Outfitter name: Buckeye BowhuntingOwner: Steve ByersWebsite:buckeyebowhunting.comLocation: Athens county OhioHunt date: Nov. 7 (Thurs) till Nov. 11 (Mon.) 5 full days of bowhunting S.E. Ohio in 2019Target species: Whitetail deerAccommodations: Meals and lodging included.Hunt price: $1200 , $250 deposit with the remainder due on arrival at camp. (more on that later)Number of hunters in camp initially was 6. Ages ranged from 37 to 73.Number of guides for the 6 hunters was 1 (Steve the Owner)
I booked this bowhunt after seeing a Facebook ad/promotion Steve ran in July/Aug of 2019. He explained that he takes only 4 hunters per week. In a Facebook messaging exchange where I asked many questions, Steve replied with:"We only take 4 hunters per week, and I run things!" In the time following my deposit I kept in touch and asked question and asked about a contract. He sent the contract via email. In the rules was stated the following as rule #4: "A guide will be provided for every two Clients unless otherwise noted in this Agreement." No other notes or mentions of a guide to client ratio was mentioned again in the agreement. I arrived with the written agreement of only 4 hunters in camp and 1 guide for every 2 hunters. I asked for references and Steve supplied 2 of them. After calling and asking questions, I felt they did a good job of addressing my questions but its always a gamble and one is flying blindly.I arrived the evening of Nov. 6 per the agreement. Take-out pizza was already served as I was the last hunter to arrive at camp. Hunter introductions were made and details for the week explained to us by Steve. I of course noticed that the contract agreement was for no more than 4 hunters and there were 6. We were to stay in the lower level/basement of a home owned by a relative of Steve, he made a point of highlighting that there were two young boys (I estimate in the 8 to 12 year old range) that he made a point of telling us were home schooled and explained some unique issues and that they did not operate on normal day/night schedules so he said that provided a fan in each room to drown out the upstairs noise (there was a great deal of it and a fan would do nothing to mask the stomping, jumping running up and down the stairs, etc)We asked about the group of hunters that was there the week prior to our arrival and how they did. Steve said they didn't kill any deer and it was because they were not serious hunters and spent more time at the house than in the woods. All we could do is accept that explanation. In regards to storage for our gear, There were no hooks or any manner of accommodation for even one hunter to hang his gear let alone 6 hunters. There was simply zero storage except to pile your gear in an open area and hope the pets didn't mess with it. The lower lever smelled strong of perfumed "plug-in" style air fresheners that could be observed in many of the outlets and this was the area we were given to store our clothing/gear. There were pets in the residence. I saw a cat and 3 small dogs in the area we stored our gear and our clothing. I saw a cat litter box in that same area which was full that required cleaning. I saw one dog (a small poodle-like breed) lift its leg and pee on the floor and on the box of cat litter a few feet from where my gear was heaped in a pile for lack of any place to hang or store it off the floor. The room had many kids toys and was messy as it was a play area for kids and not a place to store and house hunting gear.
Bathroom accommodations: There was one bathroom for the 6 hunters and Steve. Outside was a very strong odor of sewage/septic as it appeared there was some sort of discharge near by. I only walked by it in the dark in the morning and evening but the smell was strong and bad. Because there were 6 hunters and only Steve serving as the guide (not 1 guide for every 2 hunters as per the contract). We were to be taken to our stands each morning in two shifts of 3 hunters. Steve told the hunters that the first group would need to leave each day by 4:45 am. In order for all hunters to shower and dress, make there own breakfast and make/ pack their own lunch, I would get up at 3:35 am. Steve said he would alternate which hunters were the first to be taken out so it would allow sleeping in rather than the same people having to rise so early. The first day of hunting was forecasted to be steady rain the entire day and cold (40’s) Because of that forecast, I requested a ground blind hoping to stay dry enough to hunt all day. I was assured that request would be honored. I was to leave with the first shift. We turned in for the night with 3 men to a room furnished with bunk beds. The bunk beds were of the lowest quality and swayed and wobbled. I took a lower bunk and the person in the bunk above me quickly abandoned his bed as he did not feel safe and every move I made was magnified up to his level. He slept out in the common room on a couch. One of the beds in the other room was broken and mentioned to Steve But I'm unaware that it was ever addressed.Morning of day 1The loud noises from the upper floor made sleeping a challenge. My alarm sounded at 3:35 a.m.. Breakfast: make your own . There was a variety of doughnuts, sugar cereal, bread for toast, ect. There was also pre-made breakfast burritos in a soft shell that could be microwaved. I tried one of the burritos but could not finish it as it was of the lowest quality.Lunch: was also make