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 I’ve hunted across the United States in pursuit of a variety of big game animals, and been fortunate enough to kill over 53 record book big game animals with over 2 dozen of them being record book whitetail bucks with a variety of weapons. On each occasion I have booked with an outfitter, with the exception of a few “swapped” hunts. I know that to try and hunt public ground, or swap hunts with other hunters on the internet normally ends in vast disappointment. It’s simply factual information that when whitetail hunters book with a good whitetail outfitter their odds of harvesting a trophy whitetail buck increase dramatically. 

Public ground is over hunted and open to interruption by other hunters. Early in my whitetail hunt career I hunted public areas because I didn’t have enough money to book a good outfitted hunt. I discovered quickly that deer in these areas are usually already driven out, and most trophy animals are harvested or have migrated as far away as possible to escape danger. I can remember in the youth of my outfitting career I leased a farm that was just a couple miles from a public hunt area. It was a literal waste of money. Although it was beautiful and held all the necessary resources for whitetail production it was nothing short of awful. I have discovered farms that border or are even near public hunting areas are almost always a waste of time. 

The second problem with a public hunt area is that at any moment a hunter or group of hunters can walk right through your area ruining your outing. This is very common. Literally I have never swapped a hunt with anyone on the internet and arrived to receive what they represented on the phone. Sadly enough some people will lie just to swap hunts. I have been on many “wild goose chases” when trading out a hunt for another hunt.

Booking with a whitetail outfitter is the key to success, as other avenues offer no means by which a hunter can arrive at prepared, pre scouted hunt sites which hold trophy whitetail deer consistently. Ultimately the theme of the IMB Outfitters website is to convince hunters to book a quality whitetail hunt with IMB Outfitters. There are a variety of factual, and verifiable reasons to select IMB Outfitters as opposed to some other outfit service. Let’s get to the nuts and bolts surrounding your selection of a whitetail outfitter, but first allow me to share an experience I had in 2007 when I hunted with a whitetail outfitter in Texas. I share this incident only to give you a vision of what horrid things one can run into when a poor selection of guide or outfitter is made. (I speak to many hunters over the course of a year by phone and almost everyone of them has been on a poor hunt with a outfitting service, because there are so many hunt outfitting services that do not understand business nor understand or have the resources to put you on trophy whitetails.

In 2007 I booked a hunt in Texas with a Whitetail Outfitter I will allow this outfitting service to remain unnamed. When I initially spoke to the Outfitter on the phone he painted the perfect picture for me. He made all the promises most whitetail outfitters tend to make on a phone solicitation. I had elected to go to Texas as it’s the only state I can book a hunt in once the season in the states I outfit have concluded. As a whitetail outfitter I don’t get to hunt much because I am taking care of my clients during the season and don’t have time to hunt myself. (Good whitetail outfitters will not hunt their own ground as our deer are for our clients.  Some of the largest whitetail outfitting services in America allow their employees to hunt in exchange for working for free.  This is not ethical and you should not hunt with any outfitter who’s employees hunt.  The problem is most outfitting services will never tell you that they allow employees to hunt.)  The Texas Outfitter told me on the phone his buck to doe ratio was way out of whack, and that he needed me and my partner to come down and take a buck a piece to ensure the quality of his herd. I called several of his references who all praised him. Normally I don’t call references as while its standard procedure to do so, I know that no outfitter would put a bad reference on their website. (While the hunt industry has taught us to call references it is often times just a waste of time.  Many outfitters put their own family members down as references or give out discounts and free hunts for references.  Also most hunt reviews are not real.  I would never grant merit to good nor bad hunt reviews posted on the internet.  Why?  Outfitters pay employees and family members to post positive hunt reviews about their business and then they will also pay them to post negative reviews about other outfitting services to try and deter people from booking hunts with their competitors.  Hunt reviews are almost always fraudulent.  Sad but true.)  

