My experience with the outfitter Tim Nelson Alaska Guide service

OP
S

Southern Heritage

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Jun 14, 2020
Messages
141
Sorry ive been out of pocket. I got a email yesterday from Mr. Nelson that he sent to the 3 hunters which includes my self.
My side of Mr. Nelson email is i was under the impression we where to pay a airline to fly us in and out of the hunting area. We flew in and rode horses out. Then our guides drove us to cold foot. I then purchased a flight to fairbanks through the same service. I asked the air service along with other hunter who was with me what we owed and they said all is good. So I assumed we where good but expected a bill as a over site. Mr Nelson sent the email you will see below.
Other then his post on here and email below its all ive heard from him since i reached out.
is email reads…
Hi Guys,
In light of the fact that some of you have expressed that your experience hunting with Tim's Alaskan Guide Service did not meet your expectations, I have decided to cover your charter bill with Wright Air Service.
I would also like to apologize for any lack of professionalism from my guides. They work very hard to keep everyone safe, comfortable, and well fed in a harsh and demanding environment while also trying to acquire trophy animals for their clients which can cause a lot of stress and fatigue.
I hope that you will not harbor any hard feelings toward me or my outfit and wish you many successful hunts in the future.

Best regards,

Tim Nelson
Registered AK Guide/Outfitter #1347


So inclosure of this whole event. WTA never reached out to me via phone like he said on two occasions. Outfitter never reached out to me to help close my harvest ticket and or discuss my concerns. So im 100% over it. Im grateful for a wilderness experience. Im disappointed in the hunting side and attitude. Im pissed over how my concerns where handled.
Who ever reads this can desolve this how ever they choose.
For me WTA lost a client who no couldnt do something like this again but was looking hard at there ocilated turkey hunt along with a elk and mule deer in the future.
For all I care at this point this post can be locked up. As im moving on in life because as my mentor used to tell me. Life is to short to dance with ugly people.

lastly thank you for the guys who have checked in and showed concern etc.
 

204guy

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WY
@Southern Heritage reading your trip report did your guides effort drop dramatically after he learned that you'd be riding out? I would suspect that once it was learned moose couldn't be flown out, that either from the top or the guide decided on his own he didn't want to bring one out on horses.
 

Kevin Dill

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Aug 26, 2014
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2,805
This is no accusation:

I strongly suspect there may be a very intriguing story or set of circumstances known only to Mr Nelson. Those may never be revealed however, unless he chooses or if others with knowledge begin to talk. The typical strategy is to keep silent and let the whole matter fade away in time. And for all anyone knows, this could be the first time the outfitter has had problems....hence the apparent lack of any pattern of trouble via a search of the web.

The email (if true and genuine in content) is a de facto near-admission of problems he's acknowledging. The payment to Wright Air (if it happened) is essentially a gesture intended to smooth some feathers and shine a better light on his business....a useful strategy. The theory being if you aren't satisfied then you're a problem client after all that's been done and said.

Again, I'm making no accusation in this case. If I seem to be familiar with the situation (outfitter and guide not meeting minimal expectations), well....you might be correct. I also know that taking the issue to the public via social media is probably the least effective way to get things resolved happily. It typically ends with scorched earth statements and hardened positions. That's just how it is.
 

Berger024

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Jun 22, 2020
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Great Lakes Region
The outfitter could have easily reached out to the client and didn't even give him a courtesy response. The client tried multiple times to chat and no attempt was made. This was a once-in-a-lifetime hunt for the OP and I think he has the right to state the facts on his end. This isn't a name-calling rant. He clearly stated he was mad but willing to just forget about it. This was meant to educate potential consumers on what his experience was and how his hunt operated.
 

HornPorn

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Joined
Oct 7, 2020
Messages
24
Hard to draw too many conclusion only hearing 1 side of the story. Does Tim's silence means what OP said is true? Or does he have a perspective that he won't share because he doesn't want to subject himself to the tidal wave of follow up questions. I wouldn't blame him for that...Guess we will never know.

What there does appear to be at the very least, are some major communication issues between outfitter and client, and perhaps a guide who needs to be/was fired. I have to say, taking a quick peak at the website, it does not make me want to sign up for a hunt....and the prices are way lower than industry standard. He has $21K for a sheep hunt whereas the best outfitters are getting $30K a pop. I am a believer in "you get what you pay for", but when it comes to guided hunting trips, you definitely don't get what you don't pay for, unless you are extremely lucky, or are a repeat customer/friends/family.

