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Thread: Any guides care to chime in?

  1. #1
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    Default Any guides care to chime in?

    Am wondering how guides "cut costs" in a recession, to maintain a bottom line so that it is profitable enough to continue operations...

    Guides are a dime a dozen & many of them go out of buisness, & some stay around for years...with this recession, limited law enforcement, & other factors, I can see an increase in illegal guiding activity, which can & will impact legal guide services...

    What do guides do to cut costs? reduce the pay rate to employees? Reduce the amount of fuel used, or buy in bulk? Purchase lower quality foods such as store brands, rather than name brand foods?

    Or are not there any cost cutting going on & just across the board increase fees to the clients, to offset the price increase in goods?

  2. #2
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    Lightbulb That stings!!

    Man, That Stings.

    gogoalie,

    So the other day I'm standing on the front bumper of my truck and reaching back to deal with a minor maintenance concern and....BAM!
    My feet slippped out from under me and I fell hard onto the darn hood latch. While flopping onto the garage floor I whacked my head on the same bumper I had been standing on just an instant sooner. My first thought was "That Stings" as I shook my head and collected myself and completed a primary survey of myself.

    Your thread question whacked me about the same way. But as I complete this second primary survey of possible injuries I can see that your questions are real, so I'll contribute a few thoughts and experiences related to only my small guide-outfitter operation. And perhaps a few thoughts about the new direction the guide industry is going...

    First of all you said you "could see an increase in illegal guiding activity". Then call state troopers immediately if you are certain you are wittnessing a crime or have witnesses an illegal guide activity. But be certain! Don't call the troopers just because you don't prefer the manner in which a guide has acted. But if you are certain that an illegal guiding activity has occurred then both you and I are obligated to call the troopers.

    Now if you simply believe that you have saw more incidences of guide misbehavior in the news....then I hope your wrong. I hope your inaccurate because I do not really observe that the TV news and our newspapers cover many stories about illegal guide activities at all. And I think, I hope, that every significant illegal guide concern is probably reported on the news.

    Recently there was a forum thread concerning a report about a guides conviction and the search for his aircraft. I invite those of you with these super internet skills to do a 20 year search and you will see that individuals name appear a few times. (After that short thread I received a short "name calling" personal message from a forum member. Now I'll probably receive more.)

    Concerning your other questions concerning expenses and the current recession...I don't know what others are doing. Therefore, speaking only for myself as a small one man guide service, there has been no cost cutting. I don't have anybody to pay, so I can't cut any expenses there. I just purchased new tents, cots, and another $5000.00 raft. So I have not cut any costs there.

    You asked if food quality suffers. Dude, my clients and myself eat better meals in camp then most of you do at home 99% of the time. Except I can't really figure out how to get those client-hunters to eat their vegitables.

    Everything is expensive. Supplies are expensive. Real food, great meals are expensive. And the single biggest expense is air transportation service....and then there is that one-million-dollar guide insurance policy, and the DNR commercial service permits, and the incidentals that you would not believe....and at the end of the season I always feel I made a little money. Then I pay the IRS. Then I wonder why I do it all.

    But I do it all because I love to guide hunters. I enjoy teaching hunters about Alaska. I enjoy teaching them how to shoot (sometimes), backpack, or raft, and how to hunt with patience and how to hike with rage. When their committment begins to wear down, I enjoy getting 'em fired-up about the trophy promise of a new day. Sometimes it is difficult getting hunters just to look at a flower or some little bird, but its another small awakening when they do. I will never forget my first sheep client. When we got a quarter mile from the first rams he had ever saw through the spotting scope his mouth just fell open in astonishment. And then this great big rough and tough construction worker mumbled "their beautiful". (Another awakening. Then we got closer and shot the best ram.) And when my hunters have the greatest day of their life...and whack-out a nice brown bear or a fine ram...then I have another one of my greatest days in my life. Their success, and their "awakenings" are my success.

    It is hard to guide just for the money. Profit margins end up being smaller then you would think, certainly smaller then I want. But at the end of the season I know I'm the luckiest man in the greatest state. Then I go back to a seasonal office job for the next eight months. I guess all great things come to an end.

