Testimonials and Guide School Graduates
We have testimonials for days! We’re thankful to all the students for their kind words. We also have many great post-school stories of our graduates, these days it’s tough to keep track of them all! Below are a few from over the years.
Guide School Student Testimonials
“The accommodations were perfect, the instructors we personable and delivered the material well and took the time to answer any questions and help students with anything they were struggling with. It was a great class and I would recommend it to anyone wanting to learn more about the outdoors or get into the guiding profession.”
“The experience was great. Very good hands on teaching. Everyone here was very likable. It is very hard work, but well worth it. Definitely felt like I got my money’s worth, and then some!”
I honestly have nothing negative to say about this whole experience, Cody is a great teacher, and I am so glad I chose Royal Tine.
“This was one of the best experiences of my life. The instruction was great, the food amazing, just a terrific overall experience.”
“Every day at Royal Tine was a great day. I have never learned so much in so little time. Coming here and not knowing ANYTHING about horses is what I feared the most, but coming back from the pack trip, pulling 3 loaded mules for 5 hours, I knew I had come a long ways. The food was superb and every night I went to bed stuffed. I look up to Cody for his hard work and dedication, and I feel blessed to have this experience to keep with me forever. –Thanks!”
“Royal Tine is great place to come and experience your dreams of guiding. The classroom work was well taught, the food was great and the pack trip was amazing! This school is the most fun you can have with your pants on! The fishing was awesome too, loved learning how to fly fish, I’ll be doing lots of that now! Thanks again, Royal Tine is a great school!”
I had spent two seasons wrangling for a former Royal Tine graduate and knew that if I wanted to move forward in this industry, that this was the school for me. They went all out every day and provided us with vast amounts of knowledge, challenges, and amazing food. I would recommend this school in a heartbeat to anyone interested in this industry, looking for a challenge or wanting a good time with good people because Royal Tine offers it all.
–Jamie, Challis, ID
“This was the best thing I have done in a long, long time. Everything was top notch from food to accommodations to tack and stock. You guys got it dialed in! ”
-Ryan Bingham (yes, the singer!)
I really enjoyed my time here at Royal Tine. The pack trip scenery was unbelievable. The fishing at Cow Camp and Zekes meadows was phenomenal. The elk scouting/hunting knowledge I acquired will be put to good use. I cannot wait til September to start calling in bulls in Colorado where I was placed with a great job.
– Sterling, Alpine, AL
Royal Tine Guide School blew my mind. I learned more here in a month than I did in high school. My favorite days were land nav and the pack trip……oh hell, I enjoyed the whole school. Cody and LeRee run a great school and know what they are talking about.
–Jesse, Cincinnati, OH
I started talking with Cody and LeRee last winter about my VA benefits paying for the school. They were both very helpful walking me thru that process which worked out great. When I arrived at the school, and clear throughout the school I honestly felt like family! Cody is patient and fair in his teaching and LeRee’s cooking was beyond words. Job placement was a big deciding factor for me, and Cody came through as he said he would. A++++++ experience from beginning to end, thanks Cody and LeRee!
-Gary Texarkana, TX
“I would highly recommend this class to anyone wanting to follow their dreams of becoming a guide. I had a blast learning all this stuff. I met some great friends that I will be keeping in touch with. I couldn’t have asked for anything more. Thank you all!”
First I would like to say the food was amazing. I enjoyed every day at the school, even shoeing the horses. Also couldn’t have asked for better instructors than Cody and Bird. Lastly my overall experience at Royal Tine was fantastic, and what a beautiful place to stay to boot! Heading to Idaho to start my job that Cody lined up for me before class ended.
