Since I have heard all my hunting stories over and over again, it’s good to hear a few new ones. It is always good to get a few new hunting stories so they can be told over and over again through the years.
As I look back over the past ten years of being a mule deer guide, it has been good, no, ‘very good’. There have been those times when I have been frustrated over all the things that didn’t even come close to my way of thinking or the way I thought it would be, but then, that’s hunting! One of the hardest parts of being a big time professional guide is meeting up to ‘all’ the expectations in your hunters’ minds. The end result always being that if I’m paying you the big bucks, I’d better kill a big buck. (Boy, have I lost a lot of sleep worrying about that one!) Over the years of hunting, myself, and being guided by a few guides, it has done me good to just sit back and see how someone else thinks and handles everything. So, in the past ten years I have come to know what is and is not expected of me as a hunting guide. Not that I know everything, mind you, (that will never happen), but I have come a long way down that guiding road.
It seems to me that to most hunters know what they want and expect me to be and do, but they never think much of what I, as their guide, expect out of them and what they should be able to do. So, let’s go over a few things that you, the guided hunter, with dreams of a 30”, 7×8, heavy horned, hardest of all big game animals in North America to kill, (a big mule deer buck), should be able to do.
1. You should be in good physical condition. You need to be able to walk ten miles a day in rough terrain, even run up and down a steep incline to get that shot, if needs be.
2. You should have your mind set for a hard hunt with lots of room for adjustments and disappointments. Leave your job and work at home. Have the ‘eye of the tiger’ and don’t get discouraged and get ‘mind burn out’. Never give up and come down from your first day high because you are worried about what is going on at your work.
3. You should know your gun and be able to shoot off hand fast and accurate. Be able to hit a moving target out to three hundred yards. Ninety percent of all big muley bucks killed are on the move. So, have a gun you can pack all day (light), shoot off hand fast, and make sure you can shoot well. You will kill more deer hitting with a .22 than missing with a .300 Winchester mag.
4. You should have some deer savvy on land layout. When your guide tells you where to go and sit on a hill or mesa, you need to be there, in that spot, looking the right way with 110 percent alertness until your guide comes to get you or you kill old Mister Big. Don’t let your guard down and start picking your nose or drawing lines in the sand if you don’t see a big buck after twenty minutes or so. If a big buck doesn’t run exactly where you think he should or where your guide told you he would, you should be able to adjust to each situation as it unfolds.
5. You should know what kind of clothes, colors, shoes, and pants you need. Each state and place you hunt has different laws and rules. Be familiar with all of them. Don’t expect your guide to compromise just because you are not prepared. If you need to have something special for your health or need special treatment, let him know so he can adjust his way of hunting.
6. You should always do your best and be at your best around camp and other people. Don’t expect to have everything done for you all the time. (I don’t like to baby sit when I’m hunting.)
7. Be a good listener and carry out the things he tells you to do, even if you don’t always agree with him or the way he’s thinking. After all, that’s why he’s there, (knowledge)! If he’s worth his pay, he won’t lead you too far wrong. (However, I always have an open ear for any good hunting comments or ideas from anyone, anytime.)
8. You shouldn’t expect your guide, to always get you a big muley buck. As I’ve said, ‘that’s hunting’ !! Most good guides will try hard to get you what you want.
If you will do your part in this team effort and trust in the knowledge of your guide, chances are you will be successful. The big mule deer are out there—smarter than ever, fewer than ever, harder to see than ever, but they are out there. We just need to be better than ever to get ‘Old Mr. Big’.