Guided Hunts--when would or have you done them?

When would you go or have you gone guided?

  • I frequently go guided without thinking twice about it

  • If federal, state, or provincial law requires it

  • For a "glory tag" (high point or OIL type hunt)

  • If I'm hunting somewhere I've never been

  • If the location is so remote that horses, boat, aircraft, etc are needed

  • As a gift or as part of a professional/business outing

  • As a companion to the elderly or disabled

  • To access private land I'm interested in hunting

  • Never, ever, ever will I go guided

  • Other


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Cheater

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Given the Hunt Talk community is largely a public land, do it yourself bunch--I'm interested to know under what scenarios you have or would go on a guided hunt.

I've gone guided as a gift a few times. While still enjoyable it wasn't as fun a doing it on my own. I never have, but would like to do a remote back country horse pack elk hunt at some point. I could also see doing something guided with aging relatives under the right circumstances.
 
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Mtnhuntr

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One would have to use a guide where it's required (AK dall sheep or brown bear), but I think I could only stomach that if I was headed on a hunt that was logistically difficult enough that I was so far in over my head that I would need some local expertise. Maybe an international hunt. No issues at all if people elect to use a guide.
 
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rwc101

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Every couple of years some friends and family go with a no-frills guide for pheasant in SD. It's worth it to access great private land and have a more relaxed hunting getaway.
 

Nameless Range

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I plan on living and dying having never been guided on a hunt. If I have any interest in hunting that is the only kind of hunting I am interested in. Those are my standards alone, and to each their own free of judgement. It is true that this reduces the opportunity for varied hunts across the globe, and I suppose my perspective could change, but there is a lifetime's worth of hunting within 100 miles of my front door.
 

wllm1313

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I went on a guided pheasant, that was work related... kinda a boondoggle thing.

I would go guided(at this point in my life) if it was required in order to do that hunt. I also would be open to the idea of using transporters or wranglers on a hunt, which aren't really guides although sometimes the regs are worded in such a way as it ends up being one in the same.

To be honest it's not so much a dislike of guides or going guided as just not being interested in those particular types of trips at this point in my life.
 

PAGOAT

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York, PA
I'd say obviously when law requires it. My Newfoundland moose was guided last year and when I decide to hunt mountain goat in Alaska it will be. I must say though when I draw Arizona elk I will really be thinking about it. Other than that I like driving across country and hunting on my own.
 

Ridge Ghost

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While I would prefer to do it myself, I certainly wouldn't be above using a guide where it's required, such as sheep in Alaska. It's hard to picture ever going guided for elk or deer though, after having decent success just doing it on my own.

I have done a few guided fly fishing trips in places like Belize, Mexico and New Zealand where the game is so different that I wouldn't have been successful without local knowledge and expertise. Those were all great experiences and money well spent.
 

BuzzH

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I don't have any problem with people going guided if that's the way they want to do things.

I've been on one fully guided hunt, not much choice if you don't live in AK or Canada and want to hunt white sheep. It was a grand adventure, would do it again if money wasn't part of the equation.

I've also lined up transporters on a few hunts as well, logistically, it made a lot of sense to do so.
 

brnsvllyjohn

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I have been on 2 guided outings that I did not pay for. I never felt the need to hire a guide but my attitude is changing a little. I have 2 older brothers that no longer hunt and I think the only way I will ever hunt with them again is if we can agree on a guided hunt. May not happen but we are talking about it. One has been on a lot of guided hunts and the other one has been on about 5 guided hunts. They can no longer retrieve their own big game animals or travel as far as they once did. As I age I am beginning to understand those issues better.
 

mulecreek

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Rock Springs, WY
I've been on two guided hunts. A sheep hunt in AK and hunt in NWT. Did not care for the AK hunt. The guide was a good guy but we had very different ideas of what the hunt should be. Loved every second of the NWT hunt. Same feelings as Buzz, would do it again in a heartbeat as long as money was squared away. Will try to arrange another guided hunt in either AK or Yukon for grizz in the near future.

There is one hunt in the lower 48 that I really want to do before I die and that will most likely be with an outfitter due to the distance and my lack of access to horses. I really want to hunt the Thorofare country of Wyo for elk at least once. To me that area is the epitome of a backcountry elk hunt. Unless I acquire a friend with horse packing skill I suspect I will be paying someone to help access this area.
 

targetpanic

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I enjoy the planning of a hunt to a new location or at least talking to people who have done something similar before. For example my 2014 NH Moose hunt, my 2018 MT Mule deer hunt or this years Maine Moose hunt are all hunts that I could have easily gotten a guide for and most people do. I just can't stomach laying out the money knowing I can figure it out myself
 

wllm1313

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Did not care for the AK hunt. The guide was a good guy but we had very different ideas of what the hunt should be.
Not putting words in your mouth, your comment just brought the thought to my mind. I think my personal hesitation with guided anything, is not the idea that I think it's cooler or more authentic if you do it DIY, it's the fear that I would pay someone a huge amount of money just to hold me back. I grew up in a community were tons of people are "guides" for various things, skiing, fishing, hunting, ice-climbing, etc etc. Part of the guide job is risk assessment/keeping your clients safe and part of it is to help them achieve success, but at the end of the day it's a job and while it maybe a once in a lifetime experience for your client it's just going to work for you as the guide.

This difference in expectations can be very problematic, especially when client abilities are very high. Clients who know what they are doing will question guides judgement, which can be dangerous if guides don't stick to their guns; I'm thinking, for instance of really good skiers on a heli trip pressuring guides into unsafe terrain. On the other hand, when you are a capable client, it can be very frustrating to be held back when you are more prepared than your guide for a trip. Your guide just got out of the hills on a long trip, only had a day or two to recuperate and then is going back in, you have been training for months and are fresh and are going to smoke them.

