Guided hunting and pack trips in the San Juan Mountains of Southwest Colorado: Over the Hill Outfitters

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There are some who can live without wild things, and some who cannot.

-Aldo Leopold

 

 

You can see what man made from the seat of an automobile.

But the best way to see what God made is from the back of a horse.

-C.M. Russell

General Information

Contact Us | FAQ | Rates & Dates | About Us | Our Horses | Our Staff | Downloads | Links | Employment

 

Frequently Asked Questions or at Least Some Answers...

Our Prices...
We believe that we offer the finest in horseback adventures and that our prices reflect our commitment to quality and service that our clients have come to expect from Over the Hill Outfitters. There are many expenses for a top-notch outfitting company. We have one of the best areas in the Western United States and operate under a special use permit issued by the United States Forest Service. A portion of all of our revenue from operations on public lands is returned to the government. We pay our guides as much as we can. Our outfit has 40-50 head of horses that must be fed and cared for year round. As a professional outfitter, we are bonded insured and licensed in the state of Colorado under the Department of Regulatory Agencies. It takes 3 4WD trucks and trailers to transport our stock and equipment to the trailhead daily. You can see that when you get a bargain price for a trip, something must be compromised.

To better understand what goes into a quality progressive pack trip, click here for a detailed cost analysis for our Continental Divide Trail Horseback Adventure.

Choosing an Outfitter...
The most important consideration when booking with an outfitter is knowing what type of trip you want. Find as many outfitters providing the type of service as you can and compare among them. Ask for references and call them.

Altitude Sickness...
All of our adventures take place between 9,000-14,000 ft. We advise arriving in Durango two or three days ahead of your departure date so that you can acclimate gradually. Drink lots of fluids as hydration is one of the best defenses to altitude sickness. Stay away from alcohol and caffeine to minimize dehydration.

Flying into Durango...
There are daily flights directly into Durango via Denver (United) and Phoenix (American). If you choose to fly directly to Durango, you will need to arrange for transportation from the aiport to your hotel. Many hotels offer this service. You can also rent a car which is a good option if you plan to arrive in Durango a few days prior to your trip so that you can acclimate to the altitude (and take advantage of all of the other great things to do in the area). Unfortunately, we cannot offer tranportation because insurance costs have become prohibitive for tranporting guests. The morning of your trip, if you do not have tranportation, we will assist you in arranging to have you picked you up at your hotel and brought to our ranch where we will weigh and pack your gear before going to the trailhead and on to our basecamp. You can also fly into Albuquerque and rent a car. Durango is approximately a three and a half hour drive on mostly four lane highway. Another option is to fly into Denver, which is a six hour drive.

Lodging in Durango...
You are responsible for your lodging in Durango. We can provide a list of recommended lodging in the Durango area.

Summer Weather Conditions...
June through September typically have warm days with highs in the 70os and 80os. June usually has sunny afternoons while July and August often have afternoon thunderstorms. The possibility of light snow always exists in the higher elevations, even in July and August. Expect cool nights with lows in the 30os to 50os. For summer trips, bring a sleeping bag rated at 10o-20o. Upon booking a trip, we will send you a recommended equipment list appropriate to your trip.

Fall Weather Conditions...
Weather is unpredictable. Daytime temperatures in the fall can range from 20o-60o with nights in the -0o-30o range. Rain and snow are always possible. Bring a sleeping bag rated to -10o-20o..

Saddle Horses and Mules...
We pride ourselves on having the best horses and mules in the business. In addition to our outfitting business, we raise, train and sell working Quarter Horses and mules. What this means to you is that your mount will be one that first and foremost will take care of you and get you down the trail safely. We will painstakingly pair you to an animal that matches you. We have a weight limit of 240 pounds to protect our livestock. None of our horses will be ridden from camp without a guide or wrangler.

Reservations and Booking...
We suggest you make reservations early. Many or our trips are popular and fill up quickly. All of our trips are limited to eight guests and we have a high rate of return clients. We are fully licensed and all or our trips are backed by a written contract and secured with a deposit.

Deposit Policy...
A 50% nonrefundable deposit is required to secure a slot on a trip. Deposits can be in the form of check, money order or Visa, Mastercard or American Express.

Final Payment...
Final payment is due 45 days prior to trip departure date. Final payments can be in the form of check, money order or Visa, Mastercard or American Express.

CORSAR Cards...
We recommend that all clients purchase a Colorado Search and Rescue (CORSAR) card BEFORE coming on a trip. The purpose of this card is to assist in the costs associated with a backcountry evacuation should the situation arise (hopefully not!). If you purchase a hunting or fishing license, it is included. You can purchase these in Durango wherever hunting and fishing licenses are sold, or you can purchase one online with the following link:

https://dola.colorado.gov/corsar_order/order_instructions.jsf

Fishing Licenses...
A Colorado fishing license is required and available at most sporting goods stores in addition to the Colorado Division of Wildlife. You are required to purchase your own fishing license prior to trip departure.

Alcohol...
We do not provide alcohol on any of our trips. We will pack in a beverage of your choice (within reason). Since the effects of alcohol are multiplied at altitude, please use common sense. Under no circumstances will anyone be allowed to ride a horse or hunt under the influence of alcohol.

Gratuities...
The staff of Over the Hill Outfitters works hard to make your experience the best you can possibly have. They have put in many hours learning their trade and greatly appreciate tips.

