Karen and Andy,
Well here I go again, constructing an email in less than 24 hours after departing the trailhead, following my most recent hunt with Heavens Gate Outfitters. This time though, the tone of my correspondence is quite different than previous rapid communications.
I want to thank you both for the wonderful experience both prior to the hunt which included drinks at your beautiful home and dinner at The 7 Devils. Thank you for treating us all to a great reception.
Secondly, although the hunt failed to produce a critter, the personal satisfaction I experienced was totally rewarding. Sometimes I just want time away from the daily riggers and stress that comes with my profession and personal life.
I am deeply thankful for the care and comfort I received in camp and on the trail. Lauren was a blessing, so creative, cheerful and talented. Major kudos to two of the hardest working, thoughtful and skilled guides....Wes and Andy Savage, for guiding me. I am humbled by your devotion and commitment to your profession. Not to be overlooked or taken for granted is Karen.....thank you for all the preparations and communication that you do to ensure everyone is ready to enjoy their HGO experience.
In closing, please know how grateful and totally appreciative I am for allowing me to be not only one of your clients.... but more importantly, your friend.
You would be hard pressed to find another outfitter like these guys. From the booking process, the way they treated Will (12yo son) and to the efforts they put forth to ensure we had the most opportunity, the HGO crew made it happen. We both were able to harvest trophies.
Karen & Andy Savage have become like family. They run a top notch guide service and are extremely hospitable. They bend and flex to meet individual needs and their guide's do as well. Its not hard to tell that these people are doing what they love and it shows up in the results.
So trying to put into words how great this was will be tough but here it goes.
Try imagining hunting with a bunch of dudes that were raised in Maine and transplanted to Idaho, the land of no accent. I would spend a week with these cats and not even bring a gun. Andy, Karen, Wes, Caleb, Andrew and Nick are so much fun to be around. The definition of a Lady and a Gentleman is someone that always tries to make you feel welcome. They have that down. Kudos to the HGO crew for that if nothing else.
The hunting is almost secondary.....almost. The hunting grounds they work are fantastic. We closed out our week 5 for 5 on bear.
The dogs and equipment are 1st class and everyone is on the same page.
If you want a great hunting experience HGO is the place to go.
My 2 boys and I had an incredible week we will never forget.
Thanx a ton for the memories!
Riding and hiking in the Seven Devils was an fantastic experience we'll never forget! As Andy said "we try to make everything about your trip the best we can - as long as we have control over it." They certainly did that!. We hiked with Andy and Karen and their dog 'Niqua along beautiful alpine lakes that looked like they were filled with water the color of the Caribbean mirroring souring mountains that still sported snow in places. Every meal was delicious, and both my daughter and I are Vegan - so that is worth mentioning! They went out of their way to accommodate our weird dietary restrictions, while still completely satisfying the meat eaters in our group. Every morning and evening we caught so many fish we lost count, and every day brought more beautiful scenery. We packed in on August 14, 2018 and camped for 4 days. The horses were some of the most responsive and sure footed we've ever been on, which was important for the steep and sheer cliffs we rode up and around. There was a little smoke the first day as a result of some forest fires, but even that didn't dampen that first view of Heaven's Gate into Hell's Canyon as we rounded a corner. Spectacular. I'd recommend hiking with HGO to anyone who wants to experience this beautiful land.
Just wanted to compliment you guys and your wonderful staff for the exciting week Elk hunting. I set my own personal bar of what I expected and your outfit crushed it all the way around. Eric did a great job cooking wonderful meals with plenty for everyone. Aiden was back and forth most every day hauling stuff out and bringing supplies in and then there's Nick my guide. He got us on Elk the first day and I got an arrow in one but a little far back and Nick amazingly tracked the animal for hours and hours until we found him. I've never seen anything like it in my 30 years hunting and tracking animals. His perseverance, personality, knowledge and love of hunting makes him a true professional. Thanks for the good time hope to see you again.
It was a blast...thanks to our guides Nick & Wes. It was a great trip!