The hunt in Texas was to be a one guide to one hunter outing. This is common in Texas but not for qualitative purposes. This means each hunter would have a guide sitting with them in a stand. (I hate to have anyone sitting with me in a deer stand.  At IMB Outfitters a guide transports you and walks you to a deer stand to hunt but we do not sit with you). Texas Outfitters normally mandate a guide to sit with you during the hunt. Texas Outfitters do this to prevent hunters from shooting the wrong deer, but more often to try and talk clients into shooting deer which will be accompanied by huge trophy fees. For example, in Texas, deer are normally priced in accordance to their size. Guides literally sit in stands with hunters and try to entice them into shooting the biggest deer on the ranch to make massive amounts of money. It is common for large ranches in Texas to have high fences.   (All of our farms are “free roaming” wild deer.  We do not have any high fence areas as we believe high fences are unethical and are not really hunting as we know it.)

The Outfitter will often tell you it’s to keep deer outside the fence from coming in so they can effectively manage their whitetail herd. More often times the truth is many of the biggest deer on the ranch have been literally brought in by tractor trailer from a deer farmer and released onto the ranch. Clients aren’t told those 180 inch deer are domesticated at high fence ranches. Thus even though you might shoot a big deer, the accomplishment of actually taking a wild trophy whitetail deer has not been accomplished by the hunter. When we arrived after our 15 hour drive from my home State of Missouri, the guaranteed 4 Starr Facility complete with three meals a day as described on the phone by the outfitter, turned out to be a trailer with two meals a day. The lodge manager couldn’t communicate with us because she couldn’t speak English... No cable television. No phone. No internet. (IMB Outfitters lodges are 4 Star with 3 meals a day as well as snacks, beverages, treats, etc. etc.)  To beat that, the property in Texas had several mean dogs of huge size that would not allow us to leave the trailer, and even get to our truck to retrieve personal items. The mean dogs were kept on the property to protect against burglaries by illegal immigrants passing through the area. Get this… As soon as we arrived at the location we were told by the outfitter that only one guide was going to be in camp, which meant one of us couldn’t even whitetail hunt, as the outfitter wouldn’t allow us to hunt without supervision. Since my hunt partner had never taken a mature whitetail I offered to just hunt hogs but was forced to pay the same price as a whitetail hunt. On one evening the guide with my partner told him to shoot a buck in the sendero road lined with corn. My hunt partner being a Boone and Crockett Scorer knew right off the bat the buck was around 100 inches even though the guide swore it was 150 inches. My partner offered to shoot the buck provided he would not be charged if the buck wouldn’t score 130 inches. The outfitter declined and admitted they hadn’t scored deer for clients in years past, despite the fact he had been in business for over 7 years. 

While this is a horror story I experienced, I could literally write hundreds if not thousands more stories I have heard from hunters who have traveled abroad in search of trophy whitetails that sound the same. The moral of the story is no matter how good the outfitter is on the phone it has no bearing on what you are really purchasing from the outfitter. 

Remember that any outfitter that advertises trophy whitetail hunts receives hundreds of phone calls and emails every year.  Almost every outfitting service already knows all the questions you are getting ready to ask them and have pre-rehearsed answers in an attempt to lure you to hunt with them.  

Outfitters already know the questions you are going to ask before you ask them due to much phone solicitation practice and have all the appropriate answers for all questions. It’s Not All Bad I don’t want to paint a portrait that all whitetail deer outfitters and guides are bad. There are many fine whitetail outfitters across the Midwest, Texas, and Canada, however I must tell you the majority of outfitters normally fall into one of three categories as aforementioned on our homepage.