–Dalton, York, PA
Royal Tine was one of the best experiences I have ever had. I learned more than I ever thought I would. I loved all the horse and packing stuff and the shoeing was a blast. I always wanted to learn how to shoe horses and I did here. Cody and LeRee have a kick ass program and are very knowledgeable and outstanding instructors and very professional at what they do. I loved how Cody took extra time with me to understand things and make sure I was doing everything the right way. Cody will work your ass off, but it’s all worth it in the end! LeRee is funny as hell and cooks the best food ever. She knows her stuff and you will probably gain 10 pounds when you are here. Overall, I loved this experience and would love to come back again…lol They got me my dream job in the Frank Church of Idaho and I am so excited to start.
–Zach, Palo Cedro CA
“As a student here at Royal Tine, I learned more than I ever expected. Before this school started, I had no horse or mule experience so I was a little slower than the rest and I’m still not really good at it, but I learned so much about them, more than I ever thought I would. My favorite day was the mock hunt day because we got to put everything we learned about scouting into play and it was a blast. The other thing I liked best about the school is that the instructors were great, yeah at times you get bitched at, but nothing comes easy in the back country that is for sure. All the students were great and treated each other with respect. We were all here for the same reason and that is we eat, sleep and dream about hunting, fishing and becoming a guide. The food was better than any restaurant and better than what I get at home. Overall, I want to say thanks for accepting me and I will never forget you guys and all I learned at Royal Tine.”
“If you have ever visited the Royal Tine website and thought long and hard about becoming a back country hunting guide, this is where I suggest you go. Cody and LeRee and the assistant instructors were professionals at what they do, and they are exceptional at it. No, it isn’t a cake walk, but a person will leave with a good sense of what it is really like to lead the life of a guide after this school. Honestly, I enjoyed the people I met, the food, the many varied topics covered and the great crew. Royal Tine will give you all the basics needed to become a guide as long as you work hard and have the passion for it, but only you can decide for yourself.”
“One of the best things about being here is that you are surrounded by people who love the outdoors just as much as you do. Everything that is provided to you is absolutely fantastic. The curriculum and instruction was top notch. I am extremely happy that I chose this guide school over all the others.”
I am so pleased to have had the opportunity to attend Royal Tine Guide School. After having checked out reviews of the school online and finding nothing but positive feedback, I signed up and am happy to say that I am in total agreement with the previous students whose reviews helped make my decision. The atmosphere at Royal Tine is friendly and fun while at the same time instilling in students an appreciation for the hard work and discipline required for guiding and packing. I would encourage anyone interested in guide school to attend Royal Tine. Cody got me a job in Montana in the famed Bob Marshall wilderness starting next week. Can’t wait to start!
– Will, Bethesda MD
This has been a wonderful experience, covering a wide range of practical back country guiding skills in a rural and rustic yet comfortable environment. The instruction was intensive, with the instructors taking the time to explain, demonstrate, and then have you put that skill to practical use. The food was always hot and plenty of it. What I enjoyed most was the pack trip where we had the opportunity to bring everything together and be out and enjoy some of the Big Sky country!
-Cameron, Miles City MT
Graduates of Royal Tine Guide and Packer School
Jonah Vincent, Hoquiam, WA
I had been working as a nuisance wildlife removal tech for two years when I decided I had had enough of crawling around under houses and up in attics. I found out about guide schools on the internet and decided to give it a shot. After searching around for a bit, I decided on Royal Tine. No regrets there! I learned a ton from Cody and Steve and thoroughly enjoyed LeRee’s cooking! The awesome trout fishing in the surrounding area and on the pack trip were a great bonus!
It was just a few phone calls after graduating, that I was hired on at Elk City, Idaho.
I had a great time packing mules with Stitch Kaech and got to meet fascinating people from all over the country during the ensuing elk season. After a winter of odd jobs I was ready to hit the saddle again. Cody and LeRee suggested a few outfitters to apply with. I did, and after a few days I was offered a job in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. I am looking forward to spending a summer leading pack trips into the Teton Wilderness area.
Thank you Cody and LeRee for a great school and for all the help since graduation!
