It’s Open Season on Camp Chores
When SNS Outfitter, Sy Gilliland, informs new acquaintances that he is a hunting Outfitter their typical response is, “Man, that sounds like a great way to make a living! So, what do you do the rest of the year?”
There are a lot of misconceptions about the life of an outfitter. The main misnomer being that they only work during hunting season. This couldn’t be further from the truth! When hunting season ends, the travel season is soon hot on its heels. Winter and early Spring is filled with promotional opportunities and annual meetings. Outfitters, like Sy, log a lot of airline miles to sport shows and highway miles running to various meetings. Annual meetings occur during this time of year with landowners and land management agencies for the upcoming hunting season. The politics of outfitting can certainly keep an Outfitter busy! SNS’ leader is one of the most heavily involved. When he isn’t in meetings, his time is spent on the phone and answering emails.
Once the Spring Black Bear hunts are complete and our sister trail ride business, Jackson Hole Outfitters, is up and running, it is time for our biggest chore: SNS operates out of 6 different hunting camps and is responsible for the repairs and maintenance on 4 of them. “We take a great deal of pride in the type of hunting experiences we offer! Having those camps in prime condition is important to us and our clients satisfaction” says Sy. These camps require repairing water systems, painting, equipment replacement and upgrades, corral cleaning, roof maintenance and road repairs. Such tasks are costly and require manpower but they are very necessary. As you can see, long before it begins to cool down in late August, we have spent several summer days getting things ready to go. Rest assured when you arrive to an SNS camp, all the small details have been taken care.
With the afore mentioned trail ride business and many of our hunts being from horseback, SNS owns about 60 riding saddles and numerous pack saddle outfits. Sy goes on to explain, “Our horse tack is gone through every year to make sure any repairs are completed and worn parts are replaced. Saddles require oiling in order to keep the leather in top shape and prolong the life of the saddle. We take a great deal of pride in the tack we own and are often rewarded with compliments from clients about our saddles.”
So if you had been thinking the life of a hunting outfitter is one of ease and a limited work season. You now know there is a whole lot more that goes into running an elite and high caliber operation like SNS Outfitter and Guides. Sy concludes, “It’s all about logistics. Each summer we work hard to ensure our camps and horse tack are in fine working order and ready to go. My philosophy is I want my guides focused on providing clients with a good hard hunt and not worrying about the camps or horse equipment.”