This will be our third year elk hunting. The first year we went on a limited draw in Colorado and had a blast. Did not kill an elk, took three days to hear one bugling at us and if you are bow hunting, you BETTER understand that the winds swirl 360 degrees about the time you are ready to draw. Unless you have a personal recommendation, I would not spend my money with a guide. We saw, smelled and had elk bark at us. Walked over 30 miles in 5 days up and down the mountains and enjoyed every pain and ache with it. Like others have said, success rates are very deceptive. My success was 100% once I crossed the Rocky Mountains and spent 5 nights in a tent with the crisp mountain air and low humidity in September. I could have filled a semi with mule deer we walked up on. When buying your gear, buy once and cry once. It is not cheap for good gear but some it is not necessary either.