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Thread: Becoming a guide

  1. #1
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    Default Becoming a guide

    Hoping to retire in 8 years. With retirement pay and working PT I would like to do some guiding for fun and a little $. I know of a really good place, and without giving away the exact location, a place in the Delta area. I would do a spring only black/grizzly hunts/drop off in remote mountain cabins. How would one become an official guide, how much time, money, and what is the process. Just exploring some ideas...Thanks

  2. #2
    Member AlaskaTrueAdventure's Avatar
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    Default Becoming a guide...

    To begin answering some of your questions on becoming a guide in Alaska, you might glance at the thread titled Becoming A Hunting Guide, by bboy, on 2/10/08.

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    Default Thanks

    for the info

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    Default Thanks

    Again...thanks for the info
    SO here is my idea. I know of an area that during the spring is not too hard to get just right above tree line on atv and then gets deep after that. You can't take a snowmachine in the spring because it would get torn up. Once at the stop point (because it is a narrow mountain trail) I would then put my tracks on. I own two atvs a 450cc with wheels and an 800 efi with tracks/wheels. So this would be a small guide service for spring bear hunts. I can take two people at a time, maybe three possibly 4. I will be looking into land restrictions etc and with my tracks can get on top of the mountain and over the years build a little field cabin for myself and eventually future clients.
    I am a health care provider and would be collecting retirement and working PT and would be able to devote my spring time APR/MAY to this PT guide service. I am prior military and have firearm and lots of field/hunting experience I would have to advertise it to experienced atv riders. I think someone would enjoy riding an atv for a hunt. I would have to have a lot of legal stuff set up...that I am not liable for injuries etc incured from clients etc....just thoughts. The trail is pretty tame for 5 or so miles and I could assess their driving skills then.
    I am not looking to get rich, just use my experience and enjoyment of outdoors to take people out to places. I have taken a couple of non-experienced hunters hikers out into the field and they have said I would make an excellent guide.
    I keep my machines fine tuned and would keep up on them. And since I would do this for only a couple months out of the year it should not be too bad.
    Only problem is the area I know is not a "huge secret" but is not that well known, to most average people, most locals in the area are aware of it and the access. During the summer and fall it is very easy to get back in there with an atv and wheels. I would not want to guide during then because even though it is a draw only area, I do not want to pressure it that much more and there are others already there making a living off of sheep. The bear population is very very healthy there, and is actually considered a predator control area. So during the spring is the tricky access part (but not with my setup) and going in there you see not many people go back there.
    I would like somehow to set up where clients sign some agreement not to tell others about the access area etc. so it doesn't become a motor zone in the fall/summer. Seems silly and I know not everyone is honest and some would still do it....just thoughts
    So how much time has to be devoted as someones assistance. I don't want to do this FT and would be using my own assets to support my PT guide service. If there are any guides on the forum from the Delta area that have the time to chat feel free...please PM me I would like to not let my suido idea out to the open yet
    Thanks again

  5. #5

    Default So you want to be a guide...

    I am a professional guide... but not in Alaska. I suggest that you check out the licensing requirements for becoming a guide/outfitter in Alaska. THEN... check out the cost of commercial liability insurance for you, your help, your avt's and even your truck (or anything else you plan to use while guiding clients). IF you get your license, also consult a lawyer because you will probably need to incorporate to protect your personal assets (such as retirement income, home, etc.) Don't want to "burst your bubble" but it is way more expensive to run a guide service then most people realize and on a part time basis it may not be worth it. On the positive side, you get to meet some great people (for the most part) and you get to stay healthy with lots of h-a-r-d work and fresh air

    Good luck!

  6. #6
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    Default Guide Requirements

    Here's a link to the BGCS statutes concerning the requirements for a Registered Guide/Outfitter license. It should help you out.

    http://www.dced.state.ak.us/occ/pub/BGCSStatutes.pdf

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    Member BRWNBR's Avatar
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    Default

    well you've got three years of assit guiding to go thru, then you'll need land use permission and if its state land you'll be up a creek as state land will likely go exclusive use by fall of 2010, insurance on you, your machines, liability, blah blah, fixing what they break after every hunt, food, fuel, licensing, if your doing three bear hunts a spring at 35,000 you might break even, but then you wanted to build a cabin, so you'll have to own the land there since you can't just up and build cabins around, land holders kinda frown on that these days. i know guides that run alot of hunters proffit less than 15 percent off each hunt..you'd proffit a bit more once you got the system up and running..but i'd guess you'll run into bigger problems long before that comes up.
    wish i had better news but its not really the time to become a guide in this state...
    Www.blackriverhunting.com
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    Default ditto

    What BRWNBR said. For the record I think this is the first time I've agreed with what Jake said.
    Art is making something out of nothing and selling it.
    - Frank Zappa

  9. #9
    Member BRWNBR's Avatar
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    lol hey now, we are guides, we aren't suppose to agree!!
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  10. #10

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    Whats exclusive use by 2010?

