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What is an appropriate tip for average elk or mule deer guide ?
My thoughts were start 75.00 a day and adjust up or down from there. I was told 15% of total cost was the norm. What is correct ?
 

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I don't think you can predetermine a tip amount before going on a hunt. There are just too many variables to consider without knowing the details of the particular hunt that you booked.
I've been on over 25 guided hunts and have had pretty much the full gamut of guides. I've had guides who were so loud mouthed, obnoxious and full of themselves who couldn't guide you to an animal if you were surrounded by them. I've also had guides who were almost therapeutic to hunt with and were so good at what they did that it almost seemed uncanny their ability to put you on animals. The obnoxious guy was the only one who I've ever stiffed and the therapeutic guy I tipped 20% several times and felt like it wasn't enough.

It's really a subjective thing. How hard does the guy work for you? Do you get along? Is he just the guide? Or is he a guide/cook/wrangler/packer/etc? The amount of work that a "guide" will do varies a lot from outfitter to outfitter. If your outfitter is also your guide, that can come into play as well.
Generally speaking though, if you are between 10% and 20%, you won't be far off.
 

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I agree with Kudu. I've never had a guided hunt but the drop camps I've been on were real good and real bad. Nothing like having the outfitter drop you off and bug out with a tent set up with over two foot of snow inside when it's dry outside. Most outfitters/guides work hard and probably just break even. Most outfitters were great and I felt guilty I didn't have the funds (cash) at the time the trip ended but I sent it afterwards with a note and a gift for the wife or kids. The good guys will always welcome you back.
 

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stoolshooter said:
If he was excellent in all respects and you did kill a nice animal, $500 would be appropriate
That depends. If you were on a $10,000 New Mexico hunt, a $500 tip would be a bit light. It's like I stated originally. There are way too many variables involved to answer the question posed.
 

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I don't get the "tipping." Maybe it's my cheap " Pa.Dutch" roots - I understand if you get above + beyond service and want to tip - that's the purpose of tipping. Other than that I'm spending GOOD money to expect at the least a basic level of service(If I spend 5 star money I better get 5 star treatment). Why am I expected to tip above the cost of the trip - out of which the outfitter pays the people in his employ? .... Nobody(OK rarely) tips their plumber, electrician, HAVC, cable guy or grease monkey
 

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It was explained to me that the tip represents a substantial amount of the guide's income. Thinking it's more like a waitress, minimum wages but income comes from customer tips. My hunt this year will cost me $4750, so I'm figuring about $500 for a tip, maybe more if he finds me an elk.
 

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The waitress analogy is a good one. Guides don't get paid that much so tips, for at least adequate service, are expected.
 

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If the guides don't like how much you get paid perhaps they should be in a different line of work. The probably get free room and board all during the season so they don't have any expenses. If they went into the guiding business to become rich they made a poor choice.
That said, I have been on two guided elk hunts, the first one I killed a bull and the guide thought that was his cue to stay out drinking all night and have no interest in hunting for a mule deer the rest of the trip, that cost him! The only other guided elk hunt I went on my guide put in tons of effort and even though I was unsuccessful I gave him a nice tip.
 

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My dad used to say when he was alive that you never tip the owner But half the time he was bombed. I would expect back in the day that was the case
 

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I had a guide in Newfoundland that I hunted with on 10 trips. We were drinking rum one night and I asked him what was the worst he'd ever been stiffed on a tip. He walked into his bed room and brought out a copy of The New Testament. Inside was a 20 dollar bill. The book and the twenty just as a hunter gave it to him. It was a tip from a guy who had killed a big slab bull moose several years ago. I told him they need to add a new commandment to the originat ten....Thou shall not be a cheapskate.
 

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I've been told by a few guys who have hunted all over that they start with 7 to 10 percent and adjust up/down based on quality of service. I have followed this recommendation on my few hunts.
 
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