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Thread: tipping your guide/outfitter

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    Default tipping your guide/outfitter

    OK, Here goes- how much should you and and/or should you tip your outfitter/guide?

    If I was rolling in dough this wouldn't be a question I would even be asking. However; I have a trip coming up quickly and was hoping to get some quick feedback on this question. From the little bit of information I have already gathered the answers seem to cover a wide spectrum. I have saved for this hunt for 10 years now so as you can imagine, money does not grow on any of my trees. These trips for me are very expensive as they are.

    I want to be considerate and respectful so I was trying to get a fair idea of what is expected of me as a customer. Let's assume the hunt goes well for this question and everything as far as food and accomodations were descent as well. This is a Grizzly hunt.

    Thanks for your feedback.
    Last edited by osceola hunter; 08-17-2012 at 11:58. Reason: grammar

  2. #2

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    If everything met my expectations and I was pleased with the guide and the effort he put out I usually tip app. 10%

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    Supporting Member Amigo Will's Avatar
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    If taking a bear is #1 don't worry about it. That aside a few boxes of his favorite ammo or a any cost shotgun for camp.A pair of waders or hip boots in his size always welcome.A hundred bucks on account at his sporting goods store or raingear.A CD set of John Denvers greatest hits is a no most times.
    Now left only to be a turd in the forrest and the circle will be complete.Use me as I have used you

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    Premium Member denalihunter's Avatar
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    Will, I'd take a John Denver CD any day!

    But I'd say 10% for an average experience, 15% if its great! Anything under average is up to you. Sometimes things happen beyond the guides control, so consider that as well, if something 'not ideal' happens.
    Experience Real Alaska! www.alpinecreeklodge.com

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    Quote Originally Posted by denalihunter View Post
    Will, I'd take a John Denver CD any day!

    But I'd say 10% for an average experience, 15% if its great! Anything under average is up to you. Sometimes things happen beyond the guides control, so consider that as well, if something 'not ideal' happens.


    Hmmm, the outfit I worked for was probably getting around 8-10 grand for a moose hunt. I dont believe the guides were getting anywhere near thousand dollar tips, but I could be wrong. I know as a packer, I was lucky to see $75, and I was busting my ass, literally, to get their trophies from the field.

    What people tip on a "good" hunting trip is a bit of a window into their souls... I saw guys that had exceptional hunts with good weather, great guides, trophy critters and good company leave such miserable tips (one guy left a $25 foam sleeping mat!!!) that it boggled the mind.

    I guess what I'm saying is - dont forget to tip the packer on your hunt as well...at least treat him with respect...those guys dont make squat. I believe I averaged less than $3 per hour worked over the course of a season in the field. Not that I was doing it for the money anyway...

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    10% of the cost of your paid hunt to the outfitter is a good tip and the going rate for most. As stated, if satisfied and your happy with your kill,hunt.
    Or ask, sometimes your bino's might be better than theirs.They know not everybody is rich and do not expect to see 10%. But to answer your question 10%.
    Good Luck,

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    Quote Originally Posted by dkwarthog View Post
    Hmmm, the outfit I worked for was probably getting around 8-10 grand for a moose hunt. I dont believe the guides were getting anywhere near thousand dollar tips, but I could be wrong. I know as a packer, I was lucky to see $75, and I was busting my ass, literally, to get their trophies from the field.

    What people tip on a "good" hunting trip is a bit of a window into their souls... I saw guys that had exceptional hunts with good weather, great guides, trophy critters and good company leave such miserable tips (one guy left a $25 foam sleeping mat!!!) that it boggled the mind.

    I guess what I'm saying is - dont forget to tip the packer on your hunt as well...at least treat him with respect...those guys dont make squat. I believe I averaged less than $3 per hour worked over the course of a season in the field. Not that I was doing it for the money anyway...
    I make sure I hand the tip right to my guide in person, not meaning that it wouldn't be passed down. But there defiantly are some cheap azz's out there. I've see a guy tip 300 bucks on a Dall hunt and he killed a slammer. I would have throw it back in his face.
    If you can afford a trip to Alaska you should be able to give a decent tip, if not save another year!

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    Quote Originally Posted by HuntNBgame View Post
    I make sure I hand the tip right to my guide in person, not meaning that it wouldn't be passed down. But there defiantly are some cheap azz's out there. I've see a guy tip 300 bucks on a Dall hunt and he killed a slammer. I would have throw it back in his face.
    If you can afford a trip to Alaska you should be able to give a decent tip, if not save another year!
    Here is where the BS of all this comes into play. Forget the percentage and reach down deep and tip accordingly. Think of it like you would when tipping your waiter or waitress but with this little twist. You go into a resturaunt and have a great meal and the service is also great. Let's say the bill is $100, so with a percentage you tip $15-$18. Next week you go to a nicer resturaunt with more expensive food. Same service, same quality of food but the tab now is $200, does the waitstaff deserve more just because they work in a place that has more expensive food?

