Hunting and fishing guides lead groups on expeditions, often specialized in their own interests. The salary of a hunting guide depends on several elements. These variables range from experience to number of groups led. A hunting guide should be an experienced hunter, familiar with the terrain where he will work, with the desire to work with a variety of clients from many backgrounds.
Nature of Work
Hunting guides may arrange for transportation, equipment and supplies for clients using horses, boats or off-road vehicles. Guides may prepare the meals for the clients and care for animals, such as horses or mules. The guide’s salary or hourly pay is tied to the number of duties he is responsible for. According to the Economic Research Institute, the average salary for a hunting guide ranges between $25,000 and $30,000.
Freelance hunting guides typically set their own fee schedule, controlling their income through negotiations with their clients. Guides that are employed by companies are typically paid $75 to $150 per day. New guides, either self-employed or guides employed by a company, can expect to earn around $11,000 their first season.
Experience is the primary focus of a hunting guide service and a guide’s salary will reflect his experience. However, according to John Race, director of the Northwest Mountain School, education and courses such as Wilderness First Responder and required state licensing are important and he would not hire a guide without these types of qualifications. In the end, it is hunting experience coupled with the desire to guide and teach clients that will ensure success as a hunting guide.
Hunting guides do not earn as much money after 10 years of experience than most college graduates make in their first couple of years in the workforce. This job requires working hard and being away from family and friends more than most occupations. Payscale.com reports in 2011 that the salary range begins at $19,000 and tops out at $41,000. It is seasonal work and many guides take on other jobs in the off-season.