Questions serious hunters ask when selecting a guide service!
Is Foggy Mountain Guide Service a full-time operation or a sideline?
Foggy Mountain Guide Service is a full-time commitment for us both during the hunting season and off season. Our high bear production year after year does not just happen. It is the result of consistent year-round work in research, and game and habitat management. We want to be sure that we have done everything humanly possible to insure that the bear are here when you are! No matter how you cut it a part-time guide just cannot give a full-time commitment.
How knowledgeable is my guide about the game I am seeking?
Foggy Mountain Guide Service is recognized nationally as an expert resource on black bear. We have kept detailed records on the bear population in our territory for years. The Fish & Game Departments of several states and provinces call on us regularly to assist in their research efforts. The State of Maine Fish & Game Department presented Foggy Mountain Guide Service its prestigious Award of Merit for our activities in promoting the growth and management of Maine’s black bear population. Remember, if hunting is your objective, make sure your guide knows the game you are after.
Is my guide properly licensed?
You may think this is a foolish question. But, believe me, the time to check it out is before you book a hunt. As a Maine Master Guide, Wayne holds the highest degree of Guide License awarded by the State of Maine, and is also a fully Licensed Canadian Outfitter. All our guides at Foggy Mountain are licensed Maine Registered Guides as awarded by the State of Maine.
What about a “guaranteed kill”?
We do not guarantee a kill any more than you could guarantee us a kill when you shoot. However, we do guarantee that we will make every effort to make your hunt a success and your visit a memorable one. Although a “guaranteed kill” may seem attractive at first glance, experienced hunters who return to hunt with us year after year realized there is no free lunch. A guide either invests the time and cash full-time, year-round to build a productive bear-producing territory or he chooses the part-time commitment to the territory and spins the “guaranteed kill” roulette wheel with his customers. We have made our choice, and our hunters believe it was the right one.
What about skinning and taxidermy?
You kill’em and we will take care of the rest. We will skin out your bear and prepare it for your trip home at no extra charge. We have freezers for proper storage of your trophy. We work closely with several reputable taxidermists and we can handle making all the necessary arrangements, if you wish. There are no hidden charges, nor any special trophy fees at Foggy Mountain.
How regularly are the baits serviced?
Our bait lines encompass several hundred miles and hundreds of thousands of acres. We begin baiting the stands a month or more before the season’s first hunter arrives and continue baiting daily throughout the season. We use fresh, specially processed bait that has incredible drawing and holding power. As we check the baits, we look for signs that the bears are about to change their eating habits, and we switch to a variety of different bait-types that keep the baits active continuously. Believe me, to maintain the level of hunting success we have had, it takes a lot more than a pile of rotting meat, pastries or sweets!
Do you offer two or three day bear hunts?
Although there is some demand for such a hunt, we do not offer it. There are so many adverse factors with a short hunt that you would be doing yourself a grave injustice. For example, what if you get a couple days of bad weather? You’re finished! A lot of time, travel, effort and money wasted. Too risky for you.
First Week Of the Season: Myth or Reality?
Many hunters believe that the best week to hunt bear is the first week of the season. Believe it or not, this is a myth!
Big game hunters typically start their career by hunting for deer. They hear and read statistics showing that the first week of the season produces the highest number of deer kills. The second week a bit less, and so on. Even our own Fish & Wildlife Department publishes statistics that show 80% of bear are taken during the first two weeks of the season.
What is not considered by those statistics is that 80% or more of the hunters also typically hunt during those first two weeks! So the high numbers taken during that time make perfect sense — it always come down to when most hunters hit the woods!
But which week has the best success rates?
Maine has a handful of weeks for the bear baiting season. Trying to figure out the perfect week is like splitting hairs.
What proves to be the best week one year will not be the same week next year. Weather and natural food crops are a major factor, and these vary from day to day, year to year and even by location. For example, one fall we had five bear on the pole and more in the woods ready to be retrieved – each of the first three days of the last week! We shot 22 bear in those five days – outstanding results.
Success like this comes from expert knowledge and lots of hard work, plus some excellent shooting. We use our own homemade scent and lure, and our own mixture of the world’s best bear bait. Still, knowing how and when to adjust these for each location and conditions is where our knowledge and experience sets us apart.
In addition, we hunt in two different regions – two weeks in the Katahdin-Moosehead region, and two weeks in the West Branch region. We never put any pressure on the bear population. This provides us with many options to have you on an extremely productive bait site.
So, answering the question “which week is best” really comes down to which week is best for you to get away for an enjoyable week of bear hunting!
What about the Meat?
We do all the baiting, tracking if necessary, field dressing, skinning, and prepare the meat as you wish. There is absolutely no extra charge for this.
A bear is nothing like a deer. A bear’s hide and meat can deteriorate rapidly. It is imperative to retrieve your kill, skin it and refrigerate your meat quickly. At Foggy Mountain there is no such thing as leaving several bear hanging while we wait for a group promo photo. Our game pole fills up each night and is then cleared off each morning as we process the trophies.
