Good guide/bad guide - The Outdoor Community
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post #1 of 21 (permalink) Old 07-16-2016, 03:32 PM Thread Starter
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Good guide/bad guide

What's been your experience, what did a good one do (besides put you on game), what did a bad one do (or didn't). I'm using one for the first time this fall for elk. A friend of mine used one last year for a Wyoming elk hunt. Told me his guide, a "kid", about 18 yrs old, couldn't find an elk if he walked into it's butt.

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post #2 of 21 (permalink) Old 07-16-2016, 05:59 PM
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Re: Good guide/bad guide

you need to get references from the guide and contact all of them if possible. good or bad shouldn't be measured just by a kill or not. guides can't always find game. it's how hard they try, and also their efforts in camp, to make your time there a memorable one. I've used guides that I would go back to in a heart beat, but never made a kill, and I've had some that I made a kill that I wouldn't give you a plugged nickle for them. The biggest thing is RESEARCH! The more you do ahead of the trip, the better your trip will be. More than one conversation with the guide should be on the list too.

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post #3 of 21 (permalink) Old 07-16-2016, 06:54 PM
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Re: Good guide/bad guide

The only person who can decide what is a good guide or not is the person booking the trip. You really need to be honest with yourself. What do you REALLY want out of the trip? If this was going to be the only guided hunt ever and harvesting an animal was your ultimate goal, then the guides ability to put you on an animal would be the main deciding criteria if he was "good" or not.
If you want a relaxing vacation, to get out and hunt and see what happens, then perhaps getting along well with the guide and having things in common would be utmost importance.
Only you can decide. Best thing to do when you get there is talk to the guide openly and tell him exactly what you are looking for so you are both on the same page. And then cooperate and work together as best you can to achieve what you want.
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post #4 of 21 (permalink) Old 07-16-2016, 10:20 PM
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Re: Good guide/bad guide

Guides are like attorneys,Don'T trust them !! Don't go with any of them unless you know someone that has! Been burnt twice, now looking for color phase bear guide but after talking to a lot of them I am convinced they are liars! Probably the best advice would be from fellow HPA members.
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post #5 of 21 (permalink) Old 07-16-2016, 10:43 PM
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Re: Good guide/bad guide

check references, both that killed game and those that did not. before i took my son on his gator hunt i spoke with all the references on the list, everyone was successful.

not one had a bad thing to say about the outfitter. the best reference came from another outfitter i was looking at. i was honest and told him it was between him and the outfitter i went with.

that outfitter told me, if i wasnt going with him, then i should go with the one i picked as he is the best in that State.

hands down great time, and everything everyone said about him was true. we experienced it all.

check references and search the internet.

Good Luck.
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post #6 of 21 (permalink) Old 07-17-2016, 05:12 PM
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Re: Good guide/bad guide

Best guide: It's a tossup

1). Outfitter in Shamrock, TX (Panhandle). Not really an outfitter, he leases a lot of land (low fence), sells some deer & turkey hunts to keep his costs down. Mostly caters to bowhunters, but let me hunt with a gun, both deer & turkey. Stays in touch all year leading up to the hunt, sends trail cam pics all year long to let you see what's out there. It was a self-guided hunt, but he stays in touch all day long, makes sure everyone hunting gets together for lunch & dinner each day. Tagged out for deer & turkeys each time out there, but he doesn't let you shoot young deer or jakes. Sends a text reminder every year to see if I want to book for the upcoming season, really a decent guy and I think of him as a friend.

2). Tom "Doc" Weddle, I hunted Osceola turkeys with him to finish my Grand Slam. Nice guy, has quite a reputation but not the ego that goes with it. Not really an outfitter, but he does sell a few Osceola hunts each year. After I killed my turkey, he invited me to stay in camp and hunt the public land with him and some friends of his. Class act.

Worst Guide:

Won't give his name, but he's in Oklahoma, sells deer & turkey hunts. I did my diligence (or so I thought), got all kinds of great references (turkey hunt), he was rather high priced and I was told it was a guided deal (turned out it wasn't), he just dropped you off and gave general directions on where to hunt. I got to camp, saw at least 15 other hunters, first words out of the outfitter's mouth were about how he expected a tip, and his helper bad-mouthed him every chance he could...I knew I was in trouble. First night there a tornado touched down and never got power until I left (food got spoiled, and had no lights at night). Call me crazy, but if you are trying to run a business in tornado country and keep customers happy, wouldn't you own a generator or two? Each morning he showed up about an hour after sunup (he said he goes jogging each morning, before he heads to camp) to take you to your spot, and stopped hunting around 6 (said he didn't want to hunt birds heading to the roost). Meals were supposed to be included, but since there was no power to cook with, he said eat what's in the fridge or go get something in town (he wasn't paying for it). I did manage to kill 2 birds and a coyote (was allowed 3 gobblers), I cut it short on the morning of the 3rd day, somehow my turkey meat had gone missing from the ice chest that he put together to hold everyone's meat & trophies in. His helper said he didn't blame me for leaving early, I tipped him but stiffed the outfitter, no guilt for doing so either.

