How to Tip Your Guide

I'm going on my first guided elk hunt and need an idea of what to tip the guide and cook in order to budget for the hunt.
--J.B.

Field & Stream Online Editors

Q: I'm going on my first guided elk hunt and need an idea of what to tip the guide and cook in order to budget for the hunt.--J.B.

A: A good rule of thumb is $100 for the guide and $20 for the cook. In many camps, one hunter takes up a collection of 20's from the other hunters and presents the whole wad to the cook.

This can be adjusted for service either below or above average. If you guide sleeps in until well after daylight, refuses to follow elk tracks into thick timber, or hikes ahead while you huff and puff far behind, then he doesn't deserve a tip. The same applies to the cook who burns food or gives the camp food poisoning.

But a guide who works hard and skillfully may deserve more, even if you don't shoot an elk. If you get a bull, tip him all you can. Very grateful hunters have been known to give guides their binoculars or rifle, along with the cash. If the cook's excellent, double the tip, at the very least.

**Q: **How are groups measured? Some people told me to measure from the inside edge to the inside edge of the widest bullet holes, but others say the outside edge. I believe it's the distance between the CENTERS of the widest holes. What's the real deal?

By the way, I've really come to appreciate your writing of late. You have an honest style that comes straight from thorough testing, experience and heart. Keep up the good work.--J.D. **A: **First, thanks for the compliment. Many readers of hunting magazines can only hunt or shoot a few weeks a year at most, so they're looking for advice from people who have more experience. So I try to hunt and shoot a lot and pass on my honest evaluations.

As for your question: America's theoretically a free country, so shooters can measure their groups any darn way they please. But the conventional way, derived from target shooting, is from center to center of the widest holes.