We believe, at Swan Mountain Wilderness Guide School, that you should have as much information as possible to help you decide which hunting guide school is right for you. Listed below are several questions that we get frequently asked about choosing a guide school. We are constantly adding to this list so be sure to check in often or just email us with your questions.
- If I cancel will I get my deposit back?
- Do you guarantee job placement?
- Is Swan Mountain Wilderness Guide School accredited?
- Is Swan Mountain Wilderness Guide School just a way to get work done for an outfitter?
- How important is self-study and preparatory work prior to coming to a course at Swan Mountain Wilderness Guide School?
- I’ve never ridden a horse and I’m a little apprehensive, am I alone?
- When I complete my coursework at SMWGS, will I really be ready to work as guide?
- What are your contact details?
- Do I have to be 18 years old to participate?
If I cancel will I get my deposit back?
Deposits are non-refundable; it is advised that you should obtain trip cancellation insurance for unseen emergencies. Students not accepted by the school will receive a full refund.
Do you guarantee job placement?
No, this is not legal in the state of Montana. Additionally, anyone promising that they will as a means to entice you to enroll is not being honest. Think about it, who would make a guarantee like that unless they have a way out (which they do). The fact is we don’t know whether you are cut out for this business or not, we don’t know how you will like it, and quite frankly we don’t know where you will fit. Swan Mountain Wilderness Guide School maintains an extensive network of contacts with outfitters all over the country. We get contacted for job openings throughout the year, and maintain a job board. In the last several years we have 4 to 5 times the number of job openings as we have had students to fill them. The fact is, if you work hard, present yourself well, and follow-up there are more jobs then there are people to fill them. Since our inception, everyone who wanted a job got one!
Is Swan Mountain Wilderness Guide School accredited?
Currently, there are no accrediting agencies for Guide Schools in the United States. Any other guide school claiming they are accredited is misusing the term. The term accreditation is used in a very official manner when evaluating colleges and universities, and these are done by entities entitled to do so. Swan Mountain Wilderness Guide School is proud of its endorsing governmental agencies, sponsors and partners. Please see Our partners page.
Is Swan Mountain Wilderness Guide School just a way to get work done for an outfitter?
No. This is a big fear that has been fueled by some other guide school programs. The fact is that there used to be, and perhaps still are a few schools that used the students as indentured servants, but this is fairly rare today. Swan Mountain Wilderness Guide School stands on its own merits and is fully independent of the outfitting business of Swan Mountain Outfitters. Do we share faculties, resources, and personnel? Of course, that’s what brings credibility to the school. We have a state-of-the-art outfitting business that is growing rapidly due to our more innovative approach to guiding.
How important is self-study and preparatory work prior to coming to a course at Swan Mountain Wilderness Guide School?
The material we send in advance is relevant to what we teach. It is the most current information available (not some outdated manual that has been copied over the years), and provides the basis for learning what we will present in our programs. We do not charge students a fee for this, as we see it as integral to our program. We also don’t require students to complete busy work before you start your courses to justify charging you for the materials. With our course preparation materials, however, if you review these before you start our programs, you will undoubtedly learn more and get much more out of our programs.
I’ve never ridden a horse and I’m a little apprehensive, am I alone?
Not in the least, in fact the vast majority of students have no previous equine experience. This is where it becomes critical to assess two important aspects of guide & packer school:
- Does the school have a sufficient number of horses and mules and are they sound?
- Does the program really teach me how to ride and stay safe?
We are proud of our stock at Swan Mountain Wilderness Guide School, and we purposely have designed our equine sessions to give much more thorough instruction on riding and staying safe then the majority of other guide schools.
When I complete my coursework at SMWGS, will I really be ready to work as guide?
It is unrealistic to expect that by completing some home study preparation and 4 weeks of guide school, that you will be ready to guide high-level clients as if you had been doing it for years. Some outfitters that hire you may in fact throw you in over your head.
At Swan Mountain Wilderness Guide School, our goal is to turn you into a life-long learner. There isn’t a school or a course out there that will ever fully prepare you, any more then getting a college degree prepares graduates for their first jobs out of school. What Swan Mountain Wilderness Guide School will do is set a solid foundation for learning, give you reference materials that you can utilize as a resource guide throughout your career, and introduce you to ways of thinking to learn as much as you can, stay safe and have fun.
What are your contact details?
Do I have to be 18 years old to participate?
No. Students who are aged 16 and 17, at the start of the course, can participate if they have parent/guardian consent. We currently cannot admit students younger than 16.