I have hired outfitters in the past, but have not done so in recent years because what most of them call "guides". A few years back I drew an Arizona Elk Tag. I have a friend that works for the highway department, and he recommended that I not hire a outfitter because the outfitters in that area were hiring anyone they could find for guides regardless of experience. Some had even offered to hire him, and his expertise was operating a road grader! As luck would have it, there was an unseasonal warm spell, and the elk all high tailed it for cooler areas (out of my zone). I called my friend, and he told me the outfitters were telling the hunters that If they wanted an elk (for their $5K) they had better shoot the first one they saw. A sad situation.
Patron Life Member, NRA; Life Member RMEF, SCI, NAHHC, NSRPA
Your'e spot-on Alabama! I would never sign a contract with an outfitter that sold animals by the inch or score. Most of them would never give you a discount if you didn't get the quality of animal you wanted. They shouldn't be selling you an animal, just the opportunity to hunt that animal.
By the same token, if an outfitter does his job well and works hard to get what you contracted for, he doesn't owe you a free hunt or discounted hunt later if you don't score. He still earns a respectable tip.
I have never hired an outfitter but I probably will someday when I try an elk hunt. I have never hunted elk and have no doubt that most elk are smarter than me. Plus it's hard to do much pre-season scouting when you live up here and want to hunt Wyoming.
Alabama, great post.
Something to think about though... The eastmans elk hunt winner hunts on a ranch that has the format of charging according to inches.
The Hill ranch which borders the Bosque Del Oso
Legality of shooting any animal on publich land while assisted by a guide service was pretty interesting. Never thought of that point of view. All boils down to the signed agreement/contract.
In the example of the guide that quit the outfitter after the encounter with the 200+ mulie, one has to wonder how much business they may have lost out on due to this hunter's experience and not having the photos to show the potential and success of their service. After all the best advertising is from successfull former clients.
That's why I'm a DIY hunter and will be doing so in SW CO during the early archery season. Was also drawn this year for an AZ elk during second archery season.
There are some good folks out there that are fair and impartial while representing the underdogs. Keep looking and you'll find one you're willing to use.
Good luck, happy hunting, shoot straight, and aim small/miss small.
Heli M Lost / Heli M Tactical
Spot Hogg-It 7 Pin / Spot Hogg Hunter 3 or 5 pin
B-Stinger Hunter Extreme Lost / Black
QAD XD Lost / Black
Carbon Express Aramid KV 350 / Blue Streak Select 350
As hunters we all know that the best way to bring a species back from the brink of extinction or to increase it's numbers is to give it value. Hunting value is about the best way that I've seen. These are the basic principles of landowner vouchers in Colorado, CWMU's in Utah, landowner tags in NM, AZ, NV, etc. Are these the solutions to essentially ensure that wildlife have a future on private lands across the west, I don't know. Some people like them, some don't. I just know I can't afford them. I don't however have a problem with them if they charge for access to the land and the animals. I don't even mind if there is a difference in price male vs female. Males are inherently more valuable to hunters (speaking in general terms not trying to offend meat hunters--I love a good doe for meat). But pricing by the inch is ridiculous!
I will never go on a canned high fence hunt or a free range place where I have to pay based on size. I don't like the idea of charging by the inch on private land, but it is what it is. As long as there is a demand for it then it will continue.
If Eastman's was footing the bill for a free range, private land, charge by the inch elk hunt would I go? Sitting here behind this computer I want to say no but I can't. I don't like the idea of supporting it but sometimes the flesh is weak when temptation is so strong. And a giant bull elk for free is a STRONG temptation. Using my money no. Using Eastman's money yeah probably. Sorry guys just being honest.
Cowboy Action Shooter; Endowment Life Member-NRA
The Original Rocket Scientist-Retired
"My Father always considered a walk in the mountains as the equivalent of church going."