— Member Login —Sign Up

Outfitter Review - Headwaters and High Country

Submit Date: Dec 6, 2009

Outfitter Information

Outfitter Name: Headwaters and High Country

Outfitter / Contact: Tim Walkowiak

Location: Montana, US

Hunt Information

Animals Hunted: Elk, Mule Deer & Antelope

Game Quality: No Elk, 3 small Mule Deer, a few Antelope

Game Quantity: Extremely poor Deer and Antelope

Accomodations: Excellent

Camp Condition: Excellent

Food Quality: Good

Guide Experience: Could not judge fairly by this

Other Personal Experience: No others

Review Information

Hunter: Allan Olitsky

Phone: 215-688-2117


Would Recommend: Never

Overall Impression: The worst in over 50 years of hunting

I am 66 years old and have been hunting for over 50 years. I have hunted all over the US and Canada. I have harvested numerous Elk, Deer from Texas to Kodiak, Turkey from Florida to Nebraska, Caribou and Moose in Alaska, and bear all over. I am saying this because I am not new to hunting. I have hunted in the past with a rifle but for the last several years my passion has been archery. Tim, the outfitter that I booked this hunt with was a guide for me 15 years ago in Montana on an Antelope hunt where I got a record book trophy. After receiving several brochures from Tim and viewing his website, I contacted him. I explained exactly what I was interested in. A combination Elk, Mule Deer and possibly Antelope hunt. Expense was not really an issue but time is starting to be since by the time of the hunt I would be almost 67. Tim assured me that what I read on the website and brochure is exactly what he had to offer. I wanted to hunt from a tree stand if possible definitely on river bottom land for the Elk. Elk was primary and I would be very content to only harvest a good Elk. I already have B&C Mule Deer and White Tails but of the 7 Elk I have gotten, none were super. With all this discussed, I told Tim I would be driving out to Montana from Pennsylvania with a freezer and generator in the back of my truck. I sent Tim the required $1,000.00 deposit and applied for my tags which I got. 30 days prior to the hunt, I sent Tim my balance in full as he requested. I practiced with my bow for weeks as I always do before a hunt. I continued my daily walking and jogging to keep in shape. The ride out to Montana was great. In the last few hours I deliberately took smaller back roads and saw a tremendous number of Elk, Deer and Antelope. At some points, I was afraid I might fill out my tags in my truck. I was really pumped for the hunt. I arrived at the lodge which was great and exactly what I had expected. I was the only hunter, there was no one else there. After greetings, Tim and I discussed the hunt at which time I again stressed my desire for a good Elk and told Tim anything else would be a bonus. We were to be up at 4 AM the next day to start. Off we went in Tim's 99 pick up. Immediately I noticed a noise from the front end. The front drive shaft sounded like it was about to go but I was assured it would be fine. Most of our 1 1/2- 2 hour drive each way was in 4 wheel drive. The noise got louder. After walking the entire day in an area that had not seen any water for weeks, I got concerned. This was not river bottom but low (4500 ft) mountainous area. We saw one small antelope all day. The next day started the same way but the front end noise was even louder. Concerned about a breakdown we headed back to get Tim's back up truck. An 86 Suburban in which some of the windows did not work. Not good in 12 degree weather when a window does not go up on a 2 hour drive. We did see a couple of Mule Deer which we spent the day following. On the ride home that night a few miles from camp a monster bull Elk crossed the road ahead of us. I asked Tim if we were in an area we could hunt and he said no. This was land near the river. The next day Tim said we would hunt over a water hole out of a tree stand. We ended up next to a little pool of water sitting in a double tree stand strapped to a power line pole. We were completely exposed and sat so close that drawing my bow back would have been almost impossible. We saw nothing. On the way back, I questioned Tim about the guarantee of hunting river bottom as I requested. He said that he had not leased any this year due to the economy. I reminded him that I had called him just prior to sending my balance and again one week before I left on my trip and had confirmed with him that the property was all taken care of and would be as described in his brochure and website. Had I known at that point, I would have put the hunt off for another year. Obviously I was deliberatly lied to in order to get my money. Not wanting to start an argument while on my 10 day hunt, I tried for two more days. The third day we went to a "great water hole" where the tripod stand had been blown over by the wind. There were a cow tracks (cow as in the farmer's cows not Elk cow)at the hole but the water was so shallow a rat couldn't drown in it. Realizing this hunt was a scam I finally packed my things and left. While loading my truck, Tim said that I might be able to get permission to hunt on someone else's lease if I would wait a few more days. My experience so far on this hunt led me to believe this was just another lie and left. I learned a valuable lesson on this hunt. I will never give an outfitter the balance due on a hunt again prior to at least arriving in camp. I have, on several of my hunts paid by personal check after the hunt was over. I really try to hunt with outfitters that I have previously hunted with. I have been on many hunts where I have not gotten game but never one like this time where the outfitter obviously deceived me just to get my money. My suggestion to those of you that are relatively new at hunting is to to check as many references as possible. Negotiate with the outfitter as to how you will be paying him. I hunted Brown Bear in Alaska once by sending the outfitter half as a deposit and bringing a certified check with me for the balance to be handed over after I had a reasonable opportunity to harvest my game. A reputable outfitter should be willing to be paid in a reasonable way, not insist on all the money up front as I did for this hunt. I have filed a legal document against this outfitter and will wait to see who the Judge thinks is in the right. Hopefully I will get some of my $10,000.00 plus in expenses back but there goes another year of my hunting career and a two week vacation I looked forward to, not to mention all the aggravation that I had. Good hunting to you all. Allan