Greg Likens, Michigan
My stay at Royal Tine was unlike any other experience I have ever had. I attended the June class where the wild flowers and morels were plentiful, along with black bears and my friend the 4 point mule deer buck (I wanted to sink an arrow into him.) Cody and LeRee filled my head with lessons and logic that you can’t find anywhere else. They landed me a job in Wyoming being a camp jack/wrangler. Now I’m a master cross cut puller and I can split the most knotted pine log you’ve ever seen.
After waking up and looking up into Yellowstone and seeing a migration herd of 500 head of elk, I wanted to set my sights on becoming a guide. But now my sights are set aside for a little while because I’m going to be a packer in Alaska. I start my two year apprenticeship in August. Although I won’t be working with any ponies there, I know it will still be a great job.
I can’t tell you your stay at Royal Tine is going to be as good as mine (it was awesome). But if you work hard, keep your boots on straight, and study your information, I’m sure you’ll leave Royal Tine with a big ol’ smile on your face. Good luck to you all and remember, “don’t drink downstream from the herd.”
Greg Likens, Michigan
Jeremy Smith, Sweetwater, CO
I decided from my room in college that I needed a change. Being from the mountains of North Carolina I wanted to see the Rockies. I did, on my way to P-burg to meet Cody and LeRee for the first time. I was certain before even showing up for school that I had made a good decision. Well, a good decision turned into the best one yet. I left from Montana directly to Colorado. I have been guiding ever since. Not so much fishing anymore, but found my passion for bow hunting with clients and for myself.
What I learned in five weeks with Cody, Johnny, and LeRee will be with me forever. “We” have a drive for the outdoors like not many people. I love it!! Long days, and short nights. All of it spent in the woods. I can’t even begin to write all of the incredible things that passed in seven years of being a guide. The people, places, and things have been life changing. That is just me though!
Thank you Cody, LeRee, and Johnny for all the knowledge, patience, skills, and friendship.
“stay calm, pick a spot”
Jeremy “Red” Smith…Sweetwater, CO
This is James Sciascia. He is working for one of the top mule deer outfitters in Wyoming and guided this 208″ B & C buck last year. Royal Tine places guides with some of the best and biggest outfitters in the business and the reason is simple, our guides are trained the best and they are in demand! Congrats James to a real DANDY buck!
Joe Meyer, Missouri
I found Royal Tine’s website just surfing the web looking at guide schools. Can’t really remember any of the other guide school names or websites, Royal Tine’s just jumped out at me. All the former students that post on the forum all the time is probably what “sold” me. I was 18.
When I showed up there was two feet of snow on the ground. I was never “freezing”, I was doing(and eating)to much to ever get cold, ha. The five week class did cover just about everything you could cover, and the meals were awesome!
The first two weeks were learning how to saddle, pack, ride, and anything else to do with a horse and/or mule. First aid, shoeing, etc… I’d never really ever done anything with horses or mules before. Just be the boss/driver of your horse/mule and don’t get scared and it’s a piece of cake, well sorta kinda. Learning to shoe is not the most fun, but I shoe about 20 head a year now.
I own my horses now, and ride as much as I can during the off season.
The next two weeks was about hunting, fishing, hounds, how to use topo maps, and stuff like that.
The GPS class was really good, a gps helps sooo much out in the “real world’.
Learning about elk hunting was cool, and I still suck at fly fishing.
The job placement was way beyond what I expected. LeRee called the outfitter before I did, they didn’t just give me a bunch of phone numbers to call.
I’ve been working for Redfeather Guides and Outfitters, in Gould, Colorado for 3 years now.
We do summer pack trips, horse back rides and some fishing trips from mid June ’till the end of August. We offer fully guided Elk and Moose hunts, from late August to the end of October.
One of my classmates from Royal Tine, Cooper, started at Redfeather the same time, and worked full time for two years and part time last year.
