What Makes a Good Guide for Hunting TV?

What Makes a Good Guide for Hunting TV?

Guides. They can make or break a Petersen's Hunting TV hunt. I have nothing to do with booking the hunts, so guides are the wild card for me. What makes a good guide for hunting TV? This is something I've thought about a great deal over the thousands of hours I've spent following guides through deserts, forests, grasslands, savannas and jungles, over mountains and under brush and most importantly into plans that work and plans that fail.

There are guides I love and guides I loathe to the core of my being. If you've been on guided hunts, you probably wonder what kind of an a-hole hates guides. My perspective is very different than the paying hunter's for many reasons. The most obvious is the sheer number of guides I've worked with both in this and my previous position. I know what works and what fails and my employment is contingent on successfully taping hunts. An uncooperative guide is messing with my rice bowl.

The second reason is I'm generally not treated as well as a paying customer. This one cracks me up because a guide who would never be hostile to a paying customer who may tell a dozen of his buddies about his experience will treat me like shit despite the fact that my tale hits 86 million households across North America. Additionally, the typical client/guide dynamic consists of the client being very deferential toward the guide. Producing a high quality hunting show and endlessly deferring to a guide are mutually exclusive. I say all this to emphasize the points I make below. The guides I endorse are super guides.

In a perfect world a guide is a smoking hot female with a passion for gruff camera monkeys with limited social graces, but this never happens. So for the male guides I'm stuck with, I think it comes down to three main characteristics: Confidence, honesty and motivation.

What does confidence look like in the field? The guide is relaxed. He knows what his area holds and he knows how to access the animals. Day one and day five feel much the same because his strategies worked so many times in the past. Panicked guides don't listen. They rush and refuse my requests because they mistakenly believe that if there is an animal on the ground, the taping is a success. They rush everything. I wish I could post a list of these morons.

Honesty? Guides are like men in any other vocation, the honesty varies greatly. Mainly, I see dishonesty around what an area holds. This usually happens when the outfit has leftover inventory they are desperate to sell. Honest guides, who include mostly all I've worked with, usually fit just right in the same bracket as confident guides.

I look for the motivation in everyone I work with. As a camera monkey, the best scenario is this: The guide is the owner of the outfit and is motivated by the potential promotion the TV show and the magazine offer. He is looking toward the future growth of his operation. He's usually the old bull, has mad skills and doesn't like to mess around so we end up in a honey hole.

The follow photo gallery contains my favorite guides, outfitters and/or professional hunters in the world in the order of favoritism. You want a top guide for your show? Google 'em.

Recommended for You


Booth Babes from the 2012 SHOT Show

PH Online Editors - January 18, 2012

Companies in the outdoor industry know how to get our attention. We know, it might seem cheap,...


Sub-Gauge Shotguns for Turkey Hunting

Larry Case

Smaller and lighter, sub-gauge shotguns are making a resurgence in the turkey woods.


5 Bucket List DIY Hunts

Craig Boddington

Craig Boddington picks his top five over-the-counter hunts to add to your bucket list.

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

2018 Petersen's Hunting Episode 13: Forest Buffalo

Craig Boddington returns to Mozambique's fame Coutada 10 for a shot a forest buffalo that's eluded him for 10 years.

2018 Petersen's Hunting Episode 7: Beginner's Luck

Host Kali Parmley takes first-time hunter Danae Hale of CZ-USA to Wyoming for a mule deer hunt. After covering all the basics with Danae, the girls head into the field and what happens next goes way beyond either of their expectations!

Camp Chef at SHOT Show: Elk Venison Slider Burgers Recipe

Have a freezer full of ground elk venison from your fall hunting trips? Never fear, the folks at Camp Chef have a great SHOT Show recipe that is lean and mean, easy to prepare, and a crowd-pleasing favorite!

See more Popular Videos

Trending Stories


8 Best Venison Marinades

Hank Shaw

Follow these basic steps to prepare your meat, then pair it with one of these delicious...


How to Properly Grill Venison Steak

Hank Shaw

Perfection takes practice, a little skill and the understanding that not all steaks are...


7 Favorite Truck Guns

Joseph von Benedikt - May 11, 2015

Since the first explorers and pilgrims landed, the inhabitants of this glorious country have...

See More Stories

More How-To


Practice These Shooting Positions to Be a Better Hunter

Craig Boddington

Get away from the bench to maximize your shooting skills.


Frontier Culture: The Last of the Leatherstockings

Joseph von Benedikt - August 30, 2018

All outdoorsmen dream of the frontier. A few still live it, including Steve Baxter who has...


Dandy Dozen: High-Energy Snacks for Deer Hunters

Lynn Burkhead - September 06, 2018

When deer hunters are in the middle of an all-day sit, they certainly will need some...

See More How-To

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save.

Temporary Price Reduction.


Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services


GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.