There are a lot of things to consider when planning a hunt. What, when, and where you’ll hunt and which equipment you should use are obviously very important. But if you’re not going into the backcountry on your own, there’s one decision that is so important it is the difference between success and disappointment: your guide.
Good guides are intimately familiar with the land you'll be using and the animals on it. They'll be able to take you to the right spots at the right times and give you the best opportunities to head home with a smile on your face. On top of that, they're also great company. A hunting trip is an experience and if you're paying to spend several days with someone you want to make sure you get along.
So how do you choose? There are so many guides and outfitters out there that it can be a little overwhelming. Flip through your favorite hunting magazine for their inevitable list of guides. Visit a hunting website and browse their section on outfitters.
Another great way to find a guide is via word of mouth. Most hunters who have “been there and done that” will gladly share their experiences – good or bad. A solid referral is worth its weight in gold is definitely worth investigating. Some of the most successful guides are so busy just from referrals that they hardly need to advertise and a recommendation may be the only way you find them.
Of course, you can also let NRA Outdoors do all the heavy lifting for you. They’ve spent years developing relationships with top hunting and fishing outfitters around the world and keep tabs on their success rates, amenities, personnel, and more. Searching for outfitters on the NRA Outdoors website is easy and can help steer you to the exact experience you’re looking for.
After finding several guides that suit your interest, the final step is reaching out personally. Call them up or send an e-mail and lay out what you’re looking for in a hunt. Leave no stone unturned when asking about what they have to offer.
This is your hunt, after all. If you put in the work and make sure you’re in good hands, you’ll have much less to worry about in the field.