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Could anyone out there tell me what is the proper amount to tip a guide after the hunt is over?I am going to New Mexico in Feb. on a guided elk hunt[got tired of waiting to be drawn in Az.]and I have never been on a guided hunt before.I have been told that 10% of the hunt cost is adequate but i dont want to seem cheap or tip to much either.Thanks to any one who can help and have a great day
 

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Sammy

Without wanting to sound pretentious or cheap myself, let me say that I was raised with the school of thought that a gratuity was just that... an added bonus.   My contention concerning a tip, is that it is just that... and it is earned, by going above and beyond the call of duty.

Yes, I would go, prepared to pay the guide a gratuity... but my determination of how much, would be after the dust settles, and the hunt is over, based on his attitude, competence and overall performance for you!

And yes, the last I heard, 10% was the common custom.

Just my old-fashioned two cents worth!

God Bless,

Marshall
 

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I have been on seven outfitted elk/deer hunts, and I agree with Marshall.  I would add that someone who is often neglected, when it comes to "tips" is the cook.

If the food is really top quality and the cook knows how to lay out an excellent feed, I always tip the cook. Even if it's only &#3650, he/she is really going to appreciate it.

In my opinion, a bad cook (and I've been on one hunt where the cook and the food were terrible!), can really put a damper on an expensive hunt and the great time you should have in camp.

Just my opinion. L.W.
 
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A Guide on Gratuities

Sammy, Marshall is right on the money with his comments on tips/gratuities. Personally, some of my favorite tips received have not been money. Once I got a pair of 10-40 Zeisse binos (that I still have and use), another was a super nice knife with sheep-horn handles (the blade is Damascus steel), and finally, a rifle that I can't mention for reasons of legality. That said, I encourage you NOT to tip if you are not happy with the performance of your guide, but be intelligent about that as well (I have been placed in areas where the chance of killing decent class animals were slight, and that's an understatement) Not all outfitters are as honest as the guides they sometimes employ. I have moved around quite a bit due to my not agreeing with outfitter practices, but on the whole, I HAVE been fortunate. It is YOUR responsibility to research your outfitter carefully (as it is mine never to work there a second year if I am not satisfied) !0% is good.
 

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It really depends on the hunt, the value/type of the hunt to be more specific. If you're doing a bull elk hunt in New Mexico, and it's supposed to be a trophy hunt, say 350" of better, and the food and accommodations are first class I'd expect the guide to be expecting a hefty tip. I don't know what trophy bull elk hunts go for in New Mexico these days, but I'd guess some where around $6k to $8K+ for an honest to goodness quality bull.

If it will be field accommodations, I'd personally expect a nicely well set up camp with comfortable cots and wood stoves to keep warm. Shower tent, restroom tent, mess tent. And the meals should be first class also, good breakfast, steaks, chops, stews and the like for dinner. And lots of good beverages and snacks for day packs. A top notch hunt, and if you dropped a nice 350" or better bull, 15%+ is well worth it and shows you appreciate the professionalism of your guide team. This is how my boys and I do it, and most of the guides we know do it like this.

OTOH, if it's a low budget hunt, comfort and meals aren't anything special, I'd tip 10% and leave it at that.

SMOA
 

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Fyi

As someone who has worked for tips, (to insure proper service) tipping is not a city in China. A tip at the beginning of a trip/dinner/whatever MAY give the guide the idea that if he goes the extra mile for you, he will be well rewarded later. OTOH, if the guide feels he is gonna get stiffed, or his client seems like a real jerk, he may not want to put himself out for you and save his best honey holes for known big tippers.
 

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All good advice. As a part-time assistant guide for 2 years (while in grad school), I don't remember ever getting tipped. My wife was tipped $1200 (for 7-8 hunters) for cooking in elk camp in Wyoming for a week==Paid for my deer hunt at the same ranch.

Personally, I rewarded packers, assistants (those who actually worked with me), cooks, etc. If someone went back in and packed my deer, I'd usually give him $25-30. $50 for an elk. $20-30 a day for assistants (who worked with me). $100 or so to head guide (unless he worked with me). A really successful trip, or lots of extra work meant more of a tip. BTW: Those are "tips" on top of any fees.
 

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I've given gifts as well as cash; when giving cash the total amount has averaged around 10% of the hunt.
 

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I always leave my decision until the dust has settled. Only once have I driven out of a hunt camp and not left a tip. That was not because I didn't get the service I paid for (lot of $s) but as we came out of our cottage to go to our car the whole staff were lined up shoulder to shoulder in front of the car and if they had their hands out it would not have been more blatant. They got zilch as a result. My tips to guides back in the late 80s and early 90s to guides and staff in Poland, exceeded a months wages for them but they earned it. When I was guiding/outfitting, told clients I did not accept tips, other than to try harder :) They were already paying me to do just that.
Some of our pheasant shooting days here, the organisers state x amount to the keeper as a tip. I never comply, tips are my decision and last season I had experiences where on one occasion I would have expected a tip from the keeper, to where I had a great day and gave a larger gratuity as a result.

This is 15yrs old but a subject which needs airing occasionally for new members.
 

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Tips are earned. To Insure Proper Service. If a guide does his job 10% is standard. Extraordinary service would call for more.
 

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I have never been a client/ hunter.but have worked as a Big game Guide quite a bit. I am getting a little old now but a 10 day spike camp hunt was arduous, up long before the hunter gathering horses (in spike camps there were no wranglers) many times cooked breakfast and a meal at the end. A young energetic guide puts alot of miles on and he better be handy around stock. I loved it when I was young and would do 4 -10 day hunts like this in the fall. I had some great hunters in those days and many tipped and some didn't - after a successful hunts . Sometimes hunters could be a little...temperamental and difficult and frankly ,no way to satisfy them....I had lots of great hunters though. 10% sounds reasonable to me.
 

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I got more tip from bass fishermen than elk hunters, but its much easier to guide a fisherman to a ten pound bass than it is to find a bull elk for your client to miss. (it happens).
 

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When I first started going on guided hunting trips, I had a tough time getting information as to how much of a tip is appropriate. The outfitters who gave me an answer suggested 10% for their guides. It should not depend on the size of the animal taken or even if one is taken, but on the effort put in by the guide. I've tipped a few guides on unsuccessful hunts (no game shot) more then some who were lazy on hunts where trophy animals were taken.
 

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its much easier to guide a fisherman to a ten pound bass than it is to find a bull elk for your client to miss. (it happens).
NO!!! :eek: Say it ain't SO!!!

I've heard 10% as well.

RJ
 

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I'm one of those people that seldom tip. Why? You paid for a trip and a pretty good price at that. If your happy and plan on coming back, let the outfitter pay the tip, the guy brought in repete business. If the outfitter is the guide also, figure a tip into the cost. What would make you think the guy earned extra for providing you with what you paid to get? I don't go on guided hunt's, out of my income level but then if they were I guess a $500 tip is nothing? Don't believe in tipping unless something extra and very special happens. How much do you tip the worker at the tire shop for fixing your flat?
 
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