LAZY F BAR OUTFITTERS: Colorado Unit 66

Freeborn

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Not sure where to post this but wanted future hunters to know of our 2023 experience.

This hunt was an out of state, 2nd season hunt costing each hunter 12 preference points, $6000 in guide fees and $2000 in hotel, transportation and tip expense.

Initial Goal was to shoot a 180 buck but by the end of the 3rd day of a 5-day hunt that was reduced to any decent buck. My guide was told any decent buck ((140-150) would be fine.

This hunt was on public land, 2nd season in unit 66 in the Gunnison Valley. Guide Service Owner Sold his service indicating his guides new of "Honey Holes" and locations where they would be able to locate Mature Mule Deer in unit 66. Unfortunately, 99% of the deer we (buddy and I each had or own guides) saw were does or immature bucks (2–3-Year-old deer). I saw no adult deer and no Mature/Trophy Deer. To their credit the guides worked very hard but over 5 days we covered the same unproductive ground we hunted 1-2 days before. I was told this was a migration area so maybe this is how it should be hunted. Bottom line, the areas we hunted had no age structure to the herd; all deer were immature. I liked my guide, and he worked hard but no quality deer.

Several days after the hunt I called and had a cordial discussion with the owner. At the end of the day, he thought my expectations were too high. Considering his sales claims and the unit I disagree and think they should have been able to get me on a 140-150 buck.

Bottom line, Colorado unit 66 and this guide service did not come close to meeting our expectations and I cannot recommend out of state hunters using their points in this unit or paying to hunt with this guide service.
 
One of issues is the late seasons the last few years and the mature bucks are getting killed. Hunting is hunting and sometimes you don’t find what you’re looking for. I’m sorry you couldn’t find the deer you were looking for in this hunt. A 180 inch mule deer are becoming a rare item anywhere anymore.
 
Not sure where to post this but wanted future hunters to know of our 2023 experience.

This hunt was an out of state, 2nd season hunt costing each hunter 12 preference points, $6000 in guide fees and $2000 in hotel, transportation and tip expense.

Initial Goal was to shoot a 180 buck but by the end of the 3rd day of a 5-day hunt that was reduced to any decent buck. My guide was told any decent buck ((140-150) would be fine.

This hunt was on public land, 2nd season in unit 66 in the Gunnison Valley. Guide Service Owner Sold his service indicating his guides new of "Honey Holes" and locations where they would be able to locate Mature Mule Deer in unit 66. Unfortunately, 99% of the deer we (buddy and I each had or own guides) saw were does or immature bucks (2–3-Year-old deer). I saw no adult deer and no Mature/Trophy Deer. To their credit the guides worked very hard but over 5 days we covered the same unproductive ground we hunted 1-2 days before. I was told this was a migration area so maybe this is how it should be hunted. Bottom line, the areas we hunted had no age structure to the herd; all deer were immature. I liked my guide, and he worked hard but no quality deer.

Several days after the hunt I called and had a cordial discussion with the owner. At the end of the day, he thought my expectations were too high. Considering his sales claims and the unit I disagree and think they should have been able to get me on a 140-150 buck.

Bottom line, Colorado unit 66 and this guide service did not come close to meeting our expectations and I cannot recommend out of state hunters using their points in this unit or paying to hunt with this guide service.
You are describing what a lot of people have been learning about Colorado the last few years. The state is not what it used to be, and the future does not look any better.

Expectations in Colorado need to be lowered. One of the owners of HF posted in Insta today that he had a landowner tag in a unit that requires over 20+ points to draw, a 4th season tag, he saw zero mature bucks.

Sure a few good bucks will get killed every year by a few lucky hunters (myself included this year), that will happen when you issue hundreds of tags, in the rut, with late November dates and rifles, but he 90s are not coming back to the Gunnison basin or Colorado in general.

The state will be lucky to have hunting at all in a few years with the way people are voting there.
 
I took my only guided hunt with Lazy F Bar in 2011, GMU 55 if remember correctly. There were 5 hunters in camp with physical abilities ranging from marathon runner to 300 yard max limit. I was the marathon runner and killed a bull on opening morning, and it took some marathon legs and cardio to get to it.

