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Outfitter Review - Turnpike Ridge Outfitters

Submit Date: Sep 22, 2009

Outfitter Information

Outfitter Name: Turnpike Ridge Outfitters

Outfitter / Contact: Don Helstrom

Location