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Whitetail Heaven Outfitters


47 replies to this topic

#1 OFFLINE   Lonewolf76

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Posted 12/06/17 - 09:32 AM

I feel like I have to post this as I have mixed emotions about these big outfitters.  My cousin just got back from a week in Ohio with Whitetail Heaven Outfitters and I spoke to him for about an hour yesterday. He went out there with high hopes like everyone else, according to him spoke to a few references that gave great reviews and decided to go to their Ohio camp and went for either $4,000 or $4,500 I don't remember exactly what he said.  He arrived and Ralph and Vicki were in camp which he though was pretty cool along with 11 other hunters for a total of 14 in camp.  They told him where he would be hunting etc. and it was off to the races.  He said stands were setup poorly or trails to some of the stands were not marked well, making for a poor initial impression of this caliber outfitter.  He said he is a right handed rifle shooter and that the first two stands were setup where he would be shooting directly to his right to a corn pile.  He felt like the first two days were a waste with the setup's he was in. The long and short of it is that they moved him to another location which he liked better and saw a 4 pointer and a 6 pointer over the next 3 days.  The guides told him that the other camps in Indiana and Kentucky were also full for the week one with 13 hunters in one and 14 hunters in the other for a total of 41 hunters with the Outfit for the week.  In total for the week a 95" and a 125" buck were taken by all 41 hunters and each of those bucks cost the hunter an additional fee.  Without those two deer there would have been a total of 0 deer shot by 41 hunters and still none over the 140 inch mark that they were held to. My math says that's $164,000 - $184,000 for the outfitter for the week without a single buck that hit the mark.  He also mentioned that the farm he ended up on was an hour and forty minutes from the lodge and by the time they returned everyone had eaten and there was little left to eat.  He did say that the guys in camp were good and the atmosphere around camp was good however was ultimately very disappointed in the whole setup.  They have a great web site (understandable with that kind of $) and all but when your running that kind of traffic through your properties it's really no wonder to me that the results were that poor.  I have hunted with my cousin on and off for 25 years and he is a very straight shooter, and this is his first hand account.  I've had experience years ago with two of these big named outfitters and ended up really disappointed both times. Do your homework if your spending that kind of money to chase a whitetail!  How many guys will be in camp and how many clients are you running through in a season!!  Good luck to all and to all a good night or morning! 


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#2 OFFLINE   SPEARFISH

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Posted 12/06/17 - 09:38 AM

I gave up on these hunts a long time ago.  


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#3 Male OFFLINE   Bucksnbows

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Posted 12/06/17 - 09:45 AM

Sounds like we won't be watching a successful whitetail hunt by Ralph and Vicki from that week.  :)

 

That is a lot of $$ to spend for poor results, and if it continues, word will get around quickly and bookings will drop accordingly.  I would ask for a lengthy list of references and contact them all.  Everyone knows that when asked for references, you're only going to get good ones.  If the list is limited, ask for a broader list from the last season.   



#4 Male OFFLINE   DV1

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Posted 12/06/17 - 09:49 AM

I don't know anything about this outfitter, don't use any outfitters and for that price, can't understand why people would, but to each his own. I will say that in general, I think a lot of these criticisms are a bit harsh and unwarranted. You go on these hunts for an opportunity you would not otherwise have, not a promised kill...they have other places for that and they cost a lot more. So, if no one killed a buck, but everyone was hunting in someplace they otherwise wouldn't have the chance to, they got their money's worth.

 

About the stand set-up...I have set up many good stands in the past that offered shooting lanes to my right, as a right hander...because that was the best way to position the stand in the tree, or for cover, etc. Just because a stand is not set up the way a certain individual prefers, doesn't mean it's set up poorly. People have different preferences and if you don't like the way others set up stands for you, ask to be able to set up your own. Now, I'm not saying that these were all great spots to kill a big buck, they really can't be because there are not that many great spots to kill a big buck on any given property, except the rut, anything can happen then and many of these may have been set up for bow hunters during that time. I have had some stands that are dead...except for when bucks are cruising looking for does and then subtle topographical features make those stands that seem devoid of deer sign, come alive, all day. 

 

I don't want to be argumentative, Lord knows I have no love lost for whitetail outfitters, but it just seems many of these critiques are a bit petty to me, especially if you are paying someone to set up for you. 

 

For anyone going on a guided hunt, and is that critical of stands and placement etc, when you book, tell your outfitter your specific requirements: ladder stands, shots to the left or right, height requirements, padded seats, mesh seats, fold up seats, non-folding seats, food sources, bedding areas, funnels, top of hills, creek bottoms, etc. If you don't, then expect them to put you where they want, not where you want.  


