A frequent question that I’ve repeatedly heard from hunters is “How much should I tip my guide?”
Tipping your hunting guide is not required, but is very much appreciated. Most of their income comes from tips and ranges from 5 to 20% of the total.
Building a great relationship with a high quality outfitter/lodge can be extremely valuable and mutually rewarding relationship that can last a lifetime and shared with your friends and family.
Some things the guide can control while others are left to God and mother nature.
For some businesses the outfitter is also your guide. In this case the person guiding you is also responsible for all of the details and accommodations involved in setting up your hunt as well as the hunt itself. This is most likely the person you talked to on the phone and who told you what to expect during your stay. He is responsible for following through with his promises of what the hunt will be like as well as the state of the accommodations and food. It is his job to take care of all the details to make your hunt enjoyable.
To start with, it should be understood that a tip is not required. A good guide shouldn’t expect a tip simply because he shows up. Those that do generally don’t stay in the business for long. Most guides are there because they truly love what they do. If you choose not to tip, nobody is going to call the authorities and have you hauled off to jail. That being said, it is important to realize that what a guide provides you is a quality service that would be missing if you did the hunt on your own. A tip is a good way of saying thank you for this service.
If your guide is not the outfitter, you should realize that there are some things that may be out of his control. Generally, guides who are not the owner of the outfit are told what to do. They may not have any say in choosing the area to hunt, or what your accommodations will be during your stay. To punish them by not leaving a tip because the outfitter may have misled you really isn’t fair. Your tip for your guide should be based on the job he did for you. A good guide is not just someone who tells you when to pull the trigger. For the duration of the hunt he should be your partner. He should be willing to work as hard as he can to help you fill your tags and to make sure you have a safe hunt.