In the “good ole days”, I did what I wanted when I wanted.
Every summer weekend I went into the Pintler Mountains in Montana and fished alpine lakes and scouted for Elk. I took off after work on a Friday and hunted Pheasants and Sharptails getting back home early Monday morning to run to my real job.
In the winter I skinned coyotes in my garage. On more than one occasion I took off at lunch time to jump ducks along a creek next to my office. I would regularly kill a couple of ducks for dinner during my lunch time adventures.
While seeking out new adventures on a swap-a-hunt forum, I met a guy interested in trading a wilderness elk hunt (something I did a lot of in the ‘good old days’) for an Iowa turkey hunt. Over a period of four years Mike and I enjoyed many a camp fire.
After a successful six day hunt in the Bob Marshal Wilderness in Montana. I told Mike in the glow of a last night camp fire I was “thinking about” asking a girl I had been dating for the last six months to marry me.
“Are you ****ing kidding me? Are you nuts?” He continued his counseling. “Look, you get to do what you want, when you want. Spend your money on what you want. You think a ‘wife’ is going to let you spend all your vacation time hunting? Or spend all your money on Under Armor hunting gear while you wear Wal-Mart slacks to work?”
Now I will let you guess Mike’s domestic status …..that’s right, he was married.
When you are married being single always looks better than it actually is.
Kind of like out of state free-lance trips.
Hunting on your own is more admirable then accepting help….right?
Free-lance trips always seem like a great idea in June and July. But I have spent a lot of time on a week-long hunt trying to find birds, trying to get permission, trying to determine flight patterns and then come home to hear how my buddies slayed them in my back yard while I was gone.
Although I had been socialized in my youth to never pay for something I could do for myself, let me tell you, I learned you can do worst then have a guide helping you.
A guide will do the scouting, get permission, determine the best approach and make sure your time hunting is optimized. On a limited time schedule, it is usually a pretty good deal. And by “limited time” I mean a trip of less than eight days.
Guys who “prefer” not to hire a guide or an outfitter, in my experience, are guys that have never actually hired one. And many of them never hunted more than 50 miles from their bed.
Don’t let their perspective overly affect yours.
In areas I know well, hunted before, or have connections (farmers or other hunters) I never hesitate to take the challenge. But if I want to hunt new country, Canada, or the timber in Mississippi and Arkansas I am going to hire a guide.
Until I feel I know the country and the patterns I am not too proud to seek out help.
Most, actually all, the guides I have met personally, are hardworking fair guys who work hard for their money. The industry is competitive. Few are getting rich in the guiding business. Most are doing this because they love hunting and they like hunters.
Right here on this site you can get contact info for some great guides. Just like a life partner, using a guide can really improve the quality of your life. Don’t discount the idea of getting one.
Side note, after I proposed and gave my future bride an engagement ring, she surprised me one night with a Browning Ultra-Light Over/Under 12 gauge as a marriage gift, (a strong sign of a great bride).
You know they say that the fastest horse doesn’t always win the race; but that is the way you bet. And if I was going into new country I would “bet” a guide will give me the best chance to be under birds and maximize my investment in time and fortune.
Until I see you in the field, Be Safe, Be Good and BE LUCKY!