When I got married, my wife got a job at Redfeather as a full time cook and part time wrangler when we had large groups come by during the summer.
Almost anyone could go and pass IF they like hard work and pay attention. Not to scare anyone, but the real deal is a little harder than the school.
The school was worth the time and every penny, Thank you Cody and LeRee!
Tim Knizek, New York
Hey Cody and LeRee,
Our season went fairly well. Archery season was a real grind getting up at 4 am and not getting to bed until 10 or 11pm, and we didn’t kill anything out of 16 hunters. 80 degree temps, 30 some days of no rain and poor shooting were to blame for that. I was camp jack/wrangler during archery season but we had a guy leave in between archery and rifle so I guided for all of rifle season which went great, first season I guided a cow and second season I guided a pretty nice 4x5 bull. Third season was tough and neither I nor anyone else killed anything. During first and second rifle however, we killed 11 elk for 10 people (5 bulls 6 cows) with the largest bull grossing 294″. Next year I have my dad and 3 guys he works with coming out for second rifle season, I’m really looking forward to that. I’ve been back in New York for a total of 10 days and I already want to go back.
“I knew a good guide school was absolutely key to accomplish what I was looking for in the Outfitting Industry…I wanted to be a successful outfitter and guide with a breadth of knowledge about a variety of field related techniques and situations. I reviewed a number of different site/schools in different states. What first struck me about Royal Tine was the website. The website was loaded with testimonials, pictures and was obviously created with care and attention to detail. Following review of dozens of websites, I made several calls to different schools and Royal Tine was the only call that felt less like a sales pitch and more like a true account of the service they would provide. I will never regret my decision to attend Royal Tine. As an outfitter in the great state of Idaho, I have had the opportunity to communicate with others in the industry, across a variety of western states, that attended alternative guide programs. Without fail, I find that the majority of other programs did not cover the wide scope of material presented at Royal Tine. Cody and LeRee are exceptional at bringing in experts in a variety of fields to give their students that hands on training necessary to succeed in the tough outfitting industry. They are professional, extremely knowledgeable, and provide a course that covers the topics necessary to succeed. I prefer to hire from Royal Tine for these reasons.”
Adam attended Royal Tine in 2012 and owns Horse Creek Outfitters.
Kris Strickland, Indiana
Worked 4 years for Box Y Outfitters in Wyoming. Currently owns his own turkey hunting guide service and outdoor hunting film productions.
Frank Henderson from Texarkana, AR
“2003 was a great year in Canada, most hunters shot good deer. The ones that did not passed on good deer for one like mine. I will be sending you a video that the outfitter and I put together so the students can have something to watch on their days off. I hope both of you (Cody and LeRee’) are well and had a good hunting season.”
Josiah Bailey from Benton, PA
“I worked for George Duncan in Idaho and had a blast. I am going to get a couple of hounds this winter of my own. Going back to PA to make some more money and will be back in the spring! Thanks for everything!”
Ben Thimons from Warren, PA
“I just got home from Idaho on Sunday morning. What a blast! ! Our season went great, shooting 7 mature bulls out of 11 hunters. I guided 2 of them (would have been 3, but my hunter missed a really nice 6x7 bull at 70 yards 3 times!!!), and packed out the rest.
The education I received from Royal Tine was invaluable! I used almost every tidbit of knowledge I took away from it. Even taught the outfitter a thing or two, although he probably wouldn’t admit it. I truly loved and enjoyed every minute of this season. I plan on returning to the Middle Fork in the spring. I can’t thank you guys enough for the great start you gave me in this exciting field! ! ! I’m going to be guiding and/or packing until I’m not able to do it anymore. The hard work, the hardships, the success, and the constant uncertainties of this job can’t be matched!
I hope you are both (Cody and LeRee) doing well and having a good season. I’ll be staying in PA this winter working full time back at the sporting good store, and part time at a local riding club. I just got to liking those horse critters too much to give it up all winter. Take care, and thanks again!!!”
