Helpful Hints & Tips
The folks at Real Western Hunting have decades of experience in the field. We want our clients to be fully informed about their hunt, so the best results can be achieved. Please read through these hints, as you will learn about where Real Western Hunting stands, and you just might learn something that will make you a better, more informed hunter.
Hunting Season Information Packet - Which is mailed to all big game hunters after May 31st
Thanks for booking your hunt with Real Western Hunting! We will make a 100% effort to make your hunt a memorable and successful one. The information enclosed is important and we urge you to review it. Many of the questions you have will be answered in this packet; but do not hesitate to contact us ASAP if you need further information. Please keep in mind that after the drawings in late June, we are in the field most of the time. The hunting starts on 8/12 and we would rather address your questions prior to the season starting. Cell phone coverage in rural Wyoming is difficult, and it is almost impossible for us to field numerous calls when we are hunting. We look forward to seeing old friends and to making new ones this fall!
Items enclosed are:
– General information letter – Account statement – Suggested gear list
– Recommended lodging list – Taxidermy information – R/A of Risk form
Deposit Reminder – We have enclosed a statement of your account for your information. RWH’s deposit policy is 25% when you book, 25% after the license drawings and the remaining 50% is due upon your arrival. Please note that the main purpose of a deposit is to provide us funding to work on your hunt. Personal checks are accepted for the initial or second deposit, but the final balance must be paid in either cash, cashiers check or money order. We want to thank those who are up-to-date with their account and we will make a note in red ink on your account statement if another deposit is necessary.
Account Statement – Make sure to review your statement to make sure all information and figures are correct. If you see an error, contact us ASAP to address the situation. If you do elect to pay your hunt balance in full (checks accepted) before you arrive, please do so at least 15 days in advance of your arrival.
Licenses – All big game licenses will be mailed directly to you from the Wyoming Game and Fish Department. Please do not sign anything on your license before arriving! If you do accidentally sign the carcass or landowner coupon, this invalidates the license, and we may have to travel 100 miles round trip to purchase a duplicate license. This will result in lost hunting time for you. Also, it is a good idea to read the General Information section located in the back of the regulations. Those hunting the pre-season archery seasons are also required to have a nonresident archery license ($72.00), and these can be purchased prior to your hunt via the WGFD website or at a license selling agent in Wyoming. Every hunter also needs a Conservation Stamp ($12.50) and these can also be purchased on-line or at a license selling agent in Wyoming. We might have a few C-Stamps on hand for you to purchase if you forget to do so earlier, but we prefer that you purchase them before arriving in Wyoming. All license(s) and c-stamp must be in your possession when you are in the field.
CWD – Chronic wasting disease is becoming more common across the country and all the states have different regulations for handling meat and trophy parts. CWD only affects elk, deer and moose — it does NOT affect antelope. Before departing for your hunt, check with your local Game and Fish Department so you can familiarize yourself with what requirements they have for meat, hides, capes, skulls and horns. Please inform the RWH crew when you arrive about your home state regulations and what we will need to do to make sure that you are in compliance. Since different states are constantly enacting different legislation all the time, RWH cannot keep up to date with these changes 100% of the time. In some states, failure to comply can result in fines and/or confiscation of meat and trophy parts.
Weather – Check the internet for the latest or projected weather conditions. Please do not call us about the weather during the seasons, as we are in the field and most of time unavailable to talk. The weather can change very rapidly in Wyoming, so it is best to adhere to the gear list in this packet. Early morning and just before dark will be much cooler than mid-day. It is always best to layer your clothing, so that way you can adapt to changing weather conditions.
Communication after the License Drawing – Many hunters forget they are NOT the only folks coming out hunting this season. While we always want full communication with all hunters, it does get very busy during the season. We have hundreds of phone calls to make to hunters, landowners, meat processors, taxidermists, etc. after the drawings. We request that if you do call have your questions ready and make it be for pertinent subjects. Please no phone calls about “how is it going, having any luck or just calling to say hello” — please, only necessary topics so we can give every hunter our full attention and provide them with the best hunt possible.
