Dear Forum Members, I am writing today to help inform all of you about a hunting guide school that I attended in Montana. The name of it is Swan Mountain Wilderness Guide School. The owner, Pat Tabor, is a California business man who has no clue what is going on in his own Montana hunting guide school. His son Pat Tabor Jr. manages the guide school and he knows very little about anything that he teaches. Pretty much the school is a scam, a rip-off, and very unprofessional. Pat Tabor Jr. is a pot head who toked up every night. They told us when we arrived that there was a zero tolerance for alcohol and drugs, yet Pat Tabor smoked pot every night in his wall tent, and then came out stoned out of his mind. One night, the cook seriously cut his hand and Patrick Tabor had to have a guide student drive him to the hospital because he was too stoned to do it himself. Then when the cook came back and asked for gloves to cover up his cut hand, Pat Tabor Jr. told him they were too expensive. They state that they have the best Wilderness First Aid training around, yet their First Aid kit consisted of a few bandages and band aids and that is it!! So we requested more first aid material in case someone got hurt. Later, someone did get hurt and again there was no clean way to stop the bleeding because of a complete lack of a first aid kit! Swan Mountain Wilderness guide school has horrible facilities (run down) and a complete lack of training materials. They state that they pride themselves on professionalism, but it was seriously lacking. Pat Tabor Jr. tried to teach wilderness survival. He told us that there are two types of shelters, a tepee and a leantoo. Then he took us into the woods and told us not to be back at camp until 6:30am the next morning, and he left. He NEVER taught us anything. There was a ton of sitting around, waiting, and doing general work for the Tabors... tack repair, fencing, and cleaning. We felt like we should have been paid to be there, not paying to attend. Pat Tabor and Tom tried teaching us orienteering, but they sent us into the woods with no map! After requesting it over and over, he told us we didn't need it (because he didn't have one). People got lost, no one found their points, and it was another day wasted. The only good parts of the course were the parts with Bob Haverson (packing- but you can get the same course at the Nine Mile Ranger Station for a quarter of the price), Larry Keyes (probably one of the most knowledgeable men I have ever met on tracking and the outdoors), and Glen (plants and hunting with dogs). They were very knowledgeable and professional. The problem was, we still had two full weeks that were wasted with Pat Tabor Jr. When we brought the issues to Pat Tabor (the owner), he was confrontational and wouldn't listen. He literally told us, he has the best guide school in the nation.... even though all eight of us were telling him to his face that we felt like we were not learning and that we paid good money and wanted to learn! He was offended and coudn't take criticism. I am writing to all of you just in case you are thinking about guide schools.... don't do business with the Tabors! You will be disappointed and lose your hard earned money to a rich California business man who doesn't care about you or teaching quality information. Also, Pat Tabor sells the course and then he adds on bear hunting or something after for a few more thousand dollars and says its a "fully guided bear hunt". Complete BS. All he does is drop you off into the woods alone. Also, the wrangler school that they offer is the first week of the guide school. People were paying an extra $2,000 for the wrangler school when they ALREADY took it.... this is the same for the packing school. It is a complete scam and rip-off. Thanks and best of luck this season! The biggest problem is that Pat Tabor is the president of the Montana Outfitters and Guides Association.... so trying to get a job is near impossible without his recommendation. Pat told us this: I am so successful because I am the monopoly. People can't compete with the Swan Mountain Glacier Division, Guide School, or hunting outfit. I hope this message will start to spread the word and that he either fixes his problems or gets put out of business!
15 replies [Last post]
Tue, 2013-06-18 10:52
Swan Mountain Hunting Guide School RIP-OFF!!
Tue, 2013-07-09 14:54#1
Response to Samwilder22
I was disappointed to learn your experience with us was not all that it could have been for you. I am pleased you found your time spent with the majority of our instructors valuable and wish this could have carried on throughout the duration of your enrollment. As the owner and founder, I’m particularly disturbed by your claims, as they do not meet the standards I have set for our school.
While many of these statements are refutable, it would be unproductive to debate them here. The only issue that I would like to dispute is the accusation regarding Pat Junior’s drug use. As part of our company policy all senior level employees must comply with random drug testing. I have definitive and irrefutable proof that Pat Junior does not use drugs. I feel compelled to set the record straight on that since unfounded accusations can be so damaging to a person’s reputation.
What’s most unfortunate is I was not aware of your dissatisfaction and would have made every effort to rectify the situation had you contacted us directly. Because the identity of Samwilder22 is unknown to us, and does not match any of our student records, I am unable to reach out and make corrective measures. The invitation is open, if you want to identify yourself so we can work with you please do. In the mean time, I have taken note of the items you mention and will work to improve our guide school as a result.
I personally encourage those that are considering this input as well as other input to contact us, ask for our references and to do the research. Having educated hundreds of satisfied students over the last 8 years, we want you to be able to make an informed decision based on complete and balanced information.
Pat Tabor Sr.
Tue, 2013-07-09 16:26#2
So Mr. Tabor, how did you
So Mr. Tabor, how did you learn that the complainant had come on this website to alert us about the alleged problems at the school you own?
Thu, 2013-07-11 17:44#3
Response to Pat Tabor Sr.