your own with lunch meats and bread, cookies, bars, etc. provided.Hunt day 1: I was to depart with the first group of 3 hunters at 4:45 . It was raining on an off during the drive and walk to the stand. Steve walked me about half way to the stand then gave verbal instructions to follow reflectors to the stand, then he departed. THere was far too few reflectors to find the blind in the rain and darkness. Eventually and by accident I came upon the blind.Ohio is a bait-legal state and the ground blind had a trophy rock on one side and a small grass field on the opposite side but the stand's windows were literally touching several trees that were 6 to 8 inches in diameter. The other windows were obstructed with smaller growth saplings. In the blind was stationary/non-swiveling camp chair with arm rests. I had to choose between facing the obstructed windows and the grass field or the trophy rock since changing positions with a deer nearby would not be an option. In one of the wall pockets inside the blind was a full water bottle of urine from a prior hunter. The zipper on the blind door was broken and missing the pull so it remained open all day. I sat from dark till dark. in the final 15 minutes of the day. I saw 1 deer (small 5 point) but based on the blind would not have been able to execute a shot. I considered the day a bust from a guide standpoint and an equipment standpoint as well as the stand location. It was not well thought out as an archery stand.I packed up to walk to the pick up spot and again struggled with the lack of trail marking but I was up on a high ridge and could see traffic below me and car tail lights that approached the intersection I was to wait up to be picked up. I was waiting near an intersection for about 20 minutes as several cars passed by 10 minutes later, 2 local sheriffs deputies arrived in patrol cars and lit me up with their spot lights and headlights. I was standing empty handed with my bow resting on my pack on the ground near me. Both deputies approached and told me that they had a report of a person in full camo standing at the intersection with a shotgun. I explained that I am a bowhunter waiting to be picked up. They took my I.D. and while one deputy checked me out in his patrol car, the other deputy questioned me about what I was doing. After 15 minutes they were satisfied that I did not poses a threat and then left me in the dark. I and called my wife to let here know I was out of the woods and the I was still waiting to be picked up. Much later, Steve's wife came to pick me up because Stave got his mini van stuck in the mud and was unable to pick me up. He was messaging me on Facebook but did not text my phone so I did not get his messages until I got back to camp.All the hunters tried to spread out our camo to dry in the basement with the cat litter box and the perfumed air fresheners but without the ability to hang anything we were not successful. I took advantage of an office chair using the back, arms and seat to hang gear off the floor but was asked to move it so the home owner and kids could use the computer. Supper of day 1: Spicy Italian sausage and pasta salad.No deer were taken by any of the hunters on day one. Little was talked about as there were only a few deer seen. Some saw no deer at all. Steve said I would again be in the first shift of hunters to depart. I asked for a ladder or chain on stand. The weather was to be clear and cold. Steve said he had just such a spot for me. I hit the bed early to wake up at 3:45am. Morning of day 2Breakfast: make your own.Lunch: was also make your own with lunch meats and bread, cookies, bars, etc. provided.I was again leaving with there first group of 3. I was driven to a train track. Steve walked me under the trestle and across a cut corn field. Steve showed me a small pile of corn and he shined his flashlight up, at a ladder stand leaning against the smallest tree Id ever seen a ladder leaded against. It stuck out with no cover. Right below the ladder was a creek (literally on the bank of the river was right at the foot of the ladder. If I were to have dropped anything on my right side,, it would have been in the water. The bank was steep and the water deep No deer would likely make the crossing. The river was to my right and the raised train bed to my left. Steve said the deer would come from across the the road, cross under the trestle and come to the cut corn field and the corn pile (he may have been correct but that would likely take place in the dark of nigh and not during daylight hours. This was clearly not an all day rut bowhunting stand. Steve departed by flashlight. The ladder stand was a cheap Menard/Fleet Farm (perhaps $65) stand with a very small platform. It had no bow hanger or rope to pull up gear. I climbed the ladder but the very small tree was swaying quite a bit as I climbed. The ladder stand would spin on the tree because the tree was so small that the webbing ratchet buckle could not tighten enough to secure it to the tree. I attempted to tighten it but was unsuccessful. The webbing strap would make a great deal of noise on the back as the stand could Rotate on the tree since the tree was so small in diameter than the teeth that were meant to bite into the bark did not function. When I made it to the top, the tree was still swaying since it was so thin. I tied on a line to pull up the bow, screwed in my bow hanger and a hook for my pack. Every movement made the tree sway more than I was comfortable with. I raised the bow and tried to sit down but the seat was pitched downward away from the tree so every attempt to sit had me sliding off the seat. I tried to sit as far back as I could but a sharp branch stuck out like a thorn in my lower back. I could not sit back and I would slide off the seat so I had to stand. I was expected to sit here from dark till dark. This was a very poor stand location and unsafe. See pictures.This is how small the tree was and why it would sway with any movement. Any attempt to draw a bow would cause the tree to move and since there was no cover, you would be picked off by a deer.