Categories of Whitetail Outfitters

The Redneck:

This type of Whitetail Outfitter is not dishonest. He’s the country boy running hunts on the family farm or the family’s friends farm. The Redneck normally possesses a below average lodge, with below average food. Personally I don’t need a fancy lodge or lobster for dinner as long as I’m on trophy deer or with an whitetail outfitter that has my but on quality ground and trying hard to place me on a trophy whitetail buck. The major problem with the Redneck Outfitter is that they simply aren’t experienced enough to know how trophy whitetail bucks travel across a given piece of terrain. Bless their hearts. They have the best of intentions but they just don’t know how to manage a hunt camp nor produce consistent trophy deer harvests. Believe me after being in business for almost 20 years I can tell you that the first 2 or 3 years I was in business I was just beginning to “cut my teeth” in the industry, and made many foolish mistakes I would never make now, as a seasoned whitetail outfitter. The Redneck Outfitter normally can be identified on the phone as he is willing to cut financial deals that are too good to be true, or presents an inferior website and brochure.  The Redneck Outfitter normally doesn’t have a lot of great bucks shown in their trail cam gallery or their “kill photos”. Why? He’s desperate for clients due to a lack of rebooked hunters. He can also be identified by the amount of acreage he possesses, unless of course he lies on the phone and tells you he has more than he does. The Redneck Outfitter can also be identified by a small sloppy 2 to 4 page website. His prices will be cheaper. You might even save some money by booking a whitetail deer hunt with him, but after you spend your vacation time, your travel, your gas, and get your hopes up all year, you will soon discover booking with the Redneck is a complete waste of time. Often times the consumer will identify the Redneck and still hunt with him all in the name of saving money justifying it with this premise, “I’ll still be hunting in big buck country and maybe I’ll get lucky.” Consider other alternatives. Your success depends upon a solid choice of whitetail outfitter. 

The Factory:

The second type of Outfitter is what I call “the Factory.” This choice is worse. This is the outfit that runs as many hunters as they possibly can with one motive--money! The more hunts booked the more money they gross. One such outfitter runs an ad in most of the top whitetail specialty magazines bragging about the fact they own a half a dozen lodges in one area. Why would an outfitter have a half a dozen lodges in one state or area? Simple house as many hunters as they can at one time. This outfitter will over hunt stand locations and farms, literally raping their hunt area of the majority of their trophy animals. Watch out for ads that brag about large numbers of trophy deer killed over their existence, or too many lodges in one area. At a location such as this you enter camp not as a person but rather just a financial contributor to a program solely focused upon making money. Lodges may be great, food may be wonderful, but the hunting is poor due to over hunting and a lack of care of the hunter. With this outfitter, I’d just get plain mad knowing that nobody really cared about my outing. Here at IMB Outfitters we keep strict statistics and record of all hunters and all of our stand locations.  We do this so you can “police” us.  Each time a hunter goes out we write down the hunter’s name, the treestand number he hunts, how many deer he sees, how many trophy bucks he sees, and how many shots the hunter gets at record book bucks.  This is vital information as data is power.  If I were to assign you to hunt stand #34 in Missouri you could literally pick up the ledger book and see if the stand has been hunted before.  How many times it has been hunted, and how many trophy bucks have been seen from this stand.  Here at IMB Outfitters we make certain that 20% of our stand locations don’t get hunted in a year and that no stand location gets hunted more than 5 times in an entire year.  This is very important.  One time I was hunting with a friend of mine in Wisconsin with a hunt outfitter.  My friend became pretty “chummy” with the outfitter.  As the outfitter was getting ready to place him on a deer stand my friend stated, “How many times have you hunted this stand?”  The outfitter replied, “18 days in a row morning and night but a funnel is a funnel.  Get your bow and come on.”  I nearly vomited.  You cannot overhunt and kill record book bucks consistently.  As of this moment I am not aware of any other hunt outfitting service that even keeps records of their stand location, much less shares them with their hunters.  The ledger books are a sure way to keep 100% accurate success rates each year also.  While I hate to reveal all our secrets here at IMB Outfitters I want to be clear that we actually care and will go the extra mile for you each time you hunt with us.  We have even hung stands in the middle of the night if needed for hunters the next day.  We will do anything it takes to make you happy and successful.  I guarantee it!

