Public land outfitters?

Broken Arrow

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 5, 2012
Messages
230
Location
Grain valley, Mo
I know the area I'm planning to hunt has at least one outfitter that runs wall tents and horses. Does anyone have experience dealing with this? Planning 4 1/2 mile hike before leaving the main trail for game trails. But my scouting showed evidence of horses just about everywhere I went even bushwacking.
 

Ross

Super Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Feb 24, 2012
Messages
3,542
Location
Liberty Lake, WA
The places I hunt in Nwest MT have around 5-7 outfitters hunting the same area that I am. I have found that if I am up earlier than them and more prepared in my fitness I have little competition or issues with hunters from their camps impacting my activity and hunts. Many of them end up lost and very tired after the first few days as well:)
 

RosinBag

Super Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Feb 27, 2012
Messages
3,072
Location
Roseville, CA.
I have on occasion in Idaho, but I found they don't seem to go places the horses can't and seem to be within a mile or so of their base camp.
 

robby denning

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Feb 25, 2012
Messages
10,121
Location
SE Idaho
If you can find out where they camp, that will help. The forest service issues their camp permit, so they should be able to tell you where, if you can get passed the receptionist. I've found out, had to push hard, but they did tell me. Then I avoid them more easily.

Most outfitters try to pad the experience with great food and cooking, which can be your advantage as they will be in camp more waiting for chow. They'll be eating bacon and eggs, apple pie, ribeyes, and drinking whiskey, while you are glassing.

We met one guide headed off the mountain in Wyoming last fall an hour before dark. He poked fun at us camped in little tents on the mountain eating cold food saying "we have a hot supper waiting for us".

"Hope you enjoy it, as you aren't going to shoot a buck at camp 2000' feet down the mountain", I thought.

If I could have got his client alone, I would have told him he's paying $4000 bucks for a good meal, as he wasn't hunting for sure...
 

2rocky

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 21, 2012
Messages
1,030
Location
Nor Cal
It is certainly doable. Remember that many of the outfitters clients are not as hardcore as the DIY guys. Likewise I was surprised at the number of guides who were only 1st or second year guides. These guys know the trails but maybe not the nasty steep patches that you can't get a horse through. The outfitter him (or her)self is the one who really has the most time in the country. They are the ones directing the guides where to take the clients.

After a couple years in the same country you will know it as well as the guides for sure. They are gonna cover more ground on horseback so they might camp out of the elk a little further. Keep that in mind when you set up your camp. Also keep in mind that they pay for every camp they set up and If there is a yellow special use site sign, it is an outfitter camp.
 

Jeff Martin

Senior Member
Joined
May 6, 2012
Messages
983
Robby,
Man you just made me think of something I tell everyone. Something very similar happened to me and my hunting buddy. We showed up at the main camp (Southern Colorado) and trail head. Everyone and their dog walks over to introduce themselves trying to get our game plan. All had their tongues hanging out and whipped from the Elk handing their $%^& to them. Had 2 guys actually tell me that hunting pressure was so bad, Elk would not make a sound. No need to even go hunting. Later that day we we head out with our packs on our back, we passed by a guided camp with fancy horses, the Guided camp was laughing at us. One guy yells out (I am sure full of beer) good luck...let us know when you want a ride back.

When we made it up top, we could hear the drinking, the 4 wheelers and laughing in the mornings, sound caries so well (lesson for us hunters); elk talking in the dark elk everywhere, it was so funny. We call in 4 bulls in the first hour of hunting.

Make a long story straight, we walked by that same camp with BONE on our backs, exhausted, laughing....whispering "Elk don't talk with this much pressure" and thinking..."yea we need a ride back"...because we have 600 pounds of meat on the mountain :)

@Broken Arrow, We have now done that 3 out 4 years...same mountain, same clowns below, same guided camps......no worries..go hunt !!!
 
