You may have heard horror stories from friends or read about it in magazines the ones where someone hired one of the elk hunting outfitters who turned out to be much less than they expected, or worse, the whole deal was a fraud. Unfortunately those are the elk hunts that most people will remember as everyone remembers a bad experience. While you may not be able to completely avoid disappointment there are some things you can look for in an outfitter before taking off on your next elk hunting trip.
Many hunters will select elk hunting outfitters based on some conversation that they had with one at some type of a sport show or event; but this is the time that they are just going to tell you everything that they think you want to hear. Such as a 95% success rate, trophy class animals and they will very likely show you a bunch of pictures of satisfied customers from their last elk hunting trip showing off these huge bulls or bucks. So, they will hand over their hard earned money and go home happy as can be waiting for the elk hunts.
You should always have some kind of list of questions ready to ask the elk hunting outfitters before you even go to the sporting event or show as this will help you to remember everything you wanted to ask. For example, how much do the elk hunts cost, do you specialize in any particular type of elk hunting such as bow hunting and how long have they been doing business are always good questions to ask. If they appear to get annoyed because you are asking so many questions that is a good indication that you may want to move on to the next one.
One of the best ways to find one is to contact a booking company that screens elk hunting outfitters and actually goes on elk hunts with the potential outfitters before they will refer any customers to them. Word of mouth is also a good form of referral, perhaps you can check with family or friends to see if they have had a good quality elk hunting experience with any particular outfitter.
You should also contact whichever state wildlife department issued the license to the outfitter as they will be able to tell you of any past or existing problems that they may have had helping you to avoid a bad elk hunting experience.