I stood from 6 am until 9:30 then texted Steve and told him I did not feel safe or comfortable in the stand for an all day sit of 10 hours. He texted me that he could send me a "pin" location on a map for my phone for another stand. The stand was on the other side of the river. I would need to get over the fence along the railroad track, walk the train tracks, cross the fence on the other side of the tracks. This is or course illegal to do. Then I was instructed via text to follow the river and climb the ridge to look for the stand. Since it was well after sun rise, my flashlight was useless to see reflectors. I estimate the stand to be more than 600 yards up the ridge. I had no other choice if I wanted to hunt another stand. It seemed clear Steve was not going to retrieve me and take me to a better spot. I made my best effort. I spent a couple hours, several texts and phone calls to Steve. He tried to direct me to the stand but I could not find it. At one point I stopped getting replies to me texts. After a while he texted me that he finally had cell service again. I eventually gave up and made the walk back to the fence, crossed the trestle, the other fence and back to the original tree now soaked through and beat from the walk through the thicket. The next day I learned from another hunter that my text and phone conversation with Steve took place in front of one of the other hunters back at the house. Steve was sitting in a recliner (and would not have lost cell service in the house) and was commenting negatively about my inability to find a singular tree up a ridge 500 yards away with out text instructions). I witnessed with same thing myself as Steve tried to guide (via phone) another hunter struggling in the dark to find a stand. He commented to me that he would hope hunters would have better woodsmanship skills. I am unaware of the skill to enter a forest in the dark that one has never been in before and find a stand you don't know the location of and has too few markings to allow the hunter to find his way but I digress. I climbed back in the original ladder stand and lasted from 1:30 till 3:30 until I again didn't feel comfortable or safe. My legs were cramping from having to push myself back to keep from sliding off the seat. I climbed down, walked to the trestle and sat expecting to wait a couple hours until Steve would pick me up at dark. Steve just so happened to drive by after 4:00 pm and gave me a ride back to camp. I explained the situation and than I saw no deer and that another day was wasted. He seemed unconcerned. Supper on day 2: was take out fried chicken from a local chicken shack, left over pasta salad and mashed potatoes and gravy. None of the other hunters killed any deer but 2 hunters did see deer. Some of the hunters had gone 2 days without a deer sighting. I learned latter that day that I was sitting in the same stand another hunter sat in on the first day. He saw no deer from the stand either and quit the stand early as it was clearly not a good location.After supper I showed Steve the picture above of the seat angle and the branch sticking out. He nodded, said nothing and went back to his phone. While it was quite early, I told him I was be heading to bed and asked which shift I would be leaving with. He said I would again be the first shift with a 3:35 wake up. I asked if I would have one of the millennium stands he told us about and that I didn't care to sit in another small ladder. I wanted to be in an elevated stand as I cant see or hear well from the ground blinds (I am hearing impaired and wear hearing aids) The morning was to be very frosty so Id hoped to sit in the woods in an elevated stand. No stand location was disclosed to me at that time, he only acknowledge hearing my comments.Morning of day 3 I was sensing high levels of hunter frustration and dissatisfaction. Breakfast: make your own.Lunch: was again, make your own.Steve said he was going to put me in a ground blind on the edge of a grass field. I was disappointed. I later learned it was again a recycled stand another hunter from our group was skunked in days earlier. Steve, again only walked me partially to the stand and gave verbal instructions for the rest of the journey. My own fault is that I left my phone charging cable back at camp so I could not hook the phone to a small power brick I carried. The phone was always searching for a signal and the battery was nearly dead by the time I called Steve since I was unable to find the stand. I could sense his frustration with me in how he spoke/replied. I found the stand in the darkness and turned off the phone to save the remaining battery should I shoot a deer and need assistance or directions out at the end of the day. This again was a terrible stand for an all day sit. As a bowhunter of 45 years that has placed many stands. This was an evening stand at best. The ground blind was not placed on a flat patch of earth along the field edge but instead was leaning back with my back to the woods and me looking up upward as the field rose above me. It leaned back at about a 20 degree angle. The metal chair was an old and broken folding chair like you would find in an old school house. The seat was not fastened well and the vinyl coating would moan and groan and creak with any movement since the seat was not entirely attached to the chair frame.
