Important Guide School Information

Guide School Entrance

Entrance Requirements:

The school does not discriminate based on race, sex, religion, ethnic origin, or disability. To the extent possible, our school will make reasonable accommodations for individuals with disabilities to access our training. The nature of a guide and packer school requires specific physical demands on individuals and as such, decisions regarding the ability of an individual to participate will be handled on a case-by-case basis. Each student must be at least 17 years of age and in good physical and mental health. Students under the age of 18 must have written parental consent. (A guide license requires a minimum age of 18). Students must be physically able to ride a horse, hike and live in high elevations and lift at least 80 pounds of weight chest high.

Tuition and Fees:

Each student must enclose payment for tuition deposit at the time the enrollment application is submitted. Tuition includes room and board and all training materials. Deposit with all guide and packer applications is 50% of class tuition and balance due 45 days prior to class start date and is non-refundable and non-transferable.


Prospective students may enroll at any time, however the number of students accepted is limited and students are admitted on a first come first serve basis. The enrollment is limited to eight students per class.

guide class

Personal Risk and Liability:

Students are required to sign an “Acknowledgement of Risk and Assumption of Personal Responsibility” form for accident and/or illness. The form will be distributed on course start date. Students are urged to carry personal medical insurance coverage in case of illness or injury.


It is recommended that students have their own transportation, so that they may drive to prospective jobs and interviews after the school. However, if you plan to fly, arrange flights to Missoula, MT (MSO) arriving the day before class starts and schedule flights out the day after class ends. We would be happy to recommend a quality motel. Transportation to and from the airport can be provided for a $100 pickup fee.
Philipsburg (pop: about 900) is a twenty-minute drive from base camp. There is a Laundromat and pay phones in Philipsburg. Once at camp, there will be no vehicle use except for days off – – NO EXCEPTIONS.

Student Conduct:

Safety is first and foremost in all our activities. Any student who willfully or irresponsibly causes another student, instructor or livestockto be placed in jeopardy may be immediately dismissed at the discretion of the head instructor or school administrator. Students are expected to cooperate, act maturely and respect other students, instructors and other staff members at all times. Dismissal may also occur when a student displays an uncooperative attitude towards the schools faculty or fellow students. The school reserves the right to be the sole judge of such conduct, which may be detrimental to the school. Other grounds for dismissal or termination include but are not limited to:

  • Cheating, dishonesty, stealing, falsifying records.
  • Excessive absenteeism or tardiness.
  • Immoral, unprofessional, or unlawful conduct.
  • Use of intoxicating liquors and/or drugs.
  • Misuse or abuse of equipment, animals or school property.
  • Fighting.
  • Intentional disruption of school activities.
  • Physical abuse or sexual harassment of any person on school premises.
  • Threatening or endangering the health or safety of any person on school premises.
  • Theft or damage to school property or equipment.
  • Unauthorized use or entry into school facilities.

Students dismissed from the course will not be allowed to re-enter.

Attendance Policy:

Students are expected to attend classes daily for the full time allotted. Two unexcused absences will result in dismissal from the school. Students are expected to be punctual and actively take part in all classes and training sessions. Students will be expected to stay within the school perimeter unless student has verbal authorization from an instructor.

Class Schedule:

Due to our small enrollment and the nature of our subject matter, the class schedule is flexible and is adjusted daily to meet the needs of students and other circumstances, such as the weather conditions or unexpected learning opportunities. Students will receive 60 hours of instruction per week. The 4-week course offers 240 hours of instruction and the 5-week course offers 300. The schedule is based on an average of 6 days per week and 12 hours per day of class work, instruction and self-study. Mondays will be days off.

Representative daily schedule:
6 am wake-up, campjack and wrangling
7:30 am breakfast
8:00 am – 12:00 pm morning instruction
12:00 pm – 1:00 pm lunch
1:00 pm – 6:00 pm afternoon instruction
6:00 pm – 7:00 pm dinner
7:00 pm – 8:30 pm practice and self study
8:30 pm – 9:00 pm daily quiz

guiding class

Personal Supplies and Equipment:

The school is not responsible for lost, damaged or stolen articles. Students are responsible to secure all personal items to prevent any losses. All personal items should be marked with the students name or initials.

Standards of Progress:

The course is divided into four major areas:

– Horsemanship including horse shoeing
– Packing
– Guide/hunting skills
– Outdoor skills

The school holds all student records. Students may review their records at any time and may request to go over them with the director of education. The school may authorize release of students records to employing outfitters.

Grading System:

Students will be graded on practical tests, a hands on mid term exam, and daily quizzes. Grades are based on the following:

5 – excellent (A)
4 – above average (B)
3 – average (C)
2 – below average (D)
1 – unsatisfactory (F)
0 – incomplete

Graduation Requirements:

A final grade in each major study area of 3.0 or better is required to pass the course and qualify for a diploma certificate. A final overall grade of 3.6 or better is required for graduates to be eligible for job placement assistance.

Job Placement Assistance:

Job placement assistance is offered in the form of job lead referrals. This is a service provided to you, that was included in the tuition. We have placed 100% of qualified graduates, however, we make no guarantees, express or implied, of future employment. Current law prohibits any school from guaranteeing job placement as an inducement to enroll students.