Thanks so much for the Hunt. It was and is a dream come true for Stacy and I. She still gets so excited when she is telling people about the hunt. Thanks again for everything.
I just got back from a mountain lion hunt with HGO. My record book beast measures 9'2" from nose-tail. He was the talk of the town. We had bad conditions for tracking since the rain and warm days melted the snow on the south slopes. Half way into the hunt we got onto his 4 day-old tracks and with a lot of walking we and the dogs caught up to him. It took us 3 tries & 1.5 hours to get to the cat after he was treed due to the cliffs. I had to cross a river 3 times and almost got swept downstream. I was concerned that my T/C muzzle loader would misfire after getting wet but it worked fine. I had only 1 extra bullet left due to having to take a few practice shots earlier in the morning. I have hunted the world and this experience ranks at the top.
I wanted to thank you for the great hunt this past fall. As you know I was able to harvest my first Bull Elk with your help after several attempts on my own. Heavens Gate Outfitters provided an excellent hunting experience and memories that will last a lifetime. The staff at the trailhead and camp were excellent and the camp accommodations were great and exceeded my expectations. It was enjoyable to have someone act upon our request instead of telling us how we needed to hunt. This in my mind is a true representation of HGO's willingness to go the extra mile for their clients. I look forward to the years ahead hunting with you and your staff, but more importantly I look forward to building upon the friendship that we started.
I have hunted with Heaven's Gate Outfitters three times and have one hunt scheduled with them this year. They have some of the best guides in the country working with them. Nick and Wes (two of their top guides) are awesome and make the hunts more fun than they ought to be. The accommodations, whether in the back country or on the ranch, leave nothing to be desired. There is no shortage of game in the country Heaven's Gate hunts, either, combining for not only a pleasant experience but usually a successful one, too.
I wanted to write a thank you for the incredible bear hunting experience you provided me with in Idaho. I have been on many hunts over the years all across the United States and feel fortunate to have found you!
Not only was the hunt itself a terrific experience but the horseback riding, views and memories are something I will never forget. This by far was my favorite hunt to date and I would highly recommend Heaven's Gate to any of my fellow hunting friends.
I can't wait to return in the future to experience another successful hunt of a lifetime!
The Sunset Trail Ride with HGO was above and beyond our expectations. The views were amazing, showed us a part of Idaho we never would have seen otherwise, and the dinner afterwards was wonderful.
Our guide went the extra mile to give us a great ride and we were treated very personally! We've been on other rides, but have to say, we never had a better, truer Western experience than riding with HGO.
Andy and Karen Savage run a quality operation with great concessions, breathtaking scenery, friendly and capable guides, unbelievable dogs, and good equipment. They work hard to make sure you're well fed, have great opportunities to see lots of game, and take a quality animal. Andy took us to his outback trailhead camp where his mountain horseback elk hunts start from. The camp is incredible with timber slab floored and walled canvas tents, shower house with tank less water heater, etc. His hunters have taken #2 and #5 black powder and #15 SCI mountain lions. His cat hunts are booked through the next two years. I hunted black bears with him, and there were three other hunters in camp. We hunted behind hounds in the morning and rode horseback into the Nez Perce National Forest to remote bear baits in the evenings. It was a great experience. All four hunters were successful in taking bear. There was a father/son in camp and the son was a long shot enthusiast. He brought his custom built 308 long range gun. Andy set him up on a long range bait and the kid took a great six foot bear from 475 yards. Needless to say both father and son were ecstatic. There was a lady who'd been in camp for several days when we arrived; she'd passed on one bear and missed another. Andy and his guides kept working hard to make sure that she got her bear and she did the last day of her hunt. The guy I roomed with shot his bear in the backcountry at dusk as he was walking down the mountain in the Nez Perce National Forrest. I shot my bear over hounds after an hour chase through the Payette National Forest. The first day we arrived in camp we drove a three mile loop in the mountains around Andy and Karen's house and we saw over a hundred deer. We also saw turkey and elk. I'll be back to hunt elk and mountain lion with Andy. If you're considering hunting with Andy, you can't go wrong.