Thank you for the message back. I hope you realize this is not a personal attack on your son. Your son is a very nice gentleman. However, not qualified to teach a guide school.
Samwilder22 is my username. The reason I used my username instead of my real name is because you are the President of the Montana Outfitters and Guides Association, and you already stated that if you don’t like someone that you will make it known in the outfitting community. However, I challenge people to contact the Montana Outfitters and Guides Association because there are formal complaints on file about your company. I hope that you take these seriously and improve the training, especially the guide school because it has potential.
Your comment that you “would have made every effort to rectify the situation had you contacted us directly” is false. We spoke to you as a group half way through the guide school about the training and you told the group that you have the best guide school in the nation and that you wouldn’t give refunds or change the training.
I find it disappointing that you believe that your son does not smoke marijuana regularly… just ask your employees and the guide students, and do testing from an outside agency. However, smoking marijuana is not the issue the issue is that I felt it seriously affected the quality of training.
In response to your comment about calling your “references”. I did just that, and unfortunately those references are from a few years ago when the school was completely taught by a different instructor. I ask that you post new references from this year; the responses may be different.
I hope that you take my comments about the serious lack of training (minus the parts with Bob Halverson, Glen and Larry Keyes because they are true experts!), and the internet marketing tool/scam to get people to pay an extra $2000 for training they already took and change this for the better. It simply isn’t fair or honest.
I also ask that you spend more time at the actual guide school to see what is actually happening there. When I went through it, I only saw you three times :1) The first day for 10 min to welcome us 2) A half day for training on job searching 3) Graduation for 20 min.
Again, this is not a personal attack on you or your son but rather to get the information out to the hunting community and now to hopefully inspire you to improve the guide school for future students. I spent $4,200 on your guide school, and the time to take it, and the time to get there. I saved up for two years, and was disappointed. Simply put, I want the other guys not to have to lose as much as I did and to be able to make an informed decision.
Thanks for your response.
Tue, 2013-07-09 22:21#4
What is the method used for your drug screening?
Wed, 2013-07-10 06:59#5
Really I had no idea they had such a thing as a guide school. I thought that was something you just learned by being an avid hunter. Most guides I know didn't have to go to a school to become a guide. They learned the country and where to find their game and the game's habits. They put in the time in the woods. Kinda sounds like the kid might be getting a little ripped off. In my book nothing beats experience. Sam, I would dump the school find a outfitter that you can go to work for and learn from one of their guides until you can get your own gig. And hit the woods extremely often.
Wed, 2013-07-10 07:10#6
There are a lot of little
There are a lot of little things that you can learn from a school and then there are the things that you need to learn just by doing them. Remember that when you hire a outfitter you are not just hiring someone to put you onto the game but someone to pitch your tent, plan out your menus for however long you are going to be out, take care of the horses which can be anything from staking them out to doctoring them, and there are a lot of other things that they would need to know. There are a lot of outfitters out there that learned by working on a farm or ranch but now days guides are coming into it from different areas.
As for how they learned about this thread, I would suppose that they do a search on the internet for their service just to find this kind of thing, along with the possibility that someone saw it and gave them a call, I doubt that we'll ever know since usually the original poster and the person that made the reply very seldom come back. As they said this isn't the place to debate the issue.
Now for the drug test I would suppose that it is the normal tinkle into a bottle and then use the test paper to see if there are any drugs. These kits can be found on the internet and don't require a actual lab to perform the test.
Wed, 2013-07-10 09:36#7
I was asking the question about the drug test because it is a joke. We have employees that pass those tests left and right and there is no way they should. Take a hair sample and be 100% sure. I mean how many times in his life was Lance Armstrong tested??? I do think it is in Mr. Tabors best interest to stand up like he did and fight for his company and I am sure he was hurt by the accusations. Yes, probably not the right venue for a he said she said argument. I also can see the gentlemen's frustration of not getting anywhere with his and cohorts accusations . Hope they can sit down and get something worked out.
Wed, 2013-07-10 10:46#8
That is one of the problems
That is one of the problems with the majority of drug test, there are ways around them except for as you said the hair follicle one. It comes down to how much the employer wants to spend on it.
Wed, 2013-07-10 13:41#9
Maybe the Tabor son has
Maybe the Tabor son has somebody else tinkle in the bottle for him, as if he's as high as the complainant stated he probably couldn't hit it, LOL! I've seen this a number of times on other websites where a first poster comes on and make all kinds of accusations against an outfitter about a bad hunt. Then everybody jumps on and gives the business all kinds of heck when there may be no basis for the accusations. I would be a lot more prone to take the word of a member who's been on a site for a long time and is known to everyone than a first timer like this guy, but it seems this always happens on a first post. That's why I just asked my question and kept my nose out of the whole thing because none of us know the truth since we weren't there!
Fri, 2013-07-12 09:57#10
Montana outfitters association
The outfitters in OUR state have way too much power in Montana. It really burns you up when you see a fair number of them are from out of state and just operate here during the hunting season, and their first priority is to harvest game, not for the betterment of our resources. Guiding is a HUGE business here in Montana, and hunting should never be a business in my opinion!