The Right Choice:

A minority group of whitetail outfitters fall into this class. This is the whitetail outfitter who is running a good camp. They are sometimes hard to identify unless you know what to look for. The Right Choice will have good guide to hunter ratios, good amounts of ground, big quality websites put together well. They will call you back promptly or respond to emails promptly. They will send high quality brochures. They will spend an ample amount of time on the phone with you. I’ve always said if an whitetail outfitter will present a good website and a good brochure, while having a good conversation with you on the phone they will normally take care of you in camp also. However still more evidence needs to be presented. Why IMB Outfitters is the Right Choice IMB Outfitters is the right choice of outfitters for a Trophy Whitetail Hunt. A number of factual, verifiable facts exist to show IMB is indeed the “Best Whitetail Outfitter in the Midwest” as their slogan claims. 

1. IMB Outfitters has been in business for nearly 20 years without interruption, full time, year round. The hunt industry is relatively a small arena. Any whitetail outfitter that has thrived throughout nearly 20 years of business, through terrorist attacks, economy declines, natural disasters, and massive amounts of competition has to have positive attributes and solid foundational hunt strategies that have continued to succeed year after year. As a general rule you just can’t last in an arena as small as the hunt industry without repeat success.

2. IMB Outfitters is sponsored by almost 4 dozen major hunt companies in the industry. Household names like Mossy Oak, Mathews Bows, Nikon, Hunter Specialties, Goodyear Tires, Thompson Center Arms, Horton Crossbows, and many more as seen on our sponsors page. Why is this important. These Fortune 500 Companies do NOT attach their names with a whitetail outfitter that is shady, below average, or unethical.

3. IMB Outfitters possesses over 80,000 acres in 3 states giving its hunters the freedom to choose a variety of locations to pursue trophy whitetails. IMB is located in the greatest location in North America to pursue trophy whitetail deer. Forget Canada, the biggest bucks are right here in the States. IMB is located in Iowa, Illinois, and Missouri. Not only is IMB located in the best states but after thorough research we are located in the best counties on the best farms within those states. Most of our landowners have been in business with us in excess of 10 years proving IMB treats their landowners well. In turn you can be expected to be treated well.

4. IMB Outfitters was chosen by Peterson’s Hunting as one of the top 44 Hunt Outfitters in the entire World. Not just whitetail outfitters but rather chosen out of the top 44 outfitters in the entire world.

5. IMB Outfitters made North American Whitetails Hall of Fame multiple times.

6. IMB Outfitters normally sports a 3 to 1 guide to hunter ratio. This means 1 guide only places 3 hunters in the woods daily. At some hunt camps outfitters have guides place over 5 hunters in the woods daily thereby decreasing the quality of services offered to hunters on a personal basis. Believe me the last thing you want is to have one guide putting 5 or 6 hunters in at one time. Guide to hunter ratios are very important.

7. IMB Outfitters has been fondly represented by the industries top sports writers, hunt television celebrities, outdoor television networks, pro staffers, and major hunt website for over a decade. IMB has hosted numerous Outdoor Writer’s Conferences, Hunter Specialties Videos and Pro Staff, Roger Raglin, Tim Hooey, Brock Ray, many famous Sports Figures, etc. These folks don’t waste time hunting with inferior whitetail outfitters. Most of the aforementioned rebooked several times. In fact IMB has hosted the Hunter Specialty video tours for the past several years.  I also want to add that over the past several years we simply have stopped taking outdoor celebrities as we have learned they most often times want special treatment over the regular client.  You might not meet a hunt celebrity in our camps but you will be sitting on the best stands for certain.

8. IMB Outfitters ONLY selects the most qualitative farms to lease. I can’t count the number of times we have elected not to lease a farm because it wasn’t up to our standards, only to watch another whitetail outfitter lease the farm days later and run hunts on it. When you hunt with IMB you will hunt land tracts that have undergone the up most scrutinized qualitative measurements prior to leasing. It is my belief IMB has the best farms in the Midwest, exclusively leased through private land tracts, never under high fence, and never on public ground. For example, IMB Outfitters is the only hunt service in the State of Iowa that I know that has the original Iowa Governors Hunt Farms leased out.  We simply refuse to lease average ground.  When you hunt with IMB Outfitters you will be on the best farms in the Midwest.  Remarkable!