The small legs were sunk deeply into the ground from the recent rain and the prior hunters usage. I pulled the legs out of the mud but after sitting for a short while the legs again sank and my knees were up in my chest. I would reposition that chair many times as I sat from dark till dark. This was perhaps a good stand for a shotgun hunter as I could see hundreds of yards. This was not a suitable bowhunting stand and not the elevated stand I asked for. When the sun came up It was clear I was very close to homes. I could hear all manner of people activity. At one point, somebody came out with a leaf blower and a lawn mower and spent the afternoon doing yard work a hundred yards or so from my blind.I saw a small spike buck that weighed perhaps 100 pounds. 150 yards away I saw a doe that had a bad experience with the blind as she spent a half hour blowing and flagging and stomping at the blind. Day 3 was a bust and wasted. I walked to the field edge were I entered but saw nothing to indicate where I should travel. I made it down a steep slope and fouls a tiny creek I recalled crossing. By accident I came upon a pile of corn and a ground blind (I later learned one of the other hunters sat there that afternoon and had already departed early to try to find his way out of the woods with daylight left.) I texted Steve for instructions as I was several hundred yards from the pick up spot. With his instruction I found my way out of the woods. Virtual guiding by text is a terrible substitute for actual guiding. I found Carl and Steve's Wife waiting in a car to pick me up. Carl was in the ground blind I stumbled upon and on day 3 finally saw the legs of a deer (At least he thought so)Supper of day 3: was chili and chips.No deer were taken by any of the hunters. At this point we has totaled around 130 hours on stand as a group with no shots taken. During the course of the 3 days, I asked Steve where the nearest trail camera was in relation the stand I just sat and was repeatedly told that there were no cameras at those stand sites. I never did see any trail cam pics of any deer and never saw any trail cams. I would think cams would be a standard tool used in such an operation.Steve announced that he and his wife were departing for the airport to pick up Steve's kids. Earlier he mentioned one or more of them would be hunting as well. He mentioned he would not get back until very late. I stated that I would have long gone to bed and all the hunters wanted to know what stands they would be sitting in. I was informed I would again be the first shift of day 4 of this 5 day hunt. Steve and his wife departed.No sooner had they left and we began to discuss as a group our thoughts and opinions of the hunt thus far. In less than 10 minutes it was a full out mutiny with 6 angry, frustrated and very dissatisfied bowhunters. Not one hunter had a positive experience. All commented on the poor and low quality and unsafe stands and the poor stand locations. I learned that most of the hunters did not stick it out all day and were regularly asking to be placed in different stands.The talk turned to safety. Some of the stands were missing bolts and/or retaining clips. Some had zip ties in lue of metal hardware. While I never saw a chain on stand with climbing sticks, those that had said the life lines were not properly attached to the trees or not attached at all and were coiled up at the bottom of the tree, unattached. One life line came away from the tree for one hunter as he applied force to it but thankfully he still has a hand on the climbing stick or he would have fallen. It appeared we were all climbing into stand we had no faith in, in the dark and only hoping they were safe and discovering otherwise after sun up.As tempers flared, the talk turned to cost per hunter for the gear, stands, meals, lodging and overall experience we were paying for. We all agreed we were told that a max of 4 hunters would be in camp. One group of 3 hunters (2 from the North East of the US and a son that drove up from south eastern US booked their trip in February for $2000 each. I booked in the end of July/Aug and paid $1200. At that point the week should have been full with no additional hunters accepted. Another hunter from Florida booked it only recently at $1000 and a hunter from Canada Booked his stay only 3 weeks prior for $2000. All told, we had paid a cumulative $10,000 for a very disappointing experience. The discovery of the disparity in cost was a real sore spot for those that paid twice what others paid. Carl (who paid $2000 and had never seen a deer) and made it clear to Steve that at 73 years of age could not hunt elevated stands and he seemed to get some of the worst locations to sit. Jeff who also paid $2000 and slept on the couch also never saw a deer. I felt bad for them. I asked the group if they were dissatisfied with the experience 