Westcoast Adventures and OutfittingWashington
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This is my account of an elk hunt i was on recently. Do your research, and spend your money wisely.
THE OFFER A buddy of mine won a hunt auctioned on Shane Barbour's Westcoast Adventures and Outfitting with half of the proceeds donated back to a non profit organization. He won the auction at $1600. After the auction, Shane told my buddy that he would honor that same price if he knew anyone else interested. My friend called me and told me about the auction, that was advertised as a "Five day, fully guided fair chase" Roosevelt elk hunt on 120,000 private acres. THE CALL I called Shane to set up payment and talk about the hunt. He told me about his property, and the huge heard of elk with several legal bulls. He told me that he "averaged 320-380 inches" on his bulls, and that the shot distance would be 40-80yds. He told me that bulls were still chasing cows, and that I "would tag out on a bull." He also told me to "make sure" I had a bear tag, because they were seeing 4-6 every day. He said we would only cover about 5 miles a day. Shane told me the only reason he offered the other hunt to my buddy, was because he "had to keep his guides working." I asked for information that I would need, but he was really only interested in telling me that I needed to pay in full before the hunt. The only communication I got from him was a text the following day asking if I had sent payment yet. THE MEETING Roundtrip airline tickets, over $700 in non-resident license and tags, weeklong hotel stay booked, and I'm in Washington state. My buddy and I meet Shane briefly the night before the hunt (after several phone calls he finally decided to show) to get an idea of the day and week to follow. Shane is with other "clients" and they are bar hopping. Shane says, "that's what you do at elk camp, get drunk every night and hunt elk in the day." The only real info we got was that we were meeting the next morning at 0600 for breakfast at the Best Western. There were no less than 9 hunters there. One had to go home because his elderly wife had become sick. We had no clue so many people were there to hunt with Shane. After the meeting, all of the hunters followed Shane in their personal vehicles to the hunting area about an hour away. THE HUNT OF A LIFETIME The only "guides" were Shane, and a 19 year old college student that he has working for him. We'll call him "Bob." Shane told us that "all of the other hunters are going to sit in blinds. Bob is going to take you guys (my buddy and I) and walk up the mountain and push the elk back down towards the blinds." Shane told us all that we would have two bulls on the ground by lunch. Shane then took another guy that was on the hunt the other direction, to also push elk toward the blinds. Bob had a handheld gps, and literally took us from point A to point B. We didn't look for elk. We didn't spot for any movement. We were drivers for the blind hunters. Bob told us that Shane told him to "walk us to death so we would want to sit in a blind." While walking, we questioned Bob on some of the things we were told be Shane, and found several discrepancies. We ended up seeing scattered sign, but nothing to show that there was anything there in numbers. We met back up at the vehicles at the predetermined time, then all drove half an hour away to a diner. For the evening hunt, walking was not an option. Shane said he wanted everyone in blinds. Nobody in blinds saw anything, but the one person guided by Shane saw some cows. For some reason, there was no bait anywhere and the game cameras were pulled before rifle season because, as Shane said, "I just pulled the cameras because I didn't have any extra cards." That evening my buddy asked for Bob to come to our hotel room to go over the game plan for the following day. The subject came up that Bob would have to be back home Sunday night for college the following day. He did not have an answer about who our guide would be, when Shane was left with 8 hunters by himself. DAY TWO We meet again at breakfast, same time. We follow Bob and his gps from point C to D this time. The only thing we saw were a couple of small black tail deer. Then only person to see elk was the same guy still being guided by Shane. Bob said we had to meet up at the vehicles by 0930. While at the vehicles, Shane called my friend and I over to his truck. He told us that he had another property, only 40 acres, near Graham that we could hunt instead. It was closer to my buddy's place, so that meant no hotel. I asked about the bear tag, since no one had seen one or any sign of one. He told me there were none in Graham, but as far as elk "that's where the BIG ONES are. If you go there, it WILL happen. There's only 3-5 bulls in there, but they are all shooters." It also answered the question about not having a guide. He told us he "had guys on standby to help us quarter and haul them out once we got them." We would follow Bob to the location, and he would show us the blinds and tree stands, then we could hunt it every day by ourselves. We drove to the hotel, packed up and checked out, then drove three hours to Graham in a snow storm. 40 ACRE PROPERTY We arrived mid afternoon, along with three inches of fresh snow. Bob showed us the location and the trails. He told us the farmer on the other side of the property had already tagged out during muzzle loader season. He walked us to a new ground blind that was set up on the edge of a deep drainage creek filled with water. The blind literally skirted a well used game trail passing through the water. The other ground blind was set up on top of another game trail that had an empty bucket sitting in the middle of the trail. I assume it was a bait site, but again, there was nothing. Bob told us we were supposed to sit in a tree blind, but the water had came up too high. With the fresh snow on the ground, spotting game and tracks was easy. The only tracks were ours. We left out at dark. Zero activity. DAY TWO We were back on location at daylight. The weather had turned, and a warm up was forecast. Everything was perfect as the sun began to rise. Except for, the repeated shotgun blasts from the neighbors hunting geese. About 0930 I texted my buddy that I was going for a walk. He met me at my blind, and I used logs and sticks to cross the high water. I crossed the clearing that Shane said the elk used to travel