Jonesville — Michael Horstman, a Shenendehowa graduate originally from Jonesville, has been leading hunting expeditions in Alaska since the winter of 1979.
Horstman, who hunted, trapped and fished throughout his adolescence, decided early on that he wanted to go to Alaska to hunt. As a young boy, he would flip eagerly through the pages of Outdoor Life and other hunting magazines which featured Alaskan hunting adventures. “We’d read the articles and wait for it every month. That was the closest you got to going,” he explained.
He wasn’t raised in a family of hunters, though his uncle William Horstman hunted small game and deer in the Adirondacks. The first time Horstman killed a bear, he said he was 17 years old. He spotted the black bear while hunting in the Adirondacks with his cousin and a group of guys he said had been hunting there for years.
With Alaska on his mind, Horstman headed west in the mid 1970s and made it as far as Idaho where he worked as a guide and horse packer for a few years. While in Idaho, Horstman hunted elk, deer and Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep.
In the winter of 1979, Hostman arrived in Kodiak Alaska with $700 and a one way ticket. Upon arriving, Horstman crashed on the couch of some family friends. “I slept on the couch before couch-surfing was popular,” he said.
Hostman confirmed that hunting in Alaska and hunting in New York require very different skill sets. He explained, “when you go in the Adirondacks, you can go for a weekend or for a week. In Alaska, we go 10 or 15 days at a time.” Instead of driving to camp, Horstman said he flies or hikes in. “It’s just hardly any comparison. It’s way more involved [in Alaska],” he said.
When asked if he has had any close calls with bears throughout his decades of hunting experience, Horstman said simply, “I’ve had some exciting times.” He explained, “For the most part, in most cases, it was a misunderstanding. I’ve never really had a bear try to get me, that we hadn’t engaged already, so to speak.” All in all, Horstman said the bears are “very easy to get along with as long as you give them a little bit of respect.”
Now 61 years old, Horstman has over 40 years of experience guiding hunters and has been featured on the History channel’s show “The Hunt.” He started leading hunting trips in 1973 and has been a registered guide in Alaska since the mid 1980s. He earned the title of Master Guide 15 years ago. Master Guides must have been a registered guide for at least ten years, provide references from prior clients and have a clean record with no game violations, according to Horstman. These days, Horstman guides about three or four bear hunts in the spring and two or three in the fall. “Depending on the year, I try to do one or two moose hunts and some goat hunts. I might do a dozen hunts a year, altogether.”
On most of these hunts, it’s just Horstman, a client and Horstman’s dog Adele, a five year old German Wirehaired Pointer. Though he noted, “I have had over the years quite a few husband and wife clients where they’re both hunting or where one is just spectating. The wife isn’t necessary the spectator. It varies.”
A 10 day Kodiak bear hunt with Horstman costs $20,000. Horstman’s week-long Alaskan mountain goat hunt costs $8,500.
Hopeful hunters from all over the globe have taken advantage of Horstman’s guided trips. “I’ve had people from Europe, Mexico, all over the United States, Alberta and the Northwest Territories,” he said. In some cases, Horstman has even had to hire a packer assistant who doubled as an interpreter. This spring, he’ll be taking a client from England on a guided hunt.
Horstman said there’s “no such thing as typical” when it comes to his clients. “I’ve had every imaginable scenario, you know. For the most part, everyone is very congenial and polite. I can’t remember anybody that I wouldn’t take again.”
Horstman promises “100 percent effort” when it comes to helping his client kill a bear. “Traditionally and historically over the years I’ve been able to produce 70 to 80 percent success,” he said.
When asked whether he ever works with nervous hunters, Horstman quickly said “Apprehensive is the term, and yes.” He explained, “They didn’t know how they were going to respond to it once we encountered [the bear]. They’d never seen one before. It can be real exciting.”
The most important thing to keep with you on a hunting trip in Alaska? Common sense and a clear head, according to Horstman. “If you exercise common sense, you have a big advantage. You have to pay attention,” he said.
As you probably know , it is allowed to hunt brown bear, Sitka blacktail deer and a mountain goat in Kodiak. The rest of the hunts we organise with our partners , such as Luke Tyrrell from Tyrrell’s Trails. You can see the examples of successful hunts we have been running together.
I have one of those :
I should say “It works!”
Hannover hunting show was an ok show but it was a lot of families and tourists and not a lot of players as far as a hunting scene. It was nice to visit , but not good for spending money forpromotion of my services. Salzburg will be my next show, I have never been there before, I was told it is a very good one and a very professional one. So, if you want to make an appointment, just send me an e-mail or call me.
My german hunting experience is hunting a wild boar.
S 1 E 6
Husband and wife hunters Hal and Michelle Barber face off against a charging Kodiak bear. They win the battle against the raging beast, but their fight to survive isn’t over. Hungry, dehydrated and slowed down by the effects of Hal’s diabetes, The Barbers struggle to make their long journey back to their cabin. Ex-NFL pro turned bear guide Eric Fischer is a no holds barred hunter who believes in pushing himself and his hunters to their limits. His hunter, Marty Loring is a deer guide from Canada who experiences the most intense hunt of his life navigating the grueling Kodiak terrain. Veteran bear guide Mike Horstman is on his second hunt of the season. His hunter, Mike Redes, is living his dream on this bucket-list hunt. He has total faith in his guide, and it comes in handy when he loses sight of a potentially wounded bear and is forced to rely solely on Horstman’s keen eye.
The review from History Channel :
” S 1 E 7
In the Crosshairs
Hunter Marty Loring has wounded a bear that has disappeared from sight. He and his guide Eric Fischer must track it down, but in the adrenaline-induced search, Marty loses Eric, and disappears into the dense Kodiak brush without the safety of his guide. Legendary bear guide Scott Mileur and his hunting partner Greg Accord lead a hunt with two crop dusters from Arkansas. It’s the last hunt of the season for veteran guide Mike Horstman; Alaskan resident hunter Darrell Weatherall joins him. During their hunt Mike spots one of the biggest bears he’s ever seen on the island, and christens him “Big Papa.” At Flickenger Ranch, rancher Chris Flickenger and his wife Shelly are still plagued by the bear that killed one of their horses earlier in the season. When Chris and Shelly do a count of their cattle, they notice a significant loss that forces Chris to go out on a solo hunt for the beast, in a last ditch effort to save his ranch.”
The History Channel writes about me :
” MIKE HORSTMAN
If Kodiak is the edge of civilization, then Mike Horstman’s cabin in Eagle Harbor could be considered the edge of the world. It’s a place where it can take a week just to run to the store for groceries. Mike is coming to the end of a long and respected career as a guide, and finds himself pressured by family and friends to play it safe and move back to civilization. For Mike, it’s his golden hour—every hunt could be his last.”