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- July 14, 2023 | 3:00 PM15501 Meiss Rd, Sloughhouse, CA 95683, USA
- June 23, 2023 | 3:00 PM61 Rd 7Wc, Cody, WY 82414, USA
- June 22, 2023 | 3:00 PM61 Rd 7Wc, Cody, WY 82414, USA
- Close Encounters and Customer Bonds: Precision Hunting Supply's Memorable New Mexico Adventure
PHS's Own Brett Broman Details His Role Supporting Customers in Their Pursuit of Prized Elk in New Mexico. Recently, Precision Hunting Supply's own Brett Broman had an opportunity to join a customer on a rifle bull elk hunt in Northern New Mexico. Day 1 Opening morning was calm and brisk, with numerous bulls bugling around us once we arrived in our area. A brief discussion soon had us heading in the direction we thought a good bull might be. As dawn was breaking, we caught movement through the trees about 600 yards away in a meadow. It was a bull and his harem of cows, some bedded, some up and feeding. The bull was a solid 6x6, but after a few minutes of watching him chasing his ladies, we decided he wasn't quite what the hunter was after, and quietly crept our way out so as to not disturb this group. The next few hours we chased a few more bugles, but never found anything which sparked our interest. The afternoon hunt started off with a number of bulls bugling in a new area. The bulls were so vocal, we actually heard them from inside the truck as we were driving down the road! We parked and started heading in the direction of the noisy bulls, but it was evident they were on the move and not staying in one place. Over the next few hours, and miles on the boots later, we finally caught up to them and got set up in an area we felt they’d soon be. The wind was in our favor, the evening was calm, and the bugles were frequent. We finally saw a cow elk step out 200 yards away feeding, and there was a bugle not far away from her. Our hopes were that he would step out before the light faded so we could make a decision, or at least know what kind of bull we were after. Moments later, we caught movement off to our 9 o’clock, and here comes the bull at only 150 yards away. A really beautiful 6x6 with ivory tips and a bugle that would rattle even the most experienced of hunters. The light was fading fast, but we couldn't move our setup without being busted, so all we were able to do was wait and hope he walked to where his cows were. Unknown to us, another cow had slipped in between him and the other cow, and that's when the wind shifted. I immediately felt a slight breeze on the back of my neck, and knew it was all but over. Moments later, she barked at us and the bull froze, scanning the area looking for what may be the cause of concern. At only 100 yards away, we could only watch as the bull slipped between the trees out of sight and into the night. While disappointing, it was such a tremendous encounter being so close to sealing the deal on such a magnificent animal. Day 2 The next morning greeted us with 30 mph winds and only two very distant bugles of bulls clearly moving into their bedding areas to escape the weather. The remainder of the morning was uneventful, with the exception of being surrounded by such beauty that northern New Mexico had to offer. Fall was in full effect, leaves were changing, and the feeling of being a small part in a huge world came over us. While we didn’t see any bulls, we saw plenty of deer and turkey which helped pass the time. The rest of the morning and into early afternoon the weather worsened, with a small system passing through that dropped some much needed moisture on the landscape and really cooled it down. It was just what was needed to get the bulls fired up! After stepping out of the truck for our evening hunt, we heard a bugle, then another, then another. They were all around us! We paused for a moment and tried to gauge which bull we wanted to go after, taking into account the prevailing wind and likely topography we may encounter. We collaborated and chose to head west after the bull that simply sounded the best. We estimated the bull to be a mile away, so we packed up and hit the hills. The next 30 minutes were simply amazing, hearing bugle after bugle…..and in all directions. It was evident there was something amazing happening in the elk woods today! We snuck in as close as we could, got set up, and finally caught a glimpse of the bull we were hearing all this time. Another really nice 6x6 making his way through the trees at about 100 yards. I know, this seems close for a rifle hunt, but the heavily wooded landscape provided us the opportunity to get in tight. We pulled up our optics and saw a great framed 6x6, looked at each other and I asked if he liked him, to which he replied “yes I do”. We quietly set up our shooting position and waited for the bull to step into the clearing at 100 yards which he was headed for. The bull stepped into the clearing, the rifle barked, and we could tell the bull was hit hard! A few bugles and cow calls to calm things down, and we walked over to his bull. A very nice 6x6! Congratulations we're made and we immediately got to work as the darkness was coming fast…. let the work begin!! All the while bulls continue to bugle in every direction. What a great experience. Here at Precision Hunting Supply (PHS), we are so thankful for the relationships that have been made over the years with our customers. So much so that we are often invited on great adventures like this one. Not for compensation, not for gratuity, just because we love what we do and being in the outdoors. We're experts in what we do, so if there’s an opportunity to help on a hunt and there’s room for us to tag along, shoot us a call! Get in the field, enjoy the outdoors, and remember to support your fellow hunter. Brett Broman Precision Hunting Supply 480-748-2200
