Find us on the Sportsman Channel January - June 2012!
Thursday, September 29, 2011
Setting up for Success...
Ok so this week I am going to talk a little about my terrible elk hunt and more about how to pick a good trip for yourself in the future. Many of you that follow our Facebook page saw that my elk hunt was full of let downs, from the place being too small to hold elk, seeing more hunters than elk, having other hunters bust elk we were on, the outfitter storing weaned calves 100 yards from our tent, having his dog eat our food and on and on. I am not going to talk about all that or really my trip...I am going to focus on how to keep that from happening to you.
Because of the number of hunts we have to do for the TV show, I found a hunting consultant to help find hunts that meet our budget and timeline/geography criteria. This is a really good service but I don't think that they do all/any research about the outfitter for you, you have to do that yourself...trust no one. Their job is to just be overall knowledgable about the options available, book the hunt for you, and take about a 10% commission. This commission does not usually affect the cost of your hunt, but just know that if you find the hunt yourself you should at least try to get a 10% discount. Two consulting services that I have found and like are trailblazehuntingconsultants.com and the one I like best is outfitterpros.com. If you work with trailblaze, you will actually work with a person who will take all of your criteria and then find you some options. Outfitterpros is actually a website that works off a database to provide options that fit your criteria.
After you find a couple you like ALWAYS ask for and call references. Trust me, I have made this mistake before. Also, don’t just ask about the animals they have, also ask about the person. Cherise and I learned the hard way that it is not enjoyable to spend 5 days with a guy that you cant stand to listen to...Trust me. Also be sure to ask for a web site address. Some will not have one, and that is fine...you can find some diamonds in the rough that do not have websites but most of them will. You want to check out their harvest photos and make sure they are recent and are actually from the place you are going to be hunting on - not the neighbors ranch or state land.
I would next ask for game camera pictures/harvest pictures to be emailed to you. You want to make sure they have a lot of what you want and not just one deer that is a stud. Oh, and make sure they are recent. Also do not be afraid to ask them periodically for new pictures. If you are going to pay that kind of money they can at least keep you informed, right? One thing I am going to start doing and have not done in the past is ask for a map and/or a picture of the place. I think this is important because on my last elk hunt, I really wanted to be remote and be in the wilderness, but instead, we ended up camping basically in a field with all the outfitters' junk cars and pens of cattle and those situations aren't worth your time or money. Also, we thought we were hunting on a 5600 acre place when really it was 3 different small pieces of land divided up that totaled 5600 acres. The 1500-2000 acre pieces were just pass throughs for the elk. We may hear them, but you walk a little ways to get to them and find out they are on the other side of the fence on state land. That is a frustrating situation. The last thing I have learned and recommend is to be patient and wait. If you can wait for leftover or last min deals, I have seen hunts drop by more that 50% as you get close to the hunt and you can really save some cash that way if you can be flexible.
We have been a part of really professional setups and really unprofessional setups already this year. Its VERY frustrating to spend thousands of dollars on every hunt and walk away empty handed or totally frustrated by the outfitter/guide or situation. Do your research.