2020 Alaska Sheep Hunt

4everOntheMtn

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Never had an account on here and decided to make one today. I have been reviewing this site for years and it is a very helpful and an informative site. Wanted to get opinions from knowledgeable sheep hunters as I am in my final stages on selecting an outfitter from the below listed guides (these three, the main reason being as I have had face to face communications with them all). I know this topic has been discussed extensively on here and I have read everyone of the threads for the last 4 years but this specific set of questions has not been covered.

Here we go:

I talked with a few AK Dall sheep outfitters in Reno this past Feb. Alaska Outfitters Unlimited (talked with one of the head sheep guides Steve for over an hour) and Alaska Trophy Adventures (talked with the owner Dan Montgomery). These two were tops on my list. But Alaska Outfitters is booked up till 2022 and Dan Montgomery specializes in draw areas. 2020 is the time I have available to hunt.

I also spoke with Dillinger River Outfitters as well and they seemed like a good group of guys and had openings for 2020 but they were a very new company (2018 was first year). Any thoughts on them? Their website is no longer up and shows "under maintenance". The AK outfitter licence number that was on their website (prior to it going down) now shows "revoked" as of 2 April at the guide licencing site of AK but that licence was under someone else's name then any of the guys I met in Reno.

Dillinger was tops on my list because of their availability bottom line. Saw them on the Sportsman's Channel as well with the guys from GunWerks. Now I am wondering. Anyone in the "know" have a clue what is going on with them?

I don't want to put my hunt off till 2022 and I was really looking forward to a 2020 Dall sheep hunt.

Any thoughts or comments would be extremely helpful. Thank you for your time.
 

Yellowknife

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Fairbanks, Alaska
Yeah... Dillinger River Outfitters is the new name and face of Tom Shanksters operations. A guy who has long been controversial to say the least. At last report he was facing various fines and jail time.

As of last year the new "owners" did not have guide licenses of their own and were still booking under Shanksters license. No that his license has been revoked I"m not sure how they are planning on actually booking people.

They have a fine spot... I've flown over it several times, and hunted in the vicinity. But they have traditionally (when under Shankster) had openings because they never turn anyone away regardless of the actual availability of guides and/or rams. Perhaps the new owners are different, but I'd personally tread very lightly and want some assurances that they have enough guides and are limiting the number of hunters to something reasonable. And that all assumes that they have a real guide license they can book under.
 

Garrettg_926

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@4everonthemountain @Yellowknife

Hey guys, my name is Garrett Gillespie. I work for DRO. Shankster is 100% out and gone from DRO operations. We carry ZERO association with Tom, and have absolutely no plans to run a business in any light of its previous owners. We have been battling a ridiculous amount of rumors because of Tom’s horrible reputation. Either of you are more than welcome to give me a ring, as I would love to fill you in on our plan moving forward, and continue to detach any association with Tom from DRO. My number is 970 985 5621. 👍👍. Thanks guys!!!!!
 

Yellowknife

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Hi Garrett,

I'm more than happy to hear that DRO will be running things differently. That's a great place and deserves a good operation. However, I have to say that the "rumors" aren't without some basis.

For the 2018 season, DRO was certainly involved with Tom as they clearly stated they were using him as the contracting guide. If they are booking using his license, they he legally had to oversee field operations. If he wasn't, that would be pretty dubious. This is pretty clearly laid out in the regulations in a number of places and ways. Examples:






Even as late as January of this year Tom was making applications to DNR with the statement "doing business as Dillinger River Outfitters". Clearly there has been a connection in the very recent past even if it has been broken recently.



Aaron DeRose is probably a good guy, but he's also still an assistant guide. Which means he needs a booking guide associated with the operation and in the field. If DRO can't use Tom anymore.... who are they using? There is no Garrett Gillespie listed as either guide or assistant guide, so it's not you.
 
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4everOntheMtn

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Thanks for all your responses so quickly. Yellowknife your info is very detailed and I will ask the new owners of Dillinger River and find out what their plans are going to be for the future including this year. It sounds like they are completely rid of the previous outfitter Tom Shankster due to the taking of his licence to conduct guided hunts in Alaska as of now by the State of Alaska. I guess that is something I will inquire more about when talking with them.

Garrett thanks for your info as well. Are you an owner of DRO? If so what is your plan this year in 2019? If you are not an owner do you work for them in some way and know what is going on this year and more importantly 2020? You (DRO) gave away a hunt at the 2019 Reno Wild Sheep to the <1 club and the guy sitting right next to me was the lucky winner. I recall his name as Juan? I've tried to get a hold of him but have not been able to. I wanted to know how his hunt went after this years season. I cant PM you because my account is so new. Sorry. I get PM's though, as I have gotten a lot since I posted this thread. Ill look for one from you if you don't want to post publicly.