- Tipping Your Guide
Considerations for the Hunting Client Upon retiring from the fire service in 2017 I immediately embarked on a new full-time journey, guiding big-game hunters. This endeavor is what ultimately lead me to the creation of Best of The West Arizona where I now primarily hunt with friends, family and customers helping them on their hunts. But, while guiding for several prominent outfitters over those years, I observed and learned a lot about the often-misunderstood art of tipping your guide. There are few things more disheartening for a guide than to receive a low-ball tip or even worse, getting stiffed! I’ve been fortunate over the years to be paired with great people and I have no qualms about the tips I’ve received so I don’t want to give any former clients the wrong idea. I write this because I’ve seen numerous examples of hunter/guide relationships turn awkward around tip time, and in the end, result in a lesser or even no tip for a hardworking and otherwise deserving guide. This can be a sensitive topic. On one hand you have a hunter who works hard for his money and a guide who is also working hard to provide an exceptional service. In the end, its often misaligned expectations that leads to problems. If I can be allowed to speak on behalf of those in the guiding community I hope to shed some light on the hunting business and the work that goes in behind the scenes in hopes that this article results in improved expectations between hunter and guide. Tipping is a common practice to show appreciation for services rendered. While there are no strict rules regarding the exact amount or percentage you should tip, it is generally recommended to consider a few factors before planning your hunt and when determining an appropriate amount to tip. Generally speaking, in the U.S., it is customary to tip 10-20% of the cost of the hunt. Therefore, a $6,000 hunt would normally result in a $600-$1200 tip. Now this is a good chunk of change on top of the cost of the hunt (and all the other expenses a hunter incurs just to make it to camp) so it’s really important to plan accordingly and budget ahead of time. I can assure you, your guide knows very well what a “good tip” is for any given hunt so their expectations are set that they’re going to get tipped this amount and they’re usually working hard to earn it. So, when they receive anything less they’re understandably disappointed. Guiding is tough work. Preparing to take a client afield takes weeks, even months, to prepare for and often at considerable expense to the guide. Guides are usually private contractors, (1099) workers for an outfitter and the overhead expenses incurred while preparing for your hunt may or may not be reimbursed by the outfitter. In most cases, they are not reimbursed. Take into consideration an early-season archery deer hunt. In Arizona, those hunts kick off in mid-August which means your guide is likely scouting for you months in advance in the dead of summer. With the recent trail cam ban, scouting has become even more time-consuming, requiring considerable time in the field hiking ridges, watching water holes where deer are likely to visit and ultimately trying to pattern a specific animal. These are all-day endeavors that begin hours before first light and end hours after dark. In that time, your guide is covering a lot of ground in a truck or side by side and on foot over rough and rugged terrain. Very quickly fuel and maintenance costs start to add up and it seems there’s always a price to pay for traversing rugged backcountry. Trucks and UTV’s break down, tires go flat, suspensions take a beating, not to mention the cosmetic damage vehicles suffer on nearly every trip. I know I tend to break stuff and repairing any vehicle these days is really expensive. As a guide, this is just part of the job and “the cost of doing business”, but those expenses stack up really fast! No one ever got rich guiding. Guiding for most is a labor of love. Money filters up to the outfitter and some of it trickles back down to the guide. Although guides are generally paid fairly by their outfitter, even the top earners are merely breaking even by the time all their expenses are accounted for. This is why guides rely so heavily on their tips to help them come out just a little bit ahead. Dan Zellner, owner of Lucky Canyon Outfitters, reminds clients, “The guide does not get paid the amount you pay the outfitter”. Food, fuel, footwear, RV’s, clothing, optics, tripods and other necessary gear also add up fast. Not to mention your guide has likely invested in top-of-the-line equipment. No guide wants a client showing up with better optics and gear than they have and their livelihood requires that they invest in high-quality stuff. In summary, guides are investing a lot of time, energy and capital to prepare for your hunt. Far more than the average client realizes. There are often some extenuating circumstances that cause hunters to pause and reconsider their tip amount so I want to share and review a few common issues. For example, how do you tip if you tag out on day one? Heck, some clients even tag out at first light on day one! Should the guide's tip be affected by this outcome? While some hunters might view this as an ideal scenario, others might see it differently. Some hunters may feel they were deprived of the full hunting experience and despite a successful harvest, might leverage that outcome against the guide. For