The Hunt – Please remember that you are purchasing a 100% “fair-chase” hunt in Wyoming. The better shape mentally and physically you arrive in, the better your chances will be will for success. Be prepared to work for your trophy or critter! While we do get some easy kills, some hunters have to work for their game and unfortunately a few go home empty handed. If you have any medical problems, please inform us ahead of your arrival and remind us again when you arrive. Safety is our number one concern and NO animal is worth getting seriously injured or dying for. Take almost everything you see on the hunting TV shows with a grain of salt, as many of these shows are misleading. Most shows have two purposes — one is to sell or push merchandise and the other is to get the “stars” the best, easiest, most favorable hunt possible that makes them look like hunting “wizards”. We know our hunting areas, and with your honest input and effort we will formulate the best hunting strategy for you.
Hunter Safety – To hunt in Wyoming anyone born after January 1, 1966 must have a Hunter Safety card. Wyoming recognizes approved classes taken in other states. If you are born after January 1, 1966 and have not taken a class, please do so ASAP! Do not wait until several weeks before coming to Wyoming to sign up for a class. We cannot take anyone hunting that does not have a card! If your card has become lost or severely damaged, contact your state Game and Fish Department for a replacement. They do keep records for many years and can provide you with a duplicate card, usually free of charge.
Hunter Orange – All Wyoming firearm hunters must wear fluorescent orange at all time while hunting. Wyoming requires that a hunter wear in a visible manner one or more exterior garments which shall include a hat, shirt, jacket, coat, vest or sweater of fluorescent orange color. Fluorescent orange camouflage is legal if worn as specified above. RWH follows all state laws on all hunts. So, when you stalk or approach an animal for a shot, do not expect to remove your orange garment! The orange does not spook the animals and it is best to worry more about your shooting techniques than orange clothing.
Clothing – Pay special attention to your clothing and how much noise it makes. Some types are very noisy and this can be a problem on an archery hunt. Goose down, flannel, denim and wool are quiet and work well. Again, layering works best as you can peel off or put on garments as the weather changes.
Meeting Time and Place – Most of our meeting places will be at a motel in the afternoon before your first day of hunting. It is best to arrive in the mid-afternoon (3 or 4 PM, not at 9 PM) and please try to arrive at the specified time. Once the place and time is set, we have it written down in stone for our people. There is no need to call ahead of the meeting time to remind us. Many times hunters will get anxious, alter their travel plans and arrive 1-2 days before their scheduled meeting time. If this happens you could be encroaching on another hunters time and might end up killing time in a motel room. But, it is ok to arrive earlier than expected; but just don’t expect to be hunted immediately. Also, keep in mind that every season surprises occur that can affect the schedule—weather, storms, mechanical problems, wounded animals, etc. We will work with you on scheduling if this occurs. If a RWH representative is not at the motel the afternoon you arrive, please stay calm and realize that we are probably pursuing a wounded animal or had a flat tire. The motel staff can always give you our room number and verify that we are present. If you arrive early, on time or late; please contact us ASAP or leave a message and we will meet with you ASAP. We do have a pre-hunt meeting with each hunter to collect the remaining fees, check/record your licenses/stamp, address any last minute concerns and set a starting time for the next morning.
Motels – Enclosed is a sheet listing all the places we stay, their rates and the specified contact person. We prefer that you stay at our recommended motel, as we will be staying in the same location. If you choose to stay in another location, please understand that it will require special effort for the pre-hunt meeting and a loss of time every day during the hunt traveling back and forth to different motel. While we tentatively reserve a block of rooms for certain dates; we do expect that hunters call the specified motel, ask for the contact person and make their own motel reservations. That way they can make specific choices on beds and many other options. The hunting seasons bring many visitors, so do not delay in calling the motels to make reservations!
Taxidermy Work – This is one of the most important factors of any big game hunt. The majority of the hunters will take one or two animals that they want to have mounted. We have enclosed some information from our preferred taxidermist, Dan French Taxidermy located in Ft. Collins, Colorado and just a 30 minute drive south of Cheyenne. They are very familiar with all of the big game species in the Rocky Mountain region and can do an excellent job for you. If you plan taking your trophy back home, we would strongly recommend that you check to see if your local taxidermist is licensed, bonded and/or insured. Do they have a shop or do they operate out of their basement or garage? Are they a full-time professional or a part-time guy that does it for a little extra income? While they may mount 50 whitetail deer a season, how many elk or antelope do they mount each year? Experience matters in taxidermy. We see many antelope heads that end up having the same skull structure as a whitetail deer—that is incorrect. Those of you flying will be smart to leave your heads here, that way you avoid extra fees in airlines, theft or lost baggage/trophy parts. Be aware that any trophies or capes going back to your home area must be frozen and preferably kept that way or very cool. Bring ample coolers for trophy parts if you are taking your trophy home with you. We can always get you an extra cape, if in the transportation or tanning process it is damaged. But, if your horns/antlers or lost or stolen, those cannot be replaced. Please do some thinking ahead of time about how you want us to handle your trophy. Call us if you need any advice about trophy care or taxidermy.
