Mark's brown bear that required 2 hours of intense tracking in Alaska. Count on Mark to have fun always!
It all started with a buffalo hunt in South Dakota
A working relationship has to start somewhere. Book a buffalo hunt with me and the next thing you know, you'll have lots of excellent memories to look back on like Mark and I. Mark is a great companion to have in the field.
I received this very flattering letter/story from one of my customers. It is a strong testimony for my operation. He says a lot of great stuff about me and I’m proud of it. Although he doesn't brag about it, he plays a huge part in his own successes. Before you read it, let me compliment that Mark is an optimist and ALWAYS brings an outstanding attitude, enthusiasm, humility, and reasonable expectations. Mark is eager to succeed, listens, holds up his end as best he can, is coachable and disciplined and never gives up. He knows how to maintain an incredible balance of all of those traits through thick and thin. That makes my job very easy. It is easy to stay optimistic when things go great. Mark has that special skill of maintaining a cool head when things don’t. Teamwork between two professionals makes the stories you are about to read possible. Call, text or email me if you’d like to start a working relationship like Mark and I have cultivated.
"IS WILLIE LUCKY OR GOOD?
I am currently a 58-year-old man who always wanted to hunt but never took the time. When I met Willie, my hunting experience was just a few times hunting Ohio deer, pheasant and quail.
I wanted to kill a grizzly/brown bear. Someone gave me Willie Dvorak’s phone number. I explained to Willie that I was an amateur, but I wanted to hunt a grizzly bear. After an enjoyable conversation, Willie suggested that I come to South Dakota to hunt a buffalo and coyotes.
I must say the buffalo hunt was exciting. I realize you will eventually run into fences in South Dakota on Willie’s properties, but they are miles apart. Being inexperienced, we (I) spooked buffalo several times and we got to stalk and several all morning. I finally was able to sneak up on a very nice buffalo and several shots later he was dead. It was a great experience. The next day and a half we called in numerous coyotes, but again due to my inexperience, I did not put any good shots on the coyotes and did not kill any.
You should know this about Willie. He sat me down, said he enjoyed my enthusiasm, but said with my current skills, I would not be successful in Alaska hunting bears. He gave me good instruction on how to shoot. He explained how to practice. He said if I would practice, I would probably be successful on a grizzly hunt. I bring this up because Willie could have just taken my money, but he said unless I changed, he really did not want to take me hunting. He showed a lot of integrity.
My second hunt with Willie was a grizzly hunt the following August in Alaska. I really had no idea what I was in for. I must commend Willie, he does a great job. I had no idea what I was doing, he was extremely respectful and helpful.
Is Willie good or lucky?
The next morning, we were off on our first stalk, it was tough, the bear went right when Wille thought he would go left, but it was exciting and that happens, we did not get to take a shot.
The next day, we were watched 3 legal bears, one came across a river, we snuck within 60 yards of the bear, and I shot him. It wasn’t a clean kill shot, the bear ran into some alder bushes. This is a very dangerous situation. Again, Willie did a great job instructing me and keeping me safe, and after two exciting heart pounding hours, we located the bear, moved in and I killed it at extremely close range in the alders. I was exhilarated. Willie kept me safe.
I stayed a few more days and tried to kill a second brown bear. Again, we spotted a bear, put a great stalk on the bear, and the next thing we knew, Willie had me within 30 yards of this bear. New hunter, heart pounding excitement, I took a rushed shot, and we lost the bear. Still, to have that much action was incredible.
My next hunt with Willie was an archery mule deer hunt in South Dakota. The weather was horrible. There was an early cold snap, and I mean cold. We had 3 days where it did not get above 9 degrees.
Willie asked me if I could sit still, and I said yes. One of the first things we did was put a blanket down in a snow drift and I laid down in it. Over 20 deer walked by, all does. But 3 of them ate grass within 3 feet of me and I could hear them chewing, that was just amazing.
Willie put me right in the middle of a drainage the next evening with deer tracks all around. He put me on the path between 2 trees. I had a young whitetail deer get within 5 feet of me and we stared each other down for about 10 minutes, it was incredible. I then went on to completely miss a massive mule deer. I also had several other misses and finally shot a small mule deer. Willie was patient. But man was the whole trip fun. Again, is Willie lucky or good to get you in front of so much game?
Then I did a rifle mule deer hunt. Because rifle hunting is easier than archery, success came easier.
My next trip was a grizzly/brown bear trip back in Alaska. The weather was extremely warm, and hunting was a little tougher. Again, we spotted a really nice bear. This bear would require about a 3-mile stalk. Hustling down the hill, my heart pounding, we walked within 300 yards of the bear. Willie tried to call the bear with a moose calf call, but the bear was more interested in digging out a marmot.
We stalked within 150 yards of the bear, and watched it catch the marmot and swallow it like a seal swallows a fish. The bear shook the dirt off and trotted off with no good shot opportunity.
We were heart broken. But, as Willie had instructed me, I remained quiet, took it in stride and we started walking back. The bear then circled back to investigate the moose distress sounds it heard earlier. Willie tapped me on the shoulder, I dropped down to my shooting position like Willie had taught me and I had practiced so many times as the bear got within 50 yards. One shot, one dead bear. Again, incredible. Lucky or good?
My next trip was archery mule deer again. Long story short, I had the deer shot 20 minutes after I got there. It wasn’t a good shot, but we did track and put a kill shot on him around one in the afternoon. It was a great morning of hunting. In spite of bad weather, I still got an awesome shot early. Is Willie lucky or good?
My last hunt was for Alaskan moose. We caught a huge cold front, heavy winds and rain, but I am no quitter. I did not kill a moose. We did spot two just huge moose, one over 70 inches. But they were a mile in some swamp land where we could have stalked and killed one. But we would have never gotten the moose out and you can’t ethically do that.
What was amazing was to watch Willie call moose in. We had 5 moose within 100 yards of us, a couple got to 25 yards but were not legal. They did not have the 4 brow tines and were just under 50 inches. I did not kill a moose, but it was just a fantastic trip. Again, we saw moose, bear, wolverines, and caribou, what a trip. All that action, lucky or good?
I've forgotten to mention that on all of Willie's Alaska hunts, he has another person in camp helping him. Willie does that at his own expense and it is great. I'm not aware of any other outfitter in Alaska that does it. It's another step that shows Willie's commitment to show his customers the best chance for success. The guy that was always along on my hunts was Forest. He's a great guy.
I look forward to more hunting adventures with Willie God willing. He has integrity, he’s a sportsman, he knows his stuff. He is also fun to hang out with. Book your next trip with him. You’ll be glad you did."
Mark Arnold, OH
Text, call or e-mail me to start a working relationship like Mark did a few years ago. Unlike a lot of things in the world, my operation keeps getting better!
Jim River Guide Service
432 Railway Avenue
Mellette, SD 57461
Text or Phone: 605-228-8162
South Dakota outfitter and hunting guide in the Jim River area, including Ft. Pierre. Accommodations, meals, vehicles and equipment included. Prairie dog, buffalo/bison, antelope, deer and predator hunting.
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