Dustin Charest from Lumby, British Columbia, Canada
“Well, the season went pretty well for being my first year. I think my parents sent you pictures of my first moose. It was pretty cool. It had a 53″ spread. I had one hunter who missed a wolf broadside at 50 yards. I had one hunter from California miss a monster mule deer. From what I have seen he was at least 30″ inside spread and had the tallest rack I have ever seen. He was one of the ones you read about in the magazines. The deer hunting was also hard because the mule deer and whitetail have to have four points above the brow tine. We had to pass on lots of whitetail because they were short the last point. One we let go would have easily scored 140 probably more, but we couldn’t shoot. I made good money here too; I got $3600 a month clear. Hope this letter finds you doing well.”
Jake Hohn from Ethan, SD
“Guided in Wyoming and had a sucessful year. I plan on going back. Thanks for everything.”
Justin Knick from Fleming, OH
“After my guide school experience, I went to work for an outfitter located in Hotchkiss, Colorado. I want to thank you for showing us how it was done. The tips and techniques you (Cody) and John taught us has successfully helped me to guide hunts for elk, mule deer and bear for several seasons now. I have been quite successful. The picture is my first elk for a client. After a long and stressful stalk, we got him! He’s not a monster, but my hunter was very happy. Thanks so much.”
Worked in Idaho for several years, currently operates his own outfitting business in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California. He offers day horse rides and pack trips.
My wife and I decided to quit our jobs and start guiding and cooking for a living. Doesn’t sound like much if you are 19 years old and working in a factory, or Walmart making $18k a year. Not the case for us. I was 27 years old, and had been a mechanical engineer for seven years. My wife was 32 years old and a manager for Verizon Corp. We made $80k the last year before we went to guide and cook school. In my search for a guide school I spoke with many guide schools.
At Royal Tine, Cody and LeRee were the most honest and helpful in getting us the important information that we needed to make educated decisions about getting into the business. They did not try to sell us on the dream, they just told us the truth. Guide school was hard work, but so much fun. We were in school for four weeks, and by the third week, we already had a job lined up for the coming fall hunting season.
Our first job was in Kansas guiding deer, duck, quail, and turkey hunting, where Maria was the lodge cook. The next job we took was managing the upland hunting division for an Orvis endorsed lodge in southern Illinois, where Maria managed the kitchen. Next we decided that we wanted to go to Alaska. That wasn’t quite as easy as it would seem, so we took a job in Arizona managing a lodge there. Finally, last year we made our first trip to Alaska to guide salmon and trout fishing. I also guided a moose hunt in western AK. Every year I go to Kentucky to work for Trophys Unlimited where I am the head turkey-hunting guide, then down to Colorado to guide elk hunters!
If it were not for Cody, LeRee, and John at Royal Tine and all their help, my wife and I would still be sitting behind a desk in an office with a terrible view. I must say that my new office has a great view all the time. Cody and LeRee have been so much more to us than just instructors. They have been friends to us for the past three and a half years. They have always been there to help us out with any questions or concerns that we have had, through the good and the bad.
We all know that this business is a dog eat dog line of work, and you will never do it for the money. You will do it because it will get in your blood and you can’t ever imagine not doing it. I cannot think of myself working at a computer ever again. My wife and I are now working on getting our own lodge started. We look forward to the day coming soon when we can work for ourselves. Thanks so much, Cody and LeRee, for all your help during and after school.
Josh and Maria Kugler are operating their own business now in Angola, Indiana, called Aardvark Sign Company. Josh still does guided fishing trips on the side. They have guided and cooked in Colorado, Kansas, Alaska and Indiana.
