Thoughts on first guided hunt

snvts82

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Joined
Oct 9, 2020
Messages
29
So I figured I’d throw out some thoughts after my 1st guided hunt. I’ve always been diy’er otc hunter and enjoyed mostly success in the 5/6 years I’ve been hunting elk. I’m a co resident so I’ve always done a lot of e scouting and boots on the ground prior to season. So this was totally different. I’ve been in the area years prior, but never hunted there so it was mostl escouting.

We had a group of 6, hunted an otc unit in southern Co. Went 3/6. We took a heavy 6x6, a crazy 5x1, and my hog of a 5x6. Everyone shot though. 2 missed at 200yd shots at nice 6x6s and 1 guy missed at 400 at nice big bull. So in that regards I consider that part of the hunt a huge success. The guides put everyone on bulls in 5 days. They did their job! Everyone saw animals everyday, not always in shooting range or in thick timber but it was great to see that number of animals in an otc unit.

Guides….one of the 3 was by far more knowledgeable and a straight killer. Super young kid with legit eagle eyes. The other were pretty good at their job, not great but did their job. They were pretty damn green to be guiding clients solo All worked the asses off

Food, mediocre at best. The “cook” was more of worker than a cook. I’ve put together better late night drunk meals than he was putting out
Accommodations: adequate. Our tent was new but small for 6 guys. I was in the army for 6 yrs and 5 as a wildland ff so my standards maybe a bit lower than most but the other hunters didn’t complain.

Horses…absolutely amazing. They were incredible. I’ve done a fair share of horse riding and was totally amazed by their sure footedness and stamina. My brother in law who was there and owns 10 horses, rides daily said it was the most impressive thing he’s seen horses do. Nighttime rides with legit cliff on one side was a nightly ritual. If you don’t have a high tolerance for risk I would say don’t do a hunt like this.

The hunting area. Gnarly, steep, nasty, isolated, and beautiful country. Lost of animals but damn was is nasty country. I used to be on a wildland fire crew down there so I knew this going in but man is it steep. Saw 1 other horse hunter in 7 days. And that’s in a Colorado otc unit. There’s a reason the bulls were there.

Overall thoughts. A couple of our hunters were very green and learned a lot. Myself, learned a little, I rely on my preseason scouting and miles on the ground during the season to help me. I know some about elk hunting not a ton but I do know how to work hard. The hunting off horses is totally different. Not a ton of time sitting a glassing in one spot for a long time. It’s ride, glass, ride, glass repeat and hopefully shoot. We did sit mid day, eat lunch and glass. We also hike our asses off. Most days 5 plus miles. Which in that country is extremely hard work. Overall I had a blast shot a great bull and gained some great memories. To me we paid for access to and around the area. The animals were there. This hunt was around the 5k mark.

The biggest thing you could bring to this hunt was physical conditioning and weapon confidence. I took my animal at 440yds and 6x6 was at 460yds

The biggest downfalls of the hunt in my opinion were on the ground logistics. It seemed like hunting plans were not really made until the morning of and there was some mix up on horses some days etc etc. some serious improvements could be made if you ask me. Also, more care could have been done in cleaning the animal. I hunt for the love of the outdoors and to fill the freezer. I take time getting the most meat off my animals as possible. The guides priorities were more on hunting than fill the game bags to the top, which I personally had a really hard time with and did say something which helped. If anyone is interested in this outfitter, pm me. I can give more details.
 

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Indian Summer

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Feb 17, 2013
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1,193
My question is now that you know the elk are there and know the country better will you go back and DIY? Would you book with him again?
 
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SteveCNJ

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Congrats on great hunt and a great write up. Sending a PM.

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OP
snvts82

snvts82

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Oct 9, 2020
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29
That crossed my mind the entire time about going back for diy, but I can’t imagine being that guy. It would be extremely hard without horses. Maybe some llamas bc the pack goats me and my buddies use wouldn’t cut it. 50ft outside of camp it’s damn near straight up. Just getting out of camp without horses would be a serious task everyday. Doable but a serious ass kicker and you’d have to be ok with being that type of guy.
 
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BigAntlerGetter

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Sep 5, 2012
Messages
551
Location
Gypsum, CO
Sounds like you had a good hunt. Minus some issues. Just throwing my .02 out there as a fellow outfitter in CO.

The need for guides right now is outrageous, as a horseback outfitter it is tough for us outfitters in OTC units to charge more than 5K, due to it being OTC, but also find good guides, cooks, feed horses Etc.

I have cooks that have told me $2500/week, they can’t ride horses, will only cook no extra chores (so they need a camp Jack to) and need to buy the food. My cook is amazing and puts out amazing food and also tries to keep food costs lower. Having good food is a priority that’s for sure, but it’s hard to find people that can do it, that a guy can trust plus stay semi within a budget.

Guides…. I get 50 emails a year from people wanting to guide, #1 I’ve never hunted elk but really want to, I’m from out East and really want to do it #2 I went on an elk hunt with my uncle 10 yrs ago and really want to guide, I have a full time job so can only guide like weekends #3 I’ve guided for 5 yrs in montana, idaho or wyoming I need minimum $500/ day guiding, housing between seasons, food, and $150/ day non guiding.

