Guide Training 2013, Keeping Up With the Boys

Keeping Up With the Boys



















Keeping Up With the Boys is an ongoing series of updates on how the Pioneer Outfitters Alaska Guide Trainees are doing with their training and how they are solving problems, handling difficult situations and coping with all that living in the remote bush brings to the surface.

It is also about the Professional Guides of Pioneer Outfitters, the rolls we take in teaching, guiding and training the people (we call them all “The Boys”) who come to Pioneer Outfitters to become one of the most prepared and knowledgeable people in a field and industry that has largely escaped notice of it’s importance.

As the lead-trainer for the Alaska Guide Trainees, I make a habit of tormenting the trainees by “interviewing” them, on a semi-regular basis. The 2012 training came to a close and 2013 is going to be even tougher. (yes, I am grinning!)

The questions were sent to both trainees via email with instructions that they had 3 days to respond, to be shared in this post.

How long have you been in Pioneer Outfitters Guide Training?

Keeping Up With the BoysGuide Trainee Makinzi Rutledge:
“A year and a half. It’s the end of my second year of guide training and in thinking about it I’ve had some good experiences and memories that left impressions on me.”

Guide Trainee Kaleb Kiper:
“I have been in training at Pioneer Outfitters since February 2012 , I went home for the holidays to Michigan October 23rd and am returning on January 29th, when I will be starting my second year of Alaska Guide / Survival Training.”

Is Pioneer Outfitters Guide Training what you expected?

Guide Trainee Makinzi Rutledge:
“No, it is a lot more involved than I had thought.”

Guide Trainee Kaleb Kiper:
“Since I really didn’t exactly know what to expect in my training, and I thought I did, I would say that my training at Pioneer Outfitters has been all of that and more of what I expected, the training that we endure involves a lot of hands-on learning as well as fast paced learning, which involves adapting and learning how to live and survive in one the most remote and challenging places there is to live.”

Have you had any issues in or with your Training to become an Alaska Guide?

Guide Trainee Makinzi Rutledge:
“Sort of, some things I messed up on but got the hang of after a while.

My age (13) is something that people seem to have doubts about because they don’t think I will stick to it and with it, but I will because I know what I want.

Another thing to give them doubts is that I’m a woman, but I tend to watch people and men really do seem to have a harder time multitasking then women do and multitasking is very important to being a guide.”

Guide Trainee Kaleb Kiper:
Keeping Up With the Boys“During my training as a big Game Hunting Guide at Pioneer Outfitters I have encountered several issues, mostly just adapting to a new and remote way of life. A place where all the conveniences of home are not right at your fingertips, like cellphone use, cable tv , Internet when you want and the convenience of jumping in your car to socialize with your friends or running to the store or mall whenever you want. The training itself, I have had no issues with. It’s amazing what we take for granted everyday, without realizing what we would (or could) do without it.”

What has left the biggest impressions on you, as a Guide Trainee?

Guide Trainee Makinzi Rutledge:
“How much Pioneer Outfitters means to my trainers and myself. I did a lot more with the horses this year. I also went to camp for 6 days without Amber and took on the whole job, the only thing I wasn’t doing was guiding the hunt and telling the hunters if their animal was legal. Granted, I most likely made a few mistakes but who doesn’t. That last hunt really showed me what a huge job it is, to be a guide and how much work, yet I still want to be one.
When I went out, without Amber, I really did learn a lot more about running camp and getting everything done quickly and correctly. It involves trying to do everything at once and if I didn’t have at least one other person, I doubt I would have (or could have)done as well, as good, a job as I did.

In my time as a guide trainee I have learned a lot and some things took more time for me to understand than others. I think that being a guide is a hard and unforgiving job at times but I love it and loving it makes the job and life that comes with it is easier.
Keeping Up With the BoysI have also learned a lot more about the different kinds of clients you can get and sometimes you really just don’t want to deal with them but other times clients can be awesome and everyone really enjoys the hunt. It also seems to me that I deal with people well and have a different thought process on how to respond to the way they act than others that I have watched.

Also, I remember what I was told, “the client(s) are not your friend (s), they are your (Pioneer Outfitters, Master Guide Terry Overly’s) clients and to keep your mind clear of previous clients whether they were good people or not most enjoyable of people.””

Guide Trainee Kaleb Kiper:
“The biggest impressions I took from my training, last year, was the fact that you have to be able to learn and retain what you are learning, at that time of being taught. I have also learned that you need to be a flexible person who can adapt and overcome to any situation at anytime .This can be a dangerous environment if you are not properly trained by people who have lived in these elements for years.”