    Speaking of coming to an end...the state of Alaska might soon be changing for the guide-outfitter industry. The Department Of Natural Resources, in conjunction with some "big fish in the guide pond", is working on a "Guide Concession Area" plan that will result in the death, the profesional genocide, of about 100 (or 200) of the guide-outfitter businesses within Alaska in 2011 or 2012. The outfits that parish under this plan will have done nothing wrong or illegal. At a time when the country is in a recession and has the highest number of unemployment insurance claims in the last 26 years, when the state of Alaska has such a high rate of unemployment that the Dept Of Labor has authorized three unprecedented unemployment insurance extended benefit payment plans, the Department Of Natural Resources is going to kill a bunch of hard working, very legal, guide-outfitter businesses. And none of them will have done anything illegal.

    I will of course do everything I can to continue providing quality outdoor and guide services for my client-hunters for as long as I can, but it sure seems wrong that the illegal guides you spoke of always find a way, a loophole, to exist while some of the high quality honest guys get to figure out how to sell their gear and start a new career.

    ...Man, That Stings...

    Dennis
    Alaska True Adventure Guide Service

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    Member BRWNBR's Avatar
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    well, i'll jump on this as well.

    I bring pilot bread and top ramen for all our meals, we use cold water on them cause i don't buy any fuel anymore, saves money on buying stoves too and TP cause no ones gonna eat enough to use it. Tents are over rated, you can get a million blue tarps off folks sheds out here in Big lake for free. oh and we walk it, its only 50 miles or so....

    seriously,
    i'm a loner so no costs cut there, i think if i've done anything to cut costs, it'd be personal gear that i haven't bought cause i don't need it. Can't cut corners in this business if you want to survive something like this. Word spreads quick. you just take the hit where you have to and move on.
    I've sold some hunts for screamin' deals but they'll get the same service/food that a full price guy will get. and like dennis said...we eat large!! The grill goes on every hunt, save for sheep hunts, tough to beat grillin' in late sept in the tundra watching the sun set....ahh livin'!!
    Just got my new tents this week as well, no rafts so i'm good there, but i'll be dropping 13,000 on air taxi's this year...that'll be fun, then double that to Mr. IRS....skin of my teeth.
    Www.blackriverhunting.com
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    Default I would think

    If your hiring a guide the economy isn't killing you and costs wouldn't have to be cut. If I was hiring a guide I would expect to pay for top notch everything with no corners cut to reduce costs.

    If you need to reduce costs your not charging enough I would think. Maybe I am wrong but the only cuts are the amount of crap taken to the field that isn't needed for a weight savings.

    Fishing guides just tagged on a fuel surcharge last year and I was fine with that. Especially running out to Montague.

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    Default Didn't mean to make things...

    Sting there, AK TA...sorry 'bout that...just guess I am wondering, since I'm a business owner myself, I see ways to improve the bottom lines...& as you say AKTA, profit margins are slim...or as you say, smaller...There has to be ways to improve profitablity, doesn't there? & yes, AK TA I'll grant you that you're not in it for the money, but you wouldn't do this for free would you, or near break even profit margin?

    Now I see some fishing guides passing off the cost of fuel to the customer, which is reasonable, but there was a wholesale increase in the cost of goods, at least on my end of the business (distribution), and I can increase the prices of my goods to pass the cost on to customers, (basic business sense, & should my prices come down I WILL pass the savings on to the customers).

    With the cost of food, in particular, going up, & you don't reflect that in your price you charge per customer
    ("If you need to reduce costs your not charging enough I would think."), how then do shore up the loss? or do you absorb the cost & pass the savings on to the customer?

    Am asking this as I've had an interest in guiding, & hear that guides continue to say that the profit margins are as large as one would think.

    Two solo's here, how then would a larger game guide operation shore up the loss in cost increases? They'd definatly have to pass the cost on to the customer it would seem, or reduce pay increases to assistants or something?

    Now, am also interested in this as the recession is pretty hard hitting in some states & some not, so this could affect every one in the guiding business in Alaska. Thankfully, fuel prices have come down & are more affordable than they were in the summer...(except out here in the bush), however, food costs are still pretty high it seems.