instance, some hunters feel like a lesser tip is warranted in a situation like this because the guide “didn’t have to work that hard”. Hunters can easily overlook the fact that all the hard work was done leading up to the hunt and it is that effort that put them in a position to harvest on opening day. Others might rationalize that tagging out early means the guide “got off easy”, when in fact, the exact opposite is true. Most professional guides are working hard the weeks and months in advance of a hunt to put you in a position to harvest your target animal on opening morning. This IS the desired outcome! It goes without saying that this is arguably the best time to harvest a target animal, before they react to hunting pressure and retreat to dense cover. Additionally, you don’t want your target animal being harvested by another hunter, do you?! Harvesting on opening morning (or soon after) is a testament to the competency of your guide. Its demonstrative of their commitment to scouting and learning that animals’ patterns. This is an outcome that should be celebrated not dismissed as being too easy on the guide. What if you don’t harvest an animal at all? This is an outcome that no one wishes for or expects. Every time a guide accepts a new client he/she is usually abundantly confident in the outcome. In their mind there’s no doubt the team will have a successful harvest but it does happen and despite everyone’s best effort it can be hard to connect on some hunts. Things to consider: Opportunities, effort, and success rates. More specifically, did you have an opportunity to harvest an animal? A missed shot or blown opportunity by the shooter shouldn’t adversely affect the tip of the guide. The guide is expected to provide “opportunities” and if you got one or more you should consider yourself fortunate and not penalize the guide. Effort; did the guide put in the time to scout and exert the necessary effort on the hunt? If so, they may have earned their requisite tip despite the outcome. Lastly, success rates. Its always good to have an idea of the published success rate for any given hunt so the hunter may have realistic expectations going in. For instance, archery hunts generally have lower success rates than rifle hunts. Rut hunts have generally higher success rates than non-rut hunts, etc. Knowing success rates ahead of time can help frame your expectations. The reality is, despite the guides best efforts, it may just be a tough hunt. Dan Zellner of Lucky Canyon Outfitters shares his thoughts, “It all boils down to the experience. Did you enjoy your hunt?” Another Partner Outfitter, Toby Weaver of Antler Canyon Outfitters (ACO) advocates that tips should reflect only those factors the guide can control. For example, bad weather, hunting pressure, and missed shots, shouldn’t necessarily affect a guide’s tips if those factors were beyond their control. Tony Kiser of Cedar Ridge Outfitters in Wyoming suggests that bad tippers who return year after year soon develop a reputation among the guides and this may affect the guides effort, “Guides are not going to work their ass off.”, he advised. Here’s a few final tips and guidelines to help manage your relationship with your guide: Use the customary tipping range: As a general guideline, a tip of 10-20% of the total cost of the hunt is considered appropriate. You can adjust this range based on the factors mentioned earlier. For exceptional service, you should consider tipping towards the higher end of the range. Assess the level of service provided by your hunting guide. Did they go above and beyond to make your hunting experience enjoyable? Consider their knowledge, expertise, professionalism, and attentiveness. If the guide put out the effort and ultimately exceeded your expectations, you should tip more generously. Guides prefer cash tips or tips of goods or services. Some clients give their guides a new gun, bow or optics. One guide I know had a former client tip him by building him a beautiful new flatbed trailer for his UTV!! Whenever possible tips should be in cash and not be given by check or IOU. Pat Romero, owner of Trophy Hunts of Sonora offered that his tips have varied widely over the years from a box of Washington apples (which he thoroughly enjoyed) to a set of kitchen knives, to binoculars and even a muzzleloader. The largest tip he ever received far exceeded the 20% threshold. It was $3500 for a 137” Coues buck. Many hunters book a 2:1 hunt in order to share the experience with a friend or family member and/or to save money on the cost of the hunt. However, when it comes to tipping, you should do so as individuals. Some clients rationalize that the tip can be combined between the two hunters to add up to what one hunter would tip. This is NOT fair to your guide. Guiding two hunters is exponentially more challenging and puts more burden on your guide. This is not the time to be cheap! If you are part of a group that shared the hunting guide's services then each member of the group should tip within the customary range, based open their individual experience. Present the tip appropriately: When giving the tip, it's customary to do so in person, directly to the guide after the hunt. Express your gratitude for their services and hand them the tip in an envelope or in some other discreet manner. This should be accompanied by a hand shake and genuine show of appreciation for their efforts. Sharing specific examples of things you liked about their character or work ethic will also mean a lot to your guide. No tip or low-ball tip? Toby of ACO again shares his opinion, “If you leave a bad tip or don’t