Last Updated on April 2, 2021 by Bruce
Picking A Guide For A Whitetail Deer Hunt
If you are going to plan a guided whitetail deer hunting trip; here are items and useful information that you will want to consider and research for your benefit. Your main considerations are; when to go on your guided deer hunt, where do you want to hunt for that trophy whitetail deer, what weapon will you use, and how do you go about picking a good trophy deer hunting guide?
When To Go On A Guided Deer Hunt
First off, everyone wants to hunt for trophy whitetail deer during the peak of the rut. If you’re determined to book a guided deer hunt to co-inside with the peak of the rut; you may need to book a year or more in advance with a good, reputable, deer hunting guide service. Other-wise; stay flexible on your hunting time period. Sometimes the pre-rut can be a very promising time to go on a guided deer hunt. Why? Two main reasons; first, the bucks are traveling and moving about more while establishing dominance in their home range territory.
Trophy Bucks are out there marking and scenting up trails, bedding areas, routes to feeding spots, checking out old scrape lines and just plain being more active. The trophy deer also feed more at this time to gain the extra strength they will soon need. This heavy feeding helps prepare trophy bucks for the rut. They will expend massive amounts of energy while chasing does in estrus during the breeding season. Another reason to consider a guided deer hunt early in the season is hunting pressure and human scent. In my opinion; I would not want to be hunting on stand sites that other hunters have been sitting on the last 3 – 5 weeks. Do you think it might be scented up a little? I’m not saying that all outfitters use the same hunting stand sites over and over, but some do. It would be a good question to ask before you book a guided deer hunt. Late season or the second rut can also be a good time to book a guided deer hunt. After the rut, bucks return to heavy feeding to replenish fat stores lost during the rut.
Also; many plants that deer feed upon, sweeten up after a heavy frost and when cold weather finally sets in. Thus attracting deer. The point is; you may need to be flexible when working with a specific deer hunting guide service or outfitter.
Where To Hunt
This is a matter of having good information, preference, availability, and affordability. I think as hunters, we all have that one location we would love to go on a guided whitetail deer hunt. Hopefully, a guided deer hunt is an option for you in that hunting area. But just in case, it is not, you may want to consider this: When you start to plan a guided deer hunt, select several hunting areas as possibilities and get as much information as possible. Think about selecting 2 or 3 different counties, states, or even countries to go on a guided deer hunt. An example would be; you want to archery hunt “Pike county, Illinois”. But all the outfitting guides are booked up for the year, and you can’t draw a tag. Think about this; Missouri is just across the Mississippi river, and it also has some great whitetail deer hunting. Ohio has also been coming on strong for trophy whitetails. South eastern Iowa is renowned for large trophy whitetails. Texas whitetails are world famous for antler development and antler size.
Wisconsin and Minnesota grow huge deer with massive antlers. Canada has great whitetail deer hunting opportunities. Mexico now even offers deer hunting. The point being; is to be flexible as you research possible guided deer hunting areas. You may find that guided whitetail deer hunts are not available to you for one reason or another, in a specific area of preference. Another reason may be the popularity of the outfitter. Many deer hunting guides have repeat business clients. Thus an outfitter, or outfitters, for a given area, may be booked up for the time period you want to go on your guided deer hunt. A quality, guided, whitetail deer hunt is not cheap. Be aware of all cost involved; license and tags, transportation, trophy fees, tipping, processing, shipping fees and more. My advise is; you may need to plan for spending up to several thousand dollars or more on a guided deer hunting trip for trophy whitetails. Check with the local states or provinces D.N.R. or Dept. of Fish and Game.
If you only hunt with one weapon, then this choice may be easy. The reason I say “may be easy”, is that more and more trophy deer hunting guides are going to guided archery hunting only, as their preferred guided deer hunting service. Here are a few reasons for this; archery hunting usually offers a longer hunting season (more clients), less psychological impact on the non-hunting public (arrows don’t go bang, and clients are camouflaged – mostly out of sight), milder weather, and plenty of potential clients (archery hunting’s growth in the past decade). Now; if you are strictly a gun hunter, and your running into this problem, you may still have an option. Ask the deer hunting guide or outfitter if they would consider guiding you while hunting with a muzzleloader. They just might be open to doing that if they aren’t already. It never hurts to ask.
Picking A Deer Hunting Guide
Picture this scenario: You’re at a sports-show, checking out trophy deer hunting guides. You really want to book a quality, guided deer hunt. It may be that once in a lifetime guided whitetail deer hunt you have dreamed of. You have been saving for this for years. It’s time to book one. Everybody is shoulder to shoulder. People are lined up at various outfitter’s tables. Some hunting guides have videos playing of successful deer hunts from the past. Trophy whitetail mounts adorn the exhibitor’s display walls/curtains. You are excited, everyone is talking trophy deer hunting. You start talking to this deer hunting guide. He’s smooth; seems to know his deer hunting. He talks about hunter success ratios, experienced guides, multiple stand sites, vast areas to hunt, food plots, managing deer and so on. You ask yourself, “Is this the hunt I want? Is this my deer hunting guide? Where do I sign up and how much down?”
Slow Down – Relax – Do Your Homework
My advice is – do not put any money down, not one dime, until you have done your research. Ask for references; talk to successful hunters, returning hunters, and unsuccessful hunters (hopefully you won’t just get a list of hunting buddies or relatives; pay attention to phone area codes). Call them! I repeat; call them! When you call these past clients; talk to them about everything they had experienced with this deer hunting guide service. How many guides were there? What were the hunting guides ages and their deer hunting experience? Stand sites and hunters use; good sites with little hunting pressure? How many hunters in camp? How big was the hunting area? What were the camp facilities like? Were all things as advertised? Would you go back and why? Here is another great hunting tip that many hunters don’t think about. Call the local game warden in the hunting area of this guided deer hunting camp/outfitter. A reputable guide service should have the local game warden’s name and phone number, or willing to get it for you. Or you can find them for yourself. You know where the outfitter’s camp is at. The state D.N.R. or fish and game department, will be glad to give you the local game warden’s name and phone number. You can get a lot of unbiased information from a game warden. A game warden will be glad to answer any and all questions you may have. If you can’t get a good reference about this specific deer hunting guide service, ask for a list of reputable outfitters in the area.
Keep in mind that there are no guarantees for a successful guided whitetail deer hunt. There are some things you can expect for your money. First and foremost is honesty. Do your part and be a good camp guest, don’t expect to be babysat. The first day or two you can learn a lot by being quiet and listening. You will have different personalities to deal with. Not all hunters will share their opinions and ethics. Are you OK with baiting or are you a fair chase hunter? Know what your guide offers. If you are not satisfied with the way things are going on your hunt, talk to your guide and or host. If you’re not seeing the trophy deer you expected, consider mentioning a healthy tip (one that you can afford) to your guide for harvesting a trophy animal. You may end up hunting their favorite, secluded, sweet spot. Go for the experience, hunt safe, and have a good time. If you are fortunate enough to harvest the trophy deer of your dreams; consider it icing on the cake. Good luck and stay safe.