Whether you are brushing up on your skills for a future self-guided hunt or looking to learn more about a sporting pursuit, hiring a competent hunting guide is something you should look into. While a guided hunting trip can seem like a costly expense you can do without, many hunters attest it is worth every penny.
Come to think of it, if you lack precise knowledge about the geography, access points, and game distribution, your chances of experiencing danger, frustration, and disappointment are relatively high. That said, if you are going duck hunting for the first time, investing in a guided duck hunt makes practical sense.
As cliche as it sounds, not all hunting guides have been created equal. To ensure you get to work with the best, keep the following helpful tips in mind:
When searching for an outfitter or hunting guide, asking for recommendations would be a good place to start. Check with hunters who have ample experience in the hunt you are interested in. You can also ask family and friends if they can recommend someone.
It is also a good idea to visit archery shops and ask for contact information or referrals from other hunters. You can also tap your contacts on social media to help you find hunters who have firsthand experience with dependable and seasoned outfitters and guides.
Before contacting a potential outfitter or hunting guide, figure out what you want from the hunt. Start by asking yourself about the type of hunt you want to do, what you expect from the guide, and what you want from the experience.
Would you like to camp beneath the stars, or would you prefer more creature comforts? Do you prefer hiking for several hours and living out of your backpack, or would you like to use an ATV so you can cover more ground?
Once you have shortlisted a few prospects, check out their social media pages and websites. It is also good to learn a few basics about their staff and how they carry hunts. You can also view photos from past hunts.
It is also recommended that you read reviews and testimonials to have some insight into the people you will be dealing with. Once you have some idea about your shortlisted prospects, set aside time to call them.
During the call, ask a few basic questions and observe how those concerns and issues are addressed. Also, listen to your gut. Do you feel comfortable with the person?
When talking to your prospects, ask for contact information of recent clients they have worked with. Make sure to contact the references provided and ask about their experience. Did the outfitter live up to their expectations? What was their experience like?
Talking with former clients can give you important insight into details such as camping or lodging accommodations, the quality of the food provided, and the quantity and quality of the animals seen during their hunt.
As mentioned earlier, you need to get answers to important questions and concerns before booking. This is crucial so you can make an educated decision. Some of the key questions you should ask include:
Choosing the best outfitter can be a daunting and overwhelming task. After all, you will be looking for someone you will spend several days hunting with. You will also rely on them to keep you safe, deliver the quality hunting experience you are looking for and make proper gear recommendations. That said, take your time and never leave any stones unturned. Only then will you be able to pick the best outfitter to guide you.
About the Author
Maren McReynolds is the Content Marketing Director of Black Mountain Outfitters, a company that offers world-class guided hunts in New Mexico, Arizona, and South Dakota. When not working, she spends time swimming with her two kids and giving back to the community.
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