Summer Pack Trips...
Includes guides, saddle horses or mules, pack stock, tack. We provide riding instructions and encourage guests to get as involved with the handling of the horses as they wish, within reason. Gourmet meals, snacks, soft drinks and purified water are provided (bring your own water bottle). Lodging is in wall tents. Cots and pads are provided. We have separate sleeping tents for each group of a mixed group trip. Clean latrine tents are near camp. When the weather is warm enough, a warm shower is available.

Progressive Pack Trips...
Progressive trips are very demanding. Accommodations are sparse so that we can pack up quickly and cover the miles with light weight equipment. The amount of labor required is tremendous, hence their greater cost. In return, the rewards are high with new scenery everyday, a variety of camps and the satisfaction of an outstanding adventure.

Scenic Horseback Rides...
We provide riding instruction and all tack. For a two hour ride, bring a water bottle, sunscreen, and possibly a snack. Rain gear is nice to have in July and August when thunderstorms become active in the afternoons.

High Country Fishing Trips...
These fishing trips are based on our pack trips. We recommend five days or more, giving you three days of fishing. There is exciting stream fishing on the Florida River flowing next to camp. We can ride or hike to two other fabulous streams, each of which can be fished for multiple days. High mountain lakes are where the largest fish are found. Lakes are more temperamental, but the scenery is spectacular and if you hook one of the lunkers, it’ll be something that you never forget. Brook trout, native cuthroat, rainbows and cutbows are what we catch. Our guides are knowledgable. We provide casting lessons, are knowledgable in entomology, and provide advice on fishing. We know how to fish our streams and can maximize your fishing experience. We rent fishing equipment if you do not have your own.

Custom Packing Service...
Cost based on number of animals required for your trip. Weight limit for pack animals is 150 pounds. Oversized or bulky items may require more animals.

WE HUNT WILD ELK...
We hunt wild elk in the wild. We hunt elk the hard way, the way that they have been hunted for hundreds of years. We can’t guarantee that you will shoot an elk. We can guarantee you that we will do our best to have an opportunity for an elk and that we will never, ever give up. We guarantee that you will have a world class hunt.

Full Service Guided Hunts...
Our guided hunts are the best anywhere. Everything that we do is first class. All of our equipment is in top condition. Our hunts are all 1:1 to give you the best opportunity for success.

Drop Camp Hunts...
You may be concerned about the service that comes with a drop camp from an outfitter who also does fully-guided hunts. We assure you that you will have staff dedicated to your service. Our drop camps are in very productive areas- the same areas that we guide in. Often times, our drop camps are more successful than our guided hunters. That’s hunting. We can’t control where the elk go. We promise you that your drop camp will have the best equipment and we will give 100% effort to make your hunt the best that it can be. Packing of one big game animal included. Additional animals packed for fee.

Non-Hunting Guests...
We welcome non-hunting guests in our camps for an additional fee to cover use of horses, camp and food and staff support.

Rifle Specifics...
The most important thing is to practice! Almost any rifle will kill with a good shot. Site your rifle in at 250 yards and know how it shoots from 50-400 yards. Popular guns are 30/06, 7mm mag, 270, 300 and 338 mag. We recommend bullet weight between 150-180 grains. 500 sq inches of blaze orange including a hat are required.


Archery Specifics...
We recommend a minimum draw weight of 50 pounds. Mechanical broadheads are discouraged because of their inherent unreliability. Be confident shooting to 50 yd.

Blackpowder Specifics...
Modern in-line muzzleloaders are legal in Colorado. We recommend 50 caliber or larger. Site in at 100 yd. 500 sq inches of blaze orange including a hat are required.

Physical Conditioning...
You will enjoy all of our trips most if you are in good physical shape. Plan ahead, train for your trip and get ready to enjoy one of the best trips you can have anywhere. Hunting is especially demanding. Big game live in the hard to access wild places and if you want to hunt them, that’s where we have to go. You will get out of your hunt what you put into it!

Which USGS topos cover the area...
The following USGS 7.5' quads cover (most of) our area:

 

(Click on the map name to download the digital topo-- careful-- they are large!)

 

Downloads (Forms, Directions, Contracts, etc.)...

Description

File Name
Directions to Over the Hill Outfitters directions.pdf
   
Pack Trip Contract Contract_PT.doc
Guided Hunt Contract Contract_GH.doc
Drop Camp Contract Contract_DC.doc
Hunting Packing Service Contract Contract_HPS.doc
Summer Packing Service Contract Contract_PS.doc
Turkey Hunt Contract Contract_TH.doc
   
Drop Camp Information Drop_Camp_Info.pdf
   
Equipment List- Rifle/Blackpowder Hunt Equp-Hunting.pdf
Equipment List- Archery Hunt Equip-Archery.pdf
Equipment List- Pack Trips Equip-Pack Trips.pdf
Equipment List- Continental Divide Ride Equip-ContDiv.pdf
Equipment List- Fishing Equip-Fishing.pdf
Equipment List- Craig Cameron Backcountry Horsemanship Clinic Equip-Clinics.pdf
Equipment List- Christopher Marona Wilderness Photography Workshop Equip-Photo_rips.pdf
   
General Questionnaire Gen_Quest.pdf
   
Payment Form Payment form.pdf
Reservation Form Reserve_form.pdf