Finding the Right Outfitter
Booking season is upon us, we are getting a ton of calls and people booking spots for 2020 and 2021. I always find it interesting that some people ask a lot of questions on our operation, and some people just want to ask about the size of bulls, bucks, or boars (black bear) we harvest.
I love it when potential clients ask lots of questions, in my opinion there are no stupid questions and the more questions asked, the more we can determine if that potential client is a good fit for us and us for them. We offer many different kinds of hunts in Colorado, we are fortunate to be in a state where we can offer opportunities ranging from Turkeys and Trophy Deer (Mule Deer/Whitetail Deer) on the Eastern Plains, to Elk, Trophy Moose, Trophy Pronghorn, Bear, and Lion in the high country.
With so many species, each presents a different type of hunt. Most of our deer hunts are described as “Trophy Hunts”. Although society has been very critical of these types of hunts, our version of a “Trophy Hunt” is a hunt where a mature buck is harvested with an antler score that would meet minimum Boone & Crockett measurement standards (all the meat is used along with the antlers and the cape or pelt) so very little is left for nature to recycle. On the other hand, our elk hunts provide an opportunity at bulls that are a great representation of what Colorado offers, typical bulls score in the low 200” – 300” and in some cases 300+” (Boone & Crockett minimum score is 360”) so we do not describe our bull elk hunts as trophy hunts. Truth be told, we guide just as many cow elk hunts as we do bull elk hunts on our ranches, this balanced approach helps us meet conservation goals as well ensuring our ranchers are not experiencing issues with elk on their hay fields or in their stack pens in the winter. Our cow hunts are extremely exciting and offer a high opportunity rate to put some delicious elk meat in the freezer in August, so clients after a “meat hunt” are rewarded with an incredible experience and some delicious early season elk protein that is total sustainable!
In all cases, we offer an experience with NO guarantee on any harvest. I will tend to pass on booking clients who are looking for a 350” class bull because although we have a chance to harvest a bull of that category, more times then not we do not see bulls in that class, booking those clients is not right of them or us. If someone is looking for an incredible experience and has the mindset to go on an adventure of a lifetime, that is the ideal client for both our bull and cow elk hunts.
The bottom line is not every potential client is good fit for us, and we are not a good fit for every potential client. Hunting means too much to me and my team to have a client in camp who is not happy with our operation, it’s just not worth it to them or us!
In either case, weather you are looking for an incredible experience, or your looking to book a trophy class hunt you should do your research. Below are some points to consider when figuring out if you are a good fit for an outfitter’s operation:
· Is the outfitter licensed in their state of operation?
· Does the outfitter’s operation match with your trip goals?
· Is the outfitter in my price range?
· Is the outfitter promising an unreal success rate?
· Does the outfitter provide references? (Both successful and unsuccessful past clients)?
· How many clients does the outfitter run in a year?
These are great questions to start with that will help ensure your find the right outfitter for your needs! Prior to being an outfitter, I booked my own hunts in the states and in Canada. I was fortunate enough to find a couple of outfitters through referrals from friends with whom I booked on multiple occasions as they were providing an awesome experience with a good opportunity to harvest a mature animal…which is exactly what I was after when I was hunting for myself. No matter where your hunting, doing your research and finding the right fit for you can lead to many years of enjoyable experiences in which you meet new friends, learn about a species you have never hunted before, and hunt in some country that is beyond what you could possible imagine!
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