    I thank each & everyone of you that took the time to read my post, answer, albeit somewhat tounge in cheek... :P (Thanks brwnbr for the chuckle)...

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    I don't know how well you've researched guiding, but I can assure you the BGCSB has done all thney can to make sure you, or no one else, can become a guide. The apprentice period, requirements, etc. are very difficult. Additionally, the start up costs are huge, very difficult to endure the period between start up and profitability.
    However, there are real possibilities available to you. If your keen on the guiding, just go partners with someone who is already a guide. You have access to the area, and a partner would have the guide license. Similiar situation has been doing biz in Shishmaref for some time.
    Another avenue would be transporting. Your in a good area for that, using a boat to transport hunters to drop camps. Start up costs and paperwork are extreme for transporting also, but not what they are for guiding.
    Whatever you decide to get into, better hurry up. Your in some good hunting country and it's a safe bet others are looking at the same thing.
    Oh yea, your still mostly surrounded by the refuge. As a guide you would have to get a concession on the refuge to guide there.
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    the big boys just run more clients....if your grossing 1 million a year and proffit only 10 percent your doing ok.
    small outfitt grossing 80,000 a year and proffiting 30-40 percent, aint' doing so great. Thats why big outfits run alot of guides, the more overhead you establish the lower your proffit margin, so run more clients. Small outfit can't just up and run more clients, you have to jack up your prices or move over.
    Some guys make you pay for the air taxi into camp, but guys will shop around for the best value and will often book with the guy thats all inclusive on his pricing. We could pass the buck off so to speak, but we'd have harder time booking clients. Without an operating budget a 30 g's its hard to advertise, hit shows, and magazines or whatever to make up the loss in the clientel. I don't advertise...i put an ad in a mag once, waste of money. Did a tv show once...waste of money. Was in outdoor life, two sentences...booked three clients in a week. Let somoene else write about you.
    Keep to your guns....
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    Member AlaskaTrueAdventure's Avatar
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    Wink fortunes

    ...and for those that are making a lot of money, a fortune....KEEP IN MIND THAT IT TAKES A LARGE FORTUNE TO MAKE A SMALL FORTUNE....
    Dennis
    AK TAGS

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by martentrapper View Post
    As a guide you would have to get a concession on the refuge to guide there.
    Why is that?


  10. #10
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    i think he meant a concession from the refuge, not the DNR concessions?
    Www.blackriverhunting.com
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    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Default On cutting corners

    Dennis and Jake nailed this pretty well; I'll just add one more thing.

    A few years back a Master Guide friend of mine and I decided to do a spring bear hunt with a large, well-known operator who was hunting later in the spring than we could in our area. It was a chance to pick up some extra income, so we jumped on it. What an experience.

    He cut his corners by providing marginal gear for his camps. The Coleman stove I found in the gear shed after the other guides had ransacked the place (it was a free-for-all, lemme tell you), it was a mess. I finally got the thing working, but it pooped out on me the first day in the field. Thankfully I had my MSR stove along and we cooked on that instead. All of his gear was in that kind of condition. But I always bring my own stuff (including tents), so I was okay.

    Where he spent most of his money was on the two Super Cubs he had in the air every day, looking for game. If they spotted a bear, they'd move a guide and client as close as possible so they could go after it the next day. Once the hunter bagged his bear, he slapped another hunter on the guide and it all started over again. In this way he could conceivably get four hunters out of one guide in a 20-day season (our hunts always lasted 10 days, so our volume per guide was about half of his.) The hunters paid the same amount regardless of whether they stayed the full ten days or left after two days, having taken a bear. He had one of the highest success rates in the biz, because of the airplane spotting work, and as a result, was able to set perhaps the highest prices in the biz too. Dunno how many guides he had working for him that season, but I saw at least ten. That's between 30-40 hunters just in that one base camp alone. And he had other camps. I only did the one hunt for him, but I was told by some of the guides who had worked for him in the past, that they did the same thing with moose too. And fall bear.

    Not to sound too high and mighty, but there are a lot of us who believe that though such tactics are legal, they go against the intent of the law and they certainly violate the spirit of fair chase of many of us. As a result, we will never be able to compete with a guy like that. And I'm sure he's laughing all the way to the bank. I guess my point is that an operation like that will certainly take a hit with the economy like it is, but all he has to do is reduce the number of guides he has. He'll still make a pile of money from those who have the dough to spend (and there are always some of those around). It's not really a level playing field when you look at guys who are trying to run a cleaner operation.

