I recently got back from a Louisiana turkey hunt with Synergy Outdoors, the umbrella company of Evolved Harvest, Barnett Crossbows, Flextone Game Calls, Wildgame Innovations, and Wildgame Nation TV. It was a very good hunt as these things go, partly because of the generosity of the hosts and the cooperation of the birds, but mostly because the company reps showed me some honest-to-goodness innovative and useful new products that I can pass along to you without feeling like I'm shilling as payback-which they know I won't do.
Anyway, we'll save that for another blog.
For now, I'd rather talk about hunting with a guide, which is commonplace on industry hunts. There's no question that I would much rather kill a critter on my own--especially a turkey; if I don't call the bird in myself, I don't feel like I earned it. That's why if anyone asks me if I killed a bird in Louisiana, I say no, but my guide, "Mike Miller the Turkey Killer," shown here with his camouflage bible and the bird in question, certainly did, even though I fired the shot.
But I will say that Mike embodies the upside of hunting with a guide (or in his case an expert who came to help out at camp). I fancy myself a pretty decent turkey hunter, but this guy is in another league. I learned a lot from hunting with him. For the record, I hunted for years and years before ever going with a guide; guided hunts account for a tiny percentage of the hunting I now do, I still have never paid to hunt with a guide, and I totally get the sentiment that doing so is not as fulfilling or legit. But it must be said that you can almost always learn something by seeing how someone else hunts, especially someone who does it every day and really knows his stuff, like Mike.
Real hunters love to pooh-pooh guided hunts; I've done it-and still do in my weaker moments. But having seen both sides, the truth is that while being guided is not the same as doing it yourself, it can absolutely be valuable and worthwhile.