Do’s and Don’t of Booking a Guided Hunt

A guided hunt is a team effort. The client helps finance the operation, and the guide or outfitter provides logistical support and an intimate knowledge of the game, the area, and any regulations. Under the best circumstances, a guided hunt works out well for both parties. Sometimes the hunt becomes a yearly event. And in the best cases, that once-in-a-lifetime hunt produces a once-in-a-lifetime animal, and the partnership turns into lasting friendship.

But not all hunts work out that way. Sometimes it’s the fault of an outfitter or guide who overpromises and underperforms. Just as often, though, it’s the client who ruins the day, with unrealistic expectations of the guide, the game, and his own abilities, or simple naïveté about the true nature of the hunt.

Walking along the aisles at hunting trade shows and staring at the photos and mounts is enough to make anyone a bit impulsive. But slow down—there’s a lot at stake here. Do a little homework and ask the right questions before you invest in your first—or next—guided hunt. Here’s how.

DON’T

Over-talk inches of antler: Leading with questions about trophy expectations shows where your priorities lie, says Andy Savage of Heaven’s Gate Outfitters in Idaho. Even if your goal is to tag a record-book critter, your biggest-or-bust attitude will be offputting.

Brag about your abilities: Savage…

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