    All most hunters see is success rates, and they really don't ask too much about why some are so high and others are not.

    Okay, I'm off the soap box now...

    -Mike
    LOST CREEK COMPANY: Specializing in Alaska hunt consultation and planning for do-it-yourself hunts, fully outfitted hunts, and guided hunts.
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    Quote Originally Posted by martentrapper View Post
    "...I don't know how well you've researched guiding, but I can assure you the BGCSB has done all thney can to make sure you, or no one else, can become a guide. The apprentice period, requirements, etc. are very difficult..."
    Have you reviewed the apprentice programs for plumbers or electrician? Might also compare the requirements for becoming a licensed beautician before making an assessment of how "difficult" the BGCSB has made it to become licensed as a big game guide.
    Joe (Ak)

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    My comments, Joe, weren't in relation to other professional licenses. As a holder of a valid asst guide license for around 15 years I am somewhat clued into the requirements of becoming a registered guide. If you compare those requirements to what they were, say 10 years ago, it is much more difficult to get a guide license. It has become more difficult because of changes made by the BGCSB. Perhaps my opinion is off somewhat, but I feel quite safe in saying that the BGCSB acts to protect it's own and not in the best interests of the industry. It certainly protects the established guides whewn it becomes very difficult for new guides to get into the business.
    Goalie expressed an interest in guiding and I think my info on the difficulty of becoming a guide is quite accurate.
    I can't help being a lazy, dumb, weekend warrior.......I have a JOB!
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    WOW MS-not like most guides to let the general public in on such trade secrets-this guide wasn't by chance operating out of DLG was he? Sounds like maybe I worked for the same outfit-oh wait theres a bunch of them around here.

    As far as the economy affecting guided hunts-Most people paying the price for a guided hunt are'nt or haven't been affected yet. Maybe the rare plumber that saved for 5 yrs. But my experience is most guys that pay for a guided hunt consider it chump change.

    As far as cost to the guide-well they don't have to pay for the product(bear,moose, sheep etc) their selling so I wouldn't worry about them.

    The herd could definatley use some culling.

    KK

  15. #15

    Default Great Post Dennis

    Quote Originally Posted by AlaskaTrueAdventure View Post
    Man, That Stings.

    gogoalie,

    So the other day I'm standing on the front bumper of my truck and reaching back to deal with a minor maintenance concern and....BAM!
    My feet slippped out from under me and I fell hard onto the darn hood latch. While flopping onto the garage floor I whacked my head on the same bumper I had been standing on just an instant sooner. My first thought was "That Stings" as I shook my head and collected myself and completed a primary survey of myself.

    Your thread question whacked me about the same way. But as I complete this second primary survey of possible injuries I can see that your questions are real, so I'll contribute a few thoughts and experiences related to only my small guide-outfitter operation. And perhaps a few thoughts about the new direction the guide industry is going...

    First of all you said you "could see an increase in illegal guiding activity". Then call state troopers immediately if you are certain you are wittnessing a crime or have witnesses an illegal guide activity. But be certain! Don't call the troopers just because you don't prefer the manner in which a guide has acted. But if you are certain that an illegal guiding activity has occurred then both you and I are obligated to call the troopers.

    Now if you simply believe that you have saw more incidences of guide misbehavior in the news....then I hope your wrong. I hope your inaccurate because I do not really observe that the TV news and our newspapers cover many stories about illegal guide activities at all. And I think, I hope, that every significant illegal guide concern is probably reported on the news.

    Recently there was a forum thread concerning a report about a guides conviction and the search for his aircraft. I invite those of you with these super internet skills to do a 20 year search and you will see that individuals name appear a few times. (After that short thread I received a short "name calling" personal message from a forum member. Now I'll probably receive more.)

    Concerning your other questions concerning expenses and the current recession...I don't know what others are doing. Therefore, speaking only for myself as a small one man guide service, there has been no cost cutting. I don't have anybody to pay, so I can't cut any expenses there. I just purchased new tents, cots, and another $5000.00 raft. So I have not cut any costs there.