It's sad because the folks who save up and might only do this once in their life are usually the ones who shop for a deal.....and they are the ones who get screwed. On the other hand, the guys who can afford to go to the premier outfitters in Canada practically every year don't have to worry about things like this. JMHO
 
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gbflyer

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Feb 20, 2017
Messages
802
When I hear people spending serious money for a swamp donkey I cringe. I’m not a guide or a lodge operator. Sorry for the bad experience. You seem to be a realistic person. If you want a moose in Alaska, you don’t need a guide. Calling is not difficult. Where I live it’s a registration hunt that lasts up to 30 days. Nice full service lodge to stay at (…$&@k a bunch of sub - zero tent camping, sheep meat, and knothead horses), daily air taxi service, rental cars, a store, no brown bears to speak of, and probably some locals that would help you pack one if you give them some of it. Spike, fork, 50” or 3 brow tines. Several over 50” taken this year. So yeah probably not gonna get that six footer, but all moose are too damned big when they’re down anyway. Drop me a PM.

Pic added.
300e7a145d390327b67e4e6aa461503a.jpg

This one was at the cafe last week before season closed. 56”. He cut the antlers off so they don’t get tangled up when they drag them out with a Lewis winch.
 
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OMB

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Nov 13, 2019
Messages
117
When I was kicking the tires on a sheep hunt a few years ago, I reached out to a couple of the large booking agents and one of them gave me totally incorrect information, to the point a "reputable" booking agent said clients were harvesting on average 5 year old Dall sheep in the Alaska Range, and when I pointed out that they clearly didn't know what they were talking about, threatened legal action from the the principal of the service if I told people about it.

Booking agents in North America are a total waste of time and money at this point, there's too much solid open source information out there, and you have way too many resources to run down references than the 7-10 legacy guys trying to fill last minute slots. They're not a value add, and when the Baby Boom generation stops booking hunts with them, it's going to be a great day when WTA and GRH and the rest are done.
 

Loggerdude

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Dec 30, 2017
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Location
Oregon
Word of mouth travels fast, maybe have everyone you know try to contact him to see if he has openings then drop Baited one liners.
He sounds like a real professional at being an a##
 

kscowboy01

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 10, 2015
Messages
149
Location
Gunnison Valley, CO
The best advice I can give anyone is to go to shows and meet people. You’ll meet outfitters but meet the people attending. Belly-up to the bar and meet hunters. I met the PH my dad hunted with in Mozambique through friends at DSC. It was one of the best hunts he’s ever been on (done 8 trips to Africa) and as soon as we hear someone is looking at Cape buffalo, we march them over to meet Alex McDonald.

I have full confidence that through the friendships I’ve made at shows, I could have anyone of you talking to a couple of the best outfitters for the game you are wanting to hunt. Relationships are huge in the hunting community, so take advantage of these opportunities.

I will note that when you hunt North America, expect to be disappointed at times. Sans pronghorn, there are very little guarantees on this continent. My father has always used this statement and it rings true, even with the best in the business.
 

AspenTimber

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Oct 2, 2019
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33
Agree with above statement and not sure how this all played out in the wilderness but the only thing I really expect when hiring a guide, is that they are a “professional”. To me that means they… (1) possess adequate knowledge of the area and targeted species and (2) above all else….they should be the one person willing to put in just as much or more effort than yourself. Everything else is icing on the cake. If a guide gave 100 percent effort and applied their knowledge and skills then that’s all you can really ask for… The OP clearly does not feel this was the case
 

jpilot77

Newbie
Joined
Oct 27, 2021
Messages
1
Location
Quebec
Just got back from my first guided elk hunt in BC (so I don’t have too much experience with guided hunts), hunted hard but no elk. Was a great experience and our guide and the outfitter where great. My father who was also on the hunt killed a bull elk with the same outfit previously. Our guide who’s guided extensively in the NWT, Yukon and BC gave me some good advice when booking guided hunts. His big thing was trying to find out how long guides stick with the outfit. His thinking was that good quality outfits tend to have guides that stick around for many years. Obviously this info might still have left you in a bad spot as your guide was family of the outfitter. But I think it’s good info.
 

Twitch

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Sep 22, 2017
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Willamette Valley, OR
Man, reading this thread gave me a knot in my stomach.
Moose is my #1 dream trip.
Thankfully I'll probably never have to stress over a hunt like this, because I have a meager income, kids, and a sizeable mortgage.
That said, *IF* some of these outfitter horror stories happened to me on my truly hunt of a lifetime, I'd probably end up in jail.
 

