Clearwater Outfitters

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Clearwater Outfitters

Rated 1 out of 5.0 based on 1 Outfitter reviews.

Contact: Roger Haworth

Location: Orofino, Idaho

Species Hunted: Whitetail Deer, Elk, Black Bear, Rocky Mountain Goat, Mountain Lion, Bighorn Sheep

State(s) Hunted: ID


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Submitted by: Brian Washburn

Review Submitted: Oct 28, 2010

Hunt Date: Oct 10, 2008

Species Hunted: Elk, Mule Deer

Days Hunted: 7

Hunt Type: Guided

Primary Terrain: Mountain

Method: Rifle

Price Range: 3000-3999

did not met expectations Number of animals seen, met expectations?

did not met expectations Size of animals seen, met expections?

did not met expectations Hunting pressure in the guides area, met expectations?

did not met expectations Would you hunt with this Guide again?

Clear Water Outfitters, ID

Hunt first season, rifle, October 2008, Elk and Deer, Zone 10. Three of us booked this hunt. We hunted with a guide; 1 on 1, 2 on 1 and finally 3 on 1. Clearwater Outfitters advertised the hunt as a horse back "pack-in" "You'll ride at least 6 miles from our end-of-the-road Base Camp to our back country hunting camps." To get the hunters into areas "...rarely seen by other hunters." This is what is shown on the website and discussed during the countless phone calls. This is not the case. The base camp is adjacent to the main road and that is where we stayed the week in the woods. There were other hunters parked and camping all around the Base Camp. We paid for a seven day trip. Two of the days were "Pack In/Out", with five full hunting days. We hunted the five days and drove ourselves in and out the other two. We did get an extra half day thrown in on the last "pack-out" day, when we pushed a hillside above the Base Camp. When we booked the hunt we were originally told we needed to get to Orofino early to pack out to the hunting camp. Once in Idaho we called the outfitter and were told we would be met at the hotel later in the afternoon the following day to drive to camp that evening. (First day of hunt) We had the outfitter met with us that night and obtained a hand written map to the camp. The next morning we drove to camp arriving about 10am. We were told no one would be in camp until about 2pm as they were packing another group out to a drop camp. Seemed the other group was an editor for a White Tail Hunting magazine. When we arrived at the camp we found the camp was just a little off the road on a spur. The camp was not what one would expect for paying upwards of $3700.00 each for the trip. We found our "tent cabiin" directly to the rear of the "tack" tent. The tent has seen much better days. The lower walls of the tent were sheets of plywood nailed to lodge pine posts. Most of the plywood had some very large gaps. Mind you when I hunt, typically I lay out under the stars wrapped in a tarp and sleeping bag, no tent. This seemed even more primitive than my laying under the stars. There were three cots in the tent. Two of the cots were so close together you could not lean forward to put on your boots. There was a wood stove in the tent, which did work, and enough wood for the winter. After surveying the "camp", we met one of our Guides, Mike McHone. His first comment to us, "I'm the guy who is going to teach you how to hunt elk." He then went on to tell us there was no game in the area and we would be walking around the mountains and not see the back of a horse. Not a very good first impression. Especially, since we were expecting to pack-in three and a half hours. Later we met Roger the owner. We voiced our concern over what Mike had told us and how we felt there were some misrepresentation on the part of the business. Roger listened to our concerns and later seemed to do his best to give us a good experience. Mike on the other hand seemed to go out of his was to inhibit our success. That night we were fitted to our horses and stirrups adjusted to our leg length. Next day I seemed to ride a little tall in the saddle and had to have my stirrups lowered again. I hunted with Mike the first two days of the hunt. We rode out of camp about an hour or approximately 3 miles as they were marked on the trees along the National Forest Service trail. The first day about 6000 plus feet in elevation. The first day of the hunt the weather was against us. We had continuous winds upwards of +15 mph with gusts to at least +25mph. Mike hiked myself and another party member along a ridge line to "glass" a hillside well over 1500 yards away. Yes, we were silhouetted as we walked the spine of the ridge. Mike would stop us in various areas and have us glass areas for upwards of two hours at a time. Mike even at one point built a small fire that did nothing to warm us or to cook a meal. Mike told us that "smoke" does not bother the animals. I still can not figure why he started the fire during our "hunt." I did eventually spot a mule deer in heavy brush a long distance from where we were sitting. Mike commented it was "one of the largest bodied Mulies" he has seen in the area and we could see it did have horns as the sun reflected off the base. We moved into an area a little closer I would estimate the distant 1000 yards plus/minus. At this time Mike told me the Mule Deer was only a "forked horn." Since he was using 10x Binos and I was using 8x Binos I was a little taken by his estimation of the size of the animal. The other hunter could see horns and not count points. In my many years of hunting experience when seeing horns at that distance it would be a record "Forky", if not better. Mike then decided it was time to hike back to the main trail to get back to base camp for dinner. We never even attempted to get closer. The second day I hunted again with Mike and another hunter. We rode out of camp about a mile and a little. Once off the trail Mike gave a cow call. We got an answer, but as it turned out it was from another hunter. Mike also gave a bugle or two with no answer. We then started our forced