Anyway, I stayed in camp 2-3 more days while the meat was processed. My observations were the guides worked hard to get everyone shot opportunities, while accommodating physical capabilities. I don't remember the specific discussions with Steve prior to the hunt about size expectations. After all, it only took 1 point to draw the tag.

It sounds like the guides worked hard for you so it wasn't an issue with their effort, but their techniques were different than what you might have done. But, that's why we pay guides - for their knowledge and experience in the area.

I guess the learning for all of us reading this is to fully communicate with the outfitter what our expectations are, and to understand if those expectations match what the area holds.

Thanks for sharing.
 
Shat ordeal man. I did roughly 2 years of research on the outfitter I went with, and still kinda was a gamble because of some that don't like them. Thank the lord it was an amazing experience, sorry that you didn't have the same.
 
I too have hunted with Steve Guerreri in the past. His outfit was quite professional. This year after burning 17 non resident points I met a different Steve. We followed a Dodge pickup down a 2 track , seeing lots of deer and small bucks. The next morning we arrived at the 2 track 1 hour before daylight wanting to be first on the road. We had covered about 1/2 mile when I noticed that same Dodge truck was pushing us quite a bit. I was surprised to see Guerreri come to my truck. He had the audacity to ask if I’d let him pass as he had paying clients . I told him the early bird gets the worm and no passing. He then began acting like an a- hole. He said he’d call the Warden and report us . He then grabbed a clients rifle and spotting scope and proceeded to try and outrun our truck. Wearing no orange visible he finally gave up. This particular 2 track is on BLM not private.

I’ve never seen such an unprofessional guide in my entire life . I can’t imagine what his clients must have thought. Beware of Steve Guerreri and his Lazy F Bar Outfitter.
 
Dang, I'd be done if that was my guide or we'd be having a conversation about hunting tactics.

The only experience I can relate to that was several years ago my dad and I were fishing a reef on the Texas coast when a local guide pulled up and told us we needed to leave the reef as he had clients that he needed to put on fish. They looked very embarrassed as soon as he made the statement.

Needless to say he was told to urinate vertically upon a length of strong cord made by twisting together strands of natural fibers such as hemp or artificial fibers.
 
Will Colorado never be the same, or is it hunters that will keep colorado down, if we keep lowering standards to shoot lower quality the standard will always keep dropping. I for one dont care about the score, more of a mature buck hunter, like to try and find one that has some age to it. Seems like Colorado is turning into Utah, where if it has horns its going to die. At some point hunters need to start taking some of the blame, and quit shooting younger bucks. In Utah we ate 4 deer tags, we could have shot several yearling bucks, and even a 2 or 3 year old, but chose not. Too each his own, the outfitting industry has helped with this problem as well, they want to provide good quality buck to clients and when they charge $6000 it seems like it should be expected of them to produce the quality, they end up shooting lower class bucks to justify the $6000, cut throat industry for sure.
 
I hunted 66 3rd last year DIY, I had talked to Steeve for 15 years and the plan was to hire him when I finally drew a tag. long story short I started calling him the day of the drawing results and never got an answer , returned call or returned email. screw him and his outfit.

So I hunted on my own and I'm glad I did, the quality of deer available didn't warrant an outfitter. I met guided hunters that had taken 150 class bucks I had passed up.

180 is like winning the lottery in all of the Gunnison units from what I discovered by my own experience and seeing and talking to other hunters. 160 is more what you should expect.
 
Thanks for the review's fellas, it's a tough pill to swallow that's for certain. The question now is how to move forward? My buddy and I have the same number of points for Elk in Colorado, Elk in Wyoming and other points for other species in a few other states. Were definitely hesitant after that experience. One of the services like HF might be a better option for picking a guide as they should be vetting the guides they recommend.

For Steve Guerreri and Lazy F-bar, they had no idea where to find a quality mule deer.
 
Thanks for the review's fellas, it's a tough pill to swallow that's for certain. The question now is how to move forward? My buddy and I have the same number of points for Elk in Colorado, Elk in Wyoming and other points for other species in a few other states. Were definitely hesitant after that experience. One of the services like HF might be a better option for picking a guide as they should be vetting the guides they recommend.