So it’s a pain finding guides to and still staying within budget. Sounds like you had 1 seasoned guide and 2 rookies. I’ve done that to it sucks. Guys want more than they’re worth, no experience at all Etc.

We always want to get guys back to hunting after a harvest but we kinda have the rule that if an animal is harvested that Guide and hinter are basically done for the day, their job is take care of the animal get it fully processed and back to camp or hung for the packers to get. I always get as much as I possibly can but can see sometimes the hurry of the guides wanting to get back to hunting. But that’s also where the client does step in and say hey I want rib meat, this that etc.

Personally I don’t hardly bring in any clients from in state on guided hunts. For the reason of I’ve taken them out guided them taught them everything and the next year they’re camped out. I have a business to run and sucks getting into an area and trying to be professional but have diy guys that we gave all our secret spots to the year before basically rising our coat tails the year after. It is public land and I do not own the area, so can’t do anything about it, but like to put it into perspective in another business aspect. Ur a certified food truck operator that has paid all the fees, licenses and permits to work on said parking lot, and a past employee comes out with their car full of pre cooked food from somewhere else sets up 10 yards away with no permits, licenses or anything for 1/4 ur price.


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OP
snvts82

snvts82

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A lot of very good points. Most I agree with. The other two guides were green but worked super hard and wanted to do a good job. Definitely nothing they were doing wrong but lack of knowledge. I put that more on the owner than any of the guides. To me it seemed our camp was a bit overbooked with two other hunters being 1:1 with their guides. Most of the short comings I put on the owners not the guides. But agreed great hunt with some hiccups. Not at all looking for 5 star quality food out there either but the food was lacking, everyone agreed. And that’s a very point about taking in state hunters and the possibility of giving up your honey holes. The reason I booked this trip was bc if the inaccessibility of the area. Even if I was that asshole who’d come back diy it’s not possible. Not having animals, the 7hr drive and the remoteness make it a no go. I don’t and won’t plan on it but I think it’s natural to think about when you’re seeing bulls in damn near every drainage. There’s a reason we only saw 1 hunter in the area the whole time.
 

BigAntlerGetter

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Sep 5, 2012
Messages
551
Location
Gypsum, CO
A lot of very good points. Most I agree with. The other two guides were green but worked super hard and wanted to do a good job. Definitely nothing they were doing wrong but lack of knowledge. I put that more on the owner than any of the guides. To me it seemed our camp was a bit overbooked with two other hunters being 1:1 with their guides. Most of the short comings I put on the owners not the guides. But agreed great hunt with some hiccups. Not at all looking for 5 star quality food out there either but the food was lacking, everyone agreed. And that’s a very point about taking in state hunters and the possibility of giving up your honey holes. The reason I booked this trip was bc if the inaccessibility of the area. Even if I was that asshole who’d come back diy it’s not possible. Not having animals, the 7hr drive and the remoteness make it a no go. I don’t and won’t plan on it but I think it’s natural to think about when you’re seeing bulls in damn near every drainage. There’s a reason we only saw 1 hunter in the area the whole time.

My new cook stepped my stuff up, I ufortunately didnt get to test any of his food myself and actually ended up getting him hired 4 days before the hunt. To day I was nervous about it was an understatement. But my clients snd guides said it eas borderline 5 star. Like 10 star for a horseback wall tent camp.

I would say if I was the owner I would have probably found a guy for a little more money instead of 2 green guys. But like I said it is tough at times. Typically I try to put my greenhorns with an experienced guide for atleast 1 season


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cod007

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Feb 1, 2017
Messages
188
Thanks OP. Really nice write up. Nice to hear how some of these ‘guided hunts’ happen. The highs, the lows etc.
When I was a younger working man I always envisioned guided hunts for only rich folks. Now that I’m older/retired and have some saved money around I would love to go get an elk somewhere. Thanks again!
 

BigAntlerGetter

Senior Member
Joined
Sep 5, 2012
Messages
551
Location
Gypsum, CO
Thanks OP. Really nice write up. Nice to hear how some of these ‘guided hunts’ happen. The highs, the lows etc.
When I was a younger working man I always envisioned guided hunts for only rich folks. Now that I’m older/retired and have some saved money around I would love to go get an elk somewhere. Thanks again!

Personally, after 18 years of guiding and owning my own business for 6 years. One of the things I’ve noticed and idk if it’s cause hunts are getting oversold, or social media and tv shows give a false hope but there are a lot of unrealistic expectations in hunts, whether or not it’s guided, drop camp or DIY.


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Littleguy

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Joined
Nov 21, 2021
Messages
10
Enjoyed your write up and member comments. I have been thinking of doing a guided hunt like this and getting my son out with me. I never really thought about a horseback hunt but really like the idea.
 

tntrker

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Joined
Aug 7, 2018
Messages
505
Location
Upstate SC
Sounds like ya’ll had a great time. Congrats!! I wouldn’t be scared to re-book that outfitter on that review…
 

Ralphie

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Feb 18, 2019
Messages
140
Great report. Appreciated hearing the good and the so so. Sounded like a pretty good time.
 

