The value of a good moose guide.
Updated: Oct 1, 2018
When I talk with someone about moose hunting, whether it be a friend or a complete stranger its easy to tell who has been moose hunting and who hasn't. For most people they will only be fortunate enough to go once or twice in their lifetime due to the scarcity of permits. Often it takes more than 20 years to be drawn. It can be easy to not realize the complexity in the sport you have just gotten into if you are drawn for a permit. There are a lot of registered guides to choose from. They come in all different shapes and sizes. Variety is a good thing, it allows for you to hand pick YOUR guide. Most reputable guide services tend to book up quickly, as a guide with a good reputation is key. You should do a lot of research when looking for a guide. Consider what you intend to go after, and find out which guides focus on that. Just because a guide or outfitter offers trips for every species known to man, doesn't necessarily mean he is the best guide for moose. There are a lot of guides who advertise moose hunting as a part of their offerings, they may in fact be excellent and really enjoy it, or they may not even know how to call a moose without the aid of an electronic call. This one example shows they haven't even spent the time to learn a proper moose call with their mouth, or learning the vocalizations and when to use them. They may not know what to do when a bull won't come any closer to the calling. They may not know how to pack your moose out if it runs further then his 300' length of rope will reach. Start your research well ahead of time. For example, if you have applied for your Maine moose permit, you should start looking online ahead of the planned lottery. This will give you a good idea of who to call first if you are drawn. Start writing down the names and websites of the guides you want to consider. What type of hunt do you want? Figure out if you want to stay in a fancy lodge, or if you want to try a remote hunt with no electricity for a 6 day back-country adventure. Each person has their own idea of what they would like to achieve, and each is a fine way to hunt as long as it satisfies you. Ask the guide how they hunt. Some will only ride you around in their pickup all day everyday, having done no previous scouting until he finds you a moose (which by the way, you can do without him). Others will ride around until they find a spot they want to try, park their truck and then blast an electronic call out the window and wait for a response. Other guides will spend countless hours scouting, put miles and miles on their vehicle to find you the best area, set out multiple trail cameras well off the beaten path, spend time in the off season perfecting their "moose call", know how to pack a moose out or drag one out. They will have a vast amount of knowledge and experience in order to make your hunt the best it can be.What does the cost of your hunt include? Clipping coupons is a great way to grocery shop, but also a great way to have a horrible experience on a hunt if you are just trying to save a little money. One example of this is a guide service can charge you a lower price because they sell in bulk. You may be competing with 15 other hunters in camp, and essentially the first truck down the road gets the best spot, they may tell you to shoot the first moose you see, despite it being at an immature age. Also is their lodge in a good location? Do you have to drive 1 hour or more to get to good territory? Have they over hunted the moose closest to their camp? Are you after a 50" moose or a 30" moose, do you want meals, lodging, quartering? I've always been told that you get what you pay for, and quality is always more important then quantity. The value of a good moose guide will probably mean he was a good host in camp, and an even better host on your hunt. You will probably become friends for life, and there is no price you can set on that. Good luck on your Maine moose hunt!