I grew up in the Eastern part of Arizona where big elk and trophy mule deer were a common sight. I had an extreme passion for these animals and wanted to learn everything there was to know about their habits, haunts, and most importantly how to get myself into position to harvest some of these great trophies.
At the age of 19 I started my professional hunting career working under some of the largest big game outfitters in the United States. I learned a lot about running an outfitting business from some of these big names in the industry. The one lesson I about myself is that making money is an important aspect of staying in business, but it isn’t the only thing. Some of these big outfitters I had worked for had a number of hunts to sell to make the business cash flow even though they knew not all would have an opportunity to be successful.
Seeing this business philosophy drove me to start my own outfitting business in 1999. My business philosophy is to “Hunt Hard” and make sure we put our best foot forward with each and every client. Every client is equally important and we treat each tag in camp just like it is our own. Our hunting season never really ends. We are looking for sheds in the late winter and early spring to see what survived the previous hunting season and winter.
As we roll into the summer months, we are putting out trail cameras in both Arizona and New Mexico. We spend countless hours in the morning and evenings getting video of bulls and bucks for the upcoming hunts. This gives us a very good idea of what type of inventory we have available to hunt when the seasons roll around.
Arizona has some great animals in all the units we guide, but drawing a tag is somewhat difficult. We take this commitment to heart as many of the people who draw these tags will have a once in a lifetime opportunity to draw this tag and we want the most for them.
Our hunts in New Mexico are difficult to draw as well, but most of them have transferable landowner tags available. For someone who has the resources to buy one of these tags, they can hunt with us and capitalize on all of our scouting whenever they want to hunt. It is hunting and not “Shooting”. All of our trips are 100% free range and fair chase, but we have done everything in our power to tip the odds in our favor and I think our last 15 years of results speak for themselves. We look forward to helping you achieve that trophy of a lifetime.
I had the privilege of meeting “Hunt Hard” owner Jeff Lester when we first started Sportsman’s News back in 2004. We hit it off right away because trophy hunting is in our blood. Being new to the bonus point game back in those days, I had relatively low number of bonus points for elk and deer in Arizona. Although we applied for all species in New Mexico to get an opportunity to draw a tag and experience what Jeff had to offer, we have yet to get a tag.
We finally decided to burn a few points on a Coues deer hunt which took relatively few points, but wasn’t known for its’ trophy quality. This would allow us to put Jeff and his operation to the test. Based on past conversations with Jeff and his dedication to his craft, I knew that he would go out of his way to make things come together. He did just that. He had been sending me photos of bucks throughout the year that would be a great trophy in Mexico, but more than what we could expect with a unit like we had drawn. When we arrived in camp, Jeff showed us what we had in store for our current hunt. He had numerous different cameras in the area and had some top quality bucks on the hit list. A couple which would tap on that 110” Boone and Crocket minimum. I was more than impressed with the effort and dedication he had put into my hunt at this point in time. The hunt lasted a total of one day when one of the giants on camera made his way into an old mineral lick near some water that had been established by Jeff years before. The buck grossed 110” B & C and was everything I could expect from this hunt and much more. I didn’t expect to kill a buck of this quality or in one day, but it proved that hard work and dedication pay off which is why you hire an outfitter.
I can say that Jeff is truly the most dedicated outfitter I have ever worked with. I felt like I was the most important and only client on his radar. He truly delivered on what he promised and he went the extra mile to make my hunt memorable. He is truly the definition of a Platinum Approved Outfitter as well as a friend. – written by Michael Deming