Flying and Airlines – Please confirm exact hunt dates with RWH before booking plane tickets. All flights coming into Wyoming go through Denver. After arriving in Denver, you have two options. One is to book a short flight on a 16-18 seat prop jet for the trip into small town Wyoming. The other is to rent a small car and drive to the hunting area. We can provide better advice on these options after the license drawings are held. Then we will know what exactly what hunt area you drew and what town you will have to fly into. In recent years it has been more economical and practical to rent a vehicle. Any size vehicle will work and it does NOT have to be big 4WD. This way you have total freedom traveling and if you harvest an animal early in the hunt, you can tour around the area if you like. We prefer that bring your rifle or bow as baggage, rather than try to ship it ahead of your trip via UPS or Fed Ex. Have a discussion with the airline you are flying with about their requirements concerning weapons. We will usually have a back-up weapon if something happens to yours in transit or in the field. It is a good idea to leave a little extra time at the end of your hunt for meat processing, just in case you harvest an animal at the tail end of your hunt. In some cases, figure on spending one evening before and/or after your hunt in a motel if you are flying. We do offer free airport pickup with advance notice, but it has to be in the closest airport to our hunting location. Contact us for traveling advice before you book a flight.
Rifles – The “ideal” rifle would be a bolt action with a variable power scope. If you do not have such a weapon, do not be alarmed—we are only stating what we think is the ideal weapon for Western hunting. The most important thing is that you are familiar with your weapon, know what it is doing at 100-200-300 yards and that you feel confident using it. A cardinal rule is “the first shot you take is the most important”. A good rule of thumb is to be about 3 inches high at 100 yards—that way you will be dead on at 200 and probably 3-4 inches low at 300. The big percentage of shots will be between 50 and 250 yards; and we are not “fans” of long range shooting. Nowadays there is too much talk about bullet weights, one caliber VS another, etc. and NOT enough discussion about being in reasonable shape, getting a good rest, bullet placement and staying calm when it comes time to shoot. While it is preferred to shoot off a bench to sight in a rifle, we strongly recommend that you practice shooting lying down, sitting, leaning against an object (tree/fence post) or placing your rifle on a log, big rock, or backpack. There is a 90% chance that this is how you will shoot your animal. With this being said, do not bring some “collector’s item” to hunt with. A hunting gun is a “tool” and most tools that have been used show some sign of wear. The absolute worst thing a hunter can do is to run out and buy a new gun a week or two before making a trip! Keep in mind that if your weapon does malfunction on the trip, we will usually have a weapon you can borrow.
Meat – There are four options available concerning your meat. In most locations there is a local processing facility that can cut, wrap and freeze your meat, plus many also sell dry ice to keep your meat froze for the trip home. They do get very busy during the rifle seasons, so do not expect them to cut your animal in several hours. In some hunt areas we will have some type of cooling mechanism available and RWH can quarter your meat for cooling. We will chill it down as much as we can, then transfer it to your coolers and/or containers. After that, you are responsible for keeping your meat cold and ready for the trip home. If you plan on this option, then be sure to bring plenty of coolers or containers. After totally caring for your meat, many processors can ship your meat via UPS or Fed Ex. This is a costly method, but it works well in some cases. Some hunters are not able to keep their meat due to circumstances, and it is OK to donate the meat. However, the hunter must pay the full processing fee, as we do not have the time to call or drive around trying to find a home for the donated meat. It is wise to think ahead on what you plan to do with your meat so all of us have a plan of action.
When to Shoot – This is your hunt and you have paid for your time/days. We do not force you to shoot, but in some cases of sighting what we know is a superior animal, we may strongly advise you to shoot. Our guides are familiar with the areas you will be hunting and we would encourage you to listen to their advice. We are prepared to hunt from the first minute of the first day to the last minute of the last day, if that is what is necessary. Nobody knows when a good opportunity can present itself, so be prepared to take that shot at any time during the hunt.