100% said "Yeas" and that "Disappointed was not a strong enough word. I then asked if they thought they had been deceived, again, 100% of the hunters said yes. Each hunter shared their own personal stories of just how bad their experiences were and how were were just be shuffled to recycled stands one of us had already sat. While I knew my own experience was bad, it was was universal to every hunter.While we discussed the first 3 days, one of the small dogs appeared in the room we were in and then back to the room with all our gear. One of the hunters packs was on the ground. The dog sniffed it (the hunter had a bottle of doe pee in the pack). Then the dog lifted it leg on the pack. I mentioned what I saw and the level of anger and frustration only increased. Jeff said that he was packing up and leaving. He would find a hotel near by as he had been sleeping on the couch every day and wanted a good nights sleep before heading home. He sent Steve a text to let him know his plan. Steven wished he would stay and continue hunting. I followed up with a text to Steve stating that I was packing tonight and leaving very early in the morning. I stated that I was very disappointed in the entire experience. This is the reply text I received from Steve:"Im pretty disappointed as well"I dont know what Steve meant by that.There was considerable discussion between the group of three (Father, son and friend) as to whether to leave in the morning or hunt another day. 2 wished to depart for home in the morning. One wished to hunt at least the morning. Per a message exchange with one member of that group of three, I am informed that 2 got dressed and went out for the morning and upon seeing the stands Steve put them in, they asked to be taken to better locations. I'm told, in that message that Steve didn't want to walk them to new spots so they went back to the house so the 3 of them could pack a depart for home. That means that 5 of the 6 hunters left after only 3 days of hunting (of a 5 day hunt) so they could cut their losses and head to some place else to salvage this 2nd week of November to do some bowhunting.The one hunter I feel especially bad for had flown to this hunt and was essentially held captive to his flight schedule. The rest of us drove and cleft early but for him to try to re-schedule a new flight would be even more expense on him. I explained to the group that each day I kept a journal for this blog. They all wished to see the completed review. We exchanged contact info and became Facebook friends and have been communicating since. We all shook hands and said our goodbyes. I packed and headed for bed. The pounding and jumping and them vacuum cleaning went on until 10:45 pm.What I've written above is my personal experience with Buckeye Bowhunting and those experiences told to me from fellow hunters during our days at this hunt. What follows is my opinion and review. I'm still awaiting info from the last remaining hunter as 5 of the six ended their stay early due to the events detailed above. The last hunter was forced to remain due to his airline tickets.GradeLodging: D-Food: C-Stands/gear supplied: FStand locations: D-Communication with staff during the hunt: DPromises made/promises kept: DOverall experience: D-There are two essential questions I always ask myself after using a guide/outfitterWould I return and hunt with them again?Would I recommend this guide to a friend?The answer to both questions is HELL NO!An outfitter can't simply put out a bunch of stands and dump some corn near them and call that a huntable stand site. Stands should be researched and experienced and backed up with trail cam photos and scouting to verify the deer are in the area and have a reason to be there aside from hitting a pile of corn after dark. Stands should be in travel routes and factor in bedding and feeding. I saw no rhyme or reason in the stand placements. Its appeared to simply put out a high number of stands with bait so as to be able to have lots of places to send hunters to when they didn't care the stands they were sitting. An outfitter that takes in $10,000 for 5 days and does so for 4 or 5 weeks of the year had darned sure better provide top notch gear, not cheap China ladder stands, A folding camp chair or a broken folding chair in a low quality ground blind. He should have multiple trail cams and have recent intel of the deer and their travels through the use of cams and scouting. This outfitter expended minimal effort in putting clients on good stands and minimal outlay of gear his clients were expected to use. Its my opinion that safety was low on the list of priorities.While my cash outlay was less than others, I'm not as concerned with the price I paid. I'm fortunate in that regard but there is only one 2nd week in November and one cant get that back. ***Update***After sending the link of this blog to the other hunters in our group, one asked that I reply an experience he had with Steve during our hunt. This is what he sent me via Facebook messenger.My "baited" stand that supposedly has been baited for "months" had zero sign of any bait there whatsoever and he said he put a bag out the night before. It was clear he just dumped a pile on top of the fallen leaves. He put me in there and expected me to sit all day in the cheapest ladder stand with no bolts that moved every move I made. He complained about the prior group of hunters and complained about you not being able to find a stand when it wasn't clearly marked. I asked him to pick me up to take me to another stand and he wasn't available and claimed he was hanging a stand but an hour before that was texting me, asking if I knew where the tv remote was so clearly he was in the basement watching tv."I still have a goal to kill a deer with my bow in Ohio. I will begin again my search for a reputable outfitter to help me reach that goal.