    I've heard of guys leaving wads of cash, binos and even their rifle, and I've heard some guides call them all cheap. What it really comes down to is if you get to know the guys that you are hunting with, they are going to understand what is meaningful to you and you will know what type of person they really are. If you have scrapped together for years to afford your hunt, been nice to your outfitter and pulled your weight, $100 and a sincere thank you means more than the guy that shows up with the custom made rifle, the most expensive clothing, expects everyone to cater to him and talks constantly about all his worldly hunts. He may toss the outfitter $500, but they will still regard him as an @$$ whereas a guide that really enjoys his work will appreciate your $100 more.

    That being said, a tip is not required and shouldn't be expected. But if you really enjoyed your hunt, give until it hurts a little, it shows.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by ERDucker View Post
    Here is where the BS of all this comes into play. Forget the percentage and reach down deep and tip accordingly. Think of it like you would when tipping your waiter or waitress but with this little twist. You go into a resturaunt and have a great meal and the service is also great. Let's say the bill is $100, so with a percentage you tip $15-$18. Next week you go to a nicer resturaunt with more expensive food. Same service, same quality of food but the tab now is $200, does the waitstaff deserve more just because they work in a place that has more expensive food?

    I've heard of guys leaving wads of cash, binos and even their rifle, and I've heard some guides call them all cheap. What it really comes down to is if you get to know the guys that you are hunting with, they are going to understand what is meaningful to you and you will know what type of person they really are. If you have scrapped together for years to afford your hunt, been nice to your outfitter and pulled your weight, $100 and a sincere thank you means more than the guy that shows up with the custom made rifle, the most expensive clothing, expects everyone to cater to him and talks constantly about all his worldly hunts. He may toss the outfitter $500, but they will still regard him as an @$$ whereas a guide that really enjoys his work will appreciate your $100 more.

    That being said, a tip is not required and shouldn't be expected. But if you really enjoyed your hunt, give until it hurts a little, it shows.
    You pretty much hit the nail on the head with this one. It all depends on the person and the hunt. I guided hunters that tipped me almost a grand. And that was great for sure. But I've also been tipped $200. from a guy that was well deserving, hard working, not rich at all, and just an all around great guy, that I thought was a good tip as well. I have to say tho that, as a rule, a $200. tip was kind of a joke between us guides.

    I guided a guy once that was pretty much "comped" his moose/bou combo hunt. I got him a 70" moose AND a real nice bou. He tipped me $200. Had I not needed the money so bad, I felt like handing it back to him saying "you probably need this more than me". This guy was a complainer, didn't want to help at all, etc... Again....this guy and his tip were a big joke.

    I have been tipped a few hundred dollars plus spotting scopes, as well as $$$ and expensive backpacks. But I have to say, if I remember correctly a $400. tip usually sat pretty well. It really just depended on the hunt, the hunter, and how the whole experience we shared went down. Like I said......if the guy was a lumberyard grunt that saved up all he could for the hunt, and I knew he really didn't have any extra money, then anything he gave was of great value to me. But if I was guiding a guy that was more like a used car salesman than a hunter, was made o' money, and if I worked hard and got him good animals, even if he tipped me $500. I would have to wonder if I was "putting him out".

    Understand that a few of the people I guided ended up being friends that I've kept in touch with. Those kinds of people I just didn't expect from. And although they did tip me well, it wouldn't have mattered how much as their friendship was "tip" enough. But for the others that flaunted their wealth, a tip from $400.-600. really was kind of "nice".

    One guy I guided for caribou I became friends with. He ended up saying at the end of the hunt....."Dave I want to come back next year, but I want you to come with me as a hunting "partner" this time so you can shoot a caribou too. I will pay for the flight and your "expertise", but we will both be hunting together. I said "Sounds good to me." When next year came round, he made good on his word.

    I remember once a guide friend of mine guided a brown bear hunter that wanted a 10'+ bear. He told my friend if you get me a 10' bear I will tip your $1k. But if you let me shoot a lesser bear I will tip you nothing. They hunted hard, saw many bears that anybody would love to take home, but ended up NOT killing a bear. The hunter tipped my friend $600. essentially to NOT shoot a bear. Said it was worth it to him as he wouldn't have to wait 4 more years to try again to kill a 10' bear.

    Realize that you have probably put a lot of money out towards this possible hunt of a lifetime. Think about the guy next to you that has put this animal in front of you and is actually going to make your dream a reality. Give according to how much this hunt has meant to you, and to how much your guide has put towards helping you accomplish your dream. It may never happen again....
    "The emotions that good hunters need to cultivate are love and service more than courage. The sentiments of the hunt then become translated into art." James Swan, In Defense of Hunting

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    Member ninefoot's Avatar
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    if you havent guided for a great deal of your income: then please dont chime in on this one. as for tips, i dont talk about em with the clients...but here's something to consider: an average ugly waitress that does her job half ass well generally makes sure your coffee cup stays full, your order is right, and your service is as expected...she strolls through a few hours of your life, doesnt work very hard (in comparison to anyone who knows what hard work entails) and doesnt have to put up with any of your idiosyncrasy's that may annoy the average guy given enough time spent with you... and her average tip is between 10 to 14 percent of the tab. on the other hand....if you have a quality hunt, with a quality outiftter, with a quality guide then here's what will happen: your guide will: find your target species. provide moral support. put up with and disregard the things that make you (and every guy has a few) annoying to be around when your tired, out of your element, totally whipped emotionally, physically etc.etc.etc. and he does it with a smile and never lets you know if he's completely unimpressed with you. and then he takes you hunting, and if he's decent you get what you came for, and most of the time you end up with much more that you would have by yourself or with a lesser guide....and all the above stacked neatly on top of the fact that his knowledge and skill kept you ALIVE out there...

    ten to fifteen percent dont seem so bad when you take the above in consideration.........

