Before I start on this morass let me give you the GOOD ones! Best guide for hunting in Alaska = Henry Tiffany. If he cannot help you he will refer you to another exceptional outfitter whom can. Absolutely superb. Africa and any of five “huntable” African countries look up Theo De Marillac. Cabela’s used to have a service called WTA Adventures which split off from Cabela’s but they maintain a close relationship. Look up WTA “Worldwide Trophy Adventures” but be VERY explicit in what you want to do; there is a huge difference in “I wanna shot an Elk” and “I want to shoot a world class trophy Elk”. You can book a 5k nigh to 100% success rate in Colorado for Elk. Won’t score much but you will get a shot opportunity. For around 17k you can get in an area that holds Elk in the 350+ range. Be clear and concise on what YOUR expectations are and they will typically exceed them.
Booked a hunt in Utah for Elk. Operation was run by a family with 5 or 6 sons. Our “guide” (one of the sons) picked us up at the airport and during the 70 minute drive we came across literally 5 miles of construction cones on the freeway. He ran over every one of them. Intentionally. Said “that’s what we do here”. It went downhill from there. Shoulda coulda woulda had em turn around and take us back to the airport!
Same outfitter had six of us in camp and at dinner one of the “hunters” told us he came every year. Left his rifle there every year. Never practiced, ever. His arrogance was beyond the pale; while we were discussing tactics, checking equipment, dry-firing, and checking our zeroes he literally drank red wine and laughed at us. He did get his shot opportunity and shot an Elk in the ass which subsequently ran off never to be seen again. I find this individual and his ilk disgusting and literally reprehensible. A “Hunter” owes his quarry an ethical quick clean kill. A “Hunter” should know his limitations and be mentally mature and strong enough to recognize and adhere to his limitations.
Colorado Elk hunt the outfitter had three hunters with guides spread across the front of a mountain range overlooking a valley. Each A.M. a herd of Elk would come in off the plains and take a different path up the mountains. Elk went center and up; the hunter stationed “center” shot at these Elk eight times. I am not kidding. Really. Eight times. Shoot. Reload. Shoot Reload. His guide encouraged him to keep shooting! Didn’t hit squat. Elk backtracked down the mountain and bedded down in the plains, in the open, 1200 yards away or so. Smart Elk. They could hang out there all day with 360 degrees of visibility. They radioed my guide; we hoofed down the mountain and subsequently low crawled to a ridge 555 yards from the bull we wanted. One shot, heart, .300 Jarrett. Done. I had practiced, had confidence, and knew exactly where my shot would be at 550 yards using a Swarovski with BDC. That’s not arrogance; that’s confidence in my ability with that equipment after eons of practice. By the by that same hunter had an afternoon shot opportunity and missed four more times. There was a range not 5 miles from where we were and we could shoot during the afternoon lull; I very kindly offered to take him there and help him out. No way. Too macho. Too much testosterone. Had bragged about all the game he killed “back East”. After this I orally tortured the crap out of him with analogies from baseball on.. “yeah you’re a major league pitcher who just walked twelve batters” Guess what? Manager just pulled you out of the game hot shot.. on and on until he packed up and drove away. Good riddance. As an aside as long as he was running around shooting holes in trees and chasing Elk all over Kingdom Come the other hunters didn’t have a chance.. like my wife. So yeah; screw him.
We could do this all day but here’s some insight. Most “guides” are just locals whom know the “outfitter” and work on a part time basis. Does not mean they are experienced nor pros. How about the “guide” in Alaska whom pulled out a bic and lit it to see “which way the wind is blowing”. Umm.. we were in a 12′ aluminum boat which was skipping forward at about 8 knots. Which way do you think the wind was blowing?
Another guide whom was a quarterback on a college team and was called up (or whatever) to the “pro’s”. Played one play in one game and was done but FOR CHRISTOPHER’S SAKE every freaking minute of every freaking day was about him and his football “glory day’s” think Bruce Springsteen. He was 35 years old at the time. Drove a beat up old truck, was broke, divorced, and had nothing. Wonder why.
We hunted in Pike County for years and of course you have to have a “guide” to hunt. One year we were hunting Turkey’s and it started raining. “Guide” said we had to go in cause Turkey’s apparently beam to another dimension when it rains. We stayed out and bagged our two Turkeys. Yep they were wet and didn’t look so good dead n wet but a blowdryer before pics fixed that..
Canadian guide bragged up and down about how a rifle was just a tool the same as a hammer and NEVER cleaned his rifle. Then kept talking smack about what an awesome shot he was. Prior to the hunt we wanted to check our zeroes (demanded) and finally he relented. Shot our groups, all fine, zeroes good. Told him to check his; show us how awesome he is. At 100 yards he was not within a foot of paper..