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How to Choose the Best Elk Guide

ParreyC_day1Editor’s Note: Parrey Cremeans of Redding, California, has been hunting elk for 30 years, guiding for elk 20 years and has been a Mossy Oak Pro 9 years. Each season Cremeans generally hunts three states for elk, depending on which tags he draws. This year he will be hunting four states for elk. He has previously hunted elk in Oregon, California, Nevada, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado and will hunt Arizona this year. “The only two states I haven’t hunted elk is Washington and Utah. This week, Mossy Oak has turned the table on Cremeans. We’ve asked him to answer this question. “If you went to an area where you’ve never hunted before and wanted to hire a guide, how would you find that guide, and what would you expect him to do to help you be successful?” 

Using social media, you can check the credentials of about any guide you may be considering hiring. Look at his Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages, and see what he's posting. Then, look at his website. Ask some of your friends who have been elk hunting or know someone who has been elk hunting what they think about their guides. Go to the Facebook help groups, and ask if anyone has hunted with him, or if they can make some suggestions on a good guide for you. Next, call the guides who have been recommended, and ask for some references. Here’s the key point. Ask him not only for references for hunters who have had success, but also for references from hunters who haven’t taken an elk with him. By checking his references, especially the hunters who have been unsuccessful, you’ll find out if the guide or outfitter is putting in the time and energy that’s required to help you find an elk. Then, book a hunt with a guide with whom you feel most comfortable. 

I think it’s important that we understand why someone would hire an elk guide. He or she: 

  • is going into an area that he knows absolutely nothing about;
  • doesn’t have time to go to that region before a hunt and scout;
  • is going into a place by himself and knows if he’s successful, he’ll have to carry that elk, meat and head out by himself. An individual hunter may have to make four or five trips from where he’s downed the elk back to his vehicle carrying the meat, the trophy and his camping gear. If you hire a guide, you’ve got help to get your meat and trophy out much quicker and easier than if you’re hunting by yourself; 
  • will have a guide or an outfitter who’s done all the scouting for him. That guide will know where the elk are supposed to be before the hunter arrives in the camp. So, the first day of the hunt, he’ll be hunting instead of scouting. On a 7-day hunt by himself, he’ll have to spend 4 or 5 days of that hunt trying to find elk and only have 2-3 days to actually hunt. 

Before making the final cut, choose three guides who seem to all be equal in their success and have good references. The last qualifier is price. If the prices are about the same for all three, and their success rates and their references are about all the same, then I’ll select the guide I think I’ll get along with the best and have a good time with, regardless of what happens on the hunt. An elk hunt shouldn’t be just about harvesting an animal. I want to have a good time on my elk hunt. I want to make a new friend, and I want to enjoy the outdoor experience as well as having an opportunity to bag a bull. 

To learn more about how to pick an outfitter or to hunt with Mossy Oak Pro Parrey Cremeans and the guides he knows, you can go to the website, or call 650-888-0808. 

What to Expect from Your Elk Guide or Outfitter

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