After returning home, I drafted an email to Steve. This is what I sent:Steve, When I was considering signing on with you and Buckeye Bowhunting for the November bow hunt, we exchanged several written communications. In that exchange you (the principle of Buckeye Bowhunting) made a written commitment to me that when I hunt with you that there would only be 4 hunters in camp. You wrote “We only take 4 hunters per week”. When our group of 6 hunters discussed how the first three days of hunting went, I learned that Carl, Matt and Matt's father signed on with you in Feb. My PayPal records show that I sent you my deposit on July 1, 2019. At that time, you had met the written commitment you made to me of only taking 4 hunters per week. Despite securing the maximum of 4 hunters that you committed to in July, you continued to advertise to solicit for additional hunters for the same week. You added Jon and Jeff as late as 3 weeks prior to the hunt (Jeff via last minute hunting and fishing . Com) You knowingly did that after making a written commitment to me that “we only take 4 hunters per week” . As the principle of Buckeye Bowhunting, you breeched your written commitment to me. A commitment from you that I used to make my decision to sign on with you.Contained within the contract you sent me, one line 4, was the following. “A guide will be provided for every two clients unless otherwise noted in this agreement. No other mention of the guide to client ratio was mentioned in the contract you sent. That document you sent was you (the principle) telling me (the deposited client) the conditions you committed to in writing and the guide to client ratio I was to expect and was bound to. You and I are aware that you breached both of these written commitments to me. The ramifications of these breaches resulted in you not being able to provide the services I paid for. You were unable to adequately guide me because of the number of hunters in camp and the 6:1 guide ratio. This resulted in you taking me and other hunters only part of the way to our stands and then expected us to find our way with verbal instructions and then texts. We know this was the method of guidance for more than just me. When I rode in the car to a stand with you, you tried to guide Matt over the pone as he walked in the dark to a stand he was not able to find. This was not my first guided hunt but was the first time a guide tried to guide me by text and “pins” and drawn maps. I was not provided the guide service I paid for based on the written commitments you made to me. As a result, I was so disappointed with the service I was receiving (and knew I would continue to receive) that I only hunted with you for 3 full days of a 5 day hunt. I and the other hunters continued to communicate after Jeff and I left camp so I know all but Jon (Who was bound to his airline tickets and could not leave early) left your camp early due to the frustration of poor service.Before I enlist a third party to act on my behalf, I wanted to communicate this with you first to ask you, how you plan to remedy this situation and to compensate me for the breaches and poor service that caused 5 of 6 hunters to leave camp early.Ron KulasSteve replied with this.:"I will offer you the same thing I offered them. You’re welcome to return next year and hunt with us free of charge. "I responded to Steve with the following:"Steve, thanks for the reply but your offer is unacceptable. I say that because as you recall, I just returned from your guide service (Buckeye Bowhunting) so I know the true value of what you are offering and I know what I would be receiving. If I were to accept your offer, it would actually cost me money. $260 for the hunting license, 2 days of drive time for the 900 mile round trip, over $100 in fuel and 7 days of vacation. That is high price to pay for low quality stands that are broken or in disrepair, in locations that did not produce any deer for our group of hunters (Some saw no deer at all during the duration of the time they hunted with you) sitting on a broken folding chair or in a small ladder stand with a branch poking me in the back in a tree so small that it presented an unsafe experience, Guiding half way to the stand and guiding by text. You instructing me to break the law by crossing a fence to enter railroad property, walking on the train tracks both in and out of the stand I was never able to locate as you guided me by text from your recliner. Too few guides per hunters in camp, Sub-par food, unacceptable lodging and the lack of faith I have in your ability to make good on promises made as thus far you have not been an honest broker as you have twice breached your written commitments to me. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.Ive hunted with other guides/outfitters so Im able to compare my experience with Buckeye Bowhunting with hunts Ive enjoyed with other outfitters and without hesitation, I can tell you that what you provided me the very worst outfitter experience Ive ever had the misfortune to participate in so your offer is of no value to me.You will understand why I am not at all interested in accepting your offer. 