Shooting Mechanics/Hints – Like we mentioned above, being capable of shooting from a wide variety of positions is a big help. Hunters should consider purchasing a bipod or shooting sticks to increase your offhand accuracy. We feel that a bipod that attaches to the firearm is the best option. Many times when stalking an animal, you will be breathing heavily and/or the wind will be blowing hard, so any help you can get in holding a gun steady is nice. We require that all guns be unloaded inside the vehicle and that they be pointed down towards the floor board. If an incident or accident occurs; we would rather see a hole blown in a floor board, rather than a bullet hitting someone in the upper portion of their body. Hunters should be prepared (especially on antelope) to crawl on their hands, knees or belly to get into position for a shot. Those hunters with bad joints may want to consider knee pads and all hunters should have insulated leather gloves to protect against cactus needles.
Opening Day – Don’t get hung up on absolutely having to hunt on opening day! The big majority of our hunts are conducted on private land and it is just as likely to harvest a nice animal in the middle or latter portion of the season. For all rifle hunters, keep in mind that all of you have already missed opening day—the archery season for antelope starts on 8/15 and elk/deer season starts on 9/1!
Evidence of Sex on Carcasses – If for some reason you are left in an area to hunt on your own and you happen to harvest an animal; do not remove evidence of sex from the carcass. Some areas or regulations require proof of sex to remain on the animal, so wait until an RWH employee is present to make a call about how to handle the carcass.
Teamwork – This is such an important factor in the success of every hunt. You will never read or hear about this on TV, but cooperation with your own hunting party as well as other parties is invaluable. When everybody gets along and works together, the hunts go better and are more enjoyable. We want everyone to have a great trip; so if you are having any problems, please let us know ASAP so we can address your concerns. We cannot resolve any situation if you wait until after you return home to inform us about a problem. Another RWH policy is that we have hunters on our outings and not races, foreigners, old men, nuisance youngsters or women – everybody is treated the same and with respect.
Alcohol – Absolutely no drinking while hunting will be allowed! If you are still an active hunter and are consuming alcoholic beverages during the day, you will remain at the base of operation and not be allowed to hunt. At no time will wild drunken situations be tolerated or allowed. Under no circumstances are firearms allowed to be present when any alcohol is present. Drinking in the evening in moderation is allowed, but anyone who goes too far may be left behind the next morning or asked to leave. Safety is our top concern and we strive to maintain a positive, family atmosphere at all times.
Litter/Wind – It is very windy in Wyoming and trash does not always stay where you place it. Keep this in mind when handling cans, wrappers, bags and other lightweight materials. When in the field we advise that trash be placed back into a lunch cooler OR into a designated trash bag – not placed in the back of a pickup or on a seat. Also, please hold on to truck doors when opening them in high winds. In Wyoming the wind will blow so hard that it can force the door from your grip and end up springing the door hinges. Please remember that these are the guides’ personal vehicles and a repair of this nature can easily cost them at least several hundred dollars.
Archery Antelope Hunters – You will be shooting through mesh windows, so it is best to shoot fixed broadheads! Shooting through mesh does not effect the flight of the arrow. Practice shooting through a hole that is about 6 inches wide and 10-12 inches tall. Practice shooting sitting in your favorite chair and a kneeling position. Shots will vary from 10 to 50 yards depending on each water hole and your ability. While camouflage works well, black or very dark clothing also works well. The early morning will be cool, but when the sun comes up the temperature will start to rise—layer your clothing and adjust as needed. Face paint helps to break your outline and you shouldn’t wear any noticeable, shiny jewelry on your hands or face area. You can take a reasonable shot at any animal within range, as they do not have to be in the process of drinking water. It is also a good idea to bring a safety harness, in case we put you in an elevated stand. You will not be allowed in any elevated stand without a harness. If you kill an antelope and want to get it mounted, do not drag the animal for a long distance in the brush. Antelope have hollow hair and it comes out very easily. When dragging an antelope, keep the distance short until help arrives and make sure you lift the front end of the animal high enough off the ground to avoid damaging the cape. This is a hunt where you will sit in the blinds 10 to 14 hours a day. While it is not like climbing tall mountains, it is taxing mentally and a hunter has to drink plenty of water/liquids to stay hydrated and alert. With our many years of experience we welcome discussion about archery antelope hunting and can provide many hints that should make your hunt more enjoyable and productive.
