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Planning an Out of State Hunt – Part 3


The ultimate out of state hunt is the fully guided affair. Without question these are the easiest to participate in and the most expensive. However for this conversation we will not discuss the cost, only the planning portion. The term “expensive” is relative to your economic condition, therefore this edition will not list prices at all, rather what you need to do to ensure the best experience for your time and money.

When it comes to fully guided hunts, reputation of your guide and outfitter are paramount to the experience. If you are hunting out of a lodge, or back country, you need to know fully what to expect for your time and money. Here are a few things to consider when researching a potential outfitter and guide.

  1. Knowledge of the game you are pursuing: Having a great location is nice and really helps with success, but if the guides are not experienced and have a great knowledge of the game you are pursuing your chances of success are limited at best.
  2. Knowledge of the area: Nothing can ruin an otherwise great hunt than the guide getting lost, or leading you onto private land. Make sure the outfitter has extensive knowledge of the area, terrain and sufficient training in getting you out of the area.
  3. Accommodations: Verify what the accommodations are prior to your arrival. A few years ago attended a hunt with an outfitter in the Midwest. Upon arriving I learned that I had to provide my own meals. Had I known this in advance I could have been better prepared. Know where and how your sleeping quarters are, meals provided, etc. Getting thrown into a room with fourteen beds unexpectedly can make for a miserable experience for those not accustomed to it.
  4. All costs, fees and gratuities. While we will not discuss costs of hunts, there are many outfitters who have all sorts of hidden fees. One colleague of mine recently was charged an additional $1,500 to fly his antlers out of the backcountry of Alaska. Needless to say, he did not expect this charge and was infuriated with the outfitter. But he could pay the fee on the spot, or leave his trophy behind. On another occasion another hunting partner of mine killed a great whitetail in Ohio, only to get an additional fee for killing a deer that measured over a specific size. He was charged $200/inch for his trophy. Neither of these fees were listed in any of their advertising material or discussed when booked. It’s up to you, the client to get in writing everything you will, and could possibly be charged for. Including all license, fees, gratuity, transportation fees, trophy fees etc.
  5. Success Rates: While no outfitters in the US will guarantee success outside high fence operations, it’s imperative to get information about success rates and quality of animals. For most species in North America on private land, a success rate in excess of 90% should be the minimum you can expect.


Hunting with an outfitter can be a great experience. Most of everything is taken care of and your opportunity for success is far greater than going it alone. For many hunters this is the only option they have or want. Regardless of the species, there are many great outfitters available and can make for a very memorable hunting experience. If the opportunity presents itself, whether for whitetail, Mule Deer, Elk, Pheasants, Quail, Waterfowl, or anything else in between. An outfitted hunt can make for a memorable experience.