Friday, October 21, 2011

It's 2008

 Well, It's 2008. We made it through the winter,
We found a beautiful home in Salmon.  And we gathered all the gear that came with the outfitting business and got it in one place..Finally! We soon realized we would have to find Pasture for the outfit horses. 12 Head of Half draft horses. 
We also in the mean time developed our web site (first one was Corny as heck and our logo looked like we were selling pumpkins),  and Got our brochure's done. (That chore was tough, Considering Pictures of Dead animals). And proceeded to go to our First Sports Show. It was in Grand Rapids MI. And Basically, It blew all budgets. But, for the First year...We booked 11 hunters. Yahoo...So we thought and we were up and running. 
In the meantime, I needed a Job! I figured after a year or two I could quit the job since our Dream business would take off in leaps and bounds...Boy, I was sure naive then.... Something to keep me busy. I lasted 1 day at the local bar. Decided my Ass wasn't a slapping board. But, I found something else, Secretary for an Elk ranch in Elk bend Idaho. Went for my interview, and I was hired immediately. 
Now this place deserves it's own book. The history there, and the owner, Wow! The Ranch I soon found out is Not really a Working Elk ranch but more of a Sanctuary for Animals. Not to mention the Owner supports this place by Phone counseling or Tarot readings. But, I figured, It was better then the Drunks. So, I stayed. Every day was an interesting day for sure.
Elk Ranch
Summer came and went. And Fall was fast approaching. We had a Small problem. When they Wrote our Permit, We didn't have Camps. So we were told we could "Pick" where we want to camp.  Then, we didn't have any guides except us. When I say Us, In 2008, I didn't have a Nanny yet either. So it was just Terry. We didn't know anyone either. So, Next step. Family...Syd Polk from NM. and Cody Masingale from NM..Cody was perfect for a guide considering he and his family had the 1,3,5,7 P&Y bull elk in NM.
Next came the small problem of shoeing horses. Most shoer's Don't like to mess with horses that have feet bigger then a pie plate. And when they do, It costs an Arm and a leg. Sticker shock for sure! Something that we didn't count on in our budget to say the least. But, We got all the horses done. Now, We are finally at the trail head. And I'm there thinking ok. As soon as we figure out how to Pack this stuff, We should be on our way. Our first experience was with Roany. Well, Lets just say, Hard rattle boxes filled with propane cans sure scatter a bunch of cowboys when he goes to bucking.  What we Soon found out over the years with Roany is that he has to wear a saddle for a week in the round corral BEFORE you pack hay on him for a month. Then Maybe a guide can ride him, But Watch out for those Horse eating chipmunks....Defiantly, Not the one to put rattly boxes with things that rattle in them either. We even got the packer book out and decided on some knots. And Thank God, Cody helped us out as well. The point is, We wanted to have a Very nice camp for our clients. Hot showers and everything. So, I do believe it came to 54 pack loads of gear. (We accidentally packed in my bowling ball as well). By the Time 2008 was done, Terry was an Expert Packer. He really didn't have a choice in the matter. Especially, Since we dropped him off 12 head of horses, and a horse trailer full of gear and said, Here it is, Now figure it out. Yes, There was Plenty of wrecks, Packs under horses and the hole nine yards. But, What is that saying...What doesn't kill you, makes you stronger...LOL
Our first year we had our Camp at Trail Creek. Bad mistake...Beautiful area, but we are in the National Forest that allows cattle grazing. First off, there is nothing for our horses to graze on and second, Nothing like coming back to your camp that you have worked hard on setting up to find the Cows have stampeded through your tents and they are laying flat on the ground with globs of big Cow shit on. We decided IF we made it through this year, We would be moving our Base camp Past the wooden gate were there was NO cattle to contend with.
going to base camp
If I remember correctly. We had 2 camps running that year. We had the High camp as well. That was peaceful, but Oh so cold. And the elk as we found, were actually high rather then in the low lands. I say low. Camp was at 7600 ft. 
The bottom line. It took the month of August to pack Everything in, and to set up camp. But the crew did it. I was Very proud of all of them. Season opened up Aug. 30th for Archery elk hunting and we were finally ready. Everything we thought would be smooth or so we thought. 

