Can I challenge you to do something this year? Book a guided hunt. “I don’t have to pay to kill birds,” you say. I believe you. I am not insulting your natural ability to outsmart a silly bird. I have said that exact quote, but can I give you a few reasons that caused me to book my first hunt and why I keep coming back each year?
It was late season in Oklahoma and the birds were spread out. They had been hunted the whole way down the migration path and had seen every trick in the book. My brother in law was visiting from Colorado and I wanted to make sure we got on a hot field for his first goose hunt. I quickly called and booked a hunt with southernflightoutdoors.com and returned to my coffee by the fire. This brings me to the first reason you should book a hunt this season.
1. Guides have more time to scout than you do.
This is a fact. If you are still reading this article, I am assuming you have a job and can start saving now to have a couple hundred to throw at a guided hunt. If you are employed full time (I’m assuming you aren’t a guide yourself) you work at least 40 hours per week. Every hour you work is an hour you cannot scout. A full time guide, (surprise it is more than just hunting) spends most of his “work” hours scouting.
Did I mention it was late in the season in Oklahoma when I booked this hunt? By this time, the birds have seen every mojo, jerk rig, and fully flocked x wing Death Star the industry has to offer. At this point in the season, your only shot is to go big or go home with the decoy spread. By January, your grandpas hand-me-down dozen decoys aren’t gettin’ the biscuits. This brings up reason number two.
2. Guide services are going to have the newest gear… and a lot of it.
It is not a bad thing to leave a guided hunt with a shopping list. Apologize to your wives/girlfriends for me. This is simply my opinion. While you see a large scale operation on these hunts, you also get a taste of what small steps you can take to update your arsenal for the next public water trip you take with the office buddies. The greatest example of this is https://www.divebombindustries.com. You may have a dozen goose shells… that’s great. One of the best products I never knew I needed was Divebomb silhouettes. This can transform your wimpy spread into a solid feed and get those tough late season honkers to commit.
Not necessarily a solid reason to book a hunt, but definitely an added bonus, is the ability to sleep in and show up just before sunrise. But don’t take this as an opportunity to slack off. Do not waste this hunt napping and snacking in your layout blind. You paid for the guides time, ask questions. You may learn something.
3. You have an opportunity to spend the morning with an industry professional that has killed more birds than you have probably seen. Learn from them.
If you have played sports, you know how important it is to watch and learn from someone that is better than you. In waterfowl hunting, it has become popular to think that you hung the moon and everyone else is a faker that has no business in the field. I am not sure where this ideology came from, but conservation is a universal responsibility. We all pay the same amount for duck stamps and lobby for public land and water equally. The most successful hunters will tell you that it all started with asking questions and learning from someone more experienced. Find someone that knows more, humble yourself, and learn.
See you in the blind!