Rocky Branch OutfittersIllinois
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Last year I met Daryl Hafford at the Bloomsburg Early Bird Expo. At the time I was not looking for a hunt out west but I still took the time to speak with him. After my conversation with Daryl I realized I finally met an outfitter that was honest and had nothing to hide. I booked a hunt with him and took three others with me. This hunt was during the rut and as we all know the weather has a lot to do with the movement of mature bucks during daytime hours. This hunt brought warm unseasonably warm temps dampening the movement of deer. However, in spite of this I still sat each day and spend my entire stay in the tree until dark hours. I have learned through the years that jumping from stand to stand isn't always the answer to success. My first day on stand I saw a few doe and one 2.5 year old 8 pt. The second day I saw 8 different buck and two that I could have taken that scored in the mid 130's, but I chose not to shoot. The third day of the hunt I saw just as many and two different bucks than I saw on the second day but had lots of action in the morning and evening. The fourth day was slow until mid morning when I observed a very mature buck that in my opinion was a BOONER! That was all it took for me to make me want to come back. All I could think about was this deer that night and my last day of the hunt I could have harvested a mid 140 deer but all I could think about was this massive buck the day before. I did some investigating on Rocky Branch and discovered some poor reviews on this outfitter, but I just knew after talking to Daryl at the show that there is always two sides to every story. When I was there I spoke to an individual that was also in camp that had been coming there to this camp for 5 years which made me feel very comfortable. The accommodations were wonderful as was the food. The guide, (Daryl) carried my gear to my stand every day of my hunt. I have never had so much help on a hunt as I did on this. Because I had such a great hunt the first time, I returned to camp two weeks later for another five day hunt. This was no different than the first but I could only hunt three days because of bad weather. On this hunt I saw 14 different buck and on the first day I saw a 170 plus deer at 1:30 in the afternoon but it did not give me a shot. I can't say enough about this outfit. I am finding out now how one bad review can hurt a great outfitter. I truly believe that people that hire an outfitter to hunt with believe they can work magic and a trophy buck will walk within feet of their tree the first day. The way I see it, an outfitter and I don't mean just any outfitter. I mean someone who is honest hardworking and someone who takes pride in what they do like Daryl. I will say that all of us that went did not harvest a deer that week. The weather had a lot to do with it but I truly believe that everyone can't be a good hunter. You can't be taken for lunch everyday disturbing the area you hunt and expect results. Why would an outfitter keep moving a client like that who will only disrupt good areas. Its not fair to others and its certinaly not fair to the outfitter.
We appreciated the feedback and remember this hunt well, Sean is a truly great guy!
We try our best to make everyone happy during their hunt. Of course we have no control over each hunter's kill or lack thereof. As you know a number of factors influence a kill, weather, timing, experience, etc. Sean hunted in November which would have been great but it was unseasonably warm. Some past hunters have insisted on coming in October which is a bit too early in our opinion. We've decided to no longer offer hunts in October to better serve our hunters expectations.
As any seasoned hunter knows, not every hunt results in a kill but it our goal at Rocky Branch Outfitters to provide the best overall hunting experience to each and every client that comes to us. Thanks so much Sean for trusting us to help you with your hunt and for the honest review. We hope you'll be back again!