What three points in your training have left the biggest impressions on you during your time in Chisana?

Keeping Up With the BoysGuide Trainee Makinzi Rutledge:
“One: Learning how to deal with different kinds of clients (that was a big one for me).
Two: Learning about all the horse tack and how horses behave.
Three: I have realized that, to me, Chisana is home.”

Guide Trainee Kaleb Kiper:
“The three biggest things that have left an impression on me during my time in Chisana I would say would be the simple fact that I was given a opportunity to be taught a special trait that few know about. Not to mention in such a remote dangerous area and trained by some of the most experienced guides in Alaska. And finally my third impression would be having the opportunity to be apart of such an elite group of people.”

What have you learned, during the course of time with Pioneer Outfitters, that has really surprised you?

Guide Trainee Makinzi Rutledge:
“I have learned a lot about myself that has surprised me.”

Guide Trainee Kaleb Kiper:
“The things that I have learned in my training that really surprised me (who would have thought I would be taught all of this) are; all of the things that you learn about horses, their care, maintenance, understanding them and of course riding them, working on so many different varieties of equipment, without proper care and maintenance of all of your equipment, you cannot survive, we have to be able to repair and diagnose and replace parts on all kinds of equipment such as the generators, snowmobiles, water pumps, chainsaws and of course, repairing and maintaining the saddles. It is such a huge variety of responsibilities.”

Which part of your training or which one of your jobs, that you have been given responsibility for, is your favorite part of the day?

Keeping Up With the BoysGuide Trainee Makinzi Rutledge:
“Ha! Favorite responsibility, All of them. I do know what my least favorite is, having everyone depend on me for food!”

Guide Trainee Kaleb Kiper:
“Two of my favorite jobs to do that have become my responsibility at Pioneer Outfitters that I enjoy are feeding the dogs because you have to get up early to prepare their food which gives you an early start to the day, which I like to get right at it usually, and cutting wood because it helps keep you in good shape.”

Do you feel ready to become an Alaska Guide?

Guide Trainee Makinzi Rutledge:

Guide Trainee Kaleb Kiper:
“Becoming an Alaskan Big Game Hunting Guide is a huge responsibility and an extremely demanding job, the work is never ending, however I am excited and enthusiastic about taking on these responsibility’s and believe I am ready for it.”

Keeping Up With the BoysDo you have any personal issues with the Pioneer Outfitters Guide Training being co-ed?

Guide Trainee Makinzi Rutledge:

Guide Trainee Kaleb Kiper:
“As far as training being co-ed I have no issues, the whole world is co-ed.”

What do you want to learn more about, out of the training you have left?

Guide Trainee Makinzi Rutledge:
“I want to learn more about the land and about the animals behavior, like what they will be doing during hunting season.”

Guide Trainee Kaleb Kiper:
“I want to learn everything there is to know about guiding and surviving in the most challenging places in the wilderness but most importantly I wanna learn how to fly a plane!”

Is there any advice that you would pass along to new Guide Trainees, that you wish you would have known, ahead of time?

Guide Trainee Makinzi Rutledge:Keeping Up With the Boys
“No, in my opinion learning on the job is the best way because one it is good experience and two it sticks with you better.”

Guide Trainee Kaleb Kiper:
“The only advice I can give for future trainees is to be prepared to work hard, not everyday is a cake walk and it is not only physically but mentally demanding, keep a open mind and be a self motivator.”

Keeping Up With the Boys

Alrighty! There they are. People come, some stay, many “ring-out” (we talk about quitting here). The roll-call has changed again. Makinzi and Kaleb are still training and with a little more fine tuning and a few more weeks in the field, Alaska will have a couple more valuable Professional Guides to lead the way.

We have a few new arrivals and a reinstatement as well. Wes has made the decision to return and finish his training after many long talks and serious council.

Our new arrivals will be announced as they arrive, over the next couple of months.

We also said “goodbye” to Justin this week as he heads home to return to all that is familiar, and wish him the best.

So the gang’s all here and the fun has just begun! 2013 is going to be insanely busy and these Guide Trainees are going to be in the thick of it all. Stick with me and I’ll keep you in the loop.

Are you thinking about becoming an Alaska Guide? Well? What’s stopping you?

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Related posts:

Finding Your Own Way, with Alaska Chick
Alaska Guide Training, Pass or Fail
What It Takes To Be Fearless

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