Archery Elk Hunters/Wounding Policy – Practice shooting from a variety of positions. Face paint is helpful and make sure your clothing is quiet! Bring any calls or accessories you want to. A range finder is a must item for elk. This is a large, tough, and strong animal — lousy shots will result in an elk that can’t be found (they go 5 miles away) and will eventually end up as bear or coyote food. When and if the opportune shot comes, the best advice I give you is to not get excited, concentrate on what you are doing and don’t pull off on the shot. If we have a situation where a bull is shot in a non-vital area, but we judge that it will eventually end up dead—your license will be considered as filled. We cannot allow ill-prepared, nervous or poor archers to wound 2, 3 or 4 bulls and continue to hunt—period. These are magnificent animals that deserve maximum respect and contrary to what some hunters think, they are not behind every tree.
Guide/Cook Tips – Many of you have questions about this topic, so we thought it best to include it in this packet. We do not favor mandatory tipping in any business. Tips are an important way to let your service provider know that you really appreciated their effort, ability and company. The age old question is “how much should I tip”? A number of factors should be taken into account to give you that answer — how much fun did you have, did you learn anything new on the guided hunt, how hard did they work for your success and what is the size of your personal bank account. Guides and cooks can have long work days and sometimes under tough conditions. They certainly do not get rich doing this type of work. They do this type of work because they love it and they enjoy being with a successful hunter. We cannot say enough about our guides and cooks, as without them our hunters and RWH would be nowhere! Most research shows that the average tip is about 10% of the hunt price. If a cook is involved, then that figure may increase by 3-4%. There are some cases where you might end up spending time with two different guides; then it is customary to split the tip between them. We recommend that you personally hand the tip directly to your guide and have a parting conversation with them. They do appreciate hearing feedback about their job performance. If you have any question about these procedures please contact us prior to or during the hunt and we will discuss the topic.
Cancellations – If the cancellation is just prior to the hunt, you must realize that we may have spent most or all of your deposit on access fees, groceries, gas, guides and other items necessary to do your hunt. We usually cannot make any refunds for late arrivals, early departures, cancellations or “no shows” for any outing. In most cases non-refundable means nonrefundable; but we will try to evaluate each situation and try to be as fair as we can with you concerning refunds and/or carrying over deposits. If weather or mechanical problems delay your arrival, we will work with you in those situations the best we can. We reserve the right to return deposits and refuse service to anyone whose conduct is improper or unsafe. If it looks like you may be encountering a problem weeks before the hunt, step up and notify us that there may be a problem arising—this way we can proceed with caution concerning your hunt and deposit monies.
We want you to be fully informed about your hunt so you will know what we expect of you and what you can expect of Real Western Hunting. We want you to know that we value your business and appreciate the trust you have placed in Real Western Hunting. If you have any questions about the enclosed information, please contact us immediately so we can help. With Wyoming being somewhat remote country, we always hope that most of the questions and paperwork can be addressed before we hit the hills and prairies. Thank you for booking with Real Western Hunting! We will continue to keep the lines of communication open throughout the year. We look forward to hunting with you this season!
Dale Critchfield, Owner.
If you are planning a hunt to Wyoming in the future, purchasing preference points is a wise idea. They are on sale from July 1st to October 31st, and the cost per point is: Antelope $31, Deer $41 and Elk $52. To purchase a point, go to: https://wgfd.wyo.gov/web2011/hunting-1000147.aspx or contact us and we can walk you through the process. a point belongs to only you, is species specific and is not tied to any particular hunting area, season, ranch or outfitter. Another important fact to consider is that Wyoming has very few OTC licenses, which makes having points even more crucial.
Having a point or two will: 1. give you a better chance of drawing a better quality hunt area; 2. if you are unsuccessful in the point drawing, your application is also entered into the random drawing—which gives you a “second” chance of drawing; and 3. In many cases it will save you between $288 and $576 on the price of your license and 4. it helps to better stabilize your hunting and travel plans. Starting immediately, RWH will allow you full credit for any points purchased prior to the current season drawing(s) when you book a regular priced hunt. This is way of rewarding your wise thinking and dedication of obtaining points over time. If you have any questions about how this credit is handled, please give us a call or send an email.
At the present time we are accepting bookings for future seasons. With a simple deposit of $100, this is a good method of locking in specific dates and prices in the future. Please remember that all hunts are sold on a FCFS basis and almost all are limited in number. We are always in the field most of the time from August 10th to November 15th, so please be patient with us and we will acknowledge your communication, questions or correspondence as soon as possible.
