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#635722 09/20/23 03:12 PM
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randy Offline OP
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For the first time, I am hiring a guide for upland hunting on the western prairies. I have always hunted the walk in and BLM management areas in the past. What is the etiquette and proper amount to tip your guide? The guide will have dogs and we will use our own, also. Thank you

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We always tipped 10 to 20 percent. 10 if it sucked but it wasn't his fault. 20 percent if the sky was full of birds and we all said OMG, we are in utopia. PS. We never tipped until the end of the day.


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One of the hardest--most uncomfortable questions there is.

If you're an individual it's pretty straight forward--Tip what you feel is appropriate for the level of service received. When you're with a group you'll be up against as many opinions as there are personalities in the group & it can get messy.

Then if the guide is also the owner of the operation, why would you need to tip him, he already has his profit & wages baked in the price charged.

The percentage equation doesn't fit at times. When & what do you apply the percentage to? Do you figure it on the overall package price of the lodge package, or do you apply it to just a daily guide fee? How do you know what the actual daily guide fee is in a package price deal?

Tipping is a messy deal. If you're just tipping the guide only. I'd say fifty to a hundred bucks per day depending on the level of service, the success of the hunt and then follow what your gut tells you & your pocketbook is comfortable with. Another rule I use is to always tip individual guides in cash.

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It is a difficult issue.
I've done a few large group block and drive paid hunts on wild birds in South Dakota, with the owner/operator and individual guides. The group decides and usually gives the tip in cash to the owner, in vision of the guides, for the owner to distribute. It's more of a business relationship, and the tip is usually on that basis.

That's different than a guide and his dogs with you and a friend and your dogs.
I tip/reward based on attitude and effort. Not the guides fault if it's a bad day or the weather doesn't cooperate.

My best experience was with a family that ran a pheasant operation on their property near Presho, and the owner and his wife were the guides. After the hunt they provided snacks and drinks in their home.

One point; communication is critical in avoiding disappointment. Let the guide know what kind of hunt you want (and the experience and physical shape of you and your friends) and ask appropriate questions to understand exactly what the guide is offering.
It's important to know ahead if your group will be part of other groups, who may have new, unsafe, or hung-over frown shooters.

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When I was in Africa the PH wanted 100.00/day, when I was in Scotland the Stalker wanted 20 pounds an outing for a pint of stout,in America the guide wants the keys to your truck.
Percentages are not really a good guide on big money. I had it explained it to me this way: A sheep hunt costs $20K, 20% of $20K is $4k. Are you going to give your guide a $4000.00 tip? Uh No.
The consensus in that situation is that 1000.00 is a good tip, maybe 1200.00 if he goes above and beyond. I would say that $100.00/day is a fair tip on a bird hunt. Tip more if he goes the extra mile, IMHO

Last edited by improved modified; 09/21/23 03:18 PM.

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Originally Posted by improved modified
When I was in Africa the PH wanted 100.00/day, when I was in Scotland the Stalker wanted 20 pounds an outing for a pint of stout,in America the guide wants the keys to your truck.
Percentages are not really a good guide on big money. I had it explained it to me this way: A sheep hunt costs $20K, 20% of $20K is $4k. Are you going to give your guide a $4000.00 tip? Uh No.
The consensus in that situation is that 1000.00 is a good tip, maybe 1200.00 if he goes above and beyond. I would say that $100.00/day is a fair tip on a bird hunt. Tip more if he goes the extra mile, IMHO
I was going to say $100.00 a day. But I was too much of a chicken to be the first one to say it. I know nothing about guides and hunts because I have never been on one. But I agree with improved modified on the $100.00 a day. If you are there for a week then I would bump it up to around $1000.00 or more. If you have a really good time and you feel that the people went out of their way to make it great, then I would give enough so they would want you back next year- if you do plan on going again. Maybe someone with more experience will jump in and help. But good luck, have fun and be safe!!

Last edited by Jimmy W; 09/21/23 08:12 PM.
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I am headed up to NY in a month for $600 per day solo grouse hunting over their dogs. No lodge. I was planning on tipping around a $100 per day, assuming it is not a complete disaster.

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Originally Posted by Drew Hause
It is a difficult issue.
I've done a few large group block and drive paid hunts on wild birds in South Dakota, with the owner/operator and individual guides. The group decides and usually gives the tip in cash to the owner, in vision of the guides, for the owner to distribute. It's more of a business relationship, and the tip is usually on that basis.

That's different than a guide and his dogs with you and a friend and your dogs.
I tip/reward based on attitude and effort. Not the guides fault if it's a bad day or the weather doesn't cooperate.

My best experience was with a family that ran a pheasant operation on their property near Presho, and the owner and his wife were the guides. After the hunt they provided snacks and drinks in their home.

One point; communication is critical in avoiding disappointment. Let the guide know what kind of hunt you want (and the experience and physical shape of you and your friends) and ask appropriate questions to understand exactly what the guide is offering.
It's important to know ahead if your group will be part of other groups, who may have new, unsafe, or hung-over frown shooters.

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I was wondering, I have never been on a hunting trip that you are all speaking of, but I have been on shooting tours where it was appropriate to tip. Is it appropriate for a group to go together and put their tips together in one large sum and give it to the owner/guide that way? Or is that not done that way?

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It’s pretty common to coordinate the final tip in a group team situation. Each person thinks the guide, and gives them the same amount in a sort of secret handshake kind of way.
I should point out that many outfitters packed the tip into the day rate, so it can become contentious if at the end of the hunt or fishing trip, people are standing there with their hand out or vice versa.

Last edited by ClapperZapper; 09/23/23 10:24 AM.

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