So, you're interested in going on an outdoor adventure, and you've decided that it would be safest or more enjoyable to hire an experienced guide that knows the area and has the expertise in the chosen activity. It's a good call. Guides go through a rigorous exam process, at least in the state of Maine, to ensure that they can safely lead a person or group of people in their respective field. They are tested on first aid, trip planning, evacuations, knowledge of gear, terrain, and all the various animals, plants and weather they may encounter in the field.
The only problem is that you need to know if the prospective guide is a good fit for you. Most guides will have a list of things to go over with you called a pre-trip, however there are some good questions you should ask before you decide to hire him/her. Regardless of the trip or activity, you just need to know a few things to make sure it will be a good experience. Below I have listed a few that everyone should ask. I've gathered most of these from MIFW and felt that it would be good to share them with as many prospective guests as possible.
• What will the trip entail? Exactly, how will be partaking in the activity, whether it be fly fishing, spin fishing, hunting with firearm or bow and arrow, and how will we be traveling to and from locations? Am i physically able to partake in this trip? If not, can accommodations be made to make it possible?
• What are the chances of success? Be skeptical of guarantees. Most guides know that we can't control wild animals or unforeseen conditions. The only thing I guarantee is that a safe, lawful, ethical trip and that I will do everything I can to make it an enjoyable experience in the outdoors for every guest.
• How many guests will be there? Will it just be my party, or will you be taking o
thers? At camp?
• Is the person you speak with going to be your guide, or someone else?
• What are typical weather conditions for the time of year? What is the worst I can expect, and how should I dress/prepare? If the weather or conditions prevent my trip from happening, will there be a backup plan/alternate trip or a refund?
• Price of the trip? What is all that is included for that price? Is there any additional cost? Are tips included or added on?
• Do I need to pay a deposit and what's the policy on refunds? What payments do you accept?
• Will a meal(s) and drinks be included? What is the menu? Now is a good time to let your guide know of any dietary restrictions or preferences that you may have.
• Is transportation included? If so, from where to where and how will we be traveling?
• What if any licenses are required? Do you include them?