march. Mike would get out ahead of us by ten to forty plus yards. During this second day Mike watched his watch more than he did the area around him. At one point Mike did spot a bedded animal again out over 1000+ yards. Mike first said the animal was a "spike" elk and then later a cow. The other hunter had a 14x scope and still could not tell if the animal was a spike or not. I brought out my 10X Binos that day as I figured we would be glassing most of the day and found I could see body, but the animal was in timber. I could not clearly state if the animal was a spike or cow. When the other hunter asked Mike how we would get to the animal if a spike Mike answered, "I don't know." Mike then moved us to maybe 800 yards from where we had seen the bedded animal. But, we could not find the animal again by glassing. At this point Mike had me work my way about 30 yards down hill of him over looking an open area. This is when Mike commenced to cow call. I quit counting the calls when he reached 25, intermixed with the occasional bugle. The other hunter estimated Mike cow called upwards of one hundred times. Might be a slight exaggeration, but we weren't calling ducks. The other hunter even described Mike as taking apart his bugle to place the cow call into the mouth opening of the bugle to call even more. After sitting for over an hour more like two, I caught about 15 minutes of well needed alternative consciousness. (yup some shut eye) Not proud of that fact I caught a few zzz'z, but the alternative would not have been any better as my mood was such. Even after waking from my slumber the cow calls were still going. As we were hiking back to camp, Mike would stop from time to time to tell us about prior successful hunting adventures. After one of these stories Mike turns and abruptly walks off. At this point we were walking through an old clear cut, full of jack pines in a lower altititude than the earlier part of the day. Mike was about 30+ yards ahead again on a forced march. When off to Mike's right I see the back end of a nice White Tail Buck leaving the country. I actually had to whistle to get Mike to stop. The other hunter and I separate and try to slowly move into the area. Once we decide the deer moved off into the trees I start to walk a wide circle around the area where we last saw the deer. Mike cuts me off and tells me to follow him as he literally crashes through the chest high brush where we had last seen the deer. Mike then stayed anywhere between 20 to 40+ yards ahead of us during the walk back. I once got in front of Mike and began to "still hunt." Mike walked around me and took the pace back to a forced march. That was the only potential shot on an animal any of us had during the entire trip. For giggles that day I turned on my GPS to record the trip distance and times for the hunt. We moved for a little under two hours with close to eight hours of "stop" time for the day. The third day of the hunt, I hunted with Roger, the owner. This was night and day from hunting with Mike. Roger and I would move through the area looking for sign. We would move as quietly as possible and if a twig would snap we would both immediately stop and hold before continuing to hunt. Roger and I hunted this way for several hours. Roger would either be only a few feet in front of me or tell me where he wanted us to move towards and have me lead. Once Roger even commented about the over use of cow calls and bugles as we heard other hunters in the distance calling and occasionally bugling. I can only guess Roger has never hunted with Mike. On the third day of the hunt the other two hunters were saddled with Mike. It would seem that Mike again began a forced march into the woods. One of the hunters asked Mike to slow his pace as if there was another opportunity they did not want to miss the shot. Mike responded, "I have only one speed, try and keep up." The second hunter told Mike, with him so far forward, it would be difficult to take a shot around him. Mike then let one of the hunters walk forward for a short while before taking the lead once again. This was the last day any of us hunted with Mike. It was also a night we later toasted our success, not of the hunt, but of being rid of Mike. On the third day Roger offered to pack myself and the other two hunters out to a spike camp. Once back at camp during dinner Roger brought this up and Mike opposed the idea of leaving camp. Roger took the three of us for the next two days. I will give Roger higher marks for the effort. But, I still hold him accountable for having a guide like Mike, who worked against us. One of the things we did notice was that the hunting was held to the higher altitudes. It was very apparent to the three of us there was little to no sign at the top of the mountains and what sign there was was older. Roger did take us into some of the deeper valleys where sign became more plentiful, but that was the fifth and last day of the hunt. The area we hunted was National Forest land. During our hunts we encountered two back packers on the National Forest trail, played leap frog with other hunters all day the third day in the woods, and ran into a Forest Ranger who walked the five miles from the trail head into the spike camp on the fifth day. Actually, the other two hunters in the party encountered the Forest Ranger in the woods as he was walking about trying to located Roger's spike camp, for an unannounced site inspection. I'll let you make your own decisions. Meals were good. Roger did what he could to make the Spike Camp meals memorable. A thanks goes out there. The base camp meals were hearty, hot and abundant. We were not going to go hungry at camp. The Cook was very much appreciated and no one "ticked" off the cook. The Meals will be remembered. I can not endorse Clearwater Outfitters as a guide service. I can say a 1 on 1 hunt with Roger will be a memorable experience, he can hunt. If you want to be entertained with tall tales and endless cow calls go with Mike.

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