Dave Garrett started guiding hunters to trophy animals in 1986. Years of experience led him to start Trophy Hunting Adventures and offer hunters the chance at the animal of a lifetime. With Dave's abundance of knowledge and his expert team of hunting guides, it's safe to say the whole client experience will be second to none.
Garrett’s start in the outfitting/guiding industry was basically an accident. After Garrett moved from Oklahoma to New Mexico, a group of Oklahoma buddies called looking for a place to hunt mule deer. A few phone calls later and Garrett had secured them a hunting spot and the hunters were tagged out within a couple of days. Garrett said, “I thought, ‘This is pretty cool, getting paid to hunt.’” The rest is history.
Trophy Hunting Adventures guides hunters in New Mexico’s Unit 58, an area known to produce some monster animals, particularly bull elk. Garrett said, “We do all private land hunts in New Mexico. When I first started I was doing both Colorado and New Mexico, but Colorado doesn’t manage the elk herd as well as New Mexico, so I kind of gave up on Colorado and concentrated on New Mexico. I’ve got ranches in northeast New Mexico and I’ve also got some whitetail country in central Oklahoma. It’s one of the best whitetail counties in Oklahoma. Right now, I’ve got 30-40,000 acres in New Mexico and another 5,000 acres in Oklahoma.”
While Garrett and his team’s primary focus is trophy elk, they also offer hunts for mule deer, whitetail, black bear, turkey, mountain lion, hogs, even prairie dogs and predators. Basically, if you can hunt it in New Mexico or Oklahoma, Trophy Hunting Adventures can put you on an animal.
Trophy Hunting Adventures prices their elk hunts between $8,500-$9,000 for a two on one (two hunters with one guide) and $9,000-$10,000 for a one on one guided hunt. These hunts include a landowner permit, so there’s no need to draw a tag. Trophy Hunting Adventures also takes care of your food and lodging while you are on the hunt, allowing you to focus on the task at hand – killing a big bull. If it’s a mule deer or whitetail you’re after, hunts start as low as $3,500. Hunters have the option of hunting with a rifle or archery equipment based on the time of the season and the type of hunt they are after. No matter what type of hunt the clients decide to pursue, Trophy Hunting Adventures has an archery/3D range and a rifle range with steel gongs for long range to ensure everyone feels comfortable before they hit the field.
Garrett said that the cover in his hunting area is mostly a mix of cedar and juniper located at an elevation of around 6,500 feet above sea level, saving hunters coming from sea level the lung burning experience of many elk hunting destinations. The area is also managed to hold elk. Garrett said, “We’ve got alfalfa fields, live springs and creeks.” Hunting these prime areas allows hunters with Trophy Hunting Adventures to see a 90-100% opportunity rate, whether they are hunting with a rifle or bow.
Hunters staying with Trophy Hunting Adventures stay in a remodeled ranch house complete with four bedrooms, two bathrooms, and a game room. Each room is equipped with its own thermostat allowing clients to stay comfortable, whatever that means for them. Home-cooked meals are prepared by a professional cook ensuring that you’ll never go hungry or wish for something more.
Garrett was quick to point out that Trophy Hunting Adventures is not a one-man show. He said, “My guides just work their tails off to get their clients on good animals. They really take pride in what they’re doing. We find good people. You’ve got to be a people person to be a good guide.” When they’re not guiding, the guides at Trophy Hunting Adventures work in a number of other industries including game law enforcement, Paramedic/LPN, railroad work, HVAC, youth counseling, and a couple of them have served our country overseas in combat, ensuring that, no matter what your personality and background are like, they have a guide that will suit you. From start to finish, these guides give it 110%, which is why they even have blood tracking dogs to aid in the recovery of wounded animals.
Garrett said, “I’m not out there guiding guys every day, but we work at it all year-round. We’re out there doing habitat improvements, making sure we have water, making sure we have food, and making all these improvements to take care of our herds. We look and find animals and find out what we can do to make it better for them. We work really hard at it. If you put in the time and the effort, you can be successful.”
Most of the hunts at Trophy Hunting Adventures involve extensive use of four-wheel drive pickups coupled with quality optics. Not only does this method make it easier on the hunters and guides, it also helps keep animals on the property and in the clients’ crosshairs. Garrett said, “We’ve found, if you cover the country, not walking around and leaving scent everywhere, you can be successful. Animals these days are used to vehicles so you can drive by them and they don’t care. But you get out walking and they’re not used to people walking around in the woods.”
Garrett also stressed that, while covering country in four-wheel drives is their preferred method of hunting, Trophy Hunting Adventures can provide clients with whatever type of hunt they are after. Garrett said, “We can make it a physical hunt if they want, but for the most part it’s not. We’ll go out and we’ll hunt until the animals are bedded down and then we’ll go back and we’ll rest ourselves. I’ve made it a point that once the animals are going to bed, that’s what we do. If you don’t pressure them, they’ll stay around. If you go to pressuring animals, they leave.”
The effectiveness of Trophy Hunting Adventures’ hunting strategies is proven by the caliber of animals they take every year. For the past five seasons, bulls taken with Trophy Hunting Adventures have averaged 325” or better. Four bulls taken in the past five years have scored over the 400” mark. Another bull was officially scored at 396” even with a broken tine. Had the tine matched the other side he would have scored 420” and been the number one bull in New Mexico, a state known for its giant elk.
The ability to put hunters on bulls of this caliber has attracted the attention of several well-known television personalities. Trophy Hunting Adventures has been featured on Drury Outdoors BowMadness, sponsored by PSE and has also done a show with Backwoods Trippin based in Oklahoma. In 2017, Trophy Hunting Adventures will host Fred Eichler’s “Easton Bowhunting” and “Ford the Outfitters” TV crews. Garrett said that not only do these shows help fuel the dreams of hunters who wish to pursue their own hunting adventures, but they are just good entertainment for folks who enjoy hunting and the outdoors.
Over the years, Garrett has seen his share of mishaps when hunters get their first opportunity at a big bull. Garret said, “Hunters get really excited and that’s what you want as an outfitter. But I had a guy come in on an elk hunt, we found a good bull, and [the hunter] was so excited he ejected all of the rounds out of his gun, and he turned around and asked me, ‘Did I get him?’ and he never fired a shot. I just bent down, I picked up all of the shells, I handed them back to him, and I said, ‘No I don’t think you got him.’ And I turned around because I didn’t want him to be embarrassed and couple of days later he killed a really nice bull. That kind of excitement is just unforgettable.”
Garrett said, “I guided a guy years ago. He was the custodian at a school and his whole life he dreamed of an elk hunt. His family saved up enough money to buy him [a hunt] when he retired. He showed up in an old beat up truck. We went out and he killed his bull the first morning. We walked over to it. He set his gun down and kneeled beside the bull and I congratulated him and he was crying because it was his life-long dream to go on this elk hunt and he was so happy. A day or two later he got ready to go home and I was standing there with him. As a guide, you’re always hoping for a tip, you don’t really expect it. He opened his wallet and he’s got a twenty-dollar bill and a gas card. He handed me the twenty-dollar bill and he has to drive back down into Texas. He said, ‘I’d like to give you more, but that’s all I’ve got.’ I gave him back his twenty and I said, ‘I’ve already got the biggest tip I’ll ever get in my life.’ That was really touching to me.”
If trophy class animals, comfortable lodging, and a laid-back hunting style sound like the right hunt for you, contact Trophy Hunting Adventures at www.guidefitter.com/trophyhuntingadventures.
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