When asked, “What is the hardest part of being a big game guide?” enough times, I started asking the ones that I have the most respect for. Professional Big Game Guides, Guide-Outfitters in the far north. Whether it be in Alaska, North West Territories, Yukon, British Columbia or Northern Alberta.
I am sure most if not all Guides / Guide-Outfitters will agree that most of the time the actual guiding, stalking, judging, the skinning, fleshing, salting, general handling and caring for the hides, cooking, making lunches, saddling up the horses or gassing up and checking the oil and tires of the four-wheelers or doing a preflight checks on your Super-Cub or getting your backpack checked-over, making sure all the food, lanterns, matches, tents, first aid and everything else is packed and all ready to be strapped down and ready to pack, packing out the meat and trophies, are not really the hard thing about guiding clients for big game.
Stalking and getting up close to big game is not the hard part of a big game guide’s job. We, mankind, even womankind, are the top of the line, the most vicious and dangerous predator on the face of Earth. There is no other specie on this planet that is as intelligent, as cunning, versatile and just flat out unstoppable in it’s endeavor to survive as the human race.
So, you may be wondering, “So, what IS the hardest part of a guide’s job?”
It is being a friend to a perfect stranger. A partner, a teacher, a companion. This is the “Hunt of a Lifetime” for him or her. A guide’s job is to do the very best to make that dream come true. A guide cannot control weather or the game. What can be controlled, at least as far as it can, is the atmosphere in camp, in the field. Hunting is a challenge, not a given or sure thing.
The Teamwork and Loving what you do. This combination makes for great memories, anticipation, the rush is what we are after, day after day. When a kills comes, it is almost anti-climatic, it’s over. Sure, the client has his trophy, and that is why he came to us, and has been planning for, at times been planning for years, and now, it’s over. Sure, the client had his hunt and hopefully has a great trophy as well.
But, when he returns home, he will in actuality, only have the memories. THAT is a guide’s job. A guide’s job is to make sure that when a client returns home that those memories he takes with him are good memories and those memories last forever. This is the real job. We are in the memory business.