Edited by DV1, 12/06/17 - 09:52 AM.

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#5 Male OFFLINE   BHC

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Posted 12/06/17 - 10:10 AM

been to a crappy outfitter, been to a very good outfitter.......happy we have leases in illinois, no need to deal with the BS


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#6 Male OFFLINE   dlist777

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Posted 12/06/17 - 10:12 AM

Is it "heaven" for the whitetails because they don't get shot there?   :rofl:


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#7 OFFLINE   Lonewolf76

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Posted 12/06/17 - 10:13 AM

DV1 - I respect your rebuttal of some of the points made. I left out many of the details that were shared in the hour long conversation with my cousin (who is a knowledgeable hunter), including lock on's that made noise, were loose, poor wind etc. I do not hunt with outfitters myself because of the disappointment in the 4-5 outfitted hunts that I've been part of over the years.  This post was put up on the basis of potentially saving a fellow NJ Woods and Water hunter from spending in excess of $5,000 to bird watch for a week with an outfitter that has very alluring marketing material, including a great website.  In the post I am also trying to reiterate the fact that you really need to do your homework when deciding on an outfitter. For my cousin and many others $5,000 for a whitetail hunt is a lot of money, as he's said he is 52 and always wanted a real wall hanger so he looked at this as a hunt of a lifetime from a cost perspective. I do not believe that these 41 hunters got their monies worth, and it seems you and I will disagree on that point. The way I see it is that there is nothing petty about posting a review when an outfitter goes ZERO for 41.  


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#8 Male OFFLINE   tjfslaughter

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Posted 12/06/17 - 10:27 AM

When you shop for outfitters, use word of mouth or forums like this.  If you are shopping around you have to ask the following questions:

 

How many guys do you run a week?

How many guides do you have?

Is it 1 on 1?

Do you pair different groups together?

How much land do you have access to?

 

One of the other things I have done is call the local conservation officer and check them as a reference.  I have been lucky over the past few years with a few good outfitters but I have had a few crappy hunts that the outfitter plain sucked at his job.



#9 Male OFFLINE   DV1

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Posted 12/06/17 - 10:27 AM

DV1 - I respect your rebuttal of some of the points made. I left out many of the details that were shared in the hour long conversation with my cousin (who is a knowledgeable hunter), including lock on's that made noise, were loose, poor wind etc. I do not hunt with outfitters myself because of the disappointment in the 4-5 outfitted hunts that I've been part of over the years.  This post was put up on the basis of potentially saving a fellow NJ Woods and Water hunter from spending in excess of $5,000 to bird watch for a week with an outfitter that has very alluring marketing material, including a great website.  In the post I am also trying to reiterate the fact that you really need to do your homework when deciding on an outfitter. For my cousin and many others $5,000 for a whitetail hunt is a lot of money, as he's said he is 52 and always wanted a real wall hanger so he looked at this as a hunt of a lifetime from a cost perspective. I do not believe that these 41 hunters got their monies worth, and it seems you and I will disagree on that point. The way I see it is that there is nothing petty about posting a review when an outfitter goes ZERO for 41.  

I agree with most of what you said, and for clarification, I didn't mean to say a negative review of an outfitter that goes zero for 41 is petty, I said some of the criticisms are, and specified those points. ALL of my stands, no matter how expensive they are, make some type of noise when it's cold, being loose on the tree is not petty though and I hope he told the outfitter about it so they could fix that problem.

 

The only place I think we disagree is that the way I see it, when you pay someone to scout land and set up stands for you on property you would not otherwise have a chance to hunt, what you are paying for is an opportunity to hunt a place you otherwise wouldn't, and in stands that someone else has chosen for you. So yes, they got what they paid for. The mistake is thinking, and expecting, you are getting something more than that. I think that is the most important thing to stress to save members from wasting 5k : realistic expectations.

 

If you want a guaranteed kill, with specific demands for how you want your stand to be, they also have places for that but they cost a lot more than 5k. 

 

I have been hunting Ohio since 1999, killed some pretty good deer, know the lands I hunt on pretty well and how the deer use them, and have set up some killer stands. Our 2 leases total over 400 acres, we have over 60 different bucks on camera on both places, combined, and some pretty big ones. I hunted Ohio for 14 days this year and about 75 percent of my sits resulted in no deer seen, yet my brother was all over them. The other 4 guys on the lease(s) saw some deer during the rut but last week, in gun season, saw few to no deer. They were mostly moving at night, according to the trail cams. So, the fact they didn't see much doesn't mean the land was bad, the stands were poorly placed, or there were no deer around, they were just hunting, and that's how hunting goes sometimes. Our guy's did no better than that outfitter and I would say they were in a better position to succeed than any outfitter, but that's hunting. Realistic expectations. 