Previous Credit Recognition:

No previous credit recognition is needed nor recognized for the successful completion of this course. A diploma certificate will be issued to each student upon satisfactory completion of the course.


The school does not guarantee the transferability of its credits to any other institution unless there is a written agreement with another institution.

Guide License Requirements:

Criminal records or violations of state or federal regulations pertaining to outfitting and guiding, or fish and game laws may have an affect on your eligibility to become a licensed guide. Law requires guide license applicants to be a minimum of 18 years of age. Requirements for guide licensing varies from state to state.

guide and packer school

School Facilities, Equipment and Faculty:

Royal Tine Guide and Packer School is located on a private ranch near Philipsburg, MT. The school is conducted on approx. 17,000 acres of private land; in addition, the school has permits for surrounding United States Forest Service Lands.

Students are taught in an outdoor setting just as they will be working as a guide, packer, or cook. The school facilities consist of:

Large cook tent with kitchen facilities for meals and/or classroom studies
Student tents with bunks, foam pads and wood stoves for sleeping
Shower tent
Tack shed
Crew tents
Corral for livestock
Hitching posts

The camp does have a generator to power a television, VCR and other necessary equipment.

The training equipment is varied and extensive. It basically consists of all equipment and stock that is needed and used to operate a professional outfitting business.

The owners of Royal Tine Guide and Packer School, Cody and LeRee’ Hensen, have a lifetime of combined stock, hunting, business and outdoor experience in Wyoming, Montana, Idaho and Alaska. Cody also holds a degree in business administration from the University of Montana. Cody and LeRee’ are both First Aid certified and are very involved in school instruction.

Refund Policy:

Most program expenses are incurred while preparing for the applicant to attend a course. Our cancellation and refund policy reflect the fact that it is impossible to recover these costs for late cancellations, no-shows, or withdrawals from the course.

A full refund of the deposit will be issued if the applicant is not accepted by the school, the course is full, or the course is cancelled. Note; these are the only circumstances upon which a deposit is refunded.

Refunds for veteran eligible students will be based on the Department of Veteran Affairs (DVA) regulation 21.4255

Students who leave a course once it has begun, whether it is due to sickness, dismissal, withdrawal, or any other reason, will not be entitled to refunds of any tuition, fees or deposits.

Due to the small nature of our business, our refund policy for monies paid is that all monies paid are non-refundable and non-transferable, and are considered as partial payment for the services of reserving time and space on the schedule and advance preparation of equipment and supplies.

What To Bring:

clothes for at least 1 week (include jeans and long sleeve shirts)
long underwear, sweatshirt, and warm jacket
1 set of camouflaged clothing (shirt & pants)
footwear— cowboy boots for riding, hiking boots and camp shoes
leather belt
belt knife
cowboy hat— Stetson or Resistol. It is important that you look like a western guide.
sleeping bag (rated to at least 0 degrees) with stuff sack and pillow
rain gear (I recommend a light weight duster type rain jacket)**
gloves (leather)
toiletries (tooth brush, comb and biodegradable shampoo/soap such as CampSuds™)
towel and face cloth
insulated travel mug or “to go cup”(available at any gas station)
alarm clock (with extra batteries)
multi-plier (such as a Leatherman)
8′ X 10′ foot lightweight poly tarp(available at Walmart)**
50 feet of light nylon cord**
4 lightweight tent stakes**
compass (make sure it has a base plate so it can be used with maps)
elk bugle with grunt tube and a cow call
binoculars (I recommend a pair that is waterproof, fogproof, 8-10 power x 35-50mm obj.)
GPS – we suggest the Garmin eTrex 20
notebook and pen
extra pair of glasses, if you wear them
pocket money for laundry and shopping
day pack (small, camo & quiet) and should include the following items:
___water bottles or hydration bladder for backpack
___flashlight(small) or head lamp (with extra bulb and batteries)
___small saw or hatchet
___knife sharpener
___small first aid kit (include: bandaids, gauze & tape, asprin, moleskin, etc.)
___lighters (2)

** I have these items available for sale at the school, if you can’t find them. Please let me know if you need them.

Don’t bring any pets, we have a strict no dog policy.

Also, to fish on days off, a fishing license is needed. Licenses may be purchased in Butte or Missoula.

A note on elk bugles– I personally prefer a mouth diaphragm such as the Lohman #21 with a good grunt tube. However, any double reed mouth diaphragm will do. There are a number of good external diaphragm calls as well. These are generally easier to learn to use. I feel E.L.K. ‘s Power Bugle is the best of the externals. I also highly recommend a good cow call. I feel the E. J. Sceery Ace-1 is a good one. Cabelas (1-800-237-4444) sells both E.L.K. and Sceery calls and many of the other items on the list.


fishing gear
Guns may be brought but not used during school hours or on school property for insurance reasons. You are welcome to go elsewhere and shoot on your days off.

As a minimum, you should have all the items on the first list when you come. As you go through the school and on to a job, you will have a much better idea of what you will need and want for further gear. If you do plan on purchasing items and have questions or want recommendations, feel free to email or call.