January 26, 2022

HUNTING WITH A GUIDE

DO’S, DON’TS, AND ETIQUETTE

Guided hunts through outfitters are something special. Some people book them to hunt a place they've never been, some to learn how the pros consistently put birds on the ground, and some because it’s just a really good time. If you’ve never gone on a guided hunt through a reputable outfitter, we highly recommend putting it on your to-do list, you deserve it. If you are looking to book a guided hunt, whether your first or your 100th, here are some do’s and don'ts to make your trip go a little smoother and be an enjoyable experience for everyone.

WHAT TO DO:


1. Book as early as possible
Outfitters usually start booking hunts a year or more in advance, waiting till the last minute runs the risk of missing out on prime times or worse, no availability with a quality guide.
2. Ask questions before booking
If you have any questions about location, lodging, available dates, or anything else ask prior to booking. Your guide would rather answer those questions early, rather than right before your hunt. It’s also important to let your guide know your expectations and for you to know theirs.
3. Be on time
This is usually the most common answer we get when talking to outfitters. Your guide has a gameplan to put you on birds and give you the best chance at a successful hunt they can. Showing up late risks throwing that plan out the window. Showing up super early can be equally as annoying. Your guide works hard and long hours all season for their clients. Their season is full of early mornings and late nights. Try not to cut into their rest and planning time too much. Ask your guide when to show up, and be there about 15- 20 minutes early.
4. Tip your Guide
A little tip is a great gesture of appreciation for the work and effort your guide put into your experience. It doesn't have to be much, tip what you’re comfortable with. Most outfitters pay their guides a flat daily rate for taking clients out, so a tip goes a long way to show your guide your appreciation.

WHAT NOT TO DO:


1. Showing up unprepared
Odds are this hunt did not come out of nowhere, you knew about it. Showing up without the gear you need inconveniences everyone and jeopardizes the day's plan. Prior to your hunt, ask your guide what you will need, and bring it. If your guide says to bring waders, you better bring waders (if you need new waders… we have you covered. Pay attention to the weather and pack/dress accordingly. Be prepared for rain, cold, wind, maybe even snow and ice. Check your gun and equipment prior to your hunt. Finding out your gun doesn’t cycle or your waders leak during the hunt is frustrating to everyone in the blind.
2. Be a know it all
Hunting with an experienced and reputable guide/outfitter means your guide knows more about the area, birds, and hunting situation than you do. You booked with them because of their expertise, so just enjoy the experience. Trust your guide’s knowledge. They want your hunt to be a success as much as you do.
3. Jumping the gun
Wait for your guide to call the shot. Everyone wants to shoot as badly as you do, but waiting for the shot to be called will give the whole group the best opportunity to bag birds.
4. “Can I bring my dog”
If you aren't planning to book a full blind or don’t have a trusted, established relationship with your guide, don't ask to bring your dog. Your pup may be the rockstar you swear it is, but a guide has to be considerate of the experience of everyone in the blind, not just you, and they can’t risk your dog having an off day, breaking, or making the hunt challenging. Your guide is also responsible for the safety of everyone on that hunt, including the dog and the last thing they want is something to happen to a client’s dog.
Good etiquette and managing expectations ensures a successful trip for everyone. Just remember that your guide is working hard and committed to giving you the best hunting experience that they possibly can. As with all hunting, sometimes we have bad days, the weather changes, birds get wary or birds just don’t show up for whatever reason. Book a hunt for the experience of something new and memories with friends, not for a big pile, and you’ll be happier at the end of your trip.