Research from current hunting guide schools shows that as much as 50% of the participants attending guide schools are individuals who do not intend to enter the outfitting industry as a guide, but are hunters and adventurers looking to bolster their outdoor, woodsmanship, hunting and wilderness skills.

Few guide schools address hunting schools for hunters, a very important sector of the outdoor hunting and wilderness school market. Swan Mountain Wilderness Guide School has surveyed graduates of guide schools that fall into this category to create our curriculum for our Hunters and Adventurers Program. We have developed our non-guide hunting school program with the following features:

  • A shorter more intense course that reflects participants’ need for a program that bolsters their own experience and skill set
  • Increased focus on practicing skills in the field vs in the classroom
  • A chance to have fun with others who share similar interests with less emphasis of being tested, taking quizzes and tests.

Hunting School Curriculum

Because this course focuses on only on building skills for the wilderness adventurer, we are capable of getting into much greater detail on the topics of key importance the 10-day course includes coverage of the following:

Hunting & Fishing Techniques

Hunting of elk, mule & whitetail deer, moose, antelope, sheep, goats, lions and bears including all aspects of habitat, food, behavior, & types; thorough coverage of all hunting techniques including still, spot & stock, driving, dogs and stands & blinds; modern applications of calling, decoys, bait, rattles, simulations; extensive coverage of proper glassing techniques; thorough review of equipment including binoculars, spotters, range finders, scents, calls, clothing, waterproof wear, scent free wear and all aspects of footwear; shot placement; calibers and loads, bullet arch optimizing & sighting in as well as ballistic charts; bow performance, accessories, proper practice techniques; advanced tracking for hunting and finding wounded animals including all soil conditions and blood tracking methods, exploration of new blood tracking products. All aspects of fly and spin cast fishing including extensive equipment review, effective techniques for all bodies of water, float trips, fly casting and related instruction, spin cast instruction and related matters, emphasis on fishing wilderness waters and what works and what doesn’t at different times of the year: Care of game including all forms of field dress and meat preparation and transport under various conditions; trophy identification under the sanctioned scoring methods most commonly used including Pope & Your, Boone & Crockett and SCI; Proper caping techniques taught by a taxidermist from his perspective; review of knives and sharpening techniques; full coverage of hunter ethics and difficult client scenarios; safety around wounded or dangerous game; taking quality photographs of your successes.

Horse, Mules and Packing

Saddles and equipment: horse and mule behavior and behavioral issues: horse & mule care & nutrition and common health problems and how to treat with equine First Aid; repair of tack/equipment; packing horses & mules with Decker & Sawbuck pack saddles; leading a string & common problems; all aspects of riding including back country issues, common mistakes; defensive riding, how to ride & stay safe; riding in the dark and in serious weather conditions; all aspects of knots used for horses, mules and packing.

Outdoorsmanship and Woodsmanship

Orienteering including use of, compass, GPS maps, day/night/bad weather navigation; wilderness survival including safety and prevention of common maladies, emergency procedures & evacuation, emergency shelters and fire starting; camping in the wilderness including campsite selection and layout, types of tents & erecting tents; camp equipment including different types and uses, lanterns, stoves, tools and maintenance of such; outback cooking including cooking with fires & Dutch Oven Cooking, nutrition and safe food storage; bear prevention; minimum impact techniques; camp safety & hygiene; keeping horses in the wilderness; organizing and successful elements of providing pack trips; chainsaw and axe use; camp knots and applications.

Heath, Safety & Welfare

Wilderness first aid; personal health & hygiene; water access and management; wilderness ethics; gun & bow safety; behavior towards other campers/backpackers hunters; grizzly bear awareness & protection of humans & the animal; backcountry fire awareness prevention and emergency procedures.

Laws, Rules and Ethics & Responsibilities

Laws & rules coverage in all aspects of the hunting, fishing and wilderness access from the perspective of the federal and state governments including forestry, parks, fish & game agencies, private & public land use and will include permits & licenses; legal & ethical responsibility of the outdoorsman and how to handle issues with locals and others you encounter; wilderness rules & regulations; conservation issues including no trace, resource scarcity, environmental concerns, activist group interaction.

Who Should Attend?

Participants of this program could include: novice hunters and fisherman looking to expand their knowledge base; do-it-yourselfers wanting to understand how to prepare for guiding themselves into the wilderness to hunt, fish and or just camp and explore; experienced hunters looking to learn more about effective hunting techniques used by professional guides and outfitters; adventure seekers just looking for a new experience in a beautiful area of the country; individuals that may want to become a guide in the future but who aren’t ready to make a commitment for a full 4 week course.

Location of Course and Accommodations

This special course will be hosted at Swan Mountain Outfitters Base Camp in the heart of the Swan Valley. Participants will be staying in wall tents equipped with platform bunks with 4-inch thick mattresses, wood burning stoves and many other amenities and the program includes all meals.

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