Some of you are hunting with Real Western Hunting this season and we will see you shortly! We are also in the process of building an email address list to keep you notified of important topics concerning hunting in the West. We urge you to sign up for our free Real Western Hunting Newsletter to receive hunting reports, points and other important information. Thank you for your efforts viewing this preference points reminder, and if you have any questions regarding preference points or any other topic, the lines of communication are always open at Real Western Hunting!
Light Jacket, Leather Boots, Blue Jeans, Wool/Flannel Shirt, Underwear, Leather Gloves, Down Vest, Socks, Shaving Gear, Chapstick, Medicine, Handkerchiefs, Sun Screen, Toothbrush/Paste, Flashlight, Knife, Orange Garment, Camo Clothes, License(s)/C-Stamp, Camera, Sunglasses, Hand Lotion, Firearm/Bow, Ammo/Arrows, Ink Pen, Alarm Clock, Dry Pack, Coolers, Heavy Jacket, Game Bags, Trash Bags, Duct Tape, Light Shoes, Cloth Bags, Optics, Rangefinder, Headlamp, Cell Phone, Knife/Game Saw, Cooler(s), Bipod/Sticks, Tweezers, Mole Skin, Orange Flagging Tape, Lighter.
For Bow Hunters, The Above Plus These
Shorts, Light Pants, Favorite Chair, Face Paint, Water Bottle, Insect Repellent, Target, T-shirts, Bow Case, Toilet Paper, Urine Bottle, Bow/Arrows, Release, Scent Block(Elk), Various Baggies, Camo and/or Black Clothing, Emergency Repair Items for Bow, Old Socks for Over Boots.
Archery Hunters remember that the weather can be really warm in August and September. Be thinking ahead about your meat and/or trophy parts and how you want to handle them. Bring plenty of coolers for your meat and/or trophy parts! If you’re driving and think you need it – then bring it!
Real Western Hunting Motel List
Listed below are the motels that offer Real Western Hunting clients special rates during the hunting season. While we call and tentatively reserve a block of rooms after the license drawings, each hunter/party will need to call to make their own reservations. Do not delay in calling, as they can get booked up fast. Some have airport shuttle available. Bring this sheet & packet with you on the hunt and any feedback about these motels are appreciated.
Getting Old Ain't For Sissy's!
As we grow older sometimes medical situations make it harder to enjoy the outdoors. Since many Real Western Hunting team members are in their 60’s, they can identify with having some aching bones, joints or replacement parts. While we never have any trophies “tied” to a fence post or trees, we can in some areas provide those physically challenged hunters with a good, quality hunt. We will use ground blinds, stands, and plywood “shooting shacks” in areas that we know have a lot of animal traffic. In this situation the animals are coming or passing by you, so the hunter has to be patient and have a “stick to it” attitude. The hunter can have a guide sit with them, or they can sit by themselves. We advise that hunters with mobility problems be somewhat reasonable about what they except to harvest; but as on all our hunts, we always try to take the largest animal possible. We welcome discussion about medical situations and what we might be able to do to accommodate you.
“I have seen hunters bring out almost mint condition, shiny, collectible firearms for a hunt. Truthfully, a hunting gun should be considered a tool; not something to display proudly and refuse to put it into practical field action on a hunt. I have always considered my hunting weapon a “tool” and will utilize whatever I can to get a good rest for a shot. That rest can be a big rock, log, top of a fencepost, side of a tree or any object that helps you hold the gun steadier. Yes, this results in scratches to the gun in some cases; but it also results in an animal being humanely shot and on the ground. The most important factor of accurate shooting in the conditions of the West is getting a comfortable, stable rest. Fellows who bring these “collectible” weapons are reducing their chances of success. If you are going to shoot at an animal, you have a moral obligation to make it the best shot possible.”
“On archery antelope hunts we drop the hunters in the blinds for the day and basically sit back and let nature take its course. If weather conditions are good, the antelope will come to the waterhole. Many times the bow hunters comment that we don’t do that much work on these hunts. That is somewhat true, as most the work, research and set up is done BEFORE the actual hunt. The hunters do not see or sometimes understand how many hours and research goes into setting a hunter up on the right waterhole. On these hunts, most of our job is done way ahead of time.”