And no, I'm not a fussy, prissy guy who needs a lot of luxuries, I've stayed in a tent, slept on the ground, gone days without a shower or electricity before, ate cold meals and freeze-dried camp food before. I was just disappointed in the outfitter's lackluster approach to how he made his living, and how he treated the people that were supporting him.

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post #7 of 21 (permalink) Old 07-18-2016, 01:38 PM
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Re: Good guide/bad guide

I've been on a bunch of guided hunts. I've met a lot of outfitters and guides, and fortunately have never had a bad one. They were, however, not equally as good. I've found guides to be less arrogant and more down to earth than most outfitters they work for. Some outfitters also act as guides; hunted with one in Newfoundland that was top notch. Getting and keeping good guides is a problem for many outfitters in remote locations. New inexperienced guides who don't know their hunting grounds or, worse yet, how to hunt, create a bad experience for their hunting clients. When your first visit to a ranch is also the guides first time there, you're gonna be in for a rough week.

My pet peeve is cell phones. Many younger guides ( sometimes older guides too ), are constantly texting, talking or looking at things on their phones today. I'm not talking about getting a quick weather update or checking in with base camp. Chit chatting texts from their girlfriends, wives, friends and unending updates from other guides is terribly annoying to folks that are paying $1000 a day or more for a hunting experience.
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post #8 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-18-2016, 12:02 AM
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Re: Good guide/bad guide

I think the guide school kids need a few years with the same outfit before they start guiding. Guides are a tricky problem, and good ones are not east to find. There is a high burnout rate among guides as well. Older guides have wife and kids and baggage at home they worry about that effects their performance. Younger guides don't have baggage but often lack the skills and patience to be top hands. We started an apprentice program in 2014, we bring in a kid that shows promise and work him through the outfit. They start as a low paid camp jack the first year, move up to packing, and going out with a guide and client the second year, the third year we let them guide if they are ready. We invested two years in a kid from Georgia and he was a great hand, clients loved him. He got in a nasty accident this summer and tore up his ankle pretty good, now he is out. He was going to do some guiding this year, tough break all the way around. We are bringing in another kid for the same program in 2017 and trying it again.
I will tell you, an outfit is only as good as its guides, they are a critical component of any guided hunt. We also started a reimbursement program this year for guides that join MOGA. We are attempting to get guides involved in the industry and be accountable, and belonging to a professional organization helps that.
At the end of the day it is a low paying job, that requires very rare and unique skillsets, time away from home, living in all weather conditions, and extremely physical work. The guide has to be there because he loves the lifestyle, and no other reason will suffice.

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post #9 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-18-2016, 05:14 PM
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Re: Good guide/bad guide

I checked references and when I got out there,I found out my guide was one of the references I called lol.Had an outfitter tell me they were strictly bowhunters and they knew what it took to get it done.After 5 days of seeing nothing,I asked the guide how far bow shot elk usually run.He replied,I don't know.We never had anyone hit one lol.I got a lot more but the bottom line is simple.I won't ever pay another outfitter unless I personally know people who have hunted with him more than once.References can be as reliable as a Bernie Sanders endorsement.
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post #10 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-18-2016, 05:26 PM
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Re: Good guide/bad guide

We went out to Colorado one time and it was the worst trip of my life.We were supposed to be in a spike camp with a cook,wrangler etc.Two weeks before we left,the outfitter called and said we could bypass the spike camp and just camp where we stopped every day.The food wouldn't be as good but we'd stay on the elk.Long story short,we could have two chances as bull but the outfitter scared the one off and his guide scared the other one.They were the only elk we saw in 8 days.We had either sex tags but they didn't want us shooting anything smaller than a big 5x5.By the end of the week,I had every intention of killing a cow just to watch them pack it out.Oh yeah,my buddy re-plumbed the one's guy's camper for free,shooting an entire day down the tubes.They also just bought a bunch of horses from an auction that were completely unsafe.The horse I got was afraid of water and they had no idea.I train horses so it was no big deal and by the end of the trip,the horse was doing good.I planned on sending them a bill for that and the new plumbing but just chalked it up as a learning experience.
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