to their "bedding area." I found bobcat tracks, and nothing more. The snow was as perfect as the moment it fell. We found the entire back half of the property under 2-12 inches of water. We asked ourselves, "If Shane just pulled cameras, why didn't he know this was under water?" We were both upset by the conditions, lies, and lack of activity. We called the day a wash and didn't go back to hunt the evening. That night my buddy called Shane and told him we were not satisfied with our 'guided, fair chase' hunt. He called Shane a liar, and Shane hung up on him. I called Shane back to see what was going to happen. Shane said I had paid, and was welcome to continue to hunt. He said the evenings were the best time to hunt that property, and that we had made a mistake by not going out. DAY THREE, THE LET DOWN I hunted the day by myself. My buddy refused to go back, I didn't blame him. I walked the property again, crossing the high water. No activity. No sign. Some of the snow melted, but a blind man could see that nothing crossed this property. Another morning of shotgun blasts. I had decided that this would be my last day of this nonsense. I was tired of looking at snow melting. This night, Shane called me and asked how it went. I told him and he had no comment. He had a lot to say, mostly the same things he has said from day one, "bro, this is what I do. I don't have a job. I know my animals. I know my land. 99% of elk are shot from a blind, etc. etc...." He made sure to tell me that he did us a favor by letting us go to the new property. He's a fast talker, and has his speeches memorized. About an hour later, he called me excited. He said the "neighbor across the street saw the heard move down." He said, "they will be crossing the property the next day for sure." DAY FOUR, A NEW HOPE I hunted alone again. I was in the blind next to the water where Shane had told me the elk crossed properties. I had walked in in darkness, hopeful that I would see something this day. Anything legal. Legal hunting light started at 0610. At 0610 there was a rifle shot very near to where I was sitting. On a forty acre piece, there was no way to pinpoint the direction. I actually got excited at the prospect of someone pushing animals my direction. Nothing. No movement. No sounds of anything moving. By 0900 I had decided that I was done, and called my buddy to get him to put something together for fishing or duck. I didn't want to waste the last two days of my two weeks of vacation with nothing to show for it. I walked the property again to ensure that there were no new tracks. DAY FIVE We fished a local river and caught some booted up coho. A refreshing change from the previous days. Shane called again to ask if I'd seen anything. I told him I didn't. I wasn't worried about the last day of looking at trees, and a lie to a liar is no lie at all. He told me that no one on his other property had taken a shot either. The only time they saw a bull, was in a clearing while they were driving out to go to lunch. He told me that he himself was on his way to Graham, now that the other hunts were finished. He said he was "going to look at a few other properties" and would get me out one final time before I left Washington to "kill a bull." I dismissed it as soon as he said it. I knew it was another lie. He already had my money, along with everyone else's on the hunt. No reason to kill an animal if you get paid the same either way. LAST CHANCE My buddy had set us up with a guided float fishing trip on Friday, knowing that I was flying out the next day. After the last call, he asked me if I wanted him to cancel. I told him "no," we're going fishing. Shane called me about mid morning while we were on the boat. My mind was rushing with what type of 'property' he had me set up to hunt next. This call was different. Shane had an attitude. He asked me where his pop up blind was. I was confused for sure. He told me that he was at the property and that we had moved his blinds, because they were gone. I told him that we did not move his blinds, and that they were there when we left. He again said, "no, it's gone and so are the chairs." I had to describe to him which trail to take to get to the blinds and where they were situated. I told him about the bucket in the trail and he said "what bucket?" He said that he had found the new blind, but the old one was gone. I told him that if I was going to steal his blinds, I would take both. I wouldn't leave the new one and take the old one. He hung up the phone. I texted him about an hour later to find out if he found it and he just texted back "yep." AFTERMATH Shane never did offer me another attempt on a different property that week. After I got home from the trip, with everything weighing on my mind, I decided to tell Shane how I felt about his operation. I sent him a message on facebook to document everything. He had excuses for everything, and more fast talk. He told me that "all the other guys paid $6k for this hunt," and that we "got a deal." The only thing he said with any resonance, is that I can come back again and hunt for free. All it will cost me is another round trip airfare, non resident tags, hotel, meals..... Either that, or I can go to a legitimate outfitter for the same price that he charges for access, that actually cares about putting animals on the ground. Oh yeah, and all inclusive. I found several Washington guides that charge $6k for 1 on 1 guide, meals and lodging included, private land. I also did a google search for "Washington elk hunting Shane Barbour." There are SEVERAL threads on forums about this clown. I know I should've done my homework before the trip, but we really felt he was legitimate because he was working with a non profit. We now know he's just using the non profit to fill "spots" on his hunts. If you go to his facebook outfitter page, he even auctions off hunts for pennies on the dollar to try to get people out there. Real outfitter's don't need to do that. He shares the same pics over and over again, even posting them on his timeline to make people think they were recently taken. Of the 120,000 acres, we checked google maps and found that we were only using about two square miles of it. There's no telling what's on the rest, but there's little to nothing on the small piece we were on.
Was the outfitter notified of problems? - YES
None to date. If you are the outfitter please email us.
Rain on and off. Cloudy, no wind. Snow.