While we primarily free-lance, we have met and hunted with many guides/outfitters along the way. There are many things to consider when choosing a guide or outfitter to hunt with:
1. Does the guide/outfitter have experience? The hunting guide industry is often times easy entry, easy exit. That being said, many can strum up a white lie about their hunting experience to try to sweep you off your feet. Before doing any of your other homework, you'll want to make sure the experience is there. The last thing you want to do is pay money to hunt with someone that doesn't know what they're doing.
2. Does the outfitter hunt legal and ethical? Many may not consider this a high item on their list but we value doing things the right way. God gave us game to hunt and we are to respect it and the laws around it. Again, if you're paying good money to hunt, you don't want a bonus fine from the game warden for not abiding by the laws.
3. Does the guide/outfitter have a lodge? We highly recommend hunting with an outfitter that has a lodge. Not only does it resemble an established business, it also makes things much easier when it comes to the hunt. We've stayed in hotels and motels just to find that it is worth while to pay a little extra to stay in a lodge (if able).
4. Is the outfitter kid-friendly? If you plan on taking your kids, you'll want to do a little extra research on the type of people you'll be around. We don't mean for you to do a full-on background check for all the guides but you'll want to look for someone that will set a good example.
5. Can you take your dog? As a hunter, you have to be realistic about your dog's capabilities before you get your feelings hurt. The last thing an outfitter wants is to have your lousy house-dog breaking when gun shots go off. This creates frustration and a huge liability for the outfitter. On the other hand, some outfitters welcome dogs.
If you're dead set on taking your dog, you may want to find a lodge that offers self-guided hunts or try freelancing for yourself.
Who we recommend:
Kwack Smackers Guide Service - Almyra, Arkansas
Located 15 miles from Stuttgart, Kwack Smackers has a 5,000SF lodge that sleeps 16 people. Offering both duck and goose hunts, you'll be sure to find a limit. https://www.facebook.com/KwackSmackers/