“Hunters will have lengthy debates about different calibers. Truthfully, there is not a dime’s worth of difference between many of them. What does make the difference is remembering three things when the shot opportunity comes. Get a good, stable rest, accurately judge the distance and remember to concentrate, NOT get excited and to squeeze the trigger. Shooting in Wyoming is not like shooting in the brush of Alabama or Michigan. Our cardinal rule is “the closer the better” for all shots, but there will be times when you are shooting 185 or 248 yards. You cannot pull off or be shaky at these distances and expect to hit an animal. An accurate shot from a .243 will do more damage than a .458 bullet whizzing over an animal’s back 6 inches.”
“If an outfitter is very short with you over the phone, hesitant to talk and quickly refers you to their website, I would not book a hunt with that outfitter. I often ask potential guides or employees “what type of business are we in?” Some will answer “the hunting business.” But, the smarter folks will reply “the service business.” Outfitting is about providing good service that increases a hunter’s odds of success. An outfitter that is too busy to talk with you or respond in a timely manner, probably won’t be any different when the hunts are taking place. Providing good, educational information to the hunters helps them be better prepared for the hunt. The more knowledge they have, the better they will perform for themselves and the outfitter.”
“It is important that all of us always remember three things about these hunting trips: one is that we have the physical capabilities to do such a trip, two is that we have the financial capacity to pay for the outing, and three is that we live in a country that we are still free enough to do these activities without talking to a king or dictator. Sometimes a hunter and/or outfitter falls a little short and we end up with a regular 4 x 5 bull elk. Even though everybody would want to have a 7 x 7, we have to remember the three items mentioned above. Every time I have ever went on a guided hunt somewhere, one of my biggest goals is to observe the outfitter and guides and try to learn several new concepts or ideas. I have always thought that I was not only paying for services, but hopefully to be educated a little bit.”
“Always remember that with elk, deer and antelope in the West that these are 100% fair chase hunts. Many current hunters get hung up on cell phones, laptops, Facebook, texting, etc, and expect everything to happen instantly. It doesn’t work that way with wild animals. Antelope do not care what day of the week it is, nor do they know about holidays, Monday Night football or 99% of other human happenings. Their life is fairly simple—eat, drink, rest, survive and occasionally multiply. The hunting and fishing TV shows do somewhat an injustice to the modern day hunter, because they usually show everybody harvesting an animal and of course doing it in 5 or 10 minutes into the show. Many of them never mention being in the field 5 ½ days before getting that whitetail. Some of them have 2-4-6-8 “gophers” whose job it is to cover or watch extensive land and then notify the “star” about a trophy animal. Keep in mind that the number one goal of most of these shows is to sell merchandise. I can tell you for a FACT that I can put you up in a windmill in an elevated stand wearing a bright yellow or orange jumpsuit and if you can shoot, you will kill an antelope. Camo is not a necessary part of this hunting strategy—but if you watch the shows they just couldn’t have made that kill without their Cabela’s underwear or Primos jacket.”
“Writing and receiving brochures from outfitters is a good idea. In many brochures you will see a photo of the outfitter and his wife or family—that is also OK. But, take a good look at those faces and remember them when examining the brochure. If you see the outfitter or family members with a big bear, big deer, big elk, etc.—you have to ask yourself “why isn’t a hunter from Indiana or Georgia in that photo with that big animal?” One has to wonder, if they are doing their job and put the clients interest first, how do they find all that time to do their own personal hunting and take all those trophies? Why aren’t they putting their paying clients on those animals? The truth is they are surely outfitting folks, but are they committed to serving the clients OR are the clients basically financing the outfitter and his families personal hunting goals?”
“A Harris Ultralight bipod is one of the best pieces of equipment that a hunter can bring. While hunters will sight in their rifle off a bench, many times in the field you will be shooting in an offhand position. After sighting your gun in, practice shooting laying down, sitting, etc. This is how it will probably go down on your hunt. The odds are 99.9% that you will NOT be shooting an elk from a bench-like position.”
“Every Western state and the western Canadian provinces usually have a government operated office or board of outfitting/guiding. These offices regulate the people in the business, referee who can hunt certain areas or districts, issue guide or outfitter licenses and usually have a code or standard of performance regulations that protect the clients and public. When you are considering booking a hunt in a state or province, it is a good idea to contact that government office, tell them that you are considering booking a hunt with three different outfitters and ask them “what can you tell me about these three outfits?” Since the government offices are usually the ones that handle any complaints filed by the clients, they will usually give you background information about who you are considering. If they give you a bad report on someone and tell you that there are many complaints and/or cases with that outfit, then you had best run in the opposite direction, regardless of what their brochure looks like or their website claims.”