Stephen Rosso, Idaho
“I went right to work in my home state of Idaho, in one of the most amazing and exciting places and that is the roadless 2.3 million acres of the Frank Church Wilderness. There is nothing like it, from riding the horses along the great Middle Fork of the Salmon to riding up Big Creek in August as the native Chinook salmon are swimming right next to you. I have now worked for a couple different outfits in the Frank Church. I am able to keep working and guiding from the middle of August to the end of January, with running the hounds chasing lions probably being my newest addiction.
I love my job about as much as I can say. I have met incredible people through it, from my many clients to other guides and outfitters. It is something that cannot necessarily be explained until you have lived in a tent without electricity, and drank water only from the mountain streams for over half a year. I don’t see myself leaving this line of work for a long time if I can keep with it. Of course my future goal has my own outfit in it, but I will stick to the guiding for a bit longer before I decide to deal with all that paperwork.
Whether you plan on coming to the school to pursue what I call “my dream”, or you just love the outdoors as much as myself, you can’t go wrong by coming to Royal Tine for the knowledge you can get is not only pertaining to becoming a guide, but can be just as helpful with many other outdoor activities. Hope everyone has a great winter, spring, and summer, cause I am counting the days till next fall.”
Tyler Beach, Texas
“Dear Cody and LeRee’,
Worked in Wyoming for Gap Pucchi. I don’t regret working for Gap one bit, quite a unique experience. I learned a whole lot, saw some amazing country and had some equally amazing experiences. Got to guide, and pack with Derick W. McKay, a former student of yours, a hell of a horseman, shoer and comedian. I’m thoroughly enjoying outfitting and can’t wait to get back out there in the saddle! Anyways, hope ya’ll are doing well. Really enjoyed guide school and think you run a great program!”
Mike Grundmann, Canada
In the past 8 years I have guided across Western Canada and during that time have gotten to know many different people, and see many different places. I have always been a lover of the outdoors and hunting, during my last year of high school I was uncertain about what to do after graduating until I found a listing for guide schools in a hunting magazine. I looked into a few different schools and decided Royal Tine was right up my alley. Cody, LeRee, and John were the friendliest, most hard working instructors I have ever met and really care about the students and teach them well. I recommend anyone who has any interest in the outdoors and wants a job they will enjoy the rest of their life to check them out. To me, guiding has never been just a job, it’s a passion and I couldn’t imagine doing anything else with my life. 5 years ago I bought my own Whitetail/Bear Outfit in Northern Saskatchewan and am now pro staff for a TV show out of the states. I know none of it would have been possible without Royal Tine.
Matt Scott, Washington
Royal Tine was the key to a great start in the hunting industry, it was the open door to a great time the past 4 years. I decided to attend the school because of my interest in packing, I owned a few mules and had done a little packing. I was 29 years old and ready for a change (Guys in my class called me Pappy). I grew up hunting and had learned most of my packing skills from family and an original hard back of “Horse’s Hitches and Rocky Trails.” These were just enough skills to get me in and out of the Bob and the Frank Church with wrecks of all kinds, rolled saddles, sore mules, and lots of laughs. During this weekend warrior faze I met a few Outfitters and started to think “They pay you to have this much fun?”. Royal Tine was a month of great food, fun and most importantly taught me how to pack and guide professionally. This school was essential to my confidence and allowed me to enter the industry with a base knowledge that would have taken years to attain.
I have for the last four years ran the Outfitting for Middle fork Ranch Inc. located at Pistol Creek in the Franck Church. This year I spent 7 months in the backcountry doing summer pack trips, clearing trail, fishing, ranch work, breaking horses and of course setting up camps and guiding.
Cody and LeRee needed some help and honored me by inviting me to instruct at the school for two weeks. Having grown up in the west, I didn’t realize how lucky my life has been, this was a chance to share with others. The class was great and would recommend anyone interested should just do it!!! You only live once.
“If your lucky enough to live in the mountains, your lucky enough”
Brandon Ice, Minnesota
Working in Montana’s Bob Marshall Wilderness for the past 4 seasons. These pictures were taken by a professional photographer who wrote an article in the Montana Sporting Journal magazine about the outfit Brandon works for.