OP
Broken Arrow

Broken Arrow

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 5, 2012
Messages
230
Location
Grain valley, Mo
Thanks guys. That makes me confident that once I get to the spot it's a hard left and 2000 vertical ft up and over the mountain as far as I can get from the trail and all the horse crap! Only to return tired and weak with a heavy load of meat and a smile on my face:)
 

TooFarEast

Junior Member
Joined
May 2, 2012
Messages
42
Location
Carolina Coast
Have you tried contacting any of the outfitters in the area? The only reason I ask is I am hunting a Wilderness Area that has one licenced outfitter for the area and have contacted him about doing some horsepacking for me. Anyway, I have talked to him a couple times about services he offers, areas he hunts, etc. and gotten some really good information from him while talking to him. I finally decided that I am doing my hunt DIY and will only be using him for packing me out, but I am glad I talked to him because he was very helpful and gave me some good information (even though he knows I will not be his best customer this year).

The outfitters are going to be your competition, so it would be best to get to know them a little bit and could help reduce conflicts with them later on in the field. I would be careful how you approach the conversation, but it would probabally be worth your time to chat with a couple of them over the phone.
 

Titaniumman

Senior Member
Joined
May 29, 2012
Messages
251
Location
N.W.Montana
I don't see much of this kind of hunting during bow season where I hunt in Montana. More so during rifle season but I know several who look like outfitters with all the horses and gear they have but are just in it for themselves and friends. It might be different during bow season in some of the "prime" areas like the CMR but I have yet to get over there. There are plenty of elk opportunities here close to home.
 

robby denning

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Feb 25, 2012
Messages
10,121
Location
SE Idaho
Jeff M, that is funny funny. Good job!

2rocky, I can't believe you actually had a picture of that sign! Same sign I've seen in Idaho Outfitted camps.
 

bbrown

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 9, 2012
Messages
2,220
Location
Fort Collins - CO
Working for an outfitter on public land (along with private ranches) and hunting public land - I get to see both sides of this. Either way I would give the outfitter a call and chat as ToFarEast suggests and see where it goes from there. After that - just hunt and if you end up hunting the same area use the outfitter to your advantage. You will figure out how he likes to hunt and set yourself on escape routes

The sign is saying that out of that whole national forest the only place the outfitter is allowed to set up camp is that location. So for the time the outfitter has on their permit they are the only one to occupy that location. That sign goes up when their camp is set up and comes down when they leave. If it came down to it and there was someone camped there who refused to leave the outfitter has the right to seek a forest ranger to explain the law and ask/make them move. The signs here in Colorado look different but say the same idea.
 

HellsCanyon

Senior Member
Rokslide Sponsor
Joined
May 29, 2012
Messages
3,474
Location
Lewiston ID
I wrangled and guided for a summer/fall here in WA for a very reputable outfitter. Was a ton of fun but talk about babysitting hunters. The most successful hunters they have are the guys that hire the outfitter for dropcamps but not guides. You can custom tailor a trip to have them pack you and your camp (or wall tent) into the wilderness and come back on the agreed upon day to get you. The drop camp guys are the ones just using them for access and packing services (you can also request a cook!).
Most of the "guides" as mentioned on here are probably first or 2nd year guides, are liking hunting in cowboy boots, and don't know how to glass. There are always exceptions, but in most cases I've seen guys that go guided are out of shape with little hunting experience.

I agree with the others, give the guide a call and see what he has to say! Wait till end of July or August when he is likely booked full already. Let him know up front that the only service you may be interested in is packing meat and that you are a DIY kind of guy. If hes a good outfitter and is already fully booked for fall, he shouldn't have a problem tell you where they hunt and what drainages they are in. Who knows though, the guy may be a jerk and closed mouth! Only one way to find out...

Mike
 

>>>---WW---->

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 24, 2012
Messages
113
What that sign implies is exactly as bbrown wrote above. It has nothing to do with the hunting area, only that particular campsite.
 
Top