Scooter90254

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Joined
May 7, 2018
Messages
215
Location
Michigan
So I figured I’d throw out some thoughts after my 1st guided hunt. I’ve always been diy’er otc hunter and enjoyed mostly success in the 5/6 years I’ve been hunting elk. I’m a co resident so I’ve always done a lot of e scouting and boots on the ground prior to season. So this was totally different. I’ve been in the area years prior, but never hunted there so it was mostl escouting.

We had a group of 6, hunted an otc unit in southern Co. Went 3/6. We took a heavy 6x6, a crazy 5x1, and my hog of a 5x6. Everyone shot though. 2 missed at 200yd shots at nice 6x6s and 1 guy missed at 400 at nice big bull. So in that regards I consider that part of the hunt a huge success. The guides put everyone on bulls in 5 days. They did their job! Everyone saw animals everyday, not always in shooting range or in thick timber but it was great to see that number of animals in an otc unit.

Guides….one of the 3 was by far more knowledgeable and a straight killer. Super young kid with legit eagle eyes. The other were pretty good at their job, not great but did their job. They were pretty damn green to be guiding clients solo All worked the asses off

Food, mediocre at best. The “cook” was more of worker than a cook. I’ve put together better late night drunk meals than he was putting out
Accommodations: adequate. Our tent was new but small for 6 guys. I was in the army for 6 yrs and 5 as a wildland ff so my standards maybe a bit lower than most but the other hunters didn’t complain.

Horses…absolutely amazing. They were incredible. I’ve done a fair share of horse riding and was totally amazed by their sure footedness and stamina. My brother in law who was there and owns 10 horses, rides daily said it was the most impressive thing he’s seen horses do. Nighttime rides with legit cliff on one side was a nightly ritual. If you don’t have a high tolerance for risk I would say don’t do a hunt like this.

The hunting area. Gnarly, steep, nasty, isolated, and beautiful country. Lost of animals but damn was is nasty country. I used to be on a wildland fire crew down there so I knew this going in but man is it steep. Saw 1 other horse hunter in 7 days. And that’s in a Colorado otc unit. There’s a reason the bulls were there.

Overall thoughts. A couple of our hunters were very green and learned a lot. Myself, learned a little, I rely on my preseason scouting and miles on the ground during the season to help me. I know some about elk hunting not a ton but I do know how to work hard. The hunting off horses is totally different. Not a ton of time sitting a glassing in one spot for a long time. It’s ride, glass, ride, glass repeat and hopefully shoot. We did sit mid day, eat lunch and glass. We also hike our asses off. Most days 5 plus miles. Which in that country is extremely hard work. Overall I had a blast shot a great bull and gained some great memories. To me we paid for access to and around the area. The animals were there. This hunt was around the 5k mark.

The biggest thing you could bring to this hunt was physical conditioning and weapon confidence. I took my animal at 440yds and 6x6 was at 460yds

The biggest downfalls of the hunt in my opinion were on the ground logistics. It seemed like hunting plans were not really made until the morning of and there was some mix up on horses some days etc etc. some serious improvements could be made if you ask me. Also, more care could have been done in cleaning the animal. I hunt for the love of the outdoors and to fill the freezer. I take time getting the most meat off my animals as possible. The guides priorities were more on hunting than fill the game bags to the top, which I personally had a really hard time with and did say something which helped. If anyone is interested in this outfitter, pm me. I can give more details.

This sounds like a 10/10!
 

Mudslinger

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Joined
Apr 25, 2016
Messages
156
Location
Wisconsin
Awesome write-up. I'm sure being in shape really helped on the hunt, the way the terrain sounded. Congrats on a nice bull!
 
Joined
Nov 30, 2021
Messages
2
My question is now that you know the elk are there and know the country better will you go back and DIY? Would you book with him again?
I know so many. That one person of the group goes on a hunt to learn the area. Then if successful. They all go back the next year.
 
OP
snvts82

snvts82

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Joined
Oct 9, 2020
Messages
29
Yea. I feel like you’d have to really be an ass. The guides worked their ass off. I’d rather keep in good standing with the company, come back in a few years during muzzleloader. To me I’ll use guided hunts as chances to get into areas otherwise unobtainable not to be catered to. I feel like I’m a decent enough hunter to usually find animals in the areas we hunt which are otc units for elk. It was really nice to get away from the crowds making the hunt much more enjoyable and relaxing
 
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OP
snvts82

snvts82

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Joined
Oct 9, 2020
Messages
29
Yea. I was definitely hesitant about a fully guided hunt but we did have a blast and honestly hunted as hard as we usually do. Was nice to not have all the chores but we also helped pitching in splitting wood, saddling horses etc. I don’t ever see myself doing one of those hunts where you’re catered to like some lazy ass. I enjoy the grind of hunting and pushing myself and this hunt definitely did that.
 
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