Outfitter Response: My client, Mr. Allan J. Olitsky, has filed a complaint against me and my business, Headwaters and Highcountry Outfitters. Mr. Olitsky paid $6000 for a Grand Slam hunt, which is a deer, antelope and elk hunt. My responsibility during this hunt is to give my client as many opportunities to harvest all three of these animals as possible. The lease that Mr. Olitsky was hunting on for the first three and one-half days of his ten-day hunt, is a multi-million dollar 42,000 acre working cattle ranch, with resident elk, antelope and mule deer. My lease is 26 miles away from my lodge and takes 40 minutes to get there. I have no idea why Allan would say that it took one and one-half to two hours to get there. The weather was dry while he was hunting and the roads, which are county roads, were always clear. I was NEVER in four-wheel drive. Allan’s hunt was scheduled for the 7th through the 16th of October. (Which means he would be arriving on the 6th and leaving on the 17th of October.) He says that he called me the week before he left on his drive to Montana. He did not call me before he left Pennsylvania, he called me from South Dakota on the 3rd of October saying he would be arriving at the lodge on the 4th. This was two days earlier than he was supposed to arrive! Had he called me when he said he did, I would have reminded him that he was not to arrive at the lodge until the 6th of October. Mike Weinkauf, from Babe Winkelman Productions was to arrive on the 4th of October to film our fourth television program. I was supposed to hunt with Mike for the first two days, but because Allan was there at the lodge, albeit two days ahead of schedule, I made the decision to hunt with Allan. I always put the interests of my clients first and did everything I could to accommodate Mr. Olitsky. He stated “I was the only hunter, there was no one else there.” Mike Weinkauf and his camera man arrived the same day Allan did and were still there when he left. My 1999 Ford F250 is in superior mechanical condition, but sometimes repairs become necessary. I always have a back-up vehicle and it was only needed for one day of the hunt. My 86 Suburban is in very good shape, but for some reason my window would not close the last inch that day, Allan’s worked perfectly as did the heater, we were not cold as he states. On two of the three and one-half days my client hunted with me, we stalked two different mule deer (we didn’t follow them, as he states), but were unable to get close enough for a reasonable archery shot. The “little pool of water” Allan mentioned was a concrete stock tank that the animals drink from. The double stand is mounted on a telephone pole that has been there for years. The animals pay no attention to it. We have harvested our share of game from that location. Allan refused to hunt from that stand, he never even sat in it, even though he says that he did! He states that “we saw one small antelope all day.” Antelope travel in herds, they seldom travel alone, especially during the rut when Allan was hunting. On day three, He talks about a ”great water hole that a rat couldn’t drown in.” This pond is 60’ long and 20-30’ wide and at least 3-4’ deep. There are elk, deer and antelope tracks all over that pond. That year we had a 30” mule deer coming down to water there, and the tripod was set up for that reason. They do occasionally tip over in high wind, it takes all of three minutes to set it back up. That was not a problem. We saw elk late in the afternoon, too late to set up on them. We went in early the next morning, they had moved on, and we did not get an opportunity for a shot. During the few days that we hunted, Allan seemed very enthusiastic and friendly. He commented on how much he enjoyed the lodge, food, camaraderie and the hunting. After our morning hunt on the fourth day, he expressed disappointment (for the first time) in not getting a shot at an elk. He then asked about sitting in a stand on the river bottom. I reminded him that he would not see any mule deer or antelope on the river bottom, only elk and whitetail deer. (He has two big whitetails on his wall already and wanted a mule deer.) He said he wanted to hunt the river bottom for elk. My river-bottom lease was available to me on a per animal basis. I felt that we had an excellent opportunity to harvest all three animals on my current lease, but did have access to the river bottom, if I needed it. I explained this to Allan, and then made arrangements for him to hunt