5 of the 6 hunters left after only 3 full days of hunting because, like me they understood they were not getting what they paid for. The only hunter to remain, stayed because he was bound to his airline tickets so the the entire group no longer wanted to hunt with Buckeye Bowhunting because like me, they were completely dissatisfied. You took in approximately $10,000 from our group with the majority of hunters leaving camp early, in protest. The initial hunt I booked with you was $1200 which is $240 a day. The two days I didn’t hunt with you totals $480. That is the amount I will find acceptable as compensation from you. I can provide the PayPal address for the funds to be sent."
***UPDATE***Steve has responded to my email. This was his reply to me."If you’re going to post about this all over the place, then we are done talking about a refund of any kind. Whether you hunted 1 day or 5 days, I still had to pay for the lease. You remarked one evening about a doe snorting at the blind, and I now know why. Both blinds that you sat in you opened all of the windows. Kind of a rookie move. This is not a high fence, or a subdivision hunt that you are SO used to. If you open all of the windows on a blind, you’ll get spotted. All that I can do is trust people when they tell me that they have a certain level of woodsmanship. You sold yourself as the modern day Daniel Boone, and that you’ve done it all twice. Then to not even know the first thing about sitting in a blind? Or can’t follow directions? Walk from here, across an open field to a blind marked by reflective tacks a mere 100 yards away, and you can’t find it? I think the problem is that YOU only want to hear YOUR voice at all times. With all of that said, you remove your post from Guidefitter, and make no further posts I’ll talk to you more about a refund. As long as you’re posting stuff, or there’s posts up I won’t even consider any refund."My reply to Steve."Steve, thanks for the reply. I see you have read my blog where I do guide/outfitter reviews after I return from a hunt. You will recall when we rode in the car on the way back to camp when you picked me up from the train trestle with the unsafe ladder stand, I told you that I write reviews of the guides/outfitters I use. You will also recall that you replied with:"I wish guides could write a review about their clients"As you read my review, you saw that what I wrote is 100% factual and was chronicled at the end of each day's hunt so I'm able to commemorate what took place while it's fresh in my mind. Had mine been a good/positive experience with your service, you would have a read a review of Buckeye Bowhunting that was glowing and praising you and urging hunters to sign on with you but because mine and the experiences of the other hunters was so terrible that we cut our losses and left camp 2 days early, I can only write, honestly about took place. That is what a review is. That is why hunters write reviews and web sites exist for the purpose of reviewing services used.I can understand you now wanting to enter into hostage negotiations in which you will hold the promise of a refund hostage until I meet your demands. I see your customer service after the hunt matches that of the service we got while in camp.Since you read my blog/review, you also read that our email exchange after the hunt is also being commemorated in writing as its an extension of my interactions with the guide I hired.As far as pulling by factual review from Guidefitter, I cant do that. The function of that (and the other sites I'm writing reviews on) is for hunters to review and rate and share their experiences so that other hunters can be better informed before spending time and money with an outfitter. Great service reaps great reviews. Terrible service (such as our group experienced with you and Buckey Bowhunting) receives a review commensurate with the service we received.To that end, Jeff and I have already reached out to lastminutefishingandhunting.com (that is who Jeff used to book with you). This is the reply I got from them after sharing my review."Hi Ron:I am on it. Heard from Jeff todayI appreciate your feedback and am sorry for your bad experience.If I can help in any way let me knowI have contacted the outfitter and am awaiting his responseRegards,Mike"I have not yet shared my experience on my Facebook page or any of the many Facebook hunting groups that I belong to as I wanted to reach a resolution with you first. Based on your most recent email, I think I understand that you will refuse to do the right thing and make this right.At this point, I think its clear that the 6 of us that gave you $10,000 are screwed but I don't want another hunter to be taken advantage of in the manner we were. If my review saves even one hunter from the sort of bad service and loss of time and money that I was, I will consider the review I share to serve the purpose it is intended to serve."Steve's reply to me (im beginning to think Im not getting a refund.)"Again, you assume way too much. I never said that I wouldn’t make it right. However, your assumptions also prove my statement that YOU only wish to hear your own voice. You sold yourself as a “seasoned” hunter that came to hunt. Nothing could be further from the truth. Much more like a mole that quickly, and