For Steve Guerreri and Lazy F-bar, they had no idea where to find a quality mule deer.
Just do so much research next time. That's sadly all you can do. Try and talk to locals around where the outfitter hunts or is based out of. Get references first and foremost. It sucks that even with all that you can get a bad experience.
 
Anyone with a legitimate 180 as a goal ANYWHERE in the world needs to lower their expectations.......
180+ is ALWAYS the goal. Money spent and points cashed In do not guarantee 180+ bucks in any Colorado unit or damn near any other neighboring state. You’ve got to perform your own research and set your own standards for the hunt. I’ve spent 4-5-6-7k on land owner tags over the years that would cost a guy 10-20 non-res points to draw and I’ve ate more of those tags searching for 180+ than I’ve notched. Bottom line, money doesn't automatically get you in.
 
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My BIL had a similar experience with an outfitter in Utah....spent lots of money for his 2 kids to kill a decent mule deer and the ranch hunted was tiny. 1st year guide who was guiding on his grampas land. It was a joke....no deer killed. Outfitter is SUPPOSED to make it up to him and his kids. BIL complained and left early. $6K per hunt and BIL had to supply own lodging and transportation to ranch.

Outfitters are sketch.
 
My BIL had a similar experience with an outfitter in Utah....spent lots of money for his 2 kids to kill a decent mule deer and the ranch hunted was tiny. 1st year guide who was guiding on his grampas land. It was a joke....no deer killed. Outfitter is SUPPOSED to make it up to him and his kids. BIL complained and left early. $6K per hunt and BIL had to supply own lodging and transportation to ranch.

Outfitters are sketch.
Pretty much mirrors my elk hunt in Wyoming 2 years ago.
 
Here's Another Trick I've seen!

Nothing To Do With Above Mentioned Outfitter!

Outfitters Book Hunters Up At Said Price!

After They Are Fully Booked Up!

They Start Feeling Them Hunters Out A Bit!

And I QUOTE:

Phone Calls Being Made!

"For X Amount Of Dollars/More Money We Might Be Able To Get You In On A Better Buck"

And What Does It Relate Back To?

Yup!

The Hunter That's Willing To Fork Out The Most $$$ Wins Again!

Don't Think For A F'N Second It Doesn't Happen!
 
Here's Another Trick I've seen!

Nothing To Do With Above Mentioned Outfitter!

Outfitters Book Hunters Up At Said Price!

After They Are Fully Booked Up!

They Start Feeling Them Hunters Out A Bit!

And I QUOTE:

Phone Calls Being Made!

"For X Amount Of Dollars/More Money We Might Be Able To Get You In On A Better Buck"

And What Does It Relate Back To?

Yup!

The Hunter That's Willing To Fork Out The Most $$$ Wins Again!

Don't Think For A F'N Second It Doesn't Happen!
If that happens, that is BS. I am going on a horseback elk hunt in Colorado 2025 and it's really just for the experience. If I kill an elk, that will be a bonus. If the outfitter told me if I pay him another $2K I'd have a better shot at killing an elk, I'd tell him to refund my money and take a hike.
 
Well Wisz!

I'm Not Saying They All Do It!

But If You Think It Doesn't Happen You're More Secluded In KALI Than I Thought You Were!

Good Luck On A Refund After A Certain Date!

And Somebody-Else Could Slick The Deal Up & You'd Never Know It!
 
Here's Another Trick I've seen!

Nothing To Do With Above Mentioned Outfitter!

Outfitters Book Hunters Up At Said Price!

After They Are Fully Booked Up!

They Start Feeling Them Hunters Out A Bit!

And I QUOTE:

Phone Calls Being Made!

"For X Amount Of Dollars/More Money We Might Be Able To Get You In On A Better Buck"

And What Does It Relate Back To?

Yup!

The Hunter That's Willing To Fork Out The Most $$$ Wins Again!

Don't Think For A F'N Second It Doesn't Happen!
100% happens.
 
Hey wait a couple of years after those Oregon Wolves that your Colorado legislators & F&G people wanted get established !!!! IF you think the game is scarce now just wait you Colorado boys are in for something Special !!! And be sure to re-elect those F--K TARTS that brought these fury loveable pets into your state !!!!! The Wyoming border boys are ready for ANY that cross over north of you they will help you out a little !!!!
 