Thank you to those RokSlide members as well who took the time to PM me. It is greatly appreciated.

How about my other outfitters I suggested and that I met. Have any of you hunted with them or plan to anytime soon? This year? How is it going or how did it go? Perhaps I should wait a couple years but that always turns into the next and the next until it don't happen. Its been a lifelong goal to hunt Dalls since I was very young. This DRO option was something I was really looking forward to. It seems like it is always something in my life. I was hoping this decision was going to be different and go smooth and without stress.
 

Garrettg_926

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Guys,

We did use Tom for the first two years of operation. There was nothing illegal about it and it was a way that we could use Toms extensive knowledge of the area to gain. Yellowknife, I understand what you’re saying 100%, I didn’t mean to deny the fact of Toms involvement. The rumors were that it was still under Tom ownership and just re-branded. This year we will be using a different registered guide who we hope will be a full time RG for DRO for many years to come.
 

Garrettg_926

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4everonthemountain,

I work for Aaron full time as a project manager for another business. I help some with the behind-the-scenes of DRO and also will be an assistant guide after this season. I am a very avid hunter from Colorado. As I said you are more than welcome to call anytime. I’d love to explain the entire dynamic to you, along with fill you in about our giveaway hunt.

Thanks guys!
 

AK Troutbum

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Apr 22, 2012
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Chugiak, Alaska
Oh no, another non-resident guiding non-residents, because most non-residents can’t hunt sheep in AK without a guide, regardless of resident status. Sorry for the rant, but it just makes no sense to me, and kinda pisses me off.


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Garrettg_926

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Trout bum,

Many very successful Alaskan guides were from the lower 48 at one point or another until they transplanted north. I am 25 years old, have dreamed about the north country since I was very young. I can assure you our team is not inexperienced in any way, shape, or form. We have found success in many different places and seasons, along with a very diverse range of species. We will be just fine I can assure you. If you would like to further assess our ability, you can look up all names stated on Instagram or Facebook and have a look. Keep in mind none of our personal hunts are guided, and all take place on public land. Please feel free to check it out.

If you are an Alaskan transplant, think of the time you were in my shoes dreaming about finding adventure and opportunity in AK. If you are a lifetime Alaskan resident, think about the times you’ve wanted to chase mule deer or desert sheep. It’s all the same dude. Different people come from different walks of life, but we all share common passions, visions and goals.
 

AK Troutbum

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Chugiak, Alaska
I hear ya, and my comments have much more to do with our idiotic laws than the non-resident guides that take advantage of them. I could have been born and raised in AK, live here my whole life, kill every species available, move outside and loose my residency, then come back a year later to hunt sheep (or goats or brown bear), and I’d be required to hire a guide that could potentially be a non-resident with little experience hunting the particular species, and or the particular area, that he is guiding me on. It makes absolutely no sense to me and quite frankly just pisses me off. I’ll get off my soapbox now, and I apologize for any derailment of the thread. Oh, I’m not original from AK, but I have lived here for about 4 years....4 years before you were born.


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Garrettg_926

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Haha copy that!!! Yes that is quite crazy that it only takes that long to lose residency. Trust me I feel you, you want to see some idiotic shit look up what’s going on in Colorado right now with our pole-smoker governor. It’s CRAZY!!!

Thanks for somewhat understanding!! I get 100% where you’re coming from.
 

Ariettabob

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Nov 26, 2018
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Location
Upstate NY
I’ll post my thoughts, for whatever they’re worth. I did my research on a Dall hunt over the last 2 years. DRO was on my radar often.
My reasoning for running far away was this may or may not be my only sheep hunt and there were too many red flags for me to be able to comfortably put my hard earned money on them. As someone who is looking to gain my trust, Garrett, there were no hard and fast facts, only promises, of changes made. I simply couldn’t pull the trigger on DRO. I’m happy with where I sent my deposit, and from my side of things, that’s all that matters. From your side of things, I type this only to give some perspective. You have a steep uphill battle ahead. $20K +/- isn’t chump change for many hunters. For those blessed to where it is, their time becomes the valued commodity. You seem sincere, and hopefully all you say is straight truth, but without concrete results of happy clients, successful or not, you have quite a battle ahead. Good luck, honestly, and if/when I make my 2nd Dall Hunt, I hope you’ve become a viable option in my mind.
 
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4everOntheMtn

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4everonthemountain,

I work for Aaron full time as a project manager for another business. I help some with the behind-the-scenes of DRO and also will be an assistant guide after this season. I am a very avid hunter from Colorado. As I said you are more than welcome to call anytime. I’d love to explain the entire dynamic to you, along with fill you in about our giveaway hunt.

