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How to get started outfitting

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How to get started outfitting

Old 03-07-2018, 01:47 PM
  #1  
Spike
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Default How to get started outfitting

My questions are for experienced and established outfitters and guides. I am very interested in buying an outfitting company in the near future and am seeking advice, guidance, wisdom, tidbits anything that I can learn to help make this a success. I worked in the outfitting industry in western Wyoming for 8 years as a packer, camp jack, cook, hunting guide and wrangler. Iím a good horseman, and woodsman and I genuinely like most people. It has been my dream to own my own outfit since the first time I threw a squaw hitch on a pack mule. I am wanting to purchase something in one of the western states (Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, or Utah) and I am wanting to be able to operate nearly year round( spring Bear, summer fishing and pack trips, fall deer and elk, winter lions). I am familiar with the forest service rules for the most part and have a decent understanding of what is involved with a special use permit. My experience with the BLM is less then what I have acquired with the Forest Service and I am less educated about their rules and regs regarding outfitting. My direct questions are, How do you get started? Where do you find camps and business for sale that donít cost $500,000 or more? How do you go about financing them? I know that most people say you wonít make any money for five years, but I have a family to take of and I am concerned about making enough money for us to get buy with as I build a successful business. I am asking these questions to a lot of outfitters and guide school owners that I know as well. Thank you in advance. I welcome any and all advice and guidance.
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Old 03-07-2018, 02:09 PM
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Sounds like you have the experience, but my concern would be with a limit of 500K and 5 year payback. Getting land leases is a big deal now even though, you seem to have backcountry experience.

All I wanted to do when I came West was "guide", having been a fishing guide of 7 years. Yep, you start out as camp boy, cook, packer, etc. That's what killed it for me... Granted this was years ago!

Seasons, obtaining permits, etc should also play a part.

Not an easy industry/profession to break into at 500K.

Sorry to sound negative. You asked for any and all advice...

REM7600
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Old 03-07-2018, 03:05 PM
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No spring bear season in CO. You could do fishing but not hunting that time of year.
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Old 03-07-2018, 03:32 PM
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Originally Posted by flags View Post
No spring bear season in CO. You could do fishing but not hunting that time of year.
Yeah if Colorado was where we ended up I would probably push for more fishing and possible purchase a drift boat for summer use.
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Old 03-07-2018, 03:36 PM
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Originally Posted by REM_7600 View Post
Sounds like you have the experience, but my concern would be with a limit of 500K and 5 year payback. Getting land leases is a big deal now even though, you seem to have backcountry experience.

All I wanted to do when I came West was "guide", having been a fishing guide of 7 years. Yep, you start out as camp boy, cook, packer, etc. That's what killed it for me... Granted this was years ago!

Seasons, obtaining permits, etc should also play a part.

Not an easy industry/profession to break into at 500K.

Sorry to sound negative. You asked for any and all advice...

REM7600
Sorry, I think you misunderstood what I was trying to say. What I meant was where are the camps and permits that DONT cost 500k and above. Half a million dollars is no small undertaking and I would much rather start out buying something that I could run myself with a few trusted individuals on an as needed basis. I dont have the financial capabilities to even entertain purchasing a 500,000 camp and permit. I am hoping to find something considerably smaller and easier to manage but not so small that my family starves
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Old 03-07-2018, 04:41 PM
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hh84,

No problem... I do, however, think you're gonna be looking at thin picking's and maybe some you may not want to entertain. Not trying to starve your fam! Just sayin', good luck! You might consider being an outfitter that does not provide "lodge services", although you've done backcountry so you know that that is not a pre-req.

I wish you luck as I have often thought of doing a high end lodge but it's not like it was in the 80's where companies paid all out to take care of their managers. Think Magnavox, Home Depot, Remington... I've hosted all three, as a guide.

Just my $.02 and I DO wish you the best in your quest!

REM7600
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Old 03-08-2018, 04:28 AM
  #7  
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Originally Posted by REM_7600 View Post
hh84,

No problem... I do, however, think you're gonna be looking at thin picking's and maybe some you may not want to entertain. Not trying to starve your fam! Just sayin', good luck! You might consider being an outfitter that does not provide "lodge services", although you've done backcountry so you know that that is not a pre-req.

I wish you luck as I have often thought of doing a high end lodge but it's not like it was in the 80's where companies paid all out to take care of their managers. Think Magnavox, Home Depot, Remington... I've hosted all three, as a guide.

Just my $.02 and I DO wish you the best in your quest!

REM7600
Thanks for the insight. I definitely donít want to start out with a lodge situation. As much as I would love to run a multi faceted business that included a lodge and all of the amenities that went with it, Iím humble enough to know not to bite off more then I can chew right at this moment. My thoughts were to purchase something that could run from a trailhead. Back country pack in camps that could be set up and left for the season or incidental progressive type set ups that could Ben ran with smaller spring pole tents and moved easily from place to place. I wouldnít mind doing gear drops and spot packs as well. I really hope that something will come to the surface that will fit the bill.
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Old 03-08-2018, 05:18 AM
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I don't have any experience... this is just me throwing out ideas.....

For your price range...

what about supplying "Do it yourself" hunters with some of the things they'd need. A DIY set up for the guys who want to basically go the unguided route, but who don't have the horses, wall tents, stoves etc.

You could provide the camp, general knowledge of the area, and even all out guide them if that's what they want. There's got to be people out there who want to hunt, but don't want to go the guided route... But also don't have all the equipment needed.

Not sure if there would be any money to be made. Just an idea.

-Jake
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Old 03-08-2018, 07:16 AM
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I'm wondering? what about a short course on ranging, judging game, and terrain, as well as a brief shooting session for the DIY'rs? What would that be worth? Along with providing terrain based maps and whatever knowledge you may have on an area?

Advising on a GPS unit and OnX Hunt to keep them safe?

Obviously, true Back country hunting is not recommended here as they may or may not be aware of the physical work necessary.

REM7600

PS: Boca -- I think I have a problem! (See your signature)
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Old 03-08-2018, 07:21 AM
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Originally Posted by REM_7600 View Post
I'm wondering? what about a short course on ranging, judging game, and terrain, as well as a brief shooting session for the DIY'rs? What would that be worth? Along with providing terrain based maps and whatever knowledge you may have on an area?

Advising on a GPS unit and OnX Hunt to keep them safe?

Obviously, true Back country hunting is not recommended here as they may or may not be aware of the physical work necessary.

REM7600

PS: Boca -- I think I have a problem! (See your signature)


My grandpa got it done for 80+ years with a single shot 12 gauge, a single shot .22, and a .30-40 KRAG... That was stolen and he bought a remington 700 in .30-06 That I now have.

He hunted everything from squirrel to elk and never felt the need to have more.

You know what they say about the man with one gun.... There's a good chance he knows how to use it.

I have a bad habit of buying old/interesting/cheap deals. I play with them for a bit then move them for something else. Most recently I picked up a .458 Win Mag CZ550.... No idea what I'm going to do with the thing, but it is fun to shoot. It's Ohio Legal this year so I'll probably try to smack a doe with it.

-Jake
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