Monthly Archives: August 2012

Unrealistic Expectations: Alaska Wins, You Loose

Alaska Wins, You Loose... if you quit.It isn’t talked about. It is rarely even mentioned in the most in-depth training sessions or meetings. Alaska wins, you loose.

I am not speaking of the horrible accidents that claim lives in Alaska every year.  I am not not speaking about a guide trainee that decides that becoming and being an Alaska Professional Guide is too much work for too little return in glory or money.

I am talking about quitting.

I am talking about Big Game Hunters that spend tens of thousands of dollars on a Big Game Hunt, that quit.

Not the North country hunters that are prepared and ready to come to Alaska, experienced in the whims of Mother Nature in the North, to “do” an Alaska-Yukon Moose hunt, or other hunts that Alaska offers that do not require a professional Guide.

Unrealistic Expectations

I am referring to the Big Game Hunter that researches and chooses an Outfitter to guide him (or her) to the dream of the amazing animals Alaska is home to and he came to hunt.

Johnny Walker with his Dall Sheep
Johnny Walker with his Dall Sheep

In all the years I have been with Pioneer Outfitters, over 20 years, I can only recall two or three clients of Pioneer Outfitters, added to the two past clients that Master Guide Terry Overly recalls, over his own 5+ decades of guiding in this same spot, that “quit” their big game hunt.

One client was ill to the point of major concern and one was simply and sincerely terrified. Of the quiet, the space and the lack of people.

The remaining clients that quit and allowed the win to go to Alaska herself for chasing the hunter away, tail between his legs, running for home and “momma” with a hundred and one reasons why it was someone else’s “fault” that “made” him quit, are the real subject of this post.

Unrealistic Expectations is, in my opinion, the major factor in disappointment. Disappointment in Alaska. Disappointment in an Outfitter.

Let us assume, shall we, that you are an experienced Big Game Hunter.

As an Alaska Outfitter hearing this, a question I would ask would be, “Have you ever hunted the North Country?” (i.e.: British Columbia, Yukon Territories, Alaska)

Also, let us assume, shall we, that you have decided to book a Big Game Hunt with a horse-Outfitter.

Don't quit! Alaska WinsAs a horse-Outfitter, knowing this fact, a question and/or advice I would ask and share would be, “Do you or have you, ridden horses before and in what situation?” (i.e.: trail rides, corral lessons, grew up riding anything with four legs) As well as, “How, when and where?”

What are some unrealistic expectations? (Good question!)

The biggest unrealistic expectation is that your Alaska Big Game Hunt will be a meatball (easy). The next is that having an Outfitter, even the best of the best, ethical, experienced and sincere, will guarantee without any doubt, that you will get your game (or all of it).

Even experienced Big Game Hunters forget what they know when faced with the Holy-Grail of hunting Alaska. Hunting is the pursuit of game with the intention of taking that animal. Hunting is no guarantee. A good Outfitter can up those odds in a big way, but a good Outfitter knows that not only is it illegal to guarantee game, but it is unethical because hunting is hunting.

One hunter's extra gear.
READ your paperwork!
This is what one hunter mailed ahead…

The last unrealistic expectation I have taken note of in my years with Pioneer Outfitters, is for any Alaska or Northern Territory (or Province) Outfitter is to compare your previous experience hunting turkeys and whitetail deer and black bear stations in a blind or tree stand or even your experience hunting Africa to the North. There is only one similarity at all. You.

What can you do about this? (Another good question!)

  • Read the information your Outfitter sends you. It was put together to help you. It will be, without a doubt, worth your time.
  • Ask a butt-load of questions! If you wonder or don’t know or wonder if you do know, pick up the phone and call. Shoot off an email and just ask.
  • Be honest with your Outfitter. About your goals, your health, your fitness, what you’d like and anything else your Outfitter asks you.
  • Read the information your Outfitter sends you. It was put together to help you. It will be, without a doubt, worth your time. (yes, I know this was already mentioned. Sigh.)

Dark Cloud, from Alaska Wins, you looseWhen an Outfitter has a client quit, it leaves a dark cloud. For whatever the cause may have been, it always, without exception, feels like a failure. We don’t want a client to feel like a failure and we don’t want to feel that way either.

Let’s work together and both be happy with what we have when it’s all done. The memories.

~ Don’t quit, don’t give up. You aren’t alone, we don’t quit and we never give up.

More to help you enjoy your entire Alaska experience and Big Game Hunt:

Alaska Hunter Reality Check


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