By Steve Hickoff
They often know the land, the game animals and birds on it, better than anyone.
These hard-working guides deal with a variety of hunters, from the absolutely inexperienced to veteran gunners, but often the former rather than the latter.
If you hunt with and hire out professional guides, trust their judgment when they call the shot—within reason, of course. In the end though, you pull the trigger.
If possible, meet with the guide before going a field, and discuss your preferences for the hunt. Listen to them too. Some outfits conduct pre-hunt lodge discussions the night before clients and guides go out. If the camp you’re visiting doesn’t allow time to exchange ideas in this setting, suggest it at the supper table, or some other comfortable situation.
Ideally your hunting guide should know your gun or bow’s limitations, the ammo or archery tackle you’re using, and most of all, your experience level.
Relax, but not too much. Remember, this is supposed to be fun. Pressing too hard has a way of translating into a lack of hunting success—both shooting, and otherwise. Both buck fever—the sudden, undeniable racing of your heart and failure to stay calm when you need to react—along with the opposite exaggerated nonchalance of not being fully prepared, will make you miss shots, and fail to close the deal.
Bear down in the moment of truth. You’ve worked too hard to arrive at that opportunity to blow it.