Nothing against outfitters, but if you leave your planning to someone else, you are taking a chance. I try to add knowledge of areas every time I hunt, and I have been amazed at the ignorance of guided hunters I encounter.
 
Hey wait a couple of years after those Oregon Wolves that your Colorado legislators & F&G people wanted get established !!!! IF you think the game is scarce now just wait you Colorado boys are in for something Special !!! And be sure to re-elect those F--K TARTS that brought these fury loveable pets into your state !!!!! The Wyoming border boys are ready for ANY that cross over north of you they will help you out a little !!!!
Um, the stupid voters did it not the stupid legislators or stupid governor.
 
Unrealistic expectations by the hunter, which were probably fueled by the outfitter. Unfortunately, in that unit you probably could have just DIY'ed it and done just fine, or at least no worse than you did. You hired an outfitter to guide you on a public land hunt in a road hunting unit. Unless the outfitter has private access, they dont bring much value to you in that scenario. Any "honey holes" they claim are probably being glassed by a dozen other dudes as well.

Unfortunately 6k doesnt really get you much of a guided hunt anymore. I know of public land back country/horseback elk outfitters (which are a dime a dozen in CO) charging 6k for 5days hunts with 0-15% success rates and people are throwing money at them.
 
Quit crying and just hunt…. If you hire a guide 99% of the time it isn’t going to meet your expectations… there’s no secret sauce for deer hunting the rut so do some research and see what you can find. But don’t drag down a business because of your own incompetency
 
Well, you got the completely out of touch part right. The rest, not so much.

You either 1) don’t live here, or 2) are one of the front range voters we have to thank for this.
I live in Idaho & we saw how our unanimous vote against the reintroduction worked for us !! Same as it did for the other states that now have wolves !!! I guess the Colorado sportsmen are going to have to take the same stance your neighbors in Wyoming are when they see a wolf !!! S S S Shoot Shovel & Shutup
 
If a hunter hasn’t realized that the Gunnison doesn’t produce even close to what it once did, then you haven’t researched much. Those outfitters know where there should be good deer and when they’re not there the. There just might not be those class of deer.
Maybe if gunny crazed hunters kept there hopes of a 180” deer through the entire season instead of dropping standards and killing a 150” buck on day three, there would still be some mature deer around. Allow your self to enjoy a hunt without having to kill. Ask any local in the basin and they will probably tell you a major part of the decline is so many tags and people shooting 150” 3 yr old deer. Nothing has the chance to reach the age class we hope for. To each there own, if you want to kill 2 and 3 yr old deer than go ahead. But don’t turn around and complain that there is no 5 and 6 year old deer.
 
I agree with you, all the 150 deer I saw all season died towards the end, and I took a 4-year-old the last day. but I'll never draw another tag so while I'm concerned about the dwindling age class it's not going to affect me. some residents I talked to had about the same idea.

I question exactly what this outfitter promised the OP for quality. in all the years of talking to him I don't believe he was dishonest . but communication with him became so poor that it's possible that was the plan. if you won't talk to clients they are free to make assumptions on their own you're not committed to.

Anyway, in the end I was glad he blew me off and I hunted DIY. I had a great time, probably did just as well and saved some money.
 
Just because one of the popular hunting consultants refers you to an outfitter does not mean you are going to have a good hunt. My only guided hunt was a referral from one of the "consultants" and was a trainwreck and I only killed on last day of hunt due to s---house luck. Was a muzzy hunt and I never heard a bugle. 2 guys in camp with me hunted a week and never saw or heard an elk. OUCH
 
I don’t know anything about Lazy F Bar but if you went into a unit 66 2nd rifle hunt expecting a 180” buck, that’s on you.. that’s a completely unrealistic expectation. You said it best, your guides worked hard.. The bucks just aren’t there, that unit has been really struggling for a few years now. Don’t horde Colorado deer points, they don’t get you much more than what you could draw every couple years in my experience
 
I'm surprised you got a call back from him. I tried for two years leaving messages on home and cell phones with not a reply. I guess lucked out not hunting with him.
 

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