    You asked if food quality suffers. Dude, my clients and myself eat better meals in camp then most of you do at home 99% of the time. Except I can't really figure out how to get those client-hunters to eat their vegitables.

    Everything is expensive. Supplies are expensive. Real food, great meals are expensive. And the single biggest expense is air transportation service....and then there is that one-million-dollar guide insurance policy, and the DNR commercial service permits, and the incidentals that you would not believe....and at the end of the season I always feel I made a little money. Then I pay the IRS. Then I wonder why I do it all.

    But I do it all because I love to guide hunters. I enjoy teaching hunters about Alaska. I enjoy teaching them how to shoot (sometimes), backpack, or raft, and how to hunt with patience and how to hike with rage. When their committment begins to wear down, I enjoy getting 'em fired-up about the trophy promise of a new day. Sometimes it is difficult getting hunters just to look at a flower or some little bird, but its another small awakening when they do. I will never forget my first sheep client. When we got a quarter mile from the first rams he had ever saw through the spotting scope his mouth just fell open in astonishment. And then this great big rough and tough construction worker mumbled "their beautiful". (Another awakening. Then we got closer and shot the best ram.) And when my hunters have the greatest day of their life...and whack-out a nice brown bear or a fine ram...then I have another one of my greatest days in my life. Their success, and their "awakenings" are my success.

    It is hard to guide just for the money. Profit margins end up being smaller then you would think, certainly smaller then I want. But at the end of the season I know I'm the luckiest man in the greatest state. Then I go back to a seasonal office job for the next eight months. I guess all great things come to an end.

    Speaking of coming to an end...the state of Alaska might soon be changing for the guide-outfitter industry. The Department Of Natural Resources, in conjunction with some "big fish in the guide pond", is working on a "Guide Concession Area" plan that will result in the death, the profesional genocide, of about 100 (or 200) of the guide-outfitter businesses within Alaska in 2011 or 2012. The outfits that parish under this plan will have done nothing wrong or illegal. At a time when the country is in a recession and has the highest number of unemployment insurance claims in the last 26 years, when the state of Alaska has such a high rate of unemployment that the Dept Of Labor has authorized three unprecedented unemployment insurance extended benefit payment plans, the Department Of Natural Resources is going to kill a bunch of hard working, very legal, guide-outfitter businesses. And none of them will have done anything illegal.

    I will of course do everything I can to continue providing quality outdoor and guide services for my client-hunters for as long as I can, but it sure seems wrong that the illegal guides you spoke of always find a way, a loophole, to exist while some of the high quality honest guys get to figure out how to sell their gear and start a new career.

    ...Man, That Stings...

    Dennis
    Alaska True Adventure Guide Service

    I enjoyed your post. I am relatively new to the guiding industry up here and have definitely seen my share of goofball guides and outfits in my time hunting in Alaska. Not all guides are created equal, I believe some guides are in it simply because it's a job than can do and pick up a check at the end of it. Yet, not all guides are like that. I certainly didn't get into the guiding industry for the money, my god what I spend yearly in gear barely leaves me anything left. I guide simply because I am a fanatic hunter and love to be out in the bush, and I want to be the best of the best. It really sucks being away from your family for months on end, really the worst part of it all, yet the back country is a part of my lifestyle. I don't do it for a job, I do it because it's a way of life. My entire nutritional plan and 7 day work out routine is completely based upon becoming a better guide/hunter. Everything I read, watch, and write is to become a better outdoorsman/guide/hunter. So, while some may cut corners, not all of us will, some will strive to be better individuals/guides/hunters at every point along the way.


