Be sure you get all hunters to check their rifles. If a hunter is shooting a small group there’s a good chance they’ll be okay at 300 yards. If a hunter is spraying bullets all over the target, you know you’re going to be restricted on how far you should let a hunter shoot at an animal.
Make sure that your hunter has signed his tags for the animal you are hunting. Know what tags your hunter has. Also, ask for three of the hunter’s shells to put on your person for the duration of the hunt, you never know when a hunter will need a bullet in a hurry. Make sure to return the shells at the end of the hunt.
Hunt everyday like it is the last day of your hunters trip (but keep in mind the physical limits of your hunter.)
When looking or glassing for animals, look for pieces of them, e.g. A horn, head, rump. If you can spot any of these you wont have a problem spotting a whole animal.
Pick up colours or shapes that seem out of place. Find the smallest pieces and identify which part of the animal it is. Our eyes have a tendency to focus on the tree line, train yours to look deep into the trees. Look for movement of any kind.
Never ride or walk focusing on the trail, work your eyes, ears, and nose constantly, even when not being accompanied by a hunter. This will help train your senses. Watch the wind, try to keep the wind in your favour as much as possible. Play wind games for example, look at some place your going and guess the wind direction upon arrival, see if you were right or wrong. If you were wrong, try to figure out why.
Get your hunters out early in the morning and hunt late in the evening as these are the best times. If the days are long most hunters will appreciate a SHORT NAP after lunch as very little is moving anyway. Don’t stay put for too long in one place, 1 or 2 hours then move a little so you can see some different country. In some cases this may only be 50-100 yards, other places it might be a mile or two. Travel slowly while hunting, especially when you’re in cover. NEVER GET WAY OUT IN FRONT as this will do nothing but aggravate the client and lessen the chances of success. Set a slow pace that the client can handle over the duration of the hunt, more game is walked by and missed than those that have been run down. Involve the client in as many aspects of the trip as possible. Let him or her know what your plans are for the day and the remainder of the hunt. Most hunters are not out just to kill; they are here for the experience, enjoyment, companionship and to be involved in the hunt from beginning to end. Talk to the hunter about what you’re doing and why, some hunters are too antsy and restless to hunt at a very slow pace. In this case you’re free to move faster and on a more regular basis. Just advise the hunter that chances of success may be reduced. Some hunters have lots of patients and others have very little, adjust your hunting style to suite the hunter as much as possible.
Work all senses and find animals before they find you. This can be a challenge when being accompanied by a noisy client. So if this is the case what are your options? Know the strengths and weaknesses of different species.
Sheep; strengths are their eyes, while they have weak ears and noses.
Moose; strengths are their ears and nose but are solitaire. Therefore easier to get on individuals.
Elk; strengths are their eyes, ears and nose. They are herd animals and normally rely too much on the herd, so they don’t focus until alarmed.
Caribou; generally very curious, they have good smell and hearing but rely on their legs for escape, doesn’t work well with guns.
While hunting put yourself in a prey animals position. What are you looking for, listening and smelling for. How can you adjust or make your stock so as not to be discovered?
Do not take for granted because a bull is in the rut that he is dumb. Some are not, while stocking any good trophy animal expect the most cunning, alert and spookiest animal you have ever encountered.
When looking at a potential trophy it is a good idea to give the hunter a percentage as to what you feel his or her chances are of getting a larger trophy. After selecting a trophy you wish to harvest, be sure to ask your hunter if he or she is going to be satisfied with it before you let him or her shoot. The size of a trophy is not everything; a trophy is just what it means to the hunter who harvested it. It is very important that you involve the client in the stocking procedure. Always rest your hunter just before getting to where you feel you will be shooting from, a tired puffing hunter wont be able to shoot accurately. Some clients may wish to do it their way, at this point try to remember who is paying for the hunt and help as much as possible. You must be within non amplified voice range of your hunter at all times when hunting. Try to contain yourself when stocking a huge trophy, don’t get the hunter all jacked up. If he’s excited and nervous, there is a real good chance he will miss his shot. Know how far away it is. DO NOT exceed 300 yards unless the hunter is adamant about taking a shot; if so remind the hunter of the company wounded animal policy (you should have this memorized.) Try not to take long range shots that don’t have a high probability of additional shot opportunity. After you have hit an animal and it has disappeared, you should wait a minimum of 30 minutes before going after it. Once your animal has hit the ground always assume it is alive and can flee at any moment. Stay focused and keep your hunter ready. Approach the animal carefully, to be sure of a kill.
*Numerous animals have been lost because of guides and hunters lack of focus after the knock down. E.g. Hunter shoots elk. Down it goes. Yippee ! High five ! They make the mistake of going to get horses and come back, elk is gone. DON’T LET THIS HAPPEN TO YOU!!
Once an animal has been harvested, under NO circumstances let your hunter shoot another of the same species, no matter how much bigger or better it might be. Absolutely no shooting of animals by guides or crew for any reason. Guides will not carry guns on the hunts unless there are special circumstances. E.g. Back-up gun for bear hunting or for a bow hunter. The guide is not allowed to assist his hunter in harvesting his or her animal. If an animal has been badly wounded and the hunter requests assistance as he or she is unable to continue, then and only then is a guide allowed to finish off an animal. What ever you do, stay inside the law and report any infractions to me as soon as possible.
Capping, cleaning the skull and proper tagging of each separate item is as important as the harvesting of a trophy, so put a special effort into this part of your job. ”Tag antlers, cape, and meat immediately upon returning to camp.” Also be sure to clean any blood out of pack boxes, meat bags or grain bags immediately upon returning to camp. These will usually have to soak in the creek for a few hours.
In order to be a good guide, you have to put the interest of the company first, your hunter second and yourself last.