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Thread: How to become a guide

  1. #1
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    Default How to become a guide

    Hello All,

    I am 36 years old and work in a cubicle. I never thought I would be in this position... but life has a way of sneaking up on us sometimes I guess...it certainly has for me. I grew up on the coast of california. I surfed everyday with my dad and we would go hunting for duck, geese, quail, dove, deer and wild boar whenever in season since the age of 12. I fished in the bay (Morro Bay) for halibut and shark, on the beach for perch, out in the open water for rock fish or Albacore and in the Sierra Nevada mountains for trout. I never thought I would end up in a cubicle living a corporate life and now that life is over for me. I have recently walked away from my house and will be quitting my job in 6 weeks. I have made the decision to change my life. My intentions are to find an outfit in Alaska that I can learn how to guide for hunting or fishing...or both. I realize there are a lot of steps between here and there and thats why im asking. I would like to find a way to work during the summers up in Alaska on a regular basis. I expect I would need to be an assistant or worse for a few seasons and learn the trade first...fine by me...im in no hurry as long as im out there and not in a cube burning my eyes out staring at a computer screen. Can anyone recommend the best way to find someone willing to train a person with no background? I assure you I am no average cube jockey. I dont whine and learn quick. I would work for free if I had to until someone thought I was worth paying. Any advise would be much appreciated.

    Josh Walker
    I aint no monument to justice...

  2. #2

    Default Congratulations

    I don't know the answers to your question...but I'm sitting here waiting on parts for a down tool staring blurry eyed at my screen...wishing I could win the lottery.

    Good luck.

  3. #3
    Member Casper50's Avatar
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    Default

    Josh I would start by using the dreaded computer to do a search for guides and outfitters in Alaska. I would then contact every one of them explaining what you wanted to do. I'd phone them if you can. I'll bet someone will take you up on the offer. Expect to be camp gopher/chief dish washer for the first year. I'm not trying to discourage you but be carefull what you wish for. Good luck.

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    Member kahahawai's Avatar
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    Default A good choice

    Buku, I do know two assistant guides that have guided up here for Sheep, moose, and Griz, one from Idaho and the other from Wyoming, although they CANNOT book hunts, they do fairly well, and they do not have to work full time in the off season. Hunts are Tough most times, and easy sometimes, they told me the main goal is getting game on the ground.I have thought about the same thing myself, as I have nothing else to do.

  5. #5
    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    I think that the typical path (or at least the one my brother took when he was pursuing this path) is to be a packer for a guide for 1-2 years. After gaining some exerience (and earning your keep) as a packer, you can apply to be an assistant guide. You have to be an assistant guide under a registered guide for some time before you can take the tests to become a full registered guide. Only then can you really run your own business and book your own hunts. Just a guess, but I think you're looking at five years minimum before you could have a legitimate business, probably more. In the grand scheme of things, though, 5 years is a small price to pay for getting out of a cubicle. If you played it really well, you could get a gig as a winter caretaker at a remote lodge and completely leave the corporate world behind. Of course, complete solitude for 6 months takes a certain kind of person. But I suppose that's for another thread.

    We have a few members here who are really knowledgable and helpful when it comes to guide issues. I'd suggest that you drop a PM to Michael Strahan. He's usually very willing to at least point you in the right direction for information and contacts. Good luck, and keep us posted on your progress!

  6. #6
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    Default Becoming a Guide

    Brian M...that is sound advice..thank you. About the winter caretaking idea...I might consider that after a while but the reason I only want to work summers is I also Scuba dive and will be in Hawaii during the winter. I am not quite ready to sit in a cabin all winter alone in remote Alaska.....not yet anyway although who knows maybe I would love it . I have some money saved up and will be scouting for a little property to build a cabin on though with the intention of someday having my own very small and modest outfit. I will contact mr. Strahan thanks again.

    Josh
    I aint no monument to justice...

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    Member shphtr's Avatar
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    Default California to Alaska

    Josh: quite a change. Do you really know what you are getting yourself into? There is a big, BIG difference in outdoor endeavors in CA versus AK. AK is often not nearly as idyllic as envisioned by outsiders and the uninitiated. I am not trying to dissuade you, but....the water can be pretty cold!! Good luck, and...don't leave your computer in CA, AK is one of the most "connected" states.

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    shphtr,

    Thanks for the input. Yes I am sure there is much I don't know about Alaskan outdoors...or Alaskan anything for that matter. I do know this though...I would rather be dead than stuck in an office building for the rest of my days. I am counting on an incredible challenge. who knows I may tuck tail and run after a week but don't count on it. I wont back away from this based on the fact that it wont be an easy road...if it were everyone would be there doin it already. All I know is I have never known the peace I feel when I'm sittin by a camp fire out in the woods knowing I will wake up in the morning for a long day on the hunt or in a stream or by a lake. In my mind life is to short to be doing something you hate while dreaming about something you love. I will give it my best shot and if it doesn't work out...well then I will be able to say I tried. That is all I expect from this, just a chance to make it work. As far as computers go I have no real issue with them...after all they led me to this forum and paid my bills for a long time now. I'm sure the vision in my head and the reality of Alaska will be 2 different things entirely but there is no denying it...Alaska is the major leagues of hunting and fishing. If you want to be in movies you go to Hollywood. If you want to be a hunting or fishing guide you go north. I guess I always liked to learn things the hard way...up close and in person..

