Guide & Packer School 

The guiding profession is one of the greatest outdoor jobs available to the modern day mountain man. If the thought of riding down the trail leading a string of mules heading for hunting camp makes you sit a little straighter you might have what it takes to become a professional guide in today's outdoor industry.

Before heading to camp, a guide must have the skills and desire to work long hard hours under the same conditions that Jim Bridger and Kit Carson trapped beaver in the Shining Mountains. The mountains are just as steep, and the snow is just as cold as when those first mountain men set their traps in the Rockies.

There is a great demand for hardworking, well-trained guides, packers, and cooks in the outdoor industry. The guiding profession is an opportune way to earn a living while spending time outdoors doing a job that you can be proud of.

If you are still sittin' up straight, that is where we can help. Our outfitting business specializes in remote wilderness, fair chase hunts and wilderness guide schools. Our school is one of the toughest in the west. When you graduate from Middle Fork Outfitters guide school you’ll be ready to go to work anywhere in the industry. The Salmon River Mountains are remote and rugged one of the last wild places left in the lower 48. You’ll be riding horses every day & wrangling. Classes are held at the B-C ranch and the Tappan cabin located on the Middle fork of the Salmon, with lots of time spent in the hills practicing the skills you’ll be learning.

Our four week guiding and packing school teaches all the skills of the trade that you need to start your career as a professional, guide/packer

Some of the skills that you will be learning at Middle Fork Guide School are:

  • Horse and Mulemanship
  • Horse Shoeing
  • Packing
  • Guiding Skills
  • Firearm Safety
  • Tack Repair
  • How to Write a Resume
  • Rope Splicing
  • Fly Fishing
  • Camp Set Up
  • How to Sharpen a Crosscut
  • Axemanship
  • Range Estimation
  • Common Sense Back Country Rules
  • Camp Cooking
  • Wrangling
  • Photography
  • First Aid
  • Plant and Tree Identification
  • Boone and Crocket Scoring

Middle Fork Outfitters operates under the guide lines of the Idaho Outfitters and Guides Association Code of Ethics. We expect the students to conduct themselves in a polite and professional manner at all times. A good percentage of the class time will be spent learning horse and mulemanship, packing, shoeing, emergency vet needs, and how these long ears think. The horse and mule are what makes a wilderness outfitter work. Saddles and tack are provided, but you are welcome to bring your own.

You will be staying in wall tents or log cabins, with gaslight, an outhouse and shower tent. All meals are provided.

A typical day will start with wrangling the stock at daybreak, breakfast, class time, and then hands on use of what you have learned that morning. There will be periodic quizzes throughout the course. A C-average is required for job placement.


Students are expected to attend classes daily for the full time allotted. Excused absences are allowed if scheduled and approved in advance and the class work is made up. Three unexcused absences will result in a dismissal from the school.

Standards of Progress

Grading is based on guiding, packing, outdoor skills, horsemanship, along with attitude and quizzes. In order to be eligible for job placement a student must earn a C – Average. There is a one-time job placement service provided by Middle Fork Outfitters available to graduating students.

A – Excellent
B – Very Good
C – Average
D – Below Average
F – Incomplete

Class Schedule

The course schedule is flexible and adjusted daily to meet the needs of the students and other circumstances; such as weather conditions or unexpected learning opportunities. The schedule is based on an average of six days per week and twelve hours per day of hands on class work, including instructions and self-study. There will be one day off per week.

Equipment List

  • A pair of quality binoculars preferably waterproof, 10x40s are the best
  • A BIC lighter
  • One good hunting knife, preferably a four inch folder
  • One good day pack
  • A flashlight, such as an LED
  • Small camera
  • If you wear contacts or glasses, try to bring an extra set
  • Personal items - washcloth, toothbrush, chapstick, deodorant, prescriptions, headache medicine, and any other personal items we may have missed.
  • Sleeping bag that is good down to 0º
  • Rain gear preferably no plastic, as it is very noisy and rips easily
  • Good pair of leather boots already broken in
  • A pair of shoes for around camp such as, house shoes, tennis shoe etc.
  • A good water bottle.
  • Miscellaneous: elk bugle, cow calls, hatchet, fishing pole with Idaho fishing license (we have a lake on the ranch that you can use.
  • Any special medications need to be kept in your daypack.

If you are in question about anything else or would like specific clothing recommendations please email us & we will be happy to help!

Contact us for current class dates
30 day school $4,400.00

A 50% deposit is required.
The remaining balance is due 60 days prior to arrival.
Deposits are non-refundable
Note: Deposit is required in order to secure your class and dates.

PAYMENTS: We accept personal checks, cash and paypal.

IMPORTANT: all students are subject to an additional 6% Idaho sales tax & 2% Idaho State bed tax.


We highly recommend purchasing Life Flight insurance: - it’s easy, affordable & could save you thousands if you needed it. For travel insurance contact Sportsman´s Travel Insurance: for all your travel insurance needs

For more information Contact us at:

Middle Fork Guide & Packer School LLC
Frank Church Wilderness, IDAHO
Ron Ens
990 Silver Creek Rd
Challis, ID 83226

Guide School Questions?

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