Otto Kulm, Oregon
Just thought I would send you a note to tell you thanks for giving me a great head start in the guiding industry. I have been at it full time since graduation at Royal Tine, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. The skills and knowledge that you and John shared with the class, proved to be the right stuff for the Alaskan wilderness. I knew I wanted to be in Alaska, and thanks to your job placement I found an outfitter who ran a string of horses and mules in the Alaska Range. I started out working as a packer for him, and became an assistant guide after a two year apprenticeship. I then worked for several other master guides and outfitters, guiding for Dall Sheep, Grizzly, Moose, Caribou, & Black Bear. What a dream come true, I was guiding clients in the ‘last frontier’ for some of the most desirable trophies in the world!
After three years of guiding for other outfitters, I was legally able to test for my registered guide license to become an Alaskan outfitter. So now I am my own boss, and have been outfitting for several years now. My wife and I move to Alaska full-time, and started Pacific Mountain Guides LLC. I now hold outfitting licenses in Alaska and Oregon, and also a captains license for fishing charters. I operate for seven months out of the year for; Brown Bear, Grizzly, Black Bear, Dall Sheep, Mtn. Goat, Elk, & Mule Deer. The work is definitely not easy, but thanks to you guys it is a dream come true.
Greg Heimgartner, Washington
Cody and LeRee,
“It has been a long time since I was a student in your outdoor classroom. Peterson hunting magazine called it 28 days in the hole but I called it my office and have been working in an office in the Rocky Mountains ever since. I have guided pro sports players, movie stars and even done a few hunting shows and they have all turned out to be great friends. The days are long and the work is hard but the time spent outdoors pursuing a passion is well worth it.
I have been with Bull Basin Guides and Outfitters since that call I made to Dean Billington from your guide school camp. I guide deer, elk, bear, lion, antelope and even do some fishing. The clients hunt with rifles, archery, pistols, black powder and even cross bows which makes every week a different challenge. I guide on 70,000 plus or minus acres with a variety of habitat that range from 6500 to over 10,000 feet in elevation. This job is unlike any other job and every day you have new challenges and the views from my office change daily. Thanks again for the great education and the opportunity to work at a job I truly love to do.”
Then, (1st season of guiding) and now, (14th season of guiding).
Bill Youngs, Puyallup, WA
At age 52, Bill Youngs graduated Royal Tine and worked for Medicine Lake Outfitters. Bill did a lot of guiding and packing in some of Montana’s prettiest areas. Pictured is Bill, packing out his first kill. Bill had some good stories to tell of his first year guiding, including adventures with grizzly bears and wolves and a helluva wreck with a pack string.
Check out a story written by Bill about his guiding adventure! Click here to read Bill’s Story
Cale Mensink, Minnesota
“I was laid off from my job driving trucks in the winter of ’06. I wasn’t really in the mood to do the whole job search thing, and really didn’t want to be driving trucks, either. I grew up on a dairy farm, and was brought up hunting and enjoying the outdoors. I had never been out west, and had always dreamed of seeing the mountains. I thought if there was a way I could make a living somehow being outdoors, that would be perfect. I did some searching on the internet for guide schools, and Royal Tine kept coming up. From what I read, it sounded like the best fit to me, I especially liked the prospect of receiving job placement after school. I decided to jump on the opportunity and got one of the remaining spots for the upcoming summer.
I spent the next few months preparing by getting myself into good physical condition. When the time for school finally came around, I made the 20+ hour drive to Montana. I remember how excited I was when I started approaching the foothills of the mountains near Billings. I couldn’t believe I was actually doing it. The class was everything I could have hoped for. Cody and LeRee are great people who run an outstanding school. I think how we focused on the horsemanship and packing aspects was very important because most new guides will not guide their first year, so they have to be able to pack and work with the stock. Cody and LeRee understand this, which is why their students are more prepared coming out than most people from other schools. LeRee’s meals are worth the price of tuition alone – the guide/packer school was just a bonus!