Edited by DV1, 12/06/17 - 10:37 AM.

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#10 Male OFFLINE   Buckeyes11

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Posted 12/06/17 - 10:33 AM

I’d rather kill a spike on public ground than give an outfitter a dime. But I have hunted and have friends that still hunt at Lilly Pond Creek in NC and have a blast. 4 to 5k a week for deer? That’s insane

#11 Male OFFLINE   Bowhunter2004

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Posted 12/06/17 - 10:44 AM

Ok I’ll say it out loud one more time OUTFITTERS SUCK! Yeah, yeah, yeah, You can all chime back in with the usual comments “ there all not bad”” there’s good and there’s bad. I’ve been around the block many times, and unless you are part of the same group of guys that hunt his farm every year, or you lease the same piece every year or you get extremely lucky, the chance of shooting a 140” or better buck is less than 20%. OUTFITtERS SUCK. Save your $5000 and go find a good lease in great area with a few of your buddies.
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#12 Male OFFLINE   midwestxpress

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Posted 12/06/17 - 08:59 PM

Bowhunter2004 hit the nail on the head. Ive been hunting the same place in the midwest for the last 17yrs and has paid off. I would be very leary of trying a new outfitter after some of the places Ive been and things Ive seen. 5000 would get you a nice chunk of ground. You just need to do the leg work and find a farmer pissed off at his current outfiter. 


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#13 Male OFFLINE   stratocaster

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Posted 12/06/17 - 09:19 PM

First off who are Ralph and Vicki.  Maybe you assume we know who they are?

2nd, did Hannah cook for you?  Just having her cook for you should make the food hotter because she is.  

What were your expectations going in?  Did all 41 of you knuckleheads think you'd all get a 150" buck?



#14 Male OFFLINE   nmc02

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Posted 12/06/17 - 10:03 PM

I have been two horrible outfitters...though some will disagree. Swan Creek Outfitters in Elgin, Ill was horrible & a double thumbs down for Whitetail Outfitters of Ohio (though they def have decent deer, everything else sucks)....lodge, stands, food, and especially the owners personality

#15 OFFLINE   hunterdan199

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Posted 12/06/17 - 10:54 PM

That kinda money I going to Canada

#16 Male ONLINE   BowhunterNJ

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Posted 12/06/17 - 11:22 PM

Ugh that’s brutal. I can understand paying for a hunt and not filling a tag but 0 for 41 is a strong indication of a problem. No one in camp talked to the owner about even going 0 for 14 out of that lodge?


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#17 OFFLINE   _X7

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Posted 12/07/17 - 01:52 AM

Another option over outfitters is to find a connection on one of the many forums. I made a few trips to the midwest and hunted by paying no more than a trespass fee, gas and food. Some of those connections put me on public land that was incredible with a chance to score on a giant. I brought back a few bucks that I didn't have to pay a "fine" for and had a great time in these places all to myself. No one held my hand, told me what to do, or cooked with a microwave and expected me to tip the chef. I had some great experiences with some big bucks I just couldn't punch a ticket for.

 

I had one outfitted trip in my life for whitetails down to Kentucky where the promise of big bucks, a few people, and do what I wanted was nothing more than a smokescreen to get me to put down a deposit. You get there and you're sharing a lodge with 30 people and you can't use your stand. Then you find you were not the first one in their stands by seeing the garbage around them and the corn and clover they talked about was in a pile 15 yards away on the wrong side of the wind. All the deer I saw were in the thick stuff waiting till dark to come eat except for the fawns, of course.

 

Research and you'll find that this country is a lot bigger than the opportunity of a big buck on a postage stamp sized outfitted piece that is most likely way overpriced.. Kansas has some huge walk in land as does Ohio, Missouri and Nebraska. Illinois, not so much. If you can afford to lease realize the upkeep and the cost to develop your ground and hope that the neighbors don't take advantage of it when you are not there.



#18 Male OFFLINE   Stan Putz

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Posted 12/07/17 - 06:16 AM

Go to Texas if you want to kill a solid whitetail. They do it right there.Something is seriously wrong if you don't come back from a Texas rifle hunt with a 130" buck, plus you can shoot hogs, javelina, turkeys, coyotes, or whatever else comes out of the brush.


