilled sheep tag.
 
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Shadowrider

Guest
hntrjohn,
Hunter/guide ratios were not discussed. From the onset, this was a special hunt that had to be drawn. We made contact with the outfitter after we had the tags in hand and made arrangements for him to guide the three of us. A private party. We did not sign up to go on one of his "regular" hunts where ratios would be a consideration. He had never guided in this area before, but knew the country from having been a ranger in the area years before. That is one of the reasons we hired him. We were not hunting his home turf during a regular season. This man was hired to do a specific job for a specific group of people. He knew it going into it and said we would be his only clients on this hunt.
We were glad that the young man and his father were able to kill their elk, but they were the ones that chose to attempt this hunt on there own and realized halfway through the hunt that they needed help. They could have booked an outfitter prior to the hunt, just as we did. I have nothing against them seeking help mid way into the hunt. As stated and inferred above, my problem comes from the fact that the outfitter was hired to be and agreed to be exclusive. Had we been consulted by the outfitter, we would have had no problem with him guiding these fellows also. I doubt that we would even have insisted that he wait until all three of us had filled out.SR

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..."The man who follows the crowd will usually get no further than the crowd. The man who walks alone is likely to find himself in places no one has ever been"...
 

Raghorn

New member
Joined
Dec 11, 2000
Messages
25
Location
St. Charles Mo
Thanks for the input guys.

All in all, it was still the best time hunting I have ever had. BCAT and R/O, your right, I should have mentioned it to the outfitter.

I think the situation occured because the other guide wasn't getting his guys in the elk. I really must say my guide was OUTSTANDING the whole hunt and just made a poor decision that day. R/O, I agree with you about helping the other person with the elk. But where we were hunting, there was ground we had permission to hunt, and ground we didn't. Therefore, I didn't know where to go and he didn't put me anywhere, so I wasn't even hunting the whole time they messed with the elk. Again, day one of the hunt, that might be O.K. second to last, I wanto to be hunting. I think he was preassured by the other guide and felt for his guests.
 
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