  11. #11

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    packed last year on a goat hunt, and received a 200$ tip. Gotta love the Doctors from Illinois :0. But also, like stated its all about being a decent person, talkative, and show that the client can have faith in you. It also helps when you are constantly asking/tellin him ' i have plenty of room in my pack, would you like me to carry that'....even tho their was 120 on my back already. I think alot of clients get butt hurt, when something does not go as planned etc...like said, alot of it is out of the guides control...

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    tips what are you guides talking about...we dont get tips that would be considered income....

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    Member ninefoot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bear View Post
    tips what are you guides talking about...we dont get tips that would be considered income....
    .........

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    Don't tip, period. I pay their fee they charge. If they can't do a good job with me paying their required fee then that's tuff luck.

    This tipping BS has gotten way out of hand with no end in sight. Repeat business is the best kind of tip there is.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Money Pit View Post
    Don't tip, period. I pay their fee they charge. If they can't do a good job with me paying their required fee then that's tuff luck.

    This tipping BS has gotten way out of hand with no end in sight. Repeat business is the best kind of tip there is.
    let me guess your the one that stiffs the paper boy on his route cause the price of the the paper huh...geez you obviously have no idea about guides and guiding...or good service for that matter...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Money Pit View Post
    Don't tip, period. I pay their fee they charge. If they can't do a good job with me paying their required fee then that's tuff luck.

    This tipping BS has gotten way out of hand with no end in sight. Repeat business is the best kind of tip there is.

    well theres one take on the subject....from the money pit himself no doubt. and just so ya know...repeat business is the norm with good outfitters and guides...in fact i've got sixty five straight days guiding lined up starting two days from now, and i'll only be taking out one idividual that hasnt been with us before...dan cabela. looking forward to it too.

    tips dont get discussed with good guides and their clients...but every good guide i know has outstanding tip averages...as they should.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bear View Post
    let me guess your the one that stiffs the paper boy on his route cause the price of the the paper huh...geez you obviously have no idea about guides and guiding...or good service for that matter...
    lol...well said dave.

  18. #18

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    [QUOTE=Money Pit;1161442]Don't tip, period. I pay their fee they charge. If they can't do a good job with me paying their required fee then that's tuff luck.

    This tipping BS has gotten way out of hand with no end in sight. Repeat business is the best l


    Looks like all master guides should up there fees...oh 1500 to compensate hahahaha. Lemme guess you dont tip that cute lil waitress that brings you coffe either right?

  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bear View Post
    let me guess your the one that stiffs the paper boy on his route cause the price of the the paper huh...geez you obviously have no idea about guides and guiding...or good service for that matter...
    Actually I don't get the local rag. But I would bet most if not all of you don't tip your dentist, your plumber, or your car mechanic. It is interesting you decide to make the attack personal since I stated it was my policy not to tip. You are coming across as you expect a big tip, and if you don't get it then you are dealing with a cheap skate or piece of trash. Not very good business ethics in this day and age. I never had a guide or outfitter refuse to book me for a future hunt because he was not tipped at the completion of a hunt.
    Good luck with your bookings.

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    Member ninefoot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Money Pit View Post
    Actually I don't get the local rag. But I would bet most if not all of you don't tip your dentist, your plumber, or your car mechanic. It is interesting you decide to make the attack personal since I stated it was my policy not to tip. You are coming across as you expect a big tip, and if you don't get it then you are dealing with a cheap skate or piece of trash. Not very good business ethics in this day and age. I never had a guide or outfitter refuse to book me for a future hunt because he was not tipped at the completion of a hunt.
    Good luck with your bookings.

    lol...once again words from a guy that doesnt know what he's talking about...dave (bear) isnt the type of guide you book with hotrod...he's the kind of guide (non contracting, boots on the ground) that keeps the contracting guides in business. he's the producer, not the businessman. and i'm willing to bet he gets tipped very well if i know anything about dave and his experience. as for me...i'm not at all worried about tips. they come with good performance...and they always will. all the while without me or anyone else representing the outfit i work for saying one thing about it. your paying the outfitters fee...not the guides. and if daves anything like the rest of us then he's far overworked and way underpaid. most clients realize this when in the field with a good guide. hence the tips. lol...i fortunately havent had the displeasure of guiding ANYONE with your views. but then again, the superb outfitters i've chosen to spend the majority of my time with do an excellent job of weeding out the guys that no one wants in their camps. lol...good luck with YOUR bookings.

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