Guides among us ?


New member
Feb 3, 2003
indiana no more
Who among us works as a guide from time to time?
Both of our boys who have been raised up on shooting ranges and in wilderness for most of their lives, are getting the urge to get into the hunting industry a bit. Their most logical way to get a foot in the door seems to be by starting as guides. Ben is 18 this year and he and I are going thru the required first aid course etc together. Those of you who have, or do guide from time to time, what would you do different if you were to start out again?
All ideas and conversation on this would be welcomed. Thanks.
I do it for a living these days in the UK, i have done guided hunts but now only guide fly fishing.
I will never be a millionaire but some millionaires i guide would love my job:D
I was a professional hunter/fisherman for almost 20 years. I started out at a young age. Guiding will definitely get you in the door to make connections in the outdoors industry and a good step towards furthering your career in the field.

HOWEVER..... The good and bad...

I think that it is important, like most professional athletes, to have an education to fall back on, a back up plan. Things change and so does your outlook on life. If you are to make a living as a guide, you have to give up a lot. Time away from home, loss of your own time to hunt and fish. The option of traveling the world to guide to earn a year round paycheck, or having a job that allows the flexibility to do so part time. Its very hard to have a family or significant other if you are never around. To make it in the industry, you can't half a$$ it. Thousand of people would love to have your job.... They'll tell you so.

I left the industry because it had been commercialized to a point that I no longer enjoyed what I did. I started as a professional hunter/fisherman and it morphed into a glorified butler position. I watched greed/privatization/commercialization take over something I cherish doing. I wanted to spend more time with my kids, my family, hunting my own hunts. My point is... things will change, always leave a door open.

It is an industry like most, those that are the most driven are usually the ones that succeed. Like most industries if you want to go farther, make sure you've got the credentials, including education....
I got burnt out on it,the baby sitting. Got to were I don't enjoy it.

I did guide 2 friends last year,older guys. Sort of scouting for my hunt deal.Free,almost.Got a tenderloin out of each one.

There are good parts and bad as stated above,and questionable outfitters/guides out there now.
I got stiffed by a couple last few years and that did it for me.Big $,big talk.
and it morphed into a glorified butler position

You were their b!tch... :D

And you're not always guiding... you may be fixing fence, cleaning vehicles, taking people shopping, running a "taxi", etc...
I know several guys who were enamored with the idea of being a guide and enjoying hunting as a job. Some even paid for guide training, then were referred to guide jobs. They soon realized that it was a job and the hunting work on behalf of others, some of whom were not fun to deal with, was not as enjoyable and satisfying as anticipated. Those who work for outfitters with the ability to screen their clients somewhat do seem to be more satisfied with the work.
"Those who work for outfitters with the ability to screen their clients somewhat do seem to be more satisfied with the work. "

Amen. I was just an part-time assistant guide/ track the wounded for a really great guy. The Sh!t he put up with from some numbnuts was just criminal. Threats of bodily harm from a Pastor if he didn't "produce" a nice buck....TODAY. Chambered weapons in camp, safety off. Showing up 95% schnoockerd, shooting a deer and denying it, because it wasn't big enough, wounding game and walking off, taking 'sound' shots, ....the list goes on & on.

But, there were some Damn Good Guys along the way as well. I still look forward to every hunt with them 25+ seasons later. Billy, Charles, George, Scott, Jethro will stay with me forever.

Just put on some thick skin to start with, chalk the bad off as experience, & cherish the good as God's blessing........
I was a fishing and elk guide for 5 years. Only had 3 days to hunt for myself and started to hate fishing which was a problem. Plus I was starving because it's not year round work. Babysitting rich people really started to wear on me

If I was to do it over again I would absolutely do it. I saw some great country that only rich people get to see and make some good friends in co workers. It's a good way to not have to grow up right away
I guided fishermen very part time, only on weekends when I could, for about 15 years. Certainly not the same as big game hunting, but one thing that would be is that I took it very personal. I toiled over gear and preparation for hours the day before a trip so that I could switch gears and try various tactics if needed. I also spent as much time pre-fishing and putting together a solid program before client's trips. Then if the fish didn't read the script it was quite stressful for me. I took it personal and actually felt bad if I didn't produce the way I thought I should have. Most clients were thrilled with what I considered just fair fishing. My point is, you will have bad days and sometimes all the prep in the world isn't going to fix it. You have to be OK with taking people's money whether you feel you earned it or not. I don't miss the stress, or missing out on personal fishing because I was guiding, but I did meet some great people that I still keep in touch with many years later. A young boy that I watched grow up and took bass fishing every summer grew up and fished on a collegiate team and is now fishing tournaments on his own.
I've guided for elk, bighorn, and whitetail. Here are a few things i learned that might help. Wilderness hunting is a blast, for a while. To do it day after day, week after week for months on end is hard. Twodot, if your boys really want to guide, have them going into it with the mindset that it is a job first and foremost. Trouble can occur if they are expecting the same experience that they have when hunting for themselves. The clients are on vacation, the guides are on the clock. Also, I think there are two skills far more important than any other for a good guide. The first is storytelling, some guys are natural storytellers, but some (me) have to craft a story out of an experience. A good guide needs to be able to convey humor and also relate his own prior experience to the current experience, it takes practice. The other skill is patience, and if your boys want to be successful, they needs loads of it and this also takes practice. The best advice given to me was that the best guides are able to come up with and execute a plan while convincing the client that it was his plan all along. Good luck to your boys, Twodot.
Interesting responses all around here. Thank you. A bit more on our end. We have lived year round here in the breaks for seven years total, and when not living here, the boys were living in the heart of the best whitetail hunting that Indiana has. Our homes have always been hunting camps for others and we have always had hunters coming and going at all hours thru the season. In the off season, we have always been shooting rather seriously and have always kept a home range available to friends and offered help with sight in, loading whatever. The past two seasons, we have operated a hunters bed and breakfast here out of our house and had great response and good times with every customer. But,--- we have never guided and experienced the pressure that can go along with trying to get someone who may or may not have much skill or ability onto game. As far as people skills, that is why an outfitter friend has approached the boys about this. He feels like Ben and Nash have the ability to keep hunters comfortable thru their conversational style and ability to keep things fun. I don't think either one of the boys is interested in long term guiding, more along the lines of a few weeks in the spring and fall to be able to make contacts for the future and get their foot into the realm of the hunting industry, (it seems filming is a great interest to them) Thank you all for your responses, you have opened up much in the way for us to consider. twodot
Another thing to consider is separating business and pleasure. My work has me in the field a lot, probably close to 200 days a year and I find that on my days off I enjoy sitting around doing nothing way more than I ever did before starting this job. I still absolutely love hunting and fishing and do it as often as possible, but the separation can be tough. I've also spent more than enough time around guides and outfitters to know I want nothing to do with that business.
If I were ever to consider getting paid to guide, it would be for fishing. I cant think of a worse job than being an elk or moose guide.
Definitely consider what TheTone wrote. Sometimes making your advocation your vocation can be a problem. My biggest hurdle with this is that your busiest work time is during hunting season when I want to be hunting not working.

If they don't get into the hunting industry, other related fields can keep them outside and in the field. Professions like range, forestry, wildlife bio, etc can keep them out and about while allowing them to do their thing as they see fit.
Gastro Gnome - Eat Better Wherever

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