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Hello:

Three friends and I are doing a guided field goose hunt in a few weeks.

I've never done a guided hunt of any sort before and am unsure what to tip but understand it is the norm.

The cost of the hunt is $150 per person. Assuming we're happy with the process, what is a nice tip?

Thanks-

Brent
 

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It depends on wheather the guide is self-employed or if he works for an outfitter.

If he is a sole proprietor and the only one that is with you, than a tip is really not required since he is making all of the money himself. In effect, he should be charging you (or the three of you) enough to more than cover his costs, and make a profit as well. $450 for a mornings work ain't too shabby if you ask me. You could pitch in $5 or $10 each, but that is up to you. If he has a decoy or bird boy, then he may well be working for tips. These are the guys you really don't want to forget, just like a mate on a fishing boat.

Now, if your guide is working for a larger outfitter, than there is a good chance he is just making an hourly rate, or a fixed rate per trip. $20 per gun for three hunters would be a nice and affordable bonus for a good guide and a good hunt. Not enough to break your bank, but certainly enough to really make your guide glad to have you. I remember guiding fishing trips in the summer for another guide when he had a large party that required two boats. I made $10/hr cash, which is big money for a kid in high school and early in college to just go fishing... but that extra $20 or $30 cash in hand after the trip was every bit as sweet as the pay-day itself.
 

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I'd start at $20 and increase or reduce based on many factors. For me it isnt about the number of birds but the effort I felt the guide put in. You can't really fault anyone if you go on a hunt at a place where the scouting gave them the impression it was going to be a good hunt and then for, what could be lots of reasons, the hunt doesnt go well as far as birds.

I think too many people focus on limits and not all the other things that go into a hunt.

I also would tip the owner vs a employee guide the same. A tip isnt about the money so much as a token of appreciation. So for me I would not tip someone less just because they took the risk to go out on their own and start their own guide service/outfitters. To me it takes more balls to be the owner than some guide that just gets hired on. Plus the owners tend to be the best guides a lot of the times.
 

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the above is very valuable, except for the part about not tipping th owner. i think i can give you some good info from my position.

My father runs the pheasant preserve noted in my signature line, for him its a little easier as we release bird for each hunt so we now we will fly at least 75% of the release. well his prices include a guide fee for those who don't have dogs. the price of the birds/hunt takes care of the business, the guide fee is for the guide and his dog expenses. so wheter it is my father or me taking you out we have the same cost involved in the dog and our time. he also has other guys that come up to help with their own dogs as well. $20 bucks a man for a half day hunt is a nice gester.

now my father in law started a small outfitt for goose and duck hunt. same price you are paying (150 a man). now he has a lot of money wrapped up in decoys, blinds, his dog, trailor for hauling, a 4 wheeler, calls, ...... and hours upon hours of scouting, learning and practice. being a wild bird hunt you can't always go by how succesful you are, remeber it is still hunting. we can scout and have a couple thousand geese in a field at night and the next morning the wheater sifts and we are in trouble. ok now out of the 450 you paid him he will be paying me as a helper usualy 150, which leaves him 300 and yes the equipment is now paid for but we probably spent 100 in gas to scout and misc items all week to hopfully give you a great hunt. so now he got about 200 for him self. this sounds like decent money but for the hours we put in before the hunt and then we spend a few hours setting up in the morning, pick you up, do the hunt, clean your birds, pick up the decoys, clean everything........ well i figure for a one day hunt i work for about 10-15 hours and my FIL puts in more so yes tips are appreciated by both of us not just me

now here is a story for you. we recently had a group of 8 guys come out and do a phesant hunt one day and a goose hunt the next. at the phesant preserve we split into three groups each with thier own guide and dog, not a dime was tiped, out of the 50 birds paid for and 10 extras released they bagged 30ish and we flew alot more. also the normal 4 hour hunt was 6 hrs. on top of that we let them use the lodge(kitchen and seating) for the evening with their wifes and they left it a mess. the next day for the goose hunt my FIL and me with help from another guy with equipment did a extra large set up which took more time and we had thousands of canadians and a bonus for our area we had about a 1000 snows. with so many guys it was hard to get them down but got plenty of shooting and birds. again not a dime tipped and again we had made the hunt longer than normal. needless to say a repeat hunt with this group will consist or a gratuaty fee included in the price. for a large group everyone went out of the way doing extras and did not see any appreciation for it.

now don't get me wrong i am talking from what i will do for your hunt, i have heard horor storries about other places. successful hunt or not/owner or helper; tip anyone actually out with you based upon their effort
 

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I'm a small, part time, one man band, guiding because I love to be outside hunting/fishing. The rates quoted cover my time, equipment and supplies, if at the end of the day you've had a good time and feel like tipping, I wouldn't turn it down, but I don't expect it either.
I want my clients to have fun, hopefully see and take the desired game and be safe. If I can accomplish those goals then I've done good........
 

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BPA...honestly I just don't think everyone knows to tip. I think back on my first guided goose hunt and I didnt tip because I didnt know.

Also in your story you had 8 guys...there gets to be the point where for each additional person you really have to do less and less work. So in this case you probably didnt work all that much harder for an 8 guy group than you would have for say a 5 guy group....but overall you made more money than if say the 5 guy group would have tipped 20/man.

I can understand being upset for not getting tipped but to say you would make them pay an extra fee for the next hunt is kind of BS in my opinion. But yes you should have been tipped.

For me I tip no matter what. In fact the last guided hunt I went on I thought the outfitter did a terrible job...but I still tipped my guides...the last day he was like you really don't have to (because they put us on a bad spot)..but I still did. I won't go back though.

The guided hunt I went on before I hunted two days the first day I tipped $25 the next day we had really amazing hunt and I tipped $40.

To me repeat business and referals are the ultimate tip.
 

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I'm with Marcstar: start at $20/day if you feel they did what you expected. Go up for "duty above and beyond" and go down if YOU had to guide THEM. (I had it happen, once)

Doesn't matter if it's the owner or his employee; the work is the same.
 

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Anyone ever tip something other than money? (insert favorite joke here) or money plus something?

I am meaning like something local to your area or unique that you think the guide would like? (I know a lot of Michigan guys take apples out West to landowners and they think it is the greatest thing ever. . .one lady even bakes a couple pies right away and wants them to have some. :D )
 

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omega58 said:
Anyone ever tip something other than money? (insert favorite joke here) or money plus something?

I am meaning like something local to your area or unique that you think the guide would like? (I know a lot of Michigan guys take apples out West to landowners and they think it is the greatest thing ever. . .one lady even bakes a couple pies right away and wants them to have some. :D )
Kinda... I was short on tip money going out with a local fishing guide when I went to tip, so I left him what I could at the time. A few days later I brought him a fillet knife and a CD of the photos we took that day. Gave him the knife because his best knife accidentally got packed up another of his client's stuff earlier that week, and the CD so he'd have pictures he could use on his website.
 

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Buddy of mine did a regular tip plus a box of hevi shot. Not all the guides shoot but some do or at least make some clean up shots. So IMO it's a good item to tip. We've also bought guides lunch/breakfast in the past as well.
 

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I knew someone who worked out payment for an entire day's hunt with a guide/outfitter for 75 rounds of handloaded hevi-shot. That was back when he was loading the hevi shot for just under $2 a shell.
 
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