MRC

Junior Member
Joined
Feb 19, 2021
Messages
33
If your looking for an outfitter and they’re not booked two or three years out. Not good. If the outfitter advertises big time or uses Cabelas or other booking agents probably not good. I hunted moose in the Yukon years back and the oufitter had big ads in magazines and pictures of well know hunters with big moose taken with them.When I booked he tried hard to get me to add caribou to the hunt for a couple thousand more. I was supposed to be at a small lake with a trappers cabin and we would have a boat and motor and we could access other small lakes and spike camp. Plane dropped me off at the lake and went to pick up the guide from another camp. When the plane came back the guide yelled for me to haul the canoe from the cabin and bring it out to the plane. I had hip boots so he got in the canoe with his gear and I pulled him to shore.There was a small boat at the cabin but it was locked with a chain and the guide didn’t have a key. There was no motor. Think about canoeing in the Yukon in October! The first day we skipped breakfast and went out early and came back for breakfast.My guide slept the rest of the day until I went back in and woke him up to go out for the evening.That evening I spotted a cow and calf up on the side of the mountain. I was watching with my binoculars trying to give him landmarks when he told me he left his binoculars at the other camp. We canoed to another lake connected by a stream. Two or three hours to get there against the current. When we go to shallow fast spots l had to drag him(no hip boots). Every day everywhere we stopped he built a fire. He always wanted to go back to the cabin. Too cold. About the eighth day we woke up and it was snowing and half the lake was froze. He said it was too cold.we should stay in the cabin. I asked him to let me go by myself. He said really. I said yes.Just take me out with the canoe to the narrows between the lakes. He did and gave me his birch bark megaphone and moose scapula on a tether. I went probably a hundred yards from the canoe and cut a big set of moose tracks headed to the basin by the lake where we saw a cow and calf the night before. Climbed up high above the basin and called. The bull instantly started cracking his horns against a tree. The cow started moaning and she led him to me.First shot a 60 yards. Shot him three times. Headed down the mountain to the cabin to get the guide and my frame pack. He heard the shots and already had crossed the river.He asked if i got one. I said yes.He said down low. I said no up by tree line. I don’t think he was happy. I said we have to take the canoe back to get the frame packs. He said he didn’t have one. Gettin the picture here. No frame pack,no binoculars,no hip boot. He used my heavy soft pack and carried fifty or sixty pounds at a time and I filled my frame pack. I asked about caribou and he told me he hadn’t seen a caribou in that area in ten years. He was an Indian and had been guiding for over twenty years in the Yukon. I actually liked him. He had been out for seventy straight days guiding sheep hunters and moose hunters. He had no interest in getting me a moose. How about the outfitter.No boat. No motor. Tries to sell me a caribou hunt where there’s no caribou.I asked around when I was in the Yukon who was the best outfitter in the Yukon and the one I was told was one that I could find no information about because he’s always booked up and does no advertising. I didn’t complain to the outfitter because I knew that would be a waste of time. He did call me when I got home and wanted a picture of my moose for his ads for the coming year. I told him i shot the moose without a guide and the other things and he said I suppose your not sending a picture. He was right.
 

Panhandler80

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Joined
Mar 31, 2019
Messages
556
Location
NW Florida
If your looking for an outfitter and they’re not booked two or three years out. Not good. If the outfitter advertises big time or uses Cabelas or other booking agents probably not good. I hunted moose in the Yukon years back and the oufitter had big ads in magazines and pictures of well know hunters with big moose taken with them.When I booked he tried hard to get me to add caribou to the hunt for a couple thousand more. I was supposed to be at a small lake with a trappers cabin and we would have a boat and motor and we could access other small lakes and spike camp. Plane dropped me off at the lake and went to pick up the guide from another camp. When the plane came back the guide yelled for me to haul the canoe from the cabin and bring it out to the plane. I had hip boots so he got in the canoe with his gear and I pulled him to shore.There was a small boat at the cabin but it was locked with a chain and the guide didn’t have a key. There was no motor. Think about canoeing in the Yukon in October! The first day we skipped breakfast and went out early and came back for breakfast.My guide slept the rest of the day until I went back in and woke him up to go out for the evening.That evening I spotted a cow and calf up on the side of the mountain. I was watching with my binoculars trying to give him landmarks when he told me he left his binoculars at the other camp. We canoed to another lake connected by a stream. Two or three hours to get there against the current. When we go to shallow fast spots l had to drag him(no hip boots). Every day everywhere we stopped he built a fire. He always wanted to go back to the cabin. Too cold. About the eighth day we woke up and it was snowing and half the lake was froze. He said it was too cold.we should stay in the cabin. I asked him to let me go by myself. He said really. I said yes.Just take me out with the canoe to the narrows between the lakes. He did and gave me his birch bark megaphone and moose scapula on a tether. I went probably a hundred yards from the canoe and cut a big set of moose tracks headed to the basin by the lake where we saw a cow and calf the night before. Climbed up high above the basin and called. The bull instantly started cracking his horns against a tree. The cow started moaning and she led him to me.First shot a 60 yards. Shot him three times. Headed down the mountain to the cabin to get the guide and my frame pack. He heard the shots and already had crossed the river.He asked if i got one. I said yes.He said down low. I said no up by tree line. I don’t think he was happy. I said we have to take the canoe back to get the frame packs. He said he didn’t have one. Gettin the picture here. No frame pack,no binoculars,no hip boot. He used my heavy soft pack and carried fifty or sixty pounds at a time and I filled my frame pack. I asked about caribou and he told me he hadn’t seen a caribou in that area in ten years. He was an Indian and had been guiding for over twenty years in the Yukon. I actually liked him. He had been out for seventy straight days guiding sheep hunters and moose hunters. He had no interest in getting me a moose. How about the outfitter.No boat. No motor. Tries to sell me a caribou hunt where there’s no caribou.I asked around when I was in the Yukon who was the best outfitter in the Yukon and the one I was told was one that I could find no information about because he’s always booked up and does no advertising. I didn’t complain to the outfitter because I knew that would be a waste of time. He did call me when I got home and wanted a picture of my moose for his ads for the coming year. I told him i shot the moose without a guide and the other things and he said I suppose your not sending a picture. He was right.