    Josh
    I aint no monument to justice...

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    Member BAR300's Avatar
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    Default not to crush your dream

    But, you sound like a dreamer, and Alaska has had it's share of dead dreamers who are ill prepared. I hate to mess with your fantasy, but back here on planet Earth, we are all stuck in cubicles, we live for the weekends and the weeks off, we do have to work for a living you know. Getting to play in the great outdoors is expensive, not easily done on an assistant guides pay. In the off season, which is long around here you would still need a "real job".

    Lottsa luck Chechako

  10. #10
    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    Default

    It's possible - completely possible. Don't let folks on here dissuade you from pursuing your dreams. There are plenty of people that make a living as a guide. Yep, you might need to do other work during the off-season, but that's something you seem to have already considered.

    We're all dreamers. Well, most of us, anyhow. That's why we're here in Alaska. I would live somewhere else if I weren't interested in pursuing my dreams.

  11. #11

    Default Bar300

    What is your advice? HE states that he is seeking summer work. We all don't have to work the the life he is seeking to leave. I left the same life he is talking about at 38 as a "DREAMER". All of my friends sounded just like you. I now make a large six figure income with my different dream ideas, with my friends still crying about life.
    I think the best advice is to make a plan and it sounds like that is what he is doing.

    Randy

  12. #12

    Default Brian

    Brian
    Perfect Reply!

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    Default

    Depends on what you want or require out of life. I'm retired with grown kids, wife works, to get away from me she says. So I spend my time out doing what ever comes up. Went out with friends and spent a week over in unit 20-A. The only reason I came back was I caught a cold and did not feel like doing all the things needed doing to stay out there alone. Mainly cutting and splitting firewood alone. I actually caught the cold before I left, it just did not take hold till the second day out there. Now that I am feeling better I will go back next Monday and stay till I feel like coming home. That could be two days, two weeks, or a month.
    Gun Control means hitting your target.
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    Default How to become a guide

    Bukufungi,

    A buddy of mine couldn't stand his office job, so he got his ratings to fly people to/from locations. He got picked up by an outfit around Ketchikan flying folks around and working as a cook. I haven't talked to him in a number of years, but the last I heard he was starting to work as an assistant guide. Good luck!

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    BAR300,

    Thanks for the input. I am sure you guys hear this all the time from people day dreamin in their office of a mystical place called Alaska with magic pixies and free fairy dust for all. so I understand your skepticism. In my opinion I do not think finding a regular summer job up there that is outdoors is that far beyond my reach but we will soon see. I am not planning to stay up there during the winters. At least not till I know a thing or two...so I don't really feel like I'm stretching reality all that much. I'm sure there is some fishing/hunting/outdoors adventure outfit that could find some use for me during the busy season don't you think?

    Josh
    I aint no monument to justice...

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    Default thanks to all

    Wow this thread has a lot of action. I saw three new posts by the time I had responded to BAR300. Thanks to you all for the great insight. I will keep posting my progress. Brian M....well said thanks!
    I aint no monument to justice...

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    Default You might

    want to start by finding out what the requirements are for guides & asst guides in Alaska.

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    Dedwuf,

    I have done some checking on that. I believe you must have hunted in Alaska 3 years, become a resident and have the endorsement of a registered Guide to be an assistant. At least thats how I read it. I am not sure about fishing guides. It seems to me that in 3 summers of grunt work I could then potentially become a registered assistant hunting guide. I did not find any regulations for fishing guide....any one else?
    I aint no monument to justice...

  19. #19
    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bukufungi View Post
    become a resident
    You do not have to become a resident to become a guide. Many think that it should become a requirement, but at this time that is not the case (nor is it likely to become so, as there are MANY non-resident big game guides).

  20. #20
    Member Alasken's Avatar
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    Default long winded post

    Josh,

    I did exactly the same thing you're talking about doing almost exactly 20 years ago at he age of 35. (Well now everyone knows I'm an old fart).

    I came up here for a two week vacation in the summer by myself (without wife). I called my boss in California from a pay phone in Talkeetna and gave my two weeks notice. I then called my wife to give her the good news. I left a job working for a utility company where I had worked for 11 years making excellent money and benefits, but the last 3 years or so I hated getting up and going to work.

    Well 2 months after my first trip we were here, and have been here ever since. I got into hunting guiding as soon as I could, worked for a chump registered guide, then got my registered license and started my own small business. After running my own business for several years I quit due to lack of predator control and a closure of non-resident moose season where I was operating.

    Some people in CA thought I was crazy, people who know me know I am. My point is, if this a dream of yours do it. I personally don't think getting into the hunting business is a good idea the way hunting has changed for the worse in the last several years, but that's my opinion.

    I've been where you are right now. PM me and I'll give you my number here in Anchorage if you want to talk.

    BAR300 sounds like he's miserable doing what he's doing and has a terrible outlook, but I bet he's a seasoned sourdough.
    I would like to really say what I think about his comment, but the rules here don't allow it.

    Ken
    Art is making something out of nothing and selling it.
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