secretly put us under your microscope. Also, my exact statement to you was that there should be a website for guides to know about clients. Since you are ALL about the facts. Again, one you’re wrong on. If you quote someone in the future, get the quote correct. Also as a person that writes these reviews, you’d think that legally you’d need to divulge that information. I get that YOU think you’re somebody in the outdoor industry. Which was stated by everyone in your group to me. Your continual boasting and shaming of others of ONLY eating wild game, NEVER drinking a soda or alcohol quickly became on everyone’s nerves. Case in point, you arrived in camp with red stag meat sticks from some high fence hunt and quickly told everyone that would listen about how you have shot 10+ deer already this year in a subdivision. I also see that you’re leaving out the fact that you sold me on your level of woodsmanship. All I can do is go off what you tell me. When you want to take stuff down, stop posting and talk to me rather than sneaking off like you did let me know. I was prepared to give you a full refund, but again you can’t help yourself from ready-shoot-aim." My reply to Steve."Thanks for the reply Steve. You stated in your last email " I was prepared to give you a full refund"You offered me a return trip (which I declined as it was akin to a voucher for a free meal from a restaurant I just got food poisoning from)Ive mentioned this in a prior email but will do so again. The other hunters in the group and I continue to communicate with one another, I know Jeff (who slept on a couch for lack of a suitable bed. Jeff who never saw a deer in 3 days) and you have likewise been corresponding via email and phone and he told you he wants you to only refund the 2 days he didnt hunt and since he paid $2000, the per-day rate would be $400 a day totaling $800 for the 2 days and you only offered him $300 total so for you to assert that you were "prepared" to offer me a "FULL REFUND" does not pass the smell test and then, in order for you to even consider talking about a refund, you had a list of demands I must comply with first. I hope you can see this from my vantage point? You have not been an honest broker in the hunt and the post hunt communications.While you may never do the right thing and be honorable or make this right, my primary objective at this point is to try to prevent others from being taken advantage of by your poor service and dishonesty. The hunt with you was Jon's first outfitted hunt. I feel especially bad for him and when the group of 6 hunters met on the evening of the 3rd day, we tried our best to assure him that the incredibly terrible service we all received from you was not the norm.You have to wonder why 100% of the 6 hunters you had in camp were dissatisfied and frustrated and so unhappy that 5 of us left early. Thankfully we drove to your destination and were free to depart after we saw how badly we were treated but poor Jon was captive to his airline tickets but also wanted to cut his losses and leave. Have you considered how terrible your operation is that everybody wanted out? That was a real question, not rhetoric.You told us the group you had the week prior to us did not get a single deer. You said that they were bad hunters and spent more time in the basement than in the woods and they they drank in excess. If that is true, I think we both understand why they would act in such a manner and why some of the guys from our group asked you to retrieve them from low quality stands in poor locations. Thus far you are placing all the blame on the hunters and dont want to own any of the responsibility for why we were all so unhappy. It seems to be everyone's fault but yours. Are you seeing what we are seeing??? (another real question)I do not expect you to do the right thing or that I will get a refund and since I dont want another hunter to get scammed the way we were, I will publish my review on my blog as well as the 7 hunting forums I am a member of and roughly 90 Facebook groups I am a member of. I will seek out the web based outlets you list your hunts and write reviews or otherwise contact them to share my experience. Im contacting the BBB as well. No other hunter should have to be taken advantage of by a dishonest scammer."Steve's reply:"You’re basically telling me in one breath you want a refund and then that a refund is not enough in the next? I’ll keep it simple. So do you want a refund?"My reply to Steve:"Steve, I made myself abundantly clear. I provided the terms in a prior email but will do so again.The initial hunt I booked with you was $1200 which is $240 a day. The two days I didn’t hunt with you totals $480. That is the amount I will find acceptable as compensation from you. I can provide the PayPal address for the funds to be sent."Steve's reply to me:"Send me your PayPal link."I promptly sent him my PayPal address.Steve's reply to me:"I’m sending you $430, since you still owed us $50."Steve is correct. The remainder of what I owed upon arriving at camp was $950. I only had $100 bills and handed his wife $1000. She was unable to make the $50 change but said she was going to the store to buy food for the group and would get the change. We both forgot to settle up the final $50 before I left early.After I received Steve's email, I got an email from PayPal indicating that I had just been sent $430 from Steve so he did refund me the two days I didn't hunt.