    As for the economy, tourism bookings are way down. Our fishing package bookings this year are down almost 30% and I've talked with a dozen or more local lodge owners and fishing guides that say they are down anywhere from 30% to 60%, most of their business is from long-time repeats. This economy will be putting several lodges, outfits, guides, charters out of business, and if it continues this way for 2/3 years, it will put lots of folks out of business. That's why I thought the halibut charter moratorium was silly as shear market place economics will cull the charter fleet, watch what happens this year. As for hunter guides, I've heard several folks from the SCI and the Harrisburg shows are down 50% from previous years! This economy is no joke on Alaska's tourism, it takes a big pool of money out of the segment and that's what we are seeing as a drop in our bookings. The demographic segment of 35-60 year middle-upper/middle working class individuals that would normally take the plunge to come up to see Alaska, are now re-thinking spending any of their disposable income on any high involvement product/service as their 401k's, home value, and other savings are incrementally falling.
    Marc Theiler

  16. #16
    Member Vince's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Strahan View Post
    Dennis and Jake nailed this pretty well; I'll just add one more thing.

    A few years back a Master Guide friend of mine and I decided to do a spring bear hunt with a large, well-known operator who was hunting later in the spring than we could in our area. It was a chance to pick up some extra income, so we jumped on it. What an experience.

    He cut his corners by providing marginal gear for his camps. The Coleman stove I found in the gear shed after the other guides had ransacked the place (it was a free-for-all, lemme tell you), it was a mess. I finally got the thing working, but it pooped out on me the first day in the field. Thankfully I had my MSR stove along and we cooked on that instead. All of his gear was in that kind of condition. But I always bring my own stuff (including tents), so I was okay.

    Where he spent most of his money was on the two Super Cubs he had in the air every day, looking for game. If they spotted a bear, they'd move a guide and client as close as possible so they could go after it the next day. Once the hunter bagged his bear, he slapped another hunter on the guide and it all started over again. In this way he could conceivably get four hunters out of one guide in a 20-day season (our hunts always lasted 10 days, so our volume per guide was about half of his.) The hunters paid the same amount regardless of whether they stayed the full ten days or left after two days, having taken a bear. He had one of the highest success rates in the biz, because of the airplane spotting work, and as a result, was able to set perhaps the highest prices in the biz too. Dunno how many guides he had working for him that season, but I saw at least ten. That's between 30-40 hunters just in that one base camp alone. And he had other camps. I only did the one hunt for him, but I was told by some of the guides who had worked for him in the past, that they did the same thing with moose too. And fall bear.

    Not to sound too high and mighty, but there are a lot of us who believe that though such tactics are legal, they go against the intent of the law and they certainly violate the spirit of fair chase of many of us. As a result, we will never be able to compete with a guy like that. And I'm sure he's laughing all the way to the bank. I guess my point is that an operation like that will certainly take a hit with the economy like it is, but all he has to do is reduce the number of guides he has. He'll still make a pile of money from those who have the dough to spend (and there are always some of those around). It's not really a level playing field when you look at guys who are trying to run a cleaner operation.

    All most hunters see is success rates, and they really don't ask too much about why some are so high and others are not.

    Okay, I'm off the soap box now...

    -Mike

    SO i am curious mike???? did you ever say anything about the ethics of using a plane to spot game? there are literally dozens of threads in the management forum where every poster is against such tactics and use exactly as you describe cause for limiting air planes during the season. especially for sheep hunting. transporting by plane is one thing. Using one for spotting is nothing short of violating the same day airborne rule.. except the hunter was not airborne.

    every year i see planes circling.. most are spotting and the hunter will show up a few days later. after finding out the area the critters are hanging in... but i can tell you F&G are looking out for those that practice as you mentioned... it is UN ethical and illlegal....
    "If you are on a continuous search to be offended, you will always find what you are looking for; even when it isn't there."

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    Member martentrapper's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vince View Post

    every year i see planes circling.. most are spotting and the hunter will show up a few days later. after finding out the area the critters are hanging in... but i can tell you F&G are looking out for those that practice as you mentioned... it is UN ethical and illlegal....
    Wrong, Vince. Each of us, as well as the BGCSB, can decide what is and is not unethical. The state decides what is illegal, tho the BGCSB does have enforceable rules I think, in spotting animals from an aircraft. Using an aircraft to spot game and hunting that game after 3 am of the next day is NOT illegal.
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  18. #18
    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Default On aerial spotting

    Quote Originally Posted by Vince View Post
    SO i am curious mike???? did you ever say anything about the ethics of using a plane to spot game? there are literally dozens of threads in the management forum where every poster is against such tactics and use exactly as you describe cause for limiting air planes during the season. especially for sheep hunting. transporting by plane is one thing. Using one for spotting is nothing short of violating the same day airborne rule.. except the hunter was not airborne.

