Yamaha Outdoors Tips — What Hunting Guides Want

Guides want you to let them do their job. They often know the land, the game animals and birds on it, better than anyone. Listen to what they have to say. Here California guide Jim Martinez of Santa Lucia Outfitters glasses a property.

By Steve Hickoff

A hunting guide is someone who shows you the way. They might lead, direct and advise your hunt from where to go to the timing of a shot. They’re a person employed to take others safely into the wilderness and back. They may even cook. We call them guides for a reason.

The question is: What do they want from us? 

They want you to get there on time. Forgetting to secure specific driving directions to the camp or location you’re hunting is lame.

Arriving late, sleeping in, and not sticking to the schedule: bad moves. You’ve booked the hunt now play the game like you mean it.

They want you to be prepared. Are you physically fit? Too late now. Bringing new boots on a trip that will require a lot of breaking in is also sketchy. Packing light when you should have done the opposite, or lugging too much on the trip. Ditto. Not taking a camera along to record those memories. Forgetting camera batteries. Don’t expect your guide to cover these needs. Your guide’s job is tough enough. Do your part to prepare.

They want you to take the best shot. 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. 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. 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. 

They want you to know what’s going on. Reading detailed game laws is important; don’t rely solely on the guide to do this for you. If you fly to hunt, study this material above the clouds at 35,000 ft. You can also do so at camp after arrival. Print regulations from that state’s website before you travel, or simply contact them for a printed copy if available.

They want you to relax and have a good time. 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. 
They want you to enjoy your kill on the supper table. Failure to bring a cooler along for your meat — soft for air travel, if it will go inside your luggage — should be avoided. This closes the deal on a great hunting trip. A cash tip to show your appreciation does too.