  11. #11
    Member BRWNBR's Avatar
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    right now the state land use people are working up maps to determine how to divide the areas up and award the areas out to guides, these guides would have exclusive use to these areas, no other guides could operate there, the idea is to help lessen the guidiing pressure in some areas, lotta guides will be outa work, lotta prices will go up and alota guide business will get bigger is my guess at what will happen. but it will ease congestion from guides thats for sure. how they are gonna do it all excatly i don't know its still in the works.
    Www.blackriverhunting.com
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  12. #12

    Default

    Thanks for the info. This only applies to the guides? The average joe could still hunt that area, correct?

  13. #13
    Member ruvimarrow's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by polaristracker View Post
    Again...thanks for the info
    SO here is my idea. I know of an area that during the spring is not too hard to get just right above tree line on atv and then gets deep after that. You can't take a snowmachine in the spring because it would get torn up. Once at the stop point (because it is a narrow mountain trail) I would then put my tracks on. I own two atvs a 450cc with wheels and an 800 efi with tracks/wheels. So this would be a small guide service for spring bear hunts. I can take two people at a time, maybe three possibly 4. I will be looking into land restrictions etc and with my tracks can get on top of the mountain and over the years build a little field cabin for myself and eventually future clients.
    I am a health care provider and would be collecting retirement and working PT and would be able to devote my spring time APR/MAY to this PT guide service. I am prior military and have firearm and lots of field/hunting experience I would have to advertise it to experienced atv riders. I think someone would enjoy riding an atv for a hunt. I would have to have a lot of legal stuff set up...that I am not liable for injuries etc incured from clients etc....just thoughts. The trail is pretty tame for 5 or so miles and I could assess their driving skills then.
    I am not looking to get rich, just use my experience and enjoyment of outdoors to take people out to places. I have taken a couple of non-experienced hunters hikers out into the field and they have said I would make an excellent guide.
    I keep my machines fine tuned and would keep up on them. And since I would do this for only a couple months out of the year it should not be too bad.
    Only problem is the area I know is not a "huge secret" but is not that well known, to most average people, most locals in the area are aware of it and the access. During the summer and fall it is very easy to get back in there with an atv and wheels. I would not want to guide during then because even though it is a draw only area, I do not want to pressure it that much more and there are others already there making a living off of sheep. The bear population is very very healthy there, and is actually considered a predator control area. So during the spring is the tricky access part (but not with my setup) and going in there you see not many people go back there.
    I would like somehow to set up where clients sign some agreement not to tell others about the access area etc. so it doesn't become a motor zone in the fall/summer. Seems silly and I know not everyone is honest and some would still do it....just thoughts
    So how much time has to be devoted as someones assistance. I don't want to do this FT and would be using my own assets to support my PT guide service. If there are any guides on the forum from the Delta area that have the time to chat feel free...please PM me I would like to not let my suido idea out to the open yet
    Thanks again
    Your right the locals do know the spot
    and there is grizzly there i seen them there last year.
    Hey if you ever get around to doing that make shure to include me
    i am very interested in helping out

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by BRWNBR View Post
    right now the state land use people are working up maps to determine how to divide the areas up and award the areas out to guides, these guides would have exclusive use to these areas, no other guides could operate there, the idea is to help lessen the guidiing pressure in some areas, lotta guides will be outa work, lotta prices will go up and alota guide business will get bigger is my guess at what will happen. but it will ease congestion from guides thats for sure. how they are gonna do it all excatly i don't know its still in the works.
    Like it used to be in "the good ole days". I have seen it work both ways now and I am fully convinced hunting will be improved when it returns to the old system. The new legal system we now live under does not provide for effectively limiting how many and who will become guides, consequently just about anyone that can perform basic reading and writing tasks can become one. And then there is the problem with guides competing with one another in small spaces. Not good for the hunter. A hunter deserves the privelege of knowing they are not going to have to compete in a foot race, as opposed to a stalk. Strips in remote regions are few and far between, as well as decent places to base camp, so those areas can get quite congested with just the local hunters and when you toss in two or more guided operations, well most get the picture. Basically, the system will eventually provide for "limited entry", yet meet all the new legal requirements in doing so.

