At the recent SCI convention, I came across two outfitters who really piqued my interest. Although I have not hunted with them, after extensive interviews, I decided to report on them because they offer unique hunting opportunities in their respective states.
The first is an outfitter from Nevada who offers hunting for a wide variety of big game, primarily in the game- and trophy-rich southeast corner of the state. Richard Hankins, owner of Western Frontier Adventures (775-591-0345, or 775-296-1522; www.westernfrontier adv.com) has been an outfitter for over 20 years, operating out of his ranch at the base of Schell Creek Range near Ely. I will concentrate on his elk and mule deer hunts in this report, but he also outfits for cougar, sheep, bear and antelope.
Something I liked about Hankins is his commitment to trophy hunting. On his elk hunts, for example, Hankins looks for bull elk that score 350 points or better – a remarkable objective considering that this is entirely free-range hunting. Nevada recently has produced fewer top-end bulls than in past years, presumably because of over hunting. Still, Hankins continues to produce high-scoring bulls for his clients. Last season’s best bull was a 6 x 6 that scored nearly 390 points, and the other bulls killed were all over 350 points. Hankins averages 10 hunters per year and about 90 percent of them are successful, generally limited only by their own condition and health. One reason for Hankins’ success (other than the quality of his area) is he uses horses extensively to access remote areas where most other hunters cannot venture. His seven-day, 1 x 1 elk hunts cost $4,500; 2 x 1 hunts can be arranged as well.
Hankins also operates deer hunts in some of the best trophy areas in Nevada. He hosts around 20 hunters annually and says everyone usually gets a shot. About 90 percent connect on a good buck. Again, the hunter’s health and condition is the only real limitation. You can expect to see high-tined bucks with spreads from 27 to 28 inches, but each year several bucks are shot with spreads over the magic 30 inches. Hankins’ web site shows a number of very nice trophies taken by clients.....