Lastly, make sure you tip the staff. Working for an outfitter is a seasonal job that does not include benefits. Most guides, cooks, and wranglers work for a daily wage plus any tips that they get.
When I was starting out as a guide, and clients would hand me tips, I would say, “Oh no, that’s not necessary.” and try to give it back. However, it did not take long for me to figure out that I needed those tips! I since have learned to accept the tips graciously, and I feel no shame at all, because I work my tail off for my clients and they know it.
When tipping, do not forget about the cook and the wrangler. Wranglers are often young men, fresh out of high school, with dreams of adventure. Most people never tip the wrangler because the wrangler works behind the scenes, but when you hand that young man $50 and a heartfelt “Thank You”, he feels a sense of accomplishment and it gives him that much more desire to do a good job for future clients.
Make sure you don’t forget the cook! I don’t know how many times I have seen a client tip a guide several hundred dollars right in front of the cook, and then just give her a “Thanks. It was nice to meet you.” and walk out the door. Hell hath no fury like a cook scorned! Actually, the cooks I work with are very gracious, but I can see the hurt in their eyes when a client does not recognize their efforts.
My clients tip me an average of about $500. Occasionally, a client will give me more than that, and sometimes all I get is a handshake. I handle this by never expecting a tip, but many guides depend on the tips to pay their bills, so try to be understanding if your guide isn’t jumping for joy over your $50 tip.
Whether you are a new hunter or a seasoned hunter, you should always tip. I have guided one client several times who comes out every year, and he never tips. He is also one of the most difficult people to guide. We all still work very hard to do a good job for him, but when you tip the cook with a pad of sticky notes, the wrangler with a ripped pair of wool pants, and the guide with nothing, it does not make them excited for your return. (True story)