Thanks guys!
Garrett thanks for your condar in this and explaining a bit of what is going on behind the scenes. In the last 24hrs and the numerous PM's I have gotten from different professionals, previous clients and future clients of the numerous different guiding operations. The one common expressed to me was to investigate ANY potential guide I would hire first with the Alaska Big Game Commercial Services Board. Find out the Registered Guides name that will be signing the hunt contract and find out who will be "on the ground" guiding for me if that is different. Ensure they have licenses and are not under any kind of investigations etc. This will tell a lot of an operation is what most PM's said.

With that being said, who is your new Registered Guide now the Thomas Shankster is not signing these hunt contracts? I understand you would not know the assistant guide at this point but knowing who is the actual Registered Guide is now my number 1 question I will be asking of outfitters before I even consider.

You all are still on my short list of potential operations because of how welcomed I felt with Aaron and Dayton. I do wish they were a little more up front of the relationship they had with this previous guide who, until I looked up online, had to pay $30K+ in fines in June of 2018 to the State of Alaska. But after you explained the relationship with Thomas Shankster I can see why he was not mentioned. Its important now you have a different Registered Guide, I would defiantly be advertising that fact with his name and putting that on your website. Will he be at the show in Reno next year? I have already made plans to come out again. Where in Colorado do you live? Is this new Registered Guide living out there as well? I live in Peyton, Colorado just outside the Springs. I could meet up with you all within a days drive. And for the $20K+ I would need to spend on this dream hunt, it is nothing to make that drive if the info I get from you is satisfactory.

Thanks again, good luck this season.
 
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4everOntheMtn

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Jul 23, 2019
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I’ll post my thoughts, for whatever they’re worth. I did my research on a Dall hunt over the last 2 years. DRO was on my radar often.
My reasoning for running far away was this may or may not be my only sheep hunt and there were too many red flags for me to be able to comfortably put my hard earned money on them. As someone who is looking to gain my trust, Garrett, there were no hard and fast facts, only promises, of changes made. I simply couldn’t pull the trigger on DRO. I’m happy with where I sent my deposit, and from my side of things, that’s all that matters. From your side of things, I type this only to give some perspective. You have a steep uphill battle ahead. $20K +/- isn’t chump change for many hunters. For those blessed to where it is, their time becomes the valued commodity. You seem sincere, and hopefully all you say is straight truth, but without concrete results of happy clients, successful or not, you have quite a battle ahead. Good luck, honestly, and if/when I make my 2nd Dall Hunt, I hope you’ve become a viable option in my mind.
Ariettabob

Thank you for your response. It is greatly appreciated. Im glad others have had to wrestle with this important decision as well and have come to a decision they are happy with. But with the stress comes a lot of new information flooded into responses like yours and PM's. I now have more questions I am going to ask potential outfitters, hopefully avoiding pitfalls others may have had to endure. And that would not have happened without me posting this thread.

Thanks again.

BTW who did you book with if you don't mind me asking. What year are you planning on hunting?
 

Garrettg_926

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May 28, 2014
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Ariettabob,

I understand your position completely, and hope nothing but the best for your hunt this fall!!!

We understood fully what we were getting into by associating with Shankster. Kind of funny because exactly what gave Aaron the idea for the acquisition of the business was the Tom shit show. In 2013 Aaron booked a sheep hunt with Tom and was shown first hand how the operation was ran. Aaron knew he could do 10x better, and 5 years later here we are.

As of now, I agree, we can talk all we want. We need to let a few upcoming seasons speak for themselves, that’s all we can do! Thanks for the input!! Again, best of luck!!
 

Garrettg_926

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Garrett thanks for your condar in this and explaining a bit of what is going on behind the scenes. In the last 24hrs and the numerous PM's I have gotten from different professionals, previous clients and future clients of the numerous different guiding operations. The one common expressed to me was to investigate ANY potential guide I would hire first with the Alaska Big Game Commercial Services Board. Find out the Registered Guides name that will be signing the hunt contract and find out who will be "on the ground" guiding for me if that is different. Ensure they have licenses and are not under any kind of investigations etc. This will tell a lot of an operation is what most PM's said.

With that being said, who is your new Registered Guide now the Thomas Shankster is not signing these hunt contracts? I understand you would not know the assistant guide at this point but knowing who is the actual Registered Guide is now my number 1 question I will be asking of outfitters before I even consider.

