What happens after the animal is killed?
After an animal is killed, your guide will properly field dress, cape, and prepare the animal for extraction with minimal disturbance to surrounding area and wildlife. After the animal is successfully extracted, your guide will deliver the meat to our local processor and if desired, deliver the cape and antlers to one of the best taxidermists in the area.
What will the typical day out on a hunt look like?
A typical day with SJ Outfitters starts with clients and guides meeting over coffee in the morning and then leaving camp around daybreak for the AM hunt. We typically return back for Brunch to go over plans for the afternoon hunt. We hunt late afternoon/early evening and return to camp right after dark for a home-cooked dinner.
How do we navigate the property during the hunt?
SJ Outfitters requires mainly foot navigation among the different properties. We do have a side-by-side utility vehicle to cover a large amount of ground in a short amount of time. This is the second most used method of transportation, but it is important to note that most hunting is conducted on foot. In addition to foot and our utility vehicle, we also utilize seasoned livestock for backcountry public land or to pack out an animal in harder access locations.
If I have certain food allergies, can my needs be catered to or should I pack my own food for the trip?
Our cook does a great job when catering to certain food allergies or intolerance. When arriving to camp, SJ Outfitters has a "meal form" that is suggested for all clients to fill out that informs the cook of any food allergies or intolerance. Our cook also caters to individuals who dislike certain foods. That is why our meal plan is important to fill out. All clients are more than welcome to bring what food/beverages they would like to camp. Clients are not required to consume the provided food. It is very important to keep in mind that even when catering to food allergies or intolerance, our food is still cooked around all ingredients located within the kitchen. Alcohol is allowed but not provided.
I have heard many stories of hunters shooting animals as far as 1000 yards; will I be expected to be proficient shooting at that distance?
1000 yards is a long distance. SJ Outfitters really strives in our clients to bring a gun or bow that they are 100% confident in. We typically do not require shots to be fired more than 400 yards. Yardages over 400 are atypical in many situations, and it is not in our ethics to just "wing" bullets at these animals at long distances. If it is an animal worth pursing, we will make that happen and try our best to get within 400 yards of the desired animal.
I read though your list of items to bring is there anything you specifically do not want us to bring?
There are a few things we suggest not bringing to camp including:
Mix-matched ammo, Pets, Additional family members or friends without confirmation or arrangements .
We also want to add that our guides bring a pack enabling them to be prepared for anything. With that being said, we suggest not packing everything that you can fit into your pack because that will just add unnecessary weight while hiking in the mountains resulting in discomfort. All clients are encouraged to bring whatever hunting gear they are comfortable with and would like to have with them but know our guides do bring what is most needed in the mountains.
If I have difficulty understanding the tag/license process or hunting regulations, how do I get further information?
If www.fwp.mt.gov website does not answer your questions concerning your tag/license application, or you have any other questions regarding your hunt, please call the FWP office at 406-444-2535 or me, Jesse Banthem, owner/outfitter, at 406-224-2309.
Do I tip my guide? How much?
We strongly encourage all clients to tip their guides and cook. The typical tip amount for the guide averages 15% of the hunt total per hunter. The cook’s tips are based solely off performance and taste which leaves this amount up to each hunter but averages about 5%. Again, we encourage each hunter to tip both their guide and the cook because as we all know, hunting is not the easiest job let alone guiding.
Can I be guaranteed to kill a trophy-sized animal for the price I am paying?
This is a "hunting" trip; Not a "killing" trip. So that means there is never a guarantee. Opportunity rates have ranged from 65%-100% in previous years in which clients have had the opportunity to kill a 5 by 5 and better bulls. Our policy does state that if any client hits an animal which is to not be found, that client is done hunting. It is not in our vision to shoot at animals. We want this hunt to be worth the hunter's time and the animal's time meaning killing the animal is the only option. If wounded, we will do our best to track that animal down to finish what was started.
Trophy elk and deer are located across our property. Again, no client is guaranteed to kill a trophy-sized animal let alone an animal in general. With hard work, time, and commitment, success rates do continue to increase. SJ Outfitters supplies some of the best guides in the state of Montana making your hunting opportunities even better.
SJ Outfitters is focused on quality and not quantity. We only take a limited number of hunters each year to maintain the size of our elk herd. We do not rely on migration with these animals; they live on our property year after year and want to respect these animals and maintain their population in the best form possible.
Sizes of game will be determined and discussed with your guide as well as the owner.
What is your success rate?
Opportunity rates on 6 point bulls in past years have been no less than 65% and have been as high as 90%.
Opportunity rates on deer bucks in past years have been around 80%.