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Guided or Public Land Hunt

5 Shot

Ten Pointer
For those who travel out of state each year which do you prefer, hunting with an outfitter or public land ?
 

BiggestSpikeYouEverSeen

Ten Pointer
Contributor
It depends where you're going, what your goals are and how much experience you have. A guided hunt can be just as much fun as DIY Public Land. You could also land somewhere between the two and pay a trespass fee/lease land or do a drop camp somewhere through an outfitter.
 

Bailey Boat

Twelve Pointer
Most of the land I bird hunt on when out of state is public. With that said it's grossly overlooked by the locals and I keep my success stories to myself when I'm around other hunters. When I do engage into a conversation I never give the exact location and always low ball my harvest numbers. The only place where I'm on private land is South Dakota, I don't think there's a piece of public land within 50 miles of where I hunt.
 

30/06

Twelve Pointer
I lease land in KY and have some permission pieces in IA. Nothing wrong with public land but if I’m taking the time off work and investing the money to travel to hunt I want to know that I’ll have access to quality ground. For me the time piece is the biggest deal between work and having two kids have to make the most of what time I have away.
 

timekiller13

Twelve Pointer
Public land DIY. It’s less expensive and more fun IMO. I can go on 4-5 unguided hunts for the cost of one guided trip.

Now, if I was doing some once in a lifetime hunt or if I had drawn some super special tag, I would probably hire a guide.
 

ncstatehunter

Twelve Pointer
All DIY, all public (whether it’s federal, state or walk-in land) though I’m not gonna pass up taking advantage of private if it’s offered; but I’m not going knocking on doors or paying a trespass fee (there are exceptions however). I just like having options since I cover a lot of ground, even here in NC, and hunting public allows that.
 

41magnum

Twelve Pointer
I’m not going knocking on doors or paying a trespass fee (there are exceptions however).
That's a shame since it sure has opened many opportunities for me over the years, most landowners are used to door knockers, actually. Once your foot is in once, and you prove to be a conscientious land user, repeat trips can happen and often don't have to knock on any more doors. Dad taught me to always offer to help with labor they may need, too. Never did any labor, but that willingness could help open a door.

makes me wonder what your exceptions are.
 

ncstatehunter

Twelve Pointer
That's a shame since it sure has opened many opportunities for me over the years, most landowners are used to door knockers, actually. Once your foot is in once, and you prove to be a conscientious land user, repeat trips can happen and often don't have to knock on any more doors. Dad taught me to always offer to help with labor they may need, too. Never did any labor, but that willingness could help open a door.

makes me wonder what your exceptions are.
My expectations are I don’t want someone bothering me at home unless it’s in regards to them doing work or letting me know something is going on/wrong, so I extend that courtesy to others. Personally I’m not going out of my way on an out of state trip to knock on some random persons door solely for the purpose of asking permission to hunt. That my own personal ethos, others may vary. That being said, I am certainly one to chat up locals when out and about whether at a local diner, while driving, hunting, etc. I’ve turned a casual conversation about what I’m doing for work into access to the backside of public here in NC. I let farmers know when cattle are out and have gotten invites to hunt if I’m ever back in the area. Those instances, like the above examples, if it turns to hunting then I have a way in but I’m not one to solely bother someone because I want to hunt their land. Just rubs me wrong I guess. No denying knocking on doors works though, especially outside Eastern seaboard.
 

hog&deerhunter

Eight Pointer
Interesting replies. Seems like a lot of folks don't think twice about guided waterfowl hunts, both in state and out of state but feel differently about big game.

Guides are a great way to gain knowledge about the game and area and then you can DIY.

It's all good.
 
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catfishrus

Twelve Pointer
I personally rather hire a guide because it generally puts me on better quality hunting land over public land. In other words you generally get what you pay for. Its not cheating to hire a guide but it can be cheating yourself of out of quality hunting time to go the cheap route. Some people don't want to spend money on hunting...I spend a small fortune hunting in NC. In fact I can go on a really nice guided hunting trip for what I spend here. I been on 10 guided hunting trips in my life. With that said the best hunting I ever done was on a farm in Ohio that I leased until it was sold. I had it for about 5 years. Hard part there was keeping the neighbors off it.
 

ncstatehunter

Twelve Pointer
I personally rather hire a guide because it generally puts me on better quality hunting land over public land. In other words you generally get what you pay for. Its not cheating to hire a guide but it can be cheating yourself of out of quality hunting time to go the cheap route. Some people don't want to spend money on hunting...I spend a small fortune hunting in NC. In fact I can go on a really nice guided hunting trip for what I spend here. I been on 10 guided hunting trips in my life. With that said the best hunting I ever done was on a farm in Ohio that I leased until it was sold. I had it for about 5 years. Hard part there was keeping the neighbors off it.
I feel like it's what you want out of the experience. Personally, I'd rather do something on my own unless I just have to hire a guide due to regulations i.e. Alaska/Canada, especially for something like deer, pronghorn or even elk. Nothing against guides or the people that use them, I just know what I want out of a hunt and how I want to go about that. Everyone will have differing thoughts on that. Now if I had the money and wanted to hunt NM elk every year I'd hire a guide in a heartbeat. Might even do it one day just to be able to have the opportunity there because as you said, it definitely opens up high quality access/land/trophy potential in a lot of cases.
 

catfishrus

Twelve Pointer
I feel like it's what you want out of the experience. Personally, I'd rather do something on my own unless I just have to hire a guide due to regulations i.e. Alaska/Canada, especially for something like deer, pronghorn or even elk. Nothing against guides or the people that use them, I just know what I want out of a hunt and how I want to go about that. Everyone will have differing thoughts on that. Now if I had the money and wanted to hunt NM elk every year I'd hire a guide in a heartbeat. Might even do it one day just to be able to have the opportunity there because as you said, it definitely opens up high quality access/land/trophy potential in a lot of cases.
I been reading your adventures for the past several years. I must say you have opened my eyes to hunting public lands in the west. In fact I been telling the young man that helps me " lets go out west and hunt the public lands". If nothing else its for the adventure. I don't have to kill anything to be satisfied anymore. I enjoy the adventure as much as I do the hunting. Reason I know this is because nothing is more exciting than hunting a new place...even the guided hunts I went on was never as exciting the second year for me. I have always hunted whitetails too. I have seen moose in Canada at 30 yards while hunting whitetails...HUGE CREATURES.
 

41magnum

Twelve Pointer
Guides are a great way to gain knowledge about the game and area and then you can DIY.
That is primarily why I hire Fishing Guides out of state. Then can go back during the same timeframe A year later or even the next weekend and have success.
And when I guided in Idaho on public land I would bump into previous clients from the previous year or two in following years that were doing it themselves.
They even helped us pack bears out sometimes, or we helped them skin one at least.
 
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