You all are still on my short list of potential operations because of how welcomed I felt with Aaron and Dayton. I do wish they were a little more up front of the relationship they had with this previous guide who, until I looked up online, had to pay $30K+ in fines in June of 2018 to the State of Alaska. But after you explained the relationship with Thomas Shankster I can see why he was not mentioned. Its important now you have a different Registered Guide, I would defiantly be advertising that fact with his name and putting that on your website. Will he be at the show in Reno next year? I have already made plans to come out again. Where in Colorado do you live? Is this new Registered Guide living out there as well? I live in Peyton, Colorado just outside the Springs. I could meet up with you all within a days drive. And for the $20K+ I would need to spend on this dream hunt, it is nothing to make that drive if the info I get from you is satisfactory.

Thanks again, good luck this season.
Yessir it’s a very complicated situation. Give me a call whenever you can and I will explain everything. We would love to meet up, we are just over the hill in Grand Junction.
 
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4everOntheMtn

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Garrett,
Thanks for the response back. But this not being forthcoming with questions I inquire about is honestly why I am at this point with DRO, with the website not working now and the guide you had back at Reno now not the outfitter signing contracts. One other RokSlide member I believe touched on this as well. I didn't ask for any trade secrets or GPS points, I simply wanted to know who the registered guide is going to be in 2019 and potentially 2020. That is a straight forward question. If I'm satisfied with his or her credentials with a quick look up I will be in touch with more questions and we can do that by phone or meet up here in Colorado if you want to keep that private. But to simply ask who the new contracting registered guide is....I think is a reasonable couple sentence answer request.

If you have not settled on that new registered guide or DNR permits cant be extended over to this new guide because they are under Thomas Shankster or the 2019 season is up in the air due to these unfortunate circumstances I get it. Perhaps I will wait till you all are up and running and this information is available on your web site or Facebook site. But as of now the only thing recently posted on Facebook is fishing information. Prior to that was back in Feb at the Reno WSF show that I was at when I first met the owners.

This information I requested is for other future clients who look over these websites like I have done for years in preparation for a dream hunt. $20,000 is a lot of money and the time away from my family is worth more then that. I would think you all would want this out there for the public to view. Most folks who go on these hunts who are "working men and women" plan these hunts years in advance.

Again thank you for shedding a little light on your operation but now I have just as many questions as I began with just different subjects with the info you have provided.
 

adventure907

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AK
One thing to not overlook when inquiring on a sheep outfitter, not only who is the contracting guide, but who is doing the flying? Gotta be careful with who you climb into a Super Cub with up here.
 

Garrettg_926

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May 28, 2014
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Garrett,
Thanks for the response back. But this not being forthcoming with questions I inquire about is honestly why I am at this point with DRO, with the website not working now and the guide you had back at Reno now not the outfitter signing contracts. One other RokSlide member I believe touched on this as well. I didn't ask for any trade secrets or GPS points, I simply wanted to know who the registered guide is going to be in 2019 and potentially 2020. That is a straight forward question. If I'm satisfied with his or her credentials with a quick look up I will be in touch with more questions and we can do that by phone or meet up here in Colorado if you want to keep that private. But to simply ask who the new contracting registered guide is....I think is a reasonable couple sentence answer request.

If you have not settled on that new registered guide or DNR permits cant be extended over to this new guide because they are under Thomas Shankster or the 2019 season is up in the air due to these unfortunate circumstances I get it. Perhaps I will wait till you all are up and running and this information is available on your web site or Facebook site. But as of now the only thing recently posted on Facebook is fishing information. Prior to that was back in Feb at the Reno WSF show that I was at when I first met the owners.

This information I requested is for other future clients who look over these websites like I have done for years in preparation for a dream hunt. $20,000 is a lot of money and the time away from my family is worth more then that. I would think you all would want this out there for the public to view. Most folks who go on these hunts who are "working men and women" plan these hunts years in advance.

Again thank you for shedding a little light on your operation but now I have just as many questions as I began with just different subjects with the info you have provided.
Because of some hostility our new guide on permit is experiencing with other resident outfitters I would rather not put his name on here until he has officially signed a contract and it becomes public record. The website and social media is down because until the new guide on permit is public record we did not want to be advertising hunts. It will be back up as soon as we feel it necessary. Once again, just some business and legal hoops we are jumping through, because of Shankster. If you can understand where I’m coming from I appreciate it and will gladly fill you in start-to-finish on a phone call 👍 or you can look me up on Facebook and message me, Garrett Gillespie. I cannot send you a PM on here unfortunately.
 

204guy

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Mar 4, 2013
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Shanksters antics and anybody who would willingly associate with him aside, though I'm not sure I could put that aside. It's pretty well known his area has been way over harvested on sheep for many, many years. Something else to consider.

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