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GUIDES


bring the hunters to the GAME


Hunting guides help hunters fi nd the best chance of success in Oklahoma.


I By Jeff Kaley


n prehistoric times, when humans were dependent on hunting and gathering, having someone in the clan who could fi nd wild game was crucial to survival. Wild game not only helped the community feed itself, but wildlife and fowl provided materials for making blankets, utensils, weapons and other necessities. Consequently, a guide’s ability to fi nd game and fowl the clan’s hunters could harvest was essential. Eons later, guides like Joe Henderson and Clay Forst are still taking hunt- ers to where game resides. Although far fewer modern humans rely on hunting to provide sustenance, the sport still attracts millions of people who enjoy hunting wild game and fowl. Whether the motivation is food, trophies, the thrill of a hunt or just being outdoors, Henderson and Forst, both members of Cotton Electric Cooperative, can take you where you’ll have the best chance for success. And modern-day guides are also outfi tters, who provides hunters with ame- nities such as equipment and lodging, and some even clean the game. Henderson, a Temple, Okla., resident whose “real job” is at AXA Advisors


in Duncan, Okla., has been in the guiding and outfi tting business for more than 20 years. He said guides and outfi tters fall into three categories. “Number one is the professional outfi tter who provides guide service to small groups all the way up to big game hunts. They will provide everything necessary, from securing the hunting area to all the necessary equipment except fi rearms,” Henderson said. A second category includes guide and outfi tters who arrange hunts for


specifi c species. They will provide the place to hunt, meals and some of the equipment. “The third category is limited guiding, which is what I do,” Henderson


said. “I’m not a professional, because I don’t want to guide and outfi t year- round. I’m more selective. I guide for quail, pheasant and chukar hunts.” Henderson provides the dogs, German shorthaired pointers that he raises and trains. Most of his hunts take place on leased land or on land that landowners have volunteered. He provides the resources needed, including meal arrangements and preparing food. An average hunt lasts a day or a day and a half.


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For information on Henderson’s wildfowl hunts, call 580-252-7392 or 580-656-3701, or email forjoehenderson@yahoo.com. While Henderson prefers being in the guiding and outfi tting business part-time, Forst is heads up Stuart Ranch Outfi tters. The business is based at the historic Stuart Ranch, which encompasses more than 45,000 acres of privately owned land in Jefferson, Stephens, Atoka and Bryan counties. While the ranch—the oldest continuously owned family ranch in


Oklahoma—runs more than 5,000 head of cattle and raises award-winning horses, Stuart Ranch Outfi tters coordinates and conducts hunts for trophy deer, wild turkey, waterfowl and wild hogs. Forst, a member of the long-time ranching family, has managed the hunt- ing and outfi tting division since shortly after graduating from Texas Christian University in 2009. Prior to that, he graduated from Oklahoma State University with a major in agriculture business. “Most outfi tters don’t have access to a single, large tract of land like Stuart


Ranch Outfi tters has. We have the main ranch east of Waurika and we have a ranch near Caddo. For waterfowl hunts, we go on lease land outside the ranch,” Forst said. Forst serves as a guide, but has a staff of up to fi ve guides, and he contracts others to help as needed. “It’s hard work, but I like it,” Forst said. “I like the business side of it, but I also like going on the hunts. I feel blessed that I can do both.” Guided hunting packages at Stuart Ranch Outfi tters depend on the spe-


cies. There are four packages for deer hunts: a one-day doe hunt that is $200; a four-day muzzleloader hunt for $4,000; a fi ve-day gun hunt for $4,500; and a fi ve-day bow hunt for $2,800. All deer hunt packages include lodging (either at the main ranch or the Caddo ranch), blinds, meals and cold storage. A three-day Eastern turkey hunt package is $800, and a four-day 4-3-2


package is $2,000, both include lodging, blinds, lunch and guide service. Hog hunts are $250 per day, which includes lodging, blinds and guide service. Hunters can clean their own hogs at the ranch facility or they can have a staff member clean and quarter the hog for $50 per wild pig. For information, contact Forst at 580-512-7004. Forst can also be reached via email at Clay@StuartRanch.com.


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