Busy outfitters search for guides fit for the job


S&W outfitters celebrate killing three bulls over a six day hunt. Kipp and Wilson Saile (center), guided John and Bob (on the left), and Jordan Yungbouer Guided Jimmy (on the right).

Wilson Saile, Geyser Writer

From the COVID-19 pandemic, local businesses have been in need for more employees. The guiding field is no exception. From the demand of being out in the wilderness being extremely high and staffing being extremely low, there must be a way to make it work.
Local outfitting company, Rockin HK, has run into these problems. Heidi Saile ,co-owner, says, “I just don’t have the staff to make it through a full season. A couple of years ago I would get so many applications it was overwhelming, but now there is about six or seven applications and I had to decide if these people can even do this job.”
When asked if she thought that this was because of COVID and she said, “I believe that people are not applying for jobs because they are able to be on unemployment and it’s easier to just collect checks and not work. Or people have just found a way to make money from home and stimulus checks and they can get through from just that.”
Another outfitter was Brad Hanzel,who said “I just can’t find anyone. I’ve only had four guides for the entire year. The people that I’ve been able to find are friends of mine that have been guiding with me for the last 20 years. I’ve had to send workers from one camp to go work my other camp in Lewistown.”
Kipp Saile, co-owner of Rockin HK and longtime guide for Brad Hanzel, says that “COVID has just made our job way busier, but it is hard to find the people to work because not that many people want to work 20-hour days.” For the hunting camp, he says that “it’s always been like this where the same people come back to work because they’re hard core and want to work and go out hunting.”
From the demand of all outdoor activities being so high, these companies have found a way to find workers that are right for the job and can get the job done no matter what