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#19 Male OFFLINE   tcook8296

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Posted 12/07/17 - 06:21 AM

Hunting with outfitters is a gamble. There are good ones and bad ones. Ive had my share of both over the years. Big outfitters run lots of hunters through their camps. They have fancy websites with lots of pictures. First off, lots of guys get caught up in the false hype they are going to kill a booner because they are going on a guided hunt. Ive seen and heard it from Nj guys that showed up in Illinois to hunt with an outfitter which I used to recommend but longer do due to reasonsI will state in a bit.
First off, a cheap hunt is a cheap hunt and an expensive hunt you would expect an all around better experience but not always the case. Outfitters are a business. They are operating to turn a profit and could care less whether or not you harvest a deer or not. You need to check references on any prospective outfitter. I like to talk to guys who have had boots on the ground. How many guys in camp, how many guides for that amount of guys, what was the trophy quality of the animals you saw or were harvested while you were there. Trail cam pics can come from anywhere. Whats the deer sign you are seeing while your there? I like to see rubs on big trees. 4,5,6 inch trees shredded will at least let you know a mature animal is around and I like to look for old sign as well as thats history on the ground you are hunting. Trails should be marked clearly and stands set properly for the location. I personally dont like to hunt outfitters stands. They are in the same spots year after year and most likey someone hunted that stand before you. I do use them as a starting point and adjust from there.
Most outfitters if they are good will have veteran hunters. They will have the best spots tied up guaranteed. If one of the outdoor shows are there, forget about seeing the best spots on the farm. Once you find a good outfitter with a good farm, pay attention at dinner time from these guys, be prepared to spend a few years to learn a farm and get into a honey hole of your own.
You could get lucky, but dont count on it. Be prepared to put your time in.
Also, find out if the guides are hunting. If the guides are hunting the same farms as you stay away.
I had a guide at a well known outfitter in Illinois kill a 160 buck 100 yrds from my stand the night before my hunt was to start and then hid it in the freezer. He killed the only buck on our hunt.
That was the last time I hunted with an outfitter.
I have killed my best deer with outfitters. I now hunt the same deer on property I have purchased. We also lease and have really good public land around to hunt also.
Ive been on 20+ guided hunts. Ive only seen 3 legit Booners in my lifetime and killed 1 of them.
They are out there. They are not behind every tree and dont expect to kill one.
Most guys will never see a true monster buck. All you can do is hunt where they live. You need to put in time. Also, your own personal hunting skills are a huge factor. It doesnt matter how much money you pay, on a fair chase whitetail hunt, some guys no matter what, will never kill a mature whitetail.
Do your homework, check references, be prepared to put in time.
Killing a trophy whitetail on a week hunt is tough compared to hunting Nj for 6 months and most of us cant do it in a full hunting season.
If you are serious on a chance at a mature whitetail, start looking at areas where trophy class deer are consistently harvested and try to find a lease.
Anothervthing you cant control is weather and game movement. I have hunted at all different times around the rut and one of the biggest factors I now pay attention to is the moon phase. Some guys say bs, but I will use it in determining which week in November is the better week to hunt
You can do several hunts at key times for the same amount of money or less.

Also, a lot of guys like Ohio because it has the NJ feel with the bait piles. I feel very few mature deer, Im not talking 130s or 140s but 150+ will fall at a bait pile. If you want to hunt the megabucks of the Midwest, get away from the bait and human traffic. Ive hunted Saskatchewan over bait but most bucks up there have few if any human encounters. If you didn't bait up there, you would never see a deer. 
It sucks about the bad experience.
Its all part of the adventure (thats what I was told when I got shafted on a $12000 moose hunt in BC by the outfitter)


Edited by tcook8296, 12/07/17 - 06:56 AM.

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#20 Male OFFLINE   Stan Putz

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Posted 12/07/17 - 06:25 AM

 

 

For anyone going on a guided hunt, and is that critical of stands and placement etc, when you book, tell your outfitter your specific requirements: ladder stands, shots to the left or right, height requirements, padded seats, mesh seats, fold up seats, non-folding seats, food sources, bedding areas, funnels, top of hills, creek bottoms, etc. If you don't, then expect them to put you where they want, not where you want.  

 

Problem there is, some of the shadier outfitters will tell you anything you want to hear, only to find out when you get there you've been hustled.

 

I've done my share of paid hunts and fishing trips. Best bet is to go with someone you know personally (who is a repeat client), they aren't strangers who an outfitter sends you as a reference (usually the outfitter's buddy, neighbor, or brother-in-law). If your close friends continue to go back to the same camp or lodge, there must be something there. If you find a camp or guide you like, stick with him, and develop a rapport, they will eventually let you book the best dates. Also, I tend to look for an outfitter who is new, young, aggressive, and eager-to-please, these guys are trying to make a name for themselves, and generally go the extra mile, and not living off of their outdated reputation.

 

Lonewolf 76- sorry to hear your cousin got burned. $4k is a hard pill to swallow. :banghead:


Edited by Stan Putz, 12/07/17 - 06:58 AM.

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