Category Archives: Guide Interviews

Montana Outfitter Who Guided Steven Segal

Written by: Brad Hanzel/Owner S&W Outiftters

This interview features, Brad Hanzel S&W Outfitterswho is the owner of S&W Outfitters which is a hunting and fishing guide service in Montana. Today Brad provides valuable insight on how he has been successful in guiding since he was 18 and the opportunity he had to take Steven Segal on trips.

When did you start guiding in Montana, and why did you start guiding?

In 1985 I was asked by a local outfitter to help him out for one week. I grew up in Lewistown Montana and have hunted and fished my whole life. When I was asked to help out in a fully guide hunting camp I was really excited about doing it. I was 18 years old, and excited for the opportunity. I now own that same company.

Can you tell us a little more about your business?

S&W Outfitters, Inc. was established in 1981 by Sammy Smith and Jack Wyle. Since its establishment the company has bought out three other outfits and changed partners a couple of times. Still operating from the original East Fork camp, the company has grown to offer the Wolf Creek and Corral hunting camps as well as the fly fishing operation.

The fishing operation was developed by Brad in 2010 after working for nearly 17 years as a guide for other outfitters. Wolf Creek started in the early 80’s and Corral was taken over in 2003. We offer the sportsman fair chase rifle and archery hunting for elk, whitetail, mule deer, antelope, bear, wolf, turkey, mountain goat. For the angler many rivers, streams and lakes fly fishing for trout and hunting walleye. We are a guide service for hunting and fishing in Montana.

What is most rewarding about being a hunting or fishing guide?S&W 2

Doing what I truly love to do, I have a passion for hunting and fishing.

With any business there are challenges, what is the biggest challenge in this industry?

Booking clients to pay the bills each year is always huge challenge. The cost of doing business is expensive and difficult, the regulations make it tough and competition is all around you. I’m very up front about our product and you have a small audience looking. I am fortunate to have been around for a long time and have a solid group of clients that return and refer others my way. It’s so important to always keep a great reputation.

Has anything surprised you about being a guide?

Not really, I sometimes need to pinch myself. I’ve been on a pretty positive path over the last 30 years.

What do you think are the 3 most important skills to being a successful guide and why?

Social skills a must, ambition to make things happen and knowledge of safety first. Safety is no accident.

What is the most unique/unusual or fun guided trip you provided?

I was Steven Segal’s personal hunting guide for a few years. The whole tour was a trip.

What advice would you offer to someone who wants to start guiding?

Do it for the love of it. You will be rewarded by the satisfaction of doing what you love. Not many people are cut out to be the guide and not the shooter. Be prepared for a long road to success. Meaning it’s what you really do for a living.

What is the proudest moment in your business?

When the clients tell you you’re the dream maker. And you pull off what others say you can’t.

What is the top tool or resource you use for your guide service?

The guides hands down. In my operation they have all become very close friends and team mates. I would have it no other way, there is no I in team here. I do my best to treat them the best and they all return the respect. They are all professional and have made guiding what they do for a living. They truly are amazing people.

Brad Hanzel/Owner S&W Outfitters,

3 Important Skills of a Guide- Lessons from a New Jersey Hunting Guide

Written by: Frank LaRosa/Owner, Falling Leaf Outfitters

Falling Leaf Outfitters Logo

In this interview, Frank LaRosa shares the importance of focusing on your guest to make your guide service successful.

In addition, Frank provides expert guidance on the hunting guide profession and what he sees as the 3 most important skills when you become a guide.

  1. When did you start guiding in New Jersey, and why did you start guiding?  I own the club that we guide on.  I became the owner in 2013. I take an active role with every guided hunt that comes to our club.
  1. What is most rewarding about being a guide?  Having guests come and have an enjoyable hunting experience, enjoy the outdoors, and hopefully take a deer.  We also take pride in helping to educate newer hunters that visit.
  1. With any business there are challenges, what is the biggest challenge in this industry?  Having guests take a deer.  We try our very best but we can’t really control a wild animal.  We also can’t control hunter activity in stands, and when they miss deer.
  1. Has anything surprised you about being a guide?  How frustrating it can be when we try so hard to put guests on deer, bait the stand, and still can’t get them a deer.
  1. What do you think are the 3 most important skills to being a successful guide and why?  1.  Always be courteous to the guests and respect the fact that they are paying us to be at the club.  Guests want to know their guide is really working hard for them. 2. Be a Falling Leaf Outfitter Hunter Picsmart educated hunter and understand the factors that play into a successful deer hunt.  It’s important to have our guests know their guide knows what they’re doing.  3.  A good guide is personable.  Guests will feel out of place and uncomfortable when they arrive.  A good guide makes them feel welcome and feel like our club is their club.
  1. If you were going on a guided trip, how would you decide who to book with?  I would look/ask for referrals. I would ask referrals how their total experience was.  Not just about getting something, but did they do everything possible to make their experience enjoyable. Hunting is not just about killing an animal but about enjoy the sport of hunting.  Did they deliver on that experience.
  1. What advice would you offer to someone who wants to start guiding?  Get to know the properties they are guiding on.  Make sure they understand the day is about the GUEST and not them.  Pay attention to the client to make sure they are enjoying the day.  Work for a club that has the same service values as you.  Make sure the guide service they’re working for is all about providing the client the best possible hunting experience.

