Scott and Angie Denny of Cheyenne, Wyoming, purchased Table Mountain Outfitters in 1996. Scott’s been guiding hunters full-time since 1992, while Angle began in 1996. In 2007 they began their popular Sportsman Channel cable television show, “The Life at Table Mountain.” I’ve known the Dennys for decades and hunted with them several times. They’re real pros with real-world experience. Here’s their list of the 10 questions you must ask when inquiring about a guided big game hunt.
1. What’s Your Goal?
“You have to decide what it is you really want out of a hunt,” Scott said. “Is the experience the most important thing? High success rates? A few big trophy animals vs. lots of average animals? Be honest with yourself so you do not set unrealistic expectations.”
2. What’s Your Budget?
“How much you have to spend is critical,” said Angie. “You really do get what you pay for in terms of trophy size potential, accommodations, etc.”
3. What Kind of Camp Do You Want?
“Some people are happy hunting from a wall tent with no showers, while others hate it,” Angie said. “Some prefer a lodge-type camp. Some don’t mind a lot of other hunters in camp, while others want to keep it smaller.”
4. How Do You Transport Hunters?
“If you hate horses, don’t book a horseback hunt,” Scott advised. “Would you rather get around in a truck, on an ATV, a boat? How about a backpack hunt? This is a basic question some guys forget to ask about.”
5. What’s Your Physical Condition?
“Ask us how physical the hunting is,” Angie said. “Our truck-based pronghorn hunts require very little walking, while some elk hunts require a lot. Don’t book a hunt that requires great physical conditioning if you can’t hike a lot.”
6) Do You Have Phone Service/Internet Access?
“In today’s world a lot of clients are uncomfortable hunting in areas where they cannot get decent cell coverage or can’t check their email regularly,” Angie said. “If you have to be constantly wired to the outside world, let us know and we can make sure we offer you a hunt with that option.”
7. Do You Hunt Private Or Public Land?
“Very important question,” Scott said. “On our private land hunting leases we control access, hunting pressure, and harvest. On public land you run the risk of running into other hunters. Private land hunts can cost more, but to many the benefits make that worth the extra money.”
8. What Type of Hunting Do You Prefer?
“Some people want to spot & stalk, others are more comfortable in blinds or a tree stand,” Angie said. “Some like to spend most of the day riding around in a truck. We also offer hound hunts for cats and bears, and baited black bear hunts. If you are not comfortable with that style, make sure that’s not what you’re booking.”
9. What Kind of Weapon Can I Use?
“If you are a hardcore bowhunter, let us know, we have excellent hunts for that,” Scott said. “If you would rather use a rifle, or a muzzleloader, or even a crossbow, make sure when you book the hunt you have told the outfitter both the type of weapon you prefer, but also honestly tell them what your skill level is with that weapon. That way they can plan to maximize your chances for success.”
10. Is It A Trophy Hunt, Or A Meat Hunt?
“If your goal is a 350-plus bull elk, a 180-plus muley, or a 16-inch-plus pronghorn, tell us,” Angie said. “We can honestly tell you if we have the chance to harvest an animal that size or not. Or, if your goal is a quality hunt with a great chance at taking an average-sized animal, tell us that, and we can explain the options.”
The bottom line? “There are no guarantees in fair chase hunting,” Angie said. “Our track record of success for our clients is very good, but the truth is, we cannot guarantee anybody an animal. Come with a good attitude and a willingness to hunt hard, and the odds are good things will happen.”
Opening photo by John Hafner