on the river as he had requested. He was not loading his truck to leave, as he states, we had just come in from hunting that day. He had dinner with us that evening and spent the night at the lodge with the intent, I thought, to hunt the next morning. In his complaint, he states that he didn't believe that I would have access to any river bottom. He knows that I did! He was sitting right there at the table when I made the arrangements to hunt the river bottom! As much as he says in his complaint that I knew all along that he wanted to hunt on the river, I did not. It was only after some disappointment in the field that he began talking about another place to hunt. He hunted with me for three and one-half days and then, got up the next morning and left. He called a short time after arriving in Pennsylvania and asked what I would be willing to do for him, since he had missed part of his hunt. I asked him to let me do my job. Give me the entire ten days to hunt with him and make a satisfied client out of him once again. He shot a Boone and Crockett antelope with me years ago, and was very satisfied with that hunt. He agreed to another Grand Slam hunt in 2010, personally guided by me at no charge. He asked for a written statement of what we had mutually agreed upon, and that was sent to him promptly. At no time did I try to deceive Mr. Olitsky. As the outfitter, I have to make decisions all of the time about how and where we will hunt, based on my knowledge and experience. Sometimes I am second-guessed and there is always disappointment when the animals do not cooperate. Emotions can be unpredictable in the field. At no time, did I ever promise Allan that he would be hunting strictly on the river bottom. To book a Grand Slam hunt that included mule deer and antelope, and then sit him in a stand on the river WOULD have been deceitful on my part. (His only chance would have been to harvest an elk.) I would have insisted that he book only an elk hunt and purchase only an elk tag if he had told me that the elk was all he was interested in. Allan states that “a reputable outfitter should be willing to be paid in a reasonable way, not insist on all the money up front as I did for this hunt.” I know of no other outfitter who will provide his guide services without being paid in advance. That is just standard procedure. You don’t pay the airline after you arrive at your destination. Allan writes that his only concern is that this sort of thing does not happen to someone else in the future. I have been an outfitter for over 14 years and this has NEVER happened to anyone that I have dealt with. Over half of my clients are repeat customers, some of them hunting with me year after year. Headwaters and Highcountry Outfitters has been featured on the "Wilderness Journal" television program for nine consecutive years and on the Babe Winkelman program "Outdoor Secrets" for three different programs. My reputation as an outfitter to date has been very solid, and I strive every day to keep it that way. I understand the pressure that my hunters feel to perform well and bring that trophy home as proof of their success. Patience is so important, but often takes the back seat to frustration when their high expectations predictably turn into reasonable reality. The highs and lows associated with hunting are well documented and our hunts are no exception, but I do my absolute best to make my clients hunting experiences memorable and successful. Had Allan let me do my job, and stayed for the duration of the hunt, I am confident that he would have had some nice trophies to show off and some great memories to tell his grandchildren about. When he agreed to come back and hunt with me in 2010, I truly believed he was thinking the same way I was. I thought the matter was settled, I then received word from the Montana Board of Outfitters that Allan Olitsky was filing a complaint against me. It went before the board and they dismissed the complaint saying that there was no negligence on my part. He then sought monetary compensation and accepted a settlement from my insurance company. A repeat client of mine informed me of this website and Allan’s attempt, once again, to injure my credibility. I can prove everything that I have stated in this response is true. I can assure you that Allan cannot. Timothy Walkowiak Outfitter Headwaters and Highcountry Outfitters headwatershighcountry.net

report reviewReport this review

web application and database development by davidcdalton.com