Way to get it done, though. That’s awesome.

Giving Alaska a shot for the first time ever and going drop camp just me and my brother in law. For one, I can’t afford a guided hunt. For another, I’d rather fail on my own than run the risk of paying that kinda coin and being dealt a useless guide. We are still relying on hired help for plane, some rental gear etc, but once afield it’s all up to us and Mother Nature. I feel line the more variables I can revive the better.
 

MRC

Junior Member
Joined
Feb 19, 2021
Messages
33
You have to be careful with air charters too. Before the Yukon hunt I hunted moose on the Alaska Penninsula. We were camped at the base of a small mountain.We heard shots on the other side of the ridge. The outfitter said the float service probably dropped hunters on the other side of the mountain on a small lake. He said the lake was surrounded by a half mile wide ring of willows and alders.He said the only place to camp was right on the beach along the lake. He said the brown bears walked the beach because it was the easiest for them too. He said the only way to get a moose would be if they came to the edge of the lake.If they killed one on the edge that would make the bear problem worse.He said the shots over there were usually to scare bares off camp. I asked why he would drop them there and he said the air service protected the outfitters because they provided business every year. When the pilot came to pick me up the outfitter asked if he had dropped hunters on that lake. He said yea he really f****d them. A couple of guys from New Jersey.They we’re talking right in front of me. It was disgusting. All I could think of were those guys taking a once in a lifetime dream hunt and getting a really bad deal. That flight was out of King Salmon.
 

Panhandler80

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 31, 2019
Messages
556
Location
NW Florida
You have to be careful with air charters too. Before the Yukon hunt I hunted moose on the Alaska Penninsula. We were camped at the base of a small mountain.We heard shots on the other side of the ridge. The outfitter said the float service probably dropped hunters on the other side of the mountain on a small lake. He said the lake was surrounded by a half mile wide ring of willows and alders.He said the only place to camp was right on the beach along the lake. He said the brown bears walked the beach because it was the easiest for them too. He said the only way to get a moose would be if they came to the edge of the lake.If they killed one on the edge that would make the bear problem worse.He said the shots over there were usually to scare bares off camp. I asked why he would drop them there and he said the air service protected the outfitters because they provided business every year. When the pilot came to pick me up the outfitter asked if he had dropped hunters on that lake. He said yea he really f****d them. A couple of guys from New Jersey.They we’re talking right in front of me. It was disgusting. All I could think of were those guys taking a once in a lifetime dream hunt and getting a really bad deal. That flight was out of King Salmon.
That’s aweful.

Hopefully our experience won’t be like that. We are dealing directly with a one man show who flys his own plane. He guides a few hunts early and late in season, and then during moose either drops customer with a guide, or drops DIY guys. So… low volume, he’s not particularly easy to get to, not particularly cheap, and came recommended by a very well thought of operation, albeit not one that’s super well known. I feel pretty good about it. Kinda have you at this point though! Hahaha.
 

MRC

Junior Member
Joined
Feb 19, 2021
Messages
33
You probably did good.A lot of people look for cheap but guys that provide a good drop camp aren’t cheap.Nothing in Alaska is cheap.
 

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