Author: Frank LaRosa

Falling Leaf Outfitters

Advice from a South Dakota Hunting Guide

In this interview we get great insight from Willie Dvorak, Owner of Jim River Guide service. As you look to become a hunting or fishing guide it is important to learn from others in the industry. We hope this interview is helpful as you make your journey into guiding.

Jim River-South Dakota


Written by: Willie Dvorak/Owner, Jim River Guide Service

1. When did you start guiding in South Dakota, and why did you start guiding? 16 years ago. To avoid getting a real job

2. Can you tell us a little more about your business? I guide in South Dakota and Alaska focusing on individuals or small groupsJim River Game

3. What is most rewarding about being a hunting or fishing guide? People telling me they had the time of their life and/or not having a real job.

4. With any business there are challenges, what is the biggest challenge in this industry? Clients watching too much TV and not knowing the reality

5. Has anything surprised you about being a guide? How many hunters are not good people.

6. What do you think are the 3 most important skills to being a successful guide and why? Patience, tact and a sense of humor.

7. What is the most unique/unusual or fun guided trip you provided? I’m writing a book about hunting trips that don’t relate to hunting. They are all about the hijinks that has taken place on trips. Too many too pick a favorite.

8. What advice would you offer to someone who wants to start guiding? Start slow and see if you really want to work with hunters.

9. What is the proudest moment in your business? When somebody tells me they had the time of their life.

10. What is the top tool or resource you use for your guide service? I’ve got a college education and a lot of sales experience before I started guiding.

Willie Dvorak
Owner/Jim River Guide Service
605-228-8162 or 605-887-3561

How to Increase Bookings by Levering Hunting Guide Agents

Have you wondered how to increase bookings by levering hunting guide agents?  Cory Glauner is the Owner and Marketing Director of Outdoors International and his company offers a wide variety of services in the hunting industry including agents that connect hunters with hunting guides.

Cory also has a very successful forum and today he shares his thoughts on his hunting community. Outdoors International

  1. When did you start your forum/group, and why did you create it?

​I started Outdoors International ( in 2008. I created it as a place for hunting outfitters to be able to network and market each others’ trips, and for hunters to feel confident that they are booking with the best outfitters in the world.​

  1. What do you feel makes your community special?

​Our community is made up of passionate hunters who hunt the world with premier outfitters.​

  1. If you could magically give all of your community members one thing in this world, what would it be, and why?

​I would give them​ ​the peace of mind that we truly have their best interest in mind. Sending them on a bad hunt ​is the worst possible thing that could ever happen and we strive to never do that.

  1. If you could ask your group members one thing and get an answer from all of them, what would that question be?

​How can we improve our services?​

  1. Feel free to give a shout-out to some of your power-users or most active members. Does anyone come to mind, and what do you like most about them?

We value each one of our customers. From the guy who buys a few pieces of hunting gear, all the way up to the one who spends hundreds of thousands of dollars on hunts yearly. ​​Their business, and in most cases, their friendship is appreciated.​

  1. What are some of the hot topics that seem to always be discussed within the group?

​Discounted and canceled hunts; high-fence hunting; hunting gear​

  1. For someone new to this community, how do they get the most out of it?

Build a relationship with one of our agents (we have many, so find the one you click with best), and tell them about your hunting goals, budget, and schedule. They will help you find the hunts you are looking for at the budget you need. The better you know them, the more they can help you. And remember, our service is free to the hunter.​

  1. Has anything surprised you about owning a forum about hunting?

​Yes. The negativity and in-fighting among hunters. Seems so silly and destructive to our sport as a whole.

As you look at becoming a hunting guide it is important to know your audience and begin getting engaged with communities.  Spend some time reviewing forums such as those at Outdoors International to see how hunters and guides interact and begin interacting yourself to start building relationships.

Additionally, you can use his site to see how utilizing hunting guide and fishing guide agents can be one great way to increase your business.

We would like to thank Cory for his time discussing his community with our viewers who are looking to start a hunting or fishing guide service or looking to grow their guide business to the next level.

By: Cory Glauner 

Owner/Marketing Director

Outdoors International

Why Did I Become A Guide?

By Brian Koshenina
Muskies and More Guide Service

Muskies and More


Why did I become a guide? There are many reasons why I became a guide.


First off, fishing is my “Passion”. I simply “love to fish”! I love everything about fishing, from catching a personal best to being out on a lake before light. It’s the feeling of hooking up with a “monster” just to have it break off at the boat. It is this passion that helped my decision to become a guide.

I love to teach. I have a knack for finding fish and catching the desired species I’m looking for. I also love sharing this ability with others. There is no better feeling than giving some instruction and watching someone catch a fish. That feeling is what keeps me going.

I love meeting new people. Every trip I take I get to meet someone new. I have met some very interesting people along the way and have heard many stories. Most of which of course might be true and some, well? People tend to let their guard down when there in the boat. I find it sometimes to be like a counseling session.

If you share the same feelings as I do, become a guide. If you’re looking for fame, notoriety or money, then guiding is not for you.