Cedar Mountain Corral, Big Sky Montana

An outfitter may be a good choice for those of you wanting to experience pack trips in the various National Forests and wilderness areas surrounding Yellowstone National Park.  These pack trips may have a hunting or angling focus or both.  An outfitter normally supplies you with materials for a trip, such as the horses, food, camping set-up,  a location to hunt, hike or fish and they will aid you in securing any permits or licenses you may need for the specific requirements of your trip.  Many of the outfitters offer horseback riding as part of the trip.

An outfitter can give you the journey of a lifetime and you’ll want to be sure to choose someone that you trust and enjoy being around, as well as someone with the skills to lead you on a great hunt, to the best fishing holes or deep into the wilderness for hiking and camping.

Dean Johnson, an award winning Cody, Wyoming outfitter, with over 38 years of experience in the industry, shares a few guidelines and tips that are helpful when you are choosing an outfitter:

1. Trust publications like Wyoming Outdoors or to The Wyoming State Board of Outfitters website and choose some outfitters in the area you wish to go to.  You may also find the Wyoming Outfitters & Guides Association a helpful resource in finding an outfitter by searching their member database online.

2. Narrow your search to the ones that interest you. Call them and talk to them. Also you can talk to anyone you know that has made a western trip and ask them who the trip was with and if they would recommend them.

3. Ask for references. Call and talk to the outfitters that you’ve found to be of interest.

4. Ask the outfitter for the name and phone number of their local game warden and district forest ranger.  Give them a call and ask about the outfitters you are interested in and if they have had any complaints filed against them.

5. Ask for the phone number of the Wyoming State Board of Outfitters. They are the one who licenses the outfitters. Ask them if they have had any complaints filed against any outfitters you are interested in. Also remember that some people might file a complaint that is not valid.

6. Beware of illegal outfitters. Ask for their license number and check with the Board of Outfitters to be sure they are licensed.

7.  When you visit with the outfitter, make sure you feel a “likeness” towards them because you will want to spend your time in the company of someone you really like and want to be around and you will have a much more memorable trip.

Read the biography of Dean Johnson published in Wyoming Outdoors.