tip at all you need to at least explain to the outfitter why so they know the issues with the guide, if there were any.” Ideally, any serious issues with a guide should be conveyed to the boss. One final reminder, if your camp has a “Camp Cook”, they too should be tipped. $10-$20/day/client as a general rule. I hope you found these guidelines helpful. If it sounds like I’m speaking more so from the guide's perspective, I am. Simply because I’ve seen some great guides be treated poorly by hunting clients, even by the ones who tagged out on great animals. Remember, tipping is a gesture of appreciation. I know full well this can be a two-way street and there are some lousy guides out there but in most cases, your guide is a hard-working professional trying to make a living doing something they love and coming home with a little sugar in their pocket is a great motivator and the best way you can show your appreciation for their efforts. If you can afford a guided hunt, you can afford the tip as the two go hand and glove when budgeting and planning your next adventure. Did you find this article helpful? Any experiences you’d like to share? Please like and comment. Best Regards, Paul Bourgeois
- Introducing The AlTopo in 7mmPRC
A Game-Changing Long-Range Hunting Rifle and Huskemaw Optics Combo The recently released 7mm PRC AlTopo long-range hunting rifle from Best Of The West Arms is an exciting new innovation in the long-range hunting space. Topped with the Huskemaw 5-20x50 Tactical Hunter, it’s going to be hard to overlook this latest offering from the pioneers of long-range hunting. The Innovation in Long-Range Hunting The AlTopo long-range hunting rifle is known for its precision and accuracy, making it a popular choice among serious long-range hunters. It is designed to deliver exceptional performance at extended distances, sometimes exceeding 1,000 yards. The rifle is carefully crafted with high-quality materials and components to ensure durability and reliability in demanding hunting conditions. Since their release in 2022, AlTopo rifles have been praised for their excellent craftsmanship, advanced features, and exceptional accuracy, which greatly enhance a hunter's long-range shooting capabilities. Stylish and Customizable: AlTopo's Unique Features and Finishes For the AlTopo models, BOTW Arms chose a McMillan stock with a cool topo map-style finish that lends itself to the AlTopo name. Last year's 6.5 and 300 PRC models sport the hunter green finish while the new desert tan color scheme is currently available in the 7mm PRC only. The AlTopo line comes equipped with a Trigger Tech trigger and steel barrel. Last year’s model comes standard with a 24” steel barrel while the new 7 PRC system sports a 22” steel barrel. All barrels come with helical fluting, a threaded side-port muzzle brake and are suppressor-ready! Optic options vary for the AlTopo as well as the 6.5 PRC and 300 PRC models come standard with a Huskemaw 5-20x50 Blue Diamond (although Best Of The West Arizona can upgrade it to the 5-20x50 or 5-30x56 Tactical Hunter for a small fee). The new 7 PRC AlTopo rifle comes standard with the Huskemaw 5-20x50 Tactical Hunter, offering several more key features for the serious hunter/shooter. Having now tested both models and all calibers of the AlTopo line we can proudly attest to the system's accuracy and value. With retail price points of $6995 and $7995 respectively, the 6.5 and 300 PRC models along with the new 7 PRC option are causing many hunters to take pause and rethink their approach into long-range hunting. With prices of premium custom hunting rifles coming in at well over the $10K mark these days, the relatively low price point of the AlTopo coupled with exceptional performance has many hunters excited about the possibility of owning a custom sub-MOA rifle, at a price that won’t break the bank. Finally, its worth noting that these rifle systems come as a complete package which includes a hard case, 40 rounds of ammo, a windmeter, dual stack turrets calibrated for 3K/7K ft. elevation and are guaranteed and proven to 1,000 yards! Weighing in at under 9.5 lbs. scoped, what’s not to like about these systems! Optics: Huskemaw's Superiority in Long-Range Shooting Huskemaw optics are specifically designed for long-range shooting and hunting applications and they’re the go-to hunting optic for Best Of The West rifles. Huskemaw is renowned for their precision and clarity, enabling shooters to make accurate shots at extended distances. Huskemaw scopes incorporate advanced features such as adjustable parallax, ballistic compensation, and high-quality optics to provide clear and detailed views of the target. Scopes on these systems come with custom elevation turrets calibrated to the specific ballistic profile of the selected ammo, allowing shooters to quickly and accurately adjust for bullet drop at different distances. Huskemaw optics are highly regarded for their reliability, ease of use, and ability to enhance the shooter's accuracy and confidence in long-range engagements. Huskemaw Optics also comes with a lifetime warranty, but unlike other brands, it’s a lifetime warranty you’ll never use! Together, the AlTopo long-range hunting rifle and Huskemaw optics form a formidable combination for those pursuing long-range hunting. When used together, they offer the shooter exceptional precision, extended effective range, and a reliable platform to take accurate shots at distant targets. To find out which Altopo system best meets your needs, shoot us a call for a free consultation and we’ll help you get into a great long-range hunting system this season.