Part two of this blog I will cover hunting out West with a guide or outfitter. There are many benefits to using a reputable outfitter when traveling across the country for a hunt. I will cover what I feel are the best reasons to go guided for at least your first experience.
The outfitter will be very familiar on where the game will be on certain ranches or on public ground. They live out there and have the luxury of scouting and watching where and when the elk or deer or bears will be when you come out for a hunt. The time in the field well help you to be more successful and use your short time on the hunt wisely. You can spend days just locating game and that will waste time instead of actually hunting. Due to weather or fires or just change in feed patterns the animals will move great distances some times. If there is a winter kill or a problem with say wolves or other predators they will know ahead of time.
Most outfitters will either have very nice lodges or farm houses or some type of wall tent camp. Here you will be able to get a good nights sleep and eat very well which is important when you climb mountains day in and out on a Western hunt. You can also have access to phone, Internet and a television if you desire. A good warm shower will also replenish your spirits and keep you going full strength for the week. Being able to clean your hunting clothing is also very nice. When the weather gets nasty it is always nice to come back to a warm place. The atmosphere back at a camp with friends is also nice and helps cement memories that will last a life time.
The guide or outfitter will also have all the gear and or supplies needed for your hunt. If using horses they will have good reliable stock. All their gear will be in good working order and you can depend on them getting you in and out of your adventure safely. He will also have experienced helpers along like wranglers, cooks and other guides. All of your needs will be taken care of to help add to the hunt.
If you are hunting by vehicle or atv’s or just on foot they will supply you with it all. Some will even have a spare weapon in camp just in case something happens to yours and believe me it does on occasion. Airlines are known to lose gear, horses tend to damage a well sighted in gun and falls can ruin a well tuned bow.
You have a 700 plus pound animal down on the ground and now what do you do. This again is also where a good outfitter will take care of you. He will break down the animal for you or have a place where you can butcher and cape it in a clean warm area. If the animal has to be packed off the hill they will do all that work for you. This is huge especially if you are back packed in and have to get out a critter before it spoils.
Animals out West are much different to hunt than some that reside on the East coast. If you have never hunted say antelope before you will need to know where to set up, when the breeding season is and hot they react to decoys.
If you are hunting mule deer and do not know their habits and or places they like to reside you will be at a great disadvantage. Hunting a high country deer in the early season in velvet will be different than say a mid November rut hunt.
Elk hunting requires you to know how to call during the archery season to get yourself in close to a bugling bull. Again not be familiar with this will hurt your chances of punching your tags. Where will they be feeding and how far are they go to a bedding area.
A good quality business will also help you fill out the proper paperwork to put in for tags and know the deadlines. They will know what areas and what your odds of drawing certain tags will be. Some of the states are very confusing and having this done for you the right way is important.
Another key to using an outfitter is their knowledge of size of game in a certain area. Is that deer or elk a shooter or should I hold out for a possibly bigger one. They can give you an honest idea of what to expect and will pull you off an animal if they think that you can do better.
I absolutely enjoy guiding hunters and have as much fun if not more when they make the shot. Seeing the smile on their faces and creating memories that will last a life time is what its all about for me.
Good hunting and stay down wind!!!