View Full Version : Anybody a hunting guide?

April 6, 2006, 05:35 PM
Ive been lookin into schools to improve my skills, and maybe a future career change. Is this occupation suitable for a man with a young family?

April 6, 2006, 06:18 PM
unless your fortunate enough to own PRIME hunting land, I would say know. Only the wealthy can afford to lease land anymore. Only the truely rich can afford to buy said land. All of my guide friends have given up the business

April 6, 2006, 06:29 PM
In every occupation there are naysayers that preach that it cannot be done. They will rain on your parade, throw a wet blanket on your fire, and offer examples of failure.

I'm here to say that for every ten of those guys, there is one individual that pursues his dreams with fervent desire and succeeds where others have failed.

Not everybody that owns land suitable for hunting has the capacity to be a guide. That means they have to hire someone. I think it would be an awesome experience. Probably not something that's going to make you rich, but there's more to life than money. Like quality of life.

Where would this country be today if nobody pursued their dreams.


April 6, 2006, 07:01 PM
lets grab a dose of reality. go to Texas. try to get on a lease, not lease the land, just get on a lease. My best friend had access to a 6000acre ranch, since 1989. In his words thats a SMALL ranch out there. We are talking South Texas, Del Rio, just north of the Rio Grande. I got to hunt there once. We were required to keep count on what we saw, and were on a STRICT 9 point or better rule. we had 5 hunters in camp, and we all saw an average of 50 deer a day, 15 of which had horns. No doubt we were in prime habitat.

Bottom line is only one buck had been taken in the last 5 years. It is that hard, evenin Texas to find true TROPHY land.

That year was the last. The land owner was offered $7 per acre lease. Figure the math. In the past 5 years it has fone up to $15 per acre. Do you know a young man and his family that has that kind of money to put up front?

Then you have to TRY & get insurance, before you even began to scout the land for your clients. What about lodging? We stayed in a 2 room trailer. Do you think a client paying $3000 and up to hunt 3 days is going to stay in that? wrong. Another friend I had in Menard TX rebuilt a local landmark school into an awesome rustic lodge, with a 4 star chef. She had 2 clients come in, look around and ask for their money back. (God Bless you Gwenn. I miss you every day. Rest in Peace Amigo) The last talk I had with her was not good. she was going to have to shut down. keeping 2 guides, a cook and a chef was just too much. The cost of stands and corn was staggering.

Guess what. Her family owned the land! We are talking a state approved lodge with a 1 buck to 2 doe ratio, that has a 100% kill rate. Any buck was legal.

The gentleman asked if it was a good idea. I told him the facts. If that "dashes his dreams" so be it. I just presented him info on 2 guides I know in Texas.

If you want more info, I have a friend in Florida and Eastern NC that just lost long term leases. Both of them lost out to profesional clubs (ID doctors & layers) came in and offered much more than they can afford.

April 6, 2006, 07:27 PM
Sorry double post!!

April 6, 2006, 07:28 PM
In a nut shell, NO..

There are very few full time guides in this country who live above the poverty level.

However there are some outfitters who do pretty darn good. It's all about knowing the business and having a good head on your shoulders. There are a lot of places one can run a hunting business besides Texas!

Here are a few that come to mind, Alaska, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, Idaho, Oregon, and god only knows where else.

It is not necessary to have private land to run a quality hunting outfit. There are some fantastic hunting and guiding opportunities on public land in the west.

Guiding is a tough way to make a living but it can and is done and it is a good secondary income if you can work in the time to do it.

Here is an example of thinking outside of the box.
A good friend of mine who is a full time AK guide told me that there is a real need for quality bilingual Guides in Siberia right now and that they are making very good money hunting bear and moose for American outfitters doing business in Russia.

Just an example, but don't let somebody who is so narrow minded that they can't see beyond their home state give you bad advice. If you want something bad enough there is always a way to make it work out. ;)

Just be aware that you may have to sacrifice to get it done.

April 6, 2006, 07:33 PM
Im not a rich man and every dime that doesnt go to my family goes into my gun fund. I have always loved the idea of working in the back country. So once again the rich are stickin it to the rest of us. All we have left is over hunted public lands here. Soooooo sad. Those of us that live it and love it lose out to part time wanna-bes. Ive followed dreams before and found they dont regularly put food on the table. Thanks guys

Wild Bill Bucks
April 7, 2006, 12:18 PM
I'll shoot straight with you on this. If you were a single man, and had several years to learn what you need to know to be a real guide capable of putting big dollars on big game, then I would say go for it.
Since you have a young family, and don't yet have the experience to guide, it would be a great hardship on your family to go through your learning process with you. There are a lot of amatuer guides out there who think they are REAL guides, but for the most part, it takes years of experience to be successful enough to do it for a living.
I have hired guides for hunting and fishing both that, after being with them for an hour or two, I realize that I know more than they do about what they are doing, and I leave with the idea that I was screwed out of my money.
If you are going to do something, you always want to do your best. You wouldn't want to become just another, play like, guide.
I'm not telling you it can't be done, I'm just suggesting you consider your
family first.

Good Luck with what ever you decide.

Jack O'Conner
April 8, 2006, 11:54 AM
I've wrangled horses and guided elk hunters in the Tetons for Gap Puche. He owns an outfit named Crystal Creek Outfitters. I've also worked short term contracts with Jack Atchinson of Worldwide Safaris.

Many western states have licensing requirements which means approved education course, exam, license fee, and annual continueing ed. These fees add up. Its also a good idea to get yourself a long term disability policy.

When you work on contract, plan to get paid $100. per day plus food and cot. Less than $5,000. gross for a six day work week for 8 weeks. Subtract, taxes, SS, insurance and annual license fees. You can't make much but it can be quite an adventure(s). Quite often the client offers me all the meat! Many clients tip guides these days. But I'd rather have a cash tip than another folding knife as I can only get $10. for a new knife at the nearest Pawn Shop. Jack paid me .30 cents per mile each way to pick up the client at the airport. But we had a discussion about this figure when I found out he charges $150. each way!

Before signing up for a Guide School, make sure their education is state approved for the state license you seek.

In summary: you can get free meat, have adventures, and meet interesting people. The downside is low pay and risky work with ornery horses in wild country far from the nearest Dr.

Hope this is helpful.