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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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I've found the internet, specifically GOOGLE, to be a great source of information about an outfitter and his operation. These days, if someone has a bad hunt they will post about it online. A quick search will find all the bad, along with the good about a particular guide/outfitter. Using different search engines will get different result so spend some time in your research. This spring I was looking at a guide for Newfoundland moose and he gave about 50 references in his brochure. Also with the phone number he also had email for most of them. This was great because I sent an email to almost all of them requesting information and most of them responded. A great time saver instead of spending hours on the phone. I got a ton of information and if I needed more detail I could call them. We ended up booking a moose hunt because of the 100% positive feedback we received in addition to speaking with the outfitter at the Harrisburg Sportsman show.
 

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I have only had good ones, so I guess have been lucky.

They were all in great shape, hunted hard, were personable, knew the country and the animals and made the most of the day when conditions were next to impossible.
 

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Had a good one for me and a jerk for my wife for Bear. I am setting something up for my Daughter for next year and running gun shy.
 

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bad experience

I just went on a elk hunt in Colorado. I do not recommend the guide we went with. We went with a guy named Doug Flowers. I will cut to the gist then give the long version. Most racist guy i ever met. Said N_ _ _ _ more times then I could count. Second, the guides I had didn't work hard and didn't have a back up plan. Ok Long version. First, It could have been great but didn't turn out that way. There were elk in the area guides just not willing to go after them. They knew how to do one thing and that was sit on a field. A little about my state of mind before we went. I did my homework. I knew the chances of our (4 of us) success was not great. We went in third rifle season and the success rate is less then 20 percent so I figured that we might get one out of four. My only expectation was to see an elk, not even a bull just an elk. One elk. Remember the elk were there the guides just were not willing to work for them. After 3 days not an animal, not an elk, not a bear, not a mule deer, not a squirrel. On the 4th day I saw a bear. On the last day I saw a mule deer. When we arrived the accommodations were nice and the food was good. We were to get up before light and horse back in about an hour. (so far my dream hunt). I never arrived at the park (that's what they call a meadow in CO) before sunlight. The weather was hot so if we were going to hunt fields then the best time to hunt of course is first light and last light. My goal was to stay and hunt dark to dark. I never got to stay until dark on any field they put me on in the morning. We were always riding back to the camp during the best hunting time right before it got dark. I asked why aren't we staying out until dark. The guide said something about dinner. I couldn't give two shits about dinner. Their were 5 or 6 guides in camp and I thought they would rotate us with each. That was not the case but I didn't care if we rotated or not as long as the guide put in effort. The first day we get to the field we get set up on the edge and my guide can't sit still. I asked what was wrong he says his legs keep falling asleep. He then puts his rain coat on and it isn't raining. It is the loudest rain coat I have ever heard. The second day we get set up on a different field. The guide won't stop talking. 2 days not an animal. The third day I am back on the same field. This day I am with a different guide but he is going to sit with another hunter on a different field. I was so happy. The guide says i will check on you about midday, I say I am fine just stay with the other guy. About 2 o'clock he comes up to check on me / get the horses. I asked him if we were going to try a different spot he says no the other guy can't walk out he's to out of shape (not one of the guys I went with) and I'm going to take the horses to him. I said we aren't leaving yet are we he said no, I said ok. So I see him take two of the three horses and I say to myself you have to be kidding me why didn't he take all three. I grew up on a horse farm and I knew the horse he left behind was a social horse and didn't like to be left alone. You guessed it the horse didn't shut up for the remainder of the time we were out. 3 days not an animal. Now I'm going to back up a little bit, the first night we are in camp the owner/guide Doug ask if anyone can shoot 500 yards. So me and the three guys in my group say we all can we have been shooting all year at that distance. Back to day 3, so we get back to camp that night and I ask if we are going to change tactics because the weather has been hot and the field thing wasn't working so good. The answer was no. Now that was probably because the weather was to change so I was good with that. We were to get either rain or snow or a mix. So we are pretty pumped up. The next morning we are all ready before the horses are saddled. We are told that we are going to wait until the rain stops. I'm like what? I thought this is what we were waiting for. So I say we have hunted in the rain before we will be fine. Doug say's you will just get cold and be back in early. I'm like no we have rain gear and we hunt in the rain all the time. We got this. Anyway we end up waiting out the rain. That day Doug takes one of the two other guys who was in camp (not part of my group) to the area you could shoot 500 yards. Neither of the guys in the other group could shoot 500. They both said they were only comfortable to 250. I remember that because I thought 250 was a weird number. The fourth day I'm back with the guide I was with for the first two days. I'm on a new park and it is about 1000 feet higher in elevation. I'm pretty excited. That is the morning I see the black bear. The last day we are hunting only half a day because that is the way it was set up from the start. I am on the same spot I was the day before and my guide is the same as the day before. We are sitting about 40 yards apart he is watching one half of the field and I'm am watching the other. A line of pine trees cuts the field so it is kind of hard to see the whole length to the right of where I was sitting but you could see the other half a little. In the morning a nice mule deer walks by from left to right and walks the length of the field. About 11 am I hear my guide 40 yards away talking on the walkie talkie. I was ready to take the shells out of my gun and just call it a day. He comes over to me and does the first guide like thing in 4 days. He says they ran into some elk down below and they might be headed toward us. I ask him wasn't that a nice mule deer he says what mule deer. geesh. So we head down the mountain and set up. No elk but at least we tried. Finally It could have been a great hunt. 2 of the other guys I went with we disappointed in the effort of the outfitter and the one who got an elk on the last day didn't even want to go out, because of the events of the week. One of our guys thought the hunt was ok. not great but ok. One last thing, the morning after the election when the owner/guide found out trump won, he said to me he was so happy he didn't give a **** about my elk hunt. End of story.

I don't know if I will ever go on a guided hunt again. I know if I do I will ask two questions. First question, are you a racist? Second question, what is the normal hunting day and if things are not going as planned what is your backup plan?
 

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I hunted with the same guide 3 times, never killed anything but saw game, had a couple of opportunities. Outfitter was great, good guides, overall I had a great experience each time. Well I recommended him to guy on here and by chance we ended hunting with him the same week. This guy find not stop complaining from the time he walked into camp. Really was dissatisfied. Camp was exactly as I described. Not sure what his problem was because he couldn't put it in words. So try and find out what you are getting into by checking lots of references and have reasonable expectations. Finally , you get what you pay for do don't expect a $8,000 hunt for $4000. Good luck.
 

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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.
outfitter is Red Bluff Lodge, owner and guide is Jim Boone, great all around in every aspect. we went back in November of 2016 for deer and hogs. this was just after the hurricane. No hogs around but everybody saw and got deer except me.

not his fault, every stand i was in. the wind was in my face, i paid strict attention to scent control and noise, it was just me.

i plan on going back and recommend this place to anyone interested.
 

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You guys that won't post who you had a bad or disappointing hunt with are not helping anyone but the "bad" outfitters to stay in business and possibly screw another Hunter. If you are afraid of being sued or facing repercussions perhaps you should re-evaluate the experience! Most guys are looking for help esp on first hunt and you are not helping.
 
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