A waterfowl guiding operation, founded by a Spokane hunting equipment company, is taking off this season with aspirations to hunt the flyways from northern Alberta to Mexico.
This is not fly-by-night deal, said Jim Cripe, head of Outlaw Decoys. “Hunters will be guided by worldchampion waterfowl callers,” he said.
The idea for World Champion Hunts was inspired two years ago when Cripe and his son, Tim, got a chance to share a goose blind with champion caller Allen McCree.
“I’ve hunted in Canada 14 years doing my own thing,” he said. “But the chance to hunt with a champion caller is like going to Pavarotti’s home and listening to him sing in the shower. It’s a wonderful experience in itself.”
The guides are the hunters you see featured in magazine articles and videos, Cripe said; names like Troy Dishner of Illinois, Tim Covey of Maryland and Trey Crawford of Arkansas.
When fully organized, the hunting will begin in September in northern Alberta, followed in October by hunts in Saskatchewan. In November, the guides would move to hunting locations secured in Montana. By December, the operations move to Texas, where hunting continues well into February.
This season the program is booking most of its trips in Saskatchewan and Texas.
The other thing that spurred Cripe into action was the poor quality of hunting guides in Canada.
“My years of experience taught me that a lot of the waterfowl outfitting in Canada is by some local fella who gets tired of doing truck repairs that week and decides to go guiding,” Cripe said.
So Cripe is going whole hog on quality. Not only are the guides world champions, so are the dogs.
“We have master-class retrievers,” said Andrea Flanigan, spokeswoman for World Champion Hunts.
“These retrievers were the test dogs for the 1997 AKC National Masters Hunt Test. That means they are the standard by which the other dogs are judged.”
Many hunters are willing to pay $1,500 for a three-day catered experience with such decorated guides and dogs in some of the best wild waterfowling situations in North America.
The logistics of hunting the range of a flyway during migrations require planning and flexibility.
“The birds are moving and where they go depends on weather and freeze-up,” Cripe said. “All the time we’re hunting in the north, we have to be prepared to move to stay with the birds.
While the champion callers will be the guides in the blinds, Cripe is in charge of following the birds, arranging the hunting areas and booking lodging and meals.
“He’s on a mission to give anyone the chance to enjoy the best of waterfowling,” Flanigan said.
Information: (509) 532-4624.
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