Monday, October 17, 2011

Our Friend

Gary in Camp
We are Now legal outfitters with No clients. We are Still in the Testing stage. Our Guinea pig is our Dear friend Gary Carter from Ok. 
First off, The weather. Wow, there was a Lot of snow for the 10th of Oct. But, even though we all were Very cold, hey, We were up there deer hunting and trying things out. 
Wall Tents...Ok..Terry is a builder and he should be able to figure out how one goes up. (we found that wood poles really are easier then metal poles, esp. when it comes to packing them on horses in rough terrain).
Yes, we got it, Oops, that is what they made tarps or visquine for...Other wise your sleeping bag Will be soaking wet when it snows or rains. Oh and another thing, Your Friends really don't like it when they realize you've put their tent right in front of a fresh carcass kill out in the middle of nowhere.  
A different angle of our area
 Some other important tips we learned thanks to our very dear friend's experience. Other people don't really like to go on chicken trails out in the boonies. And that Some little mule's really can't carry as big as loads as the big horses can. However, We did find Gary a Trusty mount...My old mare mule "Bell". At age 25 she was as trusty as they come. And she Loved Gary...Loved him so much that every time he would walk by she would wink at him. 
Another Very important lesson, Is to hold the Opposite stirrup for the client to get on the saddle. At Gary's expense, and to my utter delight....Gary decided to swing up on the saddle. The only issue with that, He swung so hard, He ended up on the opposite side of the Mule, On the ground with his foot stuck in the stirrup. Bell looked at him with Utter Disgust that day.
Ole' Bell
Leather on Saddle in wet and freezing tempetures Really don't mix, and generators really don't start when it gets below Zero. 
Don't loose sight of that person, and heaven forbid, don't send them back to camp by themselves no matter How much they brag about being an avid outdoorsman. 
After the 2 weeks of hunting, Seeing Deer and having a ball, we felt we were Finally ready to go to a show that spring and start booking Real clients for the 2008 Elk hunting season.

The Dream

Our area
Terry's and I had a Dream. We wanted to work together. Both of our passion's were hunting. So, In 2007 we decided to follow through with our passion's. And we started in ernest to Look into Big Game outfitting business's for sale. 
We at least started out right. We went from Alaska to NM looking at different outfits for sale. 
I was partial to Idaho, Because Idaho is where my Dad was an outfitter in the late 80's early 90's. 
But, we did take the time anyways to tour the outfits in other states.
We narrowed it down to 2 outfits. 4x4 and Wilderness outfit...
(Both in Central Idaho)
We loved both of them, and loved the one in the Frank Church wilderness. However, this is the same time our middle daughter Lynn was diagnosed with Autism. 
one of the meadows
Living in the wilderness with a child with special needs was out of the question.
So, We zero'd in on 4x4 outfitters. 
Now, This is a process and a battle in it's self. I honestly can say, I think you could open a Whore house in Idaho FASTER then purchasing an outfitting business in Idaho.  It took us 9 Months of Work!
Between Riding the area with the outfitter, Dealing with purchasinig and attorney's, And dealing with the Federal agencies that hold your permits. To dealing with the Idaho Outfitters and Guides Board. WOW...What a learning curve it was for me. 
Then came the 200+  question Test....I passed with 100%!!!

And, We became Idaho Outfitters......
Ole' Bell
In the Meantime of all this paper work and different agency meetings....We decided to go hunting in our Dream area. 
We loaded the Entire family, Inlaws, Kids, and dear friends and headed out for Big Eight mile to do some deer hunting and some Scouting and exploring our area.  
Not to mention, Trying to decide Where we were going to live. At the time we lived down in Boise Idaho. And knew that we needed to Move up there to either Salmon or Leadore Idaho. 
We Chose Salmon. Salmon Idaho is a Wonderful community. And the best thing they had a Special needs school for our precious daughter Lynn.
Tent we set up for Gary
Back to Hunting in Oct...
With In laws and friends in tow...Our good friend Gary Carter from Ok. Poor Gary, He was our Test. We figured that if we could get Gary on a Deer and take care of him for the 2 weeks up there, We could do this Outfitting. 
Oh Boy!
First, Was the weather. Wow, The weather!  I didn't realize that I had purchased an area that was similar to the Klondike. I thought that this was just the "Storm of the Century" (Don't ever believe that saying by the way)....Next, I quickly realized I had to brush up on my cooking skills, (people really don't like limp bacon, they actually like it Cooked).  And last but not least was taking care of the Client...But more on that on the Next post.......

Sunday, October 16, 2011

The Beginning of the Adventure

Billijo Beck

The Above photo is Me, I'm Billijo Beck. The photo below is of my loving husband Terry Beck. 
These photos are the Beginning. The beginning of an adventure that we "Thought" we knew what we were getting ourselves into, But reality soon made us realize that we were just a 'Little' off.
Our back grounds are simple. We were Both raised up hunting, My father was an Idaho Outfitter. I grew up around hunting, Horses, and camping. 
Terry grew up near the wilderness of the Gila National Forest. His dad was also an outfitter. He grew up hunting as well, and his specialty was bear and lion hunting. 
What we didn't know, Is the hard hours, Trying horses, Loads of paper work for many different agencies, Insurance, Bonds, More paperwork, booking clients, adverse Weather, trying to get clients close to animals for the "Perfect shot", The good times and the bad times. 
Through it all, We have made it.... 

This is OUR story....
We will be sharing stories, the friendships and hardships.  Hunting tips that worked, Products that worked under the stress and strain of a outfitting business in the Rockies of Central Idaho. And Products that didn't quite make the cut. And of course the pictures.

Terry Beck