It's a complex relationship, with lots of horror stories on either side. I just prefer to remove as many variables from the equation as possible.
 
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Cheater

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Not putting words in your mouth, your comment just brought the thought to my mind. I think my personal hesitation with guided anything, is not the idea I think it's cooler or more authentic if you do it DIY, it's the fear that I would pay someone a huge amount of money just to hold me back. I grew up in a community were tons of people are "guides" for various things, skiing, fishing, hunting, ice-climbing, etc etc. Part of the guide job is risk assessment/keeping your clients safe and part of it is to help them achieve success, but at the end of the day it's a job and while it maybe a once in a lifetime experience for your client it's just going to work for you as the guide.

This difference in expectations can be very problematic, especially when client abilities are very high. Clients who know what they are doing will question guides judgement, which can be dangerous if guides don't stick to their guns; I'm thinking, for instance of really good skiers on a heli trip pressuring guides into unsafe terrain. On the other hand, when you are a capable client, it can be very frustrating to be held back when you are more prepared than your guide for a trip. Your guide just got out of the hills on a long trip, only had a day or two to recuperate and then is going back in, you have been training for months and are fresh and are going to smoke them.

It's a complex relationship, with lots of horror stories on either side. I just prefer to remove as many variables from the equation as possible.
Well said. The couple of times I've gone guided for big game (add a couple fishing too), I always wanted to do things a little differently or go harder. Saying that, I'm sure there are a number of sheep guides that would run me into the ground.
 

Bowhuntrben

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Will be doing my first guided hunt this year. It's the only way I would be able to do the hunt I'm doing, otherwise I would prefer to go DIY.

If I were going to AK, I'd probably be interested in going with a guide (or if my former coworker invites, go with him) for safety reasons and in the case of sheep, regulations. There are a select few other reasons why I may use a guide, but I don't anticipate that happening.

I really enjoy going DIY even if I'm not successful in harvesting. I have a lot of fun planning the hunt and seeing how it goes. Everything is on my terms, and I can adjust however I want. It also gives me more to do in the "off-season". This year I am finding myself just planning further in advance for future hunts since there's not a lot for me to plan for the guided hunt.
 

TN_Rifle_Junkie

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Not to draw judgement but there is another perspective to consider:

A new hunter from out east of the Mississippi and little to very little knowledge of the area or what it takes to actually "hunt" a specific animal. These are the reasons that I use "guides" for fair chase hunts across the US. Sometimes the only way to gain experience is to have an experience. I am always willing to eat a tag soup/sandwich even with a guide. The fact that they have years of knowledge, is like paying for a mentor and help. They can reduce the learning curve by not making all the mistakes that can take years to learn otherwise.

If I lived in CO/MT/WY/ID things would be a lot different, but traveling 2500 miles for a ten day hunt in a place you have never been, and hunting an animal you may have never seen in person, constitutes a pretty good reason to hire a guide in my book.

I understand that a lot of the people here are purist hunters and I am glad they are around. They are the ones that us rookies call and ask questions when we just don't know or can't find the answer. Without them, there would be no mentors, no backbone of the hunting community.
 

MinnesotaHunter

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Gem Lake, Minnesota
There is a chance that I might chase a white sheep in my life, in that case I will obviously need a guide, and that doesn't bother me at all.

At this point, I have a lot of years invested in making myself relatively competent hunting DIY, on public land, before I ever could have afforded a guide. At this point I can't see a reason to go back. I would more than likely figure out a way to do something DIY because I really enjoy the process.

Lastly, I really enjoy hunting with my friends, and a guided hunt takes that away.
 

Bambistew

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Chugiak, AK
I would go guided, but generally only in places its required, i.e. Africa, or other countries where non-resident/alien require a guide by law. I'm not afraid to put in the effort and come up empty in the case once in a lifetime type hunts.
 

mulecreek

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Rock Springs, WY
Not putting words in your mouth, your comment just brought the thought to my mind. I think my personal hesitation with guided anything, is not the idea that I think it's cooler or more authentic if you do it DIY, it's the fear that I would pay someone a huge amount of money just to hold me back. I grew up in a community were tons of people are "guides" for various things, skiing, fishing, hunting, ice-climbing, etc etc. Part of the guide job is risk assessment/keeping your clients safe and part of it is to help them achieve success, but at the end of the day it's a job and while it maybe a once in a lifetime experience for your client it's just going to work for you as the guide.

This difference in expectations can be very problematic, especially when client abilities are very high. Clients who know what they are doing will question guides judgement, which can be dangerous if guides don't stick to their guns; I'm thinking, for instance of really good skiers on a heli trip pressuring guides into unsafe terrain. On the other hand, when you are a capable client, it can be very frustrating to be held back when you are more prepared than your guide for a trip. Your guide just got out of the hills on a long trip, only had a day or two to recuperate and then is going back in, you have been training for months and are fresh and are going to smoke them.

It's a complex relationship, with lots of horror stories on either side. I just prefer to remove as many variables from the equation as possible.
You hit the nail on the head. In my case I felt held back from a tactics standpoint. The guide was in great shape, had 16 seasons of sheep hunting experience and was a genuinely good person. He was just so passive and tentative in his hunting style that it decreased my enjoyment of my time hunting with him. This really needs to be thought of before you fork over your money and time on a guided hunt. Your guides hunting style is a variable that can be tough to solve for before you book a guided hunt so it may be best to just eliminate it entirely.
 
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