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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by BRWNBR View Post
    right now the state land use people are working up maps to determine how to divide the areas up and award the areas out to guides, these guides would have exclusive use to these areas, no other guides could operate there, the idea is to help lessen the guidiing pressure in some areas, lotta guides will be outa work, lotta prices will go up and alota guide business will get bigger is my guess at what will happen. but it will ease congestion from guides thats for sure. how they are gonna do it all excatly i don't know its still in the works.
    I don't know how "fair " this new system will be, but something had to be done. I thought quota's would have been a good idea, if you're doing it right you don't need to kill 10 bears, 7 moose, etc. It would let the guys who focus on quality of experience stay in the game and weed out the get rich quick. I guided on the upper Nushagak before the current regs took effect and it was disgusting and embarassing, my clients were dissappointed and said they were expecting a wilderness experience, not a circus.

    KK

  16. #16
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    Default

    Yeah the exclusve use areas seems like a good idea untill you realize how powerful these guides will be! I am sure getting an Air Charter flight into one of the "exclusive use" area's will be impossible. How about the smaller ALASKAN guides like BRWNBR? From wht I have read he takes his own clients out and has a proven track record of one on one service (he actualy GUIDES his clients). The better answer would be to enforce the rules we have, make an AK resident preference for guide license, and perhaps quotas. Sorry that the future is so bleak for the private small scale guide...

  17. #17
    Member muskeg's Avatar
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    Default nothing new for SE Guides

    We have been working under a heavily regulated permitting system for ever ... by the USFS. While it's not actually exclusive it is very tightly regulated.

    Until the Brown Bear moratorium and not the Black Bear moratorium the young guide could start up a business as long as he went thru all the required hoops.

    Now how ever there is a freeze on Brown Bear and Black Bear and Mt Goats are on the horizon.

  18. #18
    Member BRWNBR's Avatar
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    national wildlife refugess have been exlusive use for a long time as well. Limiting guides will be good in some aspects and won't effect how many resident or unguided hunters go into and area, but the problem will become when fish and game wants 20 bears taken from an area with 10 guides, and knock it back to one guide and still want 20 bears taken...it'll screw with fish and games quotas they are aiming for as well. so alot of thought has to go into this. small guides have a place, just like big guides do, guys that own lodges have a place, just like the guide who leaves no footprint and takes his camps out with him after every hunt....it'll be tough to find the balance, bottom line it'll be like voting for president, you'll get some good qualities and alot of bad ones. no way to make everyone happen when you line up with the axe to cut the work force in half....best bet in my eyes, do dual use areas two guides to a designated area, make them sit down and work something out between them to create some compitition so prices dont' just up and kill hunters right off the bat.
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    Default One step at a time

    I'll be suprised if they get the areas figured out and assigned by 2010.......REAL suprised.....JMHO

    As far as becoming a registered guide

    I'd say your best bet is to sign on as an assistant guide, keep your eyes open, and continue to evaluate your business plan

    Personally I think with some of the startup costs, overhead costs and regulatory hurdles (even without the possibility of exclusive guide areas coming donw the pike) you might very well find your goals are met by working as an assitant guide for a registered guide who operates in a manner and area which fits your tastes

    if you're a top notch assistant guide I'd say you could make 8-10K btween the fall and spring season after a couple of years, assuming you work a lot, that's with almost ZERO investment or at risk (assuming you already have good quality gear including optics)

    compare that to what you might clear running your own outfit

    as was pointed out, several years as an assistant guide are required in any event

  20. #20
    Member AlaskaTrueAdventure's Avatar
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    Default state land guide use areas

    Although I have made some attempts to remain informed on this upcoming issue concerning state land guide use areas, I am not "the expert". As I understand it, state land has been carved up into many areas that are supposed to be suitable for use by licensed guide/outfitters. Some area are barely big enough for one guide/outfitter, some area are supposed to be large enough to support up to four guide/outfitter businesses. The maps are still being worked on by DRN. In addition, the "selection criteria" is also being established. In a few months the area maps and the selection critera will be released to us, the public, for review. At this time, neither are available for review. Perhaps by 2009 we, the guide/outfitter businesses, will apply for these areas. And, perhaps, the areas will be decided/awarded and in effect as early as the 2010 (fall?) season.
    Or perhaps there will be a giant ground-swell of discontent and nothing will result from these initial actions.
    All I'm certain of is that I am going to attempt to stay in business. On a personal level, guiding means too much for me to go out without a fight. I'll do whatever it takes to remain a player in the industry. Although I enjoy my "regular job", I just can't imagine working it all year long without going nuts.
    Unfortunately, I do believe the increased cost associated with these "mult-use or limited use" state guide use areas will be passed on to the consumer, the out-of-state client hunters.
    Hopefully, somebody with more specific, updated information will contribute to this hijacked thread.
    So what do the other hunters, guides and guide/outfitters on this forum think of these projected changes to the guide/outfitter business?

    Dennis Byrne
    Alaska True Adventure Guide Service

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