“We do not have many “celebrity” hunters at RWH, as they usually want “sweetheart” deals that are to the detriment of the regular clients. If celebrities do hunt with us, they will be treated no different than a regular client. The “regular Joe’s and Jane’s” have funded, helped build the business, have put food on our table and shoes on our kids feet. We will not sell out the average sportsman, who may have planned and saved for months, just to butter our bread with a celebrity sportsmen. Many of these “celebrities” could not find their own butt in a rainstorm if it wasn’t for a good, local person who REALLY knows the country and the animals. We enjoy hunting with the first time 13 year old hunter or the 74 year old veteran on his last trip—these are real people and that is REAL hunting.”
“When booking with an outfitter, ask them if they can give you any names of unsuccessful hunters from the last season. Often, they will get very indignant and claim that they didn’t have anyone not fill their tag last season. While this could be true, all outfitters will have clients that are unsuccessful at times. This is mainly due to two reasons: one is that one out of every fifty hunters will shoot at numerous animals and not be able to connect and many times you will have a client that has shot 12 bull elk and wants a 360 bull or better, or won’t fire a shot. That is setting the bar VERY high and the hunter knows that he may not have success. Many hunters say that, but will stick to that for about one day and then shoot anything that gets close. But, there are some hard-core hunters that stick to their stated goal. They might see 100 elk on a hunt, could have shot 3 or 5 bulls, but none of them were 360 or better. The guides were up each morning, the hunter saw game, the equipment was in good condition, the food good, lodging good and all basic facets of the hunt were handled in a professional manner. But, no 360 bull surfaced. A true hunter understands that and is not upset—again, it is 100% fair chase hunting for totally wild animals. If you talk to an unsuccessful hunter and he says he would go back with that outfit, then that speaks volume about the business and crew.”
“Many times hunters feel that they are the only person from Virginia or Vermont that wants to come hunting in Wyoming. That is wrong and they are literally thousands that want to come West to hunt. Hunting the West is very different than hunting AL, IA or PA and just going down to the local store and buying your deer license. In Wyoming, most licenses are issued via a computer drawing and that computer does not care if you are a nice person, rich or poor, 15 or 80 years old or whatever. It just pulls out reference numbers and tells you that you drew a license, or you are getting a refund check. THE ODDS OF DRAWING OR DRAWING STATISTICS ARE WHAT THEY ARE—YOU CANNOT IGNORE THEM! I can give you three pieces of advice when considering hunting the West — get preference points, coordinate with us to learn more about the drawings, and get even more points! Preference points will give you the upper hand in the drawings, greatly increase your odds of drawing, give you a passport into a better hunting area and help you plan what season to take your hunt.”
“Teamwork and cooperation between everyone on the hunt makes it more enjoyable and increases everyone’s chances of success. It is great to see hunters, guides, outfitter and other folks working toward a common goal. This is best explained by using an example from an archery antelope hunt. You may have one or two larger size waterholes on a ranch that are just too big for shooting or putting a blind on—but antelope will come there to drink. So, you put your hunters at locations that will provide good shots, and “cover or sit” those waterholes that do not work well. You might have one hunter that takes a buck at 8:45 AM the first day of the hunt. He can figure that he has his animal and the heck with everybody else, OR he can care about the other three hunters and help cover the larger size waterholes that are ineffective to hunt. I have seen many times where the “selfish” hunter has more trouble connecting or harvesting an animal. I feel that this is THE MAN UP ABOVE’s influence and the 71 year old that cares about the other hunters (may not have ever met or known them until the hunt) manages to take the largest buck at 2:45 PM on the first day of the hunt. Everyone always wants a BIG animal, but always maintain your honesty, dignity, humanity and sense of fair play.”
“The weather is what it is. We are going hunting regardless of what the weather does. Keep in mind that we are going before daylight until after dark and many times we don’t get a chance to watch TV or get a weather report. It is best to check via the internet and get a weather report for the town you will be staying in before heading to Wyoming. Bring a variety of clothing and it is best to layer clothing, as then you can better adjust to varying temperatures.”
If you like or dislike what you have just read, please let us know how you feel. Your input and opinions are valuable to us! If you want to learn more about the real facts of hunting in Wyoming, do not hesitate to send us an email or give us a call — the lines of communication are always open at RWH!