The most recent National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation revealed that 13.7 million Americans hunted at least once a year. Although whitetail deer is by far the most common game, nearly 1.4 million hunters seek elk, bear and other trophy game.
Most hunters have the dream of bagging a trophy species at least once and excursions for trophy game require more planning then other hunting trips. You can’t exactly wake up one morning and decide to hunt an elk in Montana that afternoon and even if you could it would probably be much easier to bag one if you are on a guided hunt. If the hunting trip is part of a vacation you will likely want an outfitter to help take care of many of the details for you – from accommodations to meals, and from tags to guide dogs. But even after the guide helps you with all of those things –you still have to decide what you want to go after. Do you want to try game you’ve never hunted before? Are you itching to hunt for your favorite game in another part of the country? Here are three things to consider when deciding what to hunt on a guided trip.
The trophy or the experience?
If your heart is set on an elk, your plans will mostly likely include traveling to a prime elk location and hiring an expert guide. Then again, if you just want to spend a week in the woods but are still hoping for some nice antlers, a guided deer hunt may be the best bet for you. Bagging a deer likely doesn’t require as much planning or resources to pull off. Just ask yourself what is most important to you. Is it a set of trophy antlers or the experience of spending a week in the woods?
The farther away your trophy is from your home, the more expensive it will be to hunt it. There’s the travel to and from as well as the expense of bringing home the trophy. There’s also the potential cost of difficult-to-obtain tags in prime units to consider. And if you use a guide, the ones that can get you closest to bagging that dream trophy usually charge more. Make sure you determine a budget for your hunting trip, and consider what’s most important to you. Armed with this information, you can decide what to hunt and make plans for a great trip that won’t break the bank.
If you only have a few days of vacation a weeklong Western hunt for mule deer obviously won’t be an option. But a three-day weekend trip for ducks a few hours drive from home can be just as satisfying. On the other hand, if you have two weeks available, you can dream big.
Check out our eBook: How to Plan and Book a Guided Hunting Trip