    every year i see planes circling.. most are spotting and the hunter will show up a few days later. after finding out the area the critters are hanging in... but i can tell you F&G are looking out for those that practice as you mentioned... it is UN ethical and illlegal....
    Hi Vince,

    Looking for that chink in the armor, eh? Well, as I mentioned, I guided for the guy for ONE hunt. Once I saw what was going on, I politely declined the offer to return, packed up my goodies and never came back. They did not spot for my hunter and I, but they did relocate us mid-hunt, to a place farther up the valley where we hoped to see more bears (which I have no problem with). The reports of aerial spotting came in from other guides and one of the pilots after we returned to base camp, after my hunt was over. I was just chatting around with the crew and that's what I was told by the folks who have worked there for a long time. If I were offered the chance to participate in that practice I would have declined, and probably would have been fired as a result, assuming they acted before I could quit.

    Contrary to what you say, this is a very common practice. It straddles the line of legality in the sense that the intent of the law is to prevent aerial spotting of game by hunters. But all the pilots and hunters have to say is that they were just looking around, getting the lay of the land, looking for a place to land, or even that they were just flight-seeing. How can the enforcement folks prove differently? All we can do to mitigate this is pass laws prohibiting land and shoot in the same day, which is what we have done. The bottom line is that if someone is determined to do it anyway (spot game from the air and land to hunt it ASAP), they will find a way to do that. So it becomes an ethical issue, not necessarily a legal one.

    Hope I haven't confused anyone.

    -Mike
    LOST CREEK COMPANY: Specializing in Alaska hunt consultation and planning for do-it-yourself hunts, fully outfitted hunts, and guided hunts.
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    Quote Originally Posted by martentrapper View Post
    Wrong, Vince. Each of us, as well as the BGCSB, can decide what is and is not unethical. The state decides what is illegal, tho the BGCSB does have enforceable rules I think, in spotting animals from an aircraft. Using an aircraft to spot game and hunting that game after 3 am of the next day is NOT illegal.

    How ever having hunters on the ground and a plane in the air spotting for them is.

    I dont have an issue with guys with planes looking around.. they can not land there any way and it takes a day and some to get there.

    but i can assure you... I have been questioned many times regarding certian aircraft and its habbits... and the F&G are watching because... using a plane and a radio or droped note is not legal... and they do it. and some camps or guide do push it just to far...
    "If you are on a continuous search to be offended, you will always find what you are looking for; even when it isn't there."

    meet on face book here

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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Strahan View Post
    Hi Vince,

    Looking for that chink in the armor, eh? Well, as I mentioned, I guided for the guy for ONE hunt. Once I saw what was going on, I politely declined the offer to return, packed up my goodies and never came back. They did not spot for my hunter and I, but they did relocate us mid-hunt, to a place farther up the valley where we hoped to see more bears (which I have no problem with). The reports of aerial spotting came in from other guides and one of the pilots after we returned to base camp, after my hunt was over. I was just chatting around with the crew and that's what I was told by the folks who have worked there for a long time. If I were offered the chance to participate in that practice I would have declined, and probably would have been fired as a result, assuming they acted before I could quit.

    Contrary to what you say, this is a very common practice. It straddles the line of legality in the sense that the intent of the law is to prevent aerial spotting of game by hunters. But all the pilots and hunters have to say is that they were just looking around, getting the lay of the land, looking for a place to land, or even that they were just flight-seeing. How can the enforcement folks prove differently? All we can do to mitigate this is pass laws prohibiting land and shoot in the same day, which is what we have done. The bottom line is that if someone is determined to do it anyway (spot game from the air and land to hunt it ASAP), they will find a way to do that. So it becomes an ethical issue, not necessarily a legal one.

    Hope I haven't confused anyone.

    -Mike
    Not looking for chinks mike just questioning..... as i said there is a stong issue among many hunters and the unethacal spotting of game for clients by guides using planes.
    "If you are on a continuous search to be offended, you will always find what you are looking for; even when it isn't there."

    meet on face book here

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