9. IMB Guides are trained thoroughly via a program devised in house on how to pattern big deer, identify topographical advantages, host clients in a courteous manner, and carefully selects only the best applications and resumes sent in by potential employees. After which a rigorous interviewing process is employed to assure no novice guides are hosting hunters.  

10. IMB has no trophy fees. No matter how large a buck you harvest, no additional fees are attached. (We do however employ a $750 penalty fee for shooting a buck that green scores under 130 inches to ensure that we are growing larger and larger deer annually.

11. IMB land tracts have been under quality deer management programs for over a decade. Also new farms are added annually.  We also manage special trophy areas for hunters seeking Boone and Crockett bucks only.

12. IMB pays landowners 40% of the gross hunt monies to ensure landowners receive some of the best lease rewards available. This program leads to landing the best farms in the Midwest.

13. IMB employs full time guide positions in an effort to continually maintain quality stand sites as well as the employment of intense scouting year round for the benefit of our hunters. 

14. After a random selection of whitetail outfitters IMB was determined to be in the lower 30 percentile regarding hunt costs. At IMB you will get the most bang for your buck so to speak. Typically hunts range from $2000 to $4000, and often times we offer group discounts, special pricing, etc. etc.

15. IMB offers both semi and fully guided hunts, however we recommend avoiding semi guided hunts with any hunt service.

16. IMB employs a tremendous food plot program, and mineral supplement program keeping animals on our land tracts even in the toughest of hunt conditions.

17. IMB presents some of the highest quality lodges and food in the hunt industry.

18. IMB Outfitters employs a three step strategy for all hunters to pattern trophy bucks. When you arrive in camp you are provided with an aerial book which shows photos of all the farms in the State you are hunting with stand locations marked and numbered so you can see where you are going to hunt each day. IMB also presents a ledger book where on each outing for over a decade we record what hunter sat in what stand and what he saw. That way when you get to camp you can literally see the history of the stand you are hunting and verify it hasn’t been over hunted as the ledger book tells how many times a stand has been hunted and how successful it has been. The third step is the implementation of a record keeping system by which we record conditions surrounding each hunters hunt every morning and evening to determine where bucks are moving and why. This is a way to pattern deer. Most outfitters simply take your money and start throwing you in stands simply hoping for the best without much strategy. Most whitetail outfitters never show stand histories because they are ashamed of how often stands get hunted. Here at IMB a tree stand gets hunted 4 times a year on average. Four times means one morning, one evening, one morning, one evening. Now that’s quality. This in fact was the sole discussion on the Outdoor Channel between Roger Raglin, Hunt Celebrity and IMB Owner, Darrin Bradley. Raglin simply couldn’t believe how few times a stand was actually hunted over the course of a season, and that we cared enough to collect and analyze data.

19. IMB prides themselves on providing a vast array of ambush or tree stand sites hung correctly. IMB sports over 1000 stand setups. 65% of these are fixed position treestands accessed by tree sticks. You simply climb up a fixed ladder stick on a tree that correctly placed so that the hunter can step down into the treestand. Many whitetail outfitters hang treestands clumsily making them hard to access. IMB also has quality ladder stands set against trees for hunters that prefer these types of setups. For the physically challenged hunter IMB also has a number of box blinds, tripods, shooting houses, and pop up blinds. Virtually IMB can accommodate just about anyone. Always remember when your booking a hunt your buying something you cannot see from somebody you do not know. Don’t cut corners with public hunting ground, swap hunts, or unimpressive outfits just to save a few bucks because they are located in States that sport giant whitetail bucks. Make a solid choice with an outfitter that can consistently put you on giant whitetail bucks. 

Book with IMB Outfitters. A solid choice.