The four weeks of class flew by, and by the time school was over, I had contacted seven outfitters and set up interviews. I spent the next week driving between Wyoming, Idaho, Montana, and Washington interviewing with them all. I was offered a job by every outfitter, and was able to choose where I wanted to work. I really liked when I talked to Scott and Shelda Farr at Middle Fork Lodge. They have been outfitting in the Frank Church for the better part of 40 years, and run a first class outfit. I have been here at the lodge ever since I got out of school, working full time year round as Ranch Foreman along with the guiding. I’ve been on most of the big game hunts we offer – elk, deer, bear, sheep, lion, bobcat. The only one I haven’t hunted is goat and moose (the wolves have all but wiped the moose out of the Middle Fork). The lodge is amazing, and I hope to work here for a long, long time.
I owe all the thanks to Cody and LeRee. I encourage anyone who is interested in the guiding, packing, cooking, or the outdoors in general to consider them first. They helped me realize my dreams, and they can do the same for you to!”
Brian Hemphill, Oregon
Graduated Royal Tine and immediately went to work for Apache Land & Cattle in Taos, New Mexico. His ranch leases over a 1/4 million acres in hunting land each year and he has guided clients to two B&C muley bucks and numerous big bulls. He has taken some big name clients such as Al and Bobby Uncer (car racers) and James Hetfield of Metallica. He has also been in a couple of hunting videos.
Beau Kobetsky, Minnesota
“I’ve been guiding in the Frank church wilderness of Idaho ever since I graduated Royal Tine. I’ve seen and done some pretty amazing things the last few years working as a guide. I’ve been hunting Elk, Mule deer, Black bear, Bobcats, Mountain lions, and Big Horn Sheep. I’ve been fishing some world class high mountain lakes and streams for trout, while guiding fishermen. I’ve been meeting some wonderful people thru out the years, co-workers, and guest of ours that are some real good friends of mine now, and I wouldn’t trade for the world. I’ve been packing, flying, hunting, and living in the real remote, rugged, and truly breath taking mountains of the Frank Church-River of no return wilderness, and the salmon river and its drainages.
This has all been a dream come true for me, I grew up and worked on our family farm back east, I’ve always had a love for the outdoors, and always dreamed of doing some of the things I have been lately. I just can’t think of a better way to fulfill that love and passion for the outdoors, than to live it, and make a living out of it!
Lots of different opportunities have arose over the years working as a guide. I’m looking at a ranch foremen position this year at our seasonal ranch in the chamberlain basin. I found my love and interest for horse shoeing, and for hounds and hound hunting working as a guide. I have a small pack (3) of my own Walker hounds. The outfitter I work for hired me this year as their houndsmen to do their cat hunt. I was honored to do that, and I am just tickled about my dogs, they are doing a great job, the cat hunt went well for us, and I’m looking forward to doing some more hunts for them!
I must say that this was all made possible for me because of Cody and LeRee at Royal Tine. Royal Tine is where I got my start. They have been so great, they are much more than instructors, they are good friends, and they are there to help you find the job you want, and get the training you need! I’ve worked with some other students from other guide schools over the years, and let me say they didn’t have near the knowledge of ropes, hitches, knots, and horsemanship as the students that come from Royal Tine do. If I ever start doing the hiring at our outfit, I can tell you I’m gonna look nowhere else but Royal Tine for student’s that are already way ahead of the game!”
Patrick Warren, California
Patrick Warren and his friend Allan Councilman went through the school and on to work for Heavens Gate Outfitters in Riggins, ID. Patrick helped guide a client to a 327 B&C bull. He has since guided clients to more elk and whitetails. Pictured are Patrick and a client with a whitetail and the camp and a ‘good’ hunt where he was working.