For many, few things compare to the thrill of a big game hunt. Whether you are hunting to put meat on the table, or hang that once in a lifetime trophy on your wall, hunting provides a fulfilling experience unique to most humans in our modern society. When planning your hunt you have two options: a DIY (do it yourself) hunt where you do everything on your own, or a Guided Hunt where you employ the services of a professional outfitter.
Many hunters prefer to go hunting DIY style. Aside from the satisfaction of hunting with little to no assistance, you can also save money by doing it on your own. On the other hand, some hunters consider guided hunts necessary. It doesn’t matter if you have been hunting for years or heading into the field for the first time. Determining if a guided hunt is for you comes down to the amount of free time you have available, as well as your overall budget you have allotted for your hunt.
Below are some signs that will indicate a guided hunt might be for you…
The Hunting Ground is Unfamiliar
Let’s assume you have been hunting big-game for quite a long time. You have bagged a Pronghorn in New Mexico, a Mule Deer in Colorado, and even a Trophy Bull Elk in Arizona. Now you are considering putting your stamina and skills to the test by hunting in Alaska…
Alaska, also known as The Last Frontier, is not considered a prime hunting destination for no reason. Many big-game animals are native to Alaska, including: Elk, Wolves, Bison, Muskox, Moose, Black bears, Brown Bears, Caribou and the Sitka black-tail deer.
Unless you have hunted in Alaska countless times, you will be very unfamiliar with The Last Frontier’s millions of acres of hunting ground. While GPS devices and maps can help you hunt in unfamiliar territories, working with a professional hunting guide is ideal if you are setting foot in an unfamiliar hunting territory for the first time.
There are definitely DIY options for hunting in Alaska, but If you are going to take the time and spend the money to go on this caliber of a trip. Many people feel that it is well worth the money to pay for a Professional Guide’s knowledge and experience. They could tip the scales between coming home empty handed or coming home with your once in a lifetime trophy.
You Want the Hunting Experience to Double as a Vacation
Many hunters opt to go on a DIY hunt because they are thrilled about the idea of “roughing it.” However, if “roughing it” is not your thing and you would prefer the hunting experience to double as a vacation, a fully-guided tour is your best option.
When you go on a fully-guided hunt with an outfitter, you are likely to enjoy the following services:
● Harvested game preparation
● Wildlife scouting
● Meal preparation
● Arrangement of supplies, equipment, and transportation
● Instructions on how to use hunting gear as well as learn new tactics
If you are lucky, you might find an outfitter that also offers trophy care, laundry services, and even alcoholic beverages.
You Want to Boost Your Chances of a Successful Hunt
While there is no such thing as guaranteed success when it comes to hunting, you can significantly increase your chances of success if you are on a guided hunt. Undoubtedly, hunting guides are already quite familiar with the species you are hunting as well as the terrain where the animals call home.
They can also offer other services that can ensure the hunting trip is a comfortable and memorable one for you. With all the help professional hunting guides provide, clients can direct their focus and energy on making the kill.
You Want to Save Time & Make the Most of Your Opportunity
Perhaps the biggest advantage of investing in a guide is the amount of time you will save when it comes to scouting. Essentially, you are paying for the guide’s time that they have already put into scouting an area and locating the animals so you don’t have to. There is definitely a large amount of enjoyment in scouting, as well as an extra sense of accomplishment when you harvest an animal that you scouted yourself. However, with our busy lives, work and family obligations sometimes putting the proper time into scouting for your hunt just isn’t realistic.
There is also the undeniable fact that with the growth of the sport, tags are getting harder to comeby. Especially coveted trophy tags where hunters may wait upwards of a decade to draw their dream hunt. Hiring a guide may give you the best chance to capitalize on your often once in a lifetime opportunity.
DIY hunting is the best option for you if you have the time to dedicate to scouting, it also provides a sense of pride and self-accomplishment when you succeed on a hunt and know you did it all on your own. Hiring a guide is also just not in the budget for some folks. If you have the money and the reasons above resonate with you, hiring a guide will almost certainly increase your odds of success on your next hunt.
About the Author
Maren Mcreynolds is the Content Marketing Director of BMO Hunts, a company that offers world-class guided hunts in New Mexico, Arizona, and South Dakota. When not working, she spends time swimming with her two kids and giving back to the community.
Check out the guided hunts BMO hunts offers here.