Swan Mountain Wilderness Guide School students eat, sleep, and breathe an outdoor guide’s lifestyle. Our location consists of a rustic training and lodging facility based from an authentic, and fully operational outfitters camp in the Flathead National Forest, in the mountains of Northwest Montana. Our real-life training experience is one of the many things that sets our outfitters and guide school curriculum above other programs in the world. Wilderness Guide School training is multi-faceted, and is taught by several elite professionals from around the inland Northwest. Instructors are chosen based on their experience specific to the courses offered within the guide school program. Classes are taught by guide school owner Patrick Tabor, in-house instructors, and by various guest instructors. Our philosophy is that one person doesn’t know it all, so we bring in the best-of-the-best to create a well-rounded curriculum and team.
Swan Mountain Wilderness Guide School is an outfitter guide school that’s owned and operated by Patrick Tabor II and his wife Megan. Patrick Tabor II is the second generation owner of Wilderness Guide School, is a Montana State licensed outfitter, and learned the ropes from his father from a young age. Patrick grew-up in the industry helping his dad and family to operate successful outfitting businesses including: Swan Mountain Outfitters, Salmon Forks Outfitters, Swan Mountain Llama Trekking, and Swan Mountain Wilderness Guide School. Patrick has been fishing and hunting his entire life, and has been recreating in various locations around the world, with Montana as his stomping-grounds. When Patrick graduated from high school, he was already living a guides lifestyle, as well as being immersed in an outfitters business. Patrick’s passion for the outdoors and the guiding industry, inspired his earned college degree in outdoor recreation management. His schooling helped to further develop and manage Swan Mountain Wilderness Guide School as a successful, authentic outfitters guide school with modern needs. Patrick has also covered thousands of miles working as a guide for his family business in the Bob Marshall Wilderness, taking many guests to success on their wilderness elk, mule deer, bear, and fishing trips. When he isn’t guiding trips, or teaching students at Wilderness Guide School, Patrick can be found hunting, fishing, and hiking with his wife and two children. This love for the outdoors, combined with his unique skill-set and family history as outfitters, is a valuable asset he brings to the guide school training.
Wilderness Guide School’s history is unique as it unfolds into it’s second generation of owners. It’s a family founded and operated business with a surprising backbone that sets it’s standards above other guide schools. Wilderness Guide School founder, Pat Tabor, worked for many years in the corporate world. His foundation in business helped to create a professional school that aligns students with both the knowledge of guiding, and how to use those skills for successful employment, or business ownership. Pat officially began his professional career in outfitting when he formed Swan Mountain Outfitters by combining the business activities of Swan Mountain Ranch and purchasing Lion Creek Outfitters, a well respected and established hunting outfitter in Montana in operation since 1972. Then Pat bought Mule Shoe Outfitters, and obtained the exclusive concession to provide trail rides in Glacier National Park (now owned by Aubrie and Erik Lorona, Tabor’s daughter and son-in-law). In a short few years, Pat built the largest horseback based outfit in Montana. In the earlier years as an outfitter, Pat guided every pack trip and hunt, bringing successful harvests for big game hunting guests. This outfitters lifestyle is consistent through both generations of owners; the culture is a big part of what our guide school students experience during their training, and is fundamental in making our training the most comprehensive guide school in the nation.
Our outfitter guide school operates under permits from the Flathead Natinal Forest, Montana DNRC, and private timber company leases.
Swan Mountain Wilderness Guide School and Swan Mountain Outfitters are proud members of the following industry associations:
- Montana Guides and Outfitters Association (MOGA)
- Safari Club International
- Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation
- Mule Deer Foundation
- Big Fork, Seeley Lake, Whitefish, Kalispell, and Columbia Falls Chambers of Commerce
- Seeley-Swan Path Finder
- Fishing Outfitter Association of Montana (FOAM)
- American Outdoors Association
- American Outdoors Association (AOA)