We first retrieve, gut out, and skin your bear. We then take extra care to see that the hide is properly readied for a taxidermist. We even arrange for a specialist in black bear taxidermy to visit camp and discuss mounting options with you if you wish.
Then, we will quarter up your meat, remove the backstraps, and freeze the meat for you to take home. Also available should you wish, we have a very professional local butcher shop that will make up steaks, chops, and hamburg according to your wishes, then vacuum seal and freeze it for you to take home.
May I keep the Gall?
You may do as you wish. Maine’s law permits the sale of bear gall bladders. However, they no longer have commercial value, although we do occasionally use them in some of our scents. We currently have dozens in our freezer, waiting for a potential market or to be used in our secret lure.
Does Foggy Mountain make its references available?
Our reference list is included on this website. I urge you to contact any one of our hunters, and to always insist on references from any guide you consider. We list both successful and unsuccessful hunts
What types of accommodations will I have?
Almost any kind you want! We offer a choice of accommodations to match the preference of our individual hunters. From housekeeping cabins and tenting to a complete set-up with all meals included, we’re ready for you.
Unlike hunts with most outfitters, lodges and sporting camps, Foggy Mountain’s guests are not doubled up in a bunk house or room with other guests. Your party will enjoy the privacy of your own sleeping room, and the good night’s sleep that is important for a good hunt.
The details are in the accommodations section, and of course if you have any other questions just give us a call.
Will I be bunking with other hunters?
Unlike bear hunts with most outfitters, lodges and sporting camps, Foggy Mountain’s guests are not doubled up in a bunk house or room with other guests. Your party will enjoy the privacy of your own sleeping room, and the good night’s sleep that is important for a good hunt – whether you come alone, with a large group, with your spouse or whole family.
Will I need a vehicle?
A hunter’s safety is the paramount concern at Foggy Mountain. We have seen and learned much over the years, and have set up our hunts to best assure your safety, enjoyment and success. This is a hands-on hunt — for both of us. We personally set you up at your bait site and stand, and make certain that you are comfortable and properly situated.
Unlike many outfitters, Foggy Mountain’s hunters drive themselves to and from their stands each day. You do not need a 4X4, but they are nice. Most cars will be fine if they have some ground clearance. While hunters may be miles apart, several in your party can hunt relatively close together and share one vehicle.
Many have asked why we do this, rather than transporting and dropping off hunters with our own vehicles. It comes down to what we have learned from our repeat hunters’ comments, and to hunters’ safety, scent control, and convenience.
Safety — There are times when you will want, or even need, to return to camp long before anyone would be coming to pick you up. If you are injured, such as being cut by a broadhead, fall victim to some sort of “travelers disease”, or develop other health issues, you will want to return earlier than the other hunters. Yes, this does happen occasionally, and we don’t want you out there suffering.
Scent Control — Bear live and die by their nose. You and your hunting partners may be like-minded when it comes to scent control, but not everyone is the same. You won’t appreciate picking up unnecessary adverse smells on you by riding with someone who smokes or neglects proper hygiene. They may not smoke while riding to the stands, but many will do so just prior to leaving camp and the scent will remain on their clothing. You and I have too much invested for this to occur.
Convenience — When you are ready to hunt, you hunt. When you are ready to return to camp, you return. There is no need to get to your stand too late for a good hunt, or waiting until late at night to get picked up. You are the one in control.
This comment from the “Bowsite” website illustrates the concerns of one hunter who chose the wrong outfitter: “Some hunters didn’t get to their stands until 5 or 5:30 pm which surely affected bear movement. Some hunters weren’t picked up from their stands until 10 pm.”
Once we set you up for the hunt, we want you to be able to hunt all the hours that you and your guide feel will be most productive, typically 5 to 6 hours a day.
Do I need a Four-wheel drive vehicle?
NO. You will want and need a vehicle, but a car will work. However, an SUV or a vehicle that has a bit of ground clearance under it will work out best.
Beyond the hunt itself, what is my guide service doing to protect my hunting interest in general?
Each year Foggy Mountain donates thousands of dollars to help promote hunting and fight anti-hunting groups. Off season, we continue fighting tooth and nail at the state legislature to ensure a place for nonresidents to hunt and fish at an affordable price.
What about all the claim of success and “record” bears?
There was a time a “record” bear was just that — a bear that met bona fide requirements to be entered in a legitimate record book. But now, unfortunately, there are many claims of weight, size and “records” that are unverified and not recorded anywhere. I can’t tell you every bear we kill is record book material, but I can promise that when we say one of our hunters has killed a record bear – there’s a real statistic entered in either Pope & Young or Boone & Crockett that you can see for yourself in black & white. Loose claims may attract a hunter once, but that won’t bring him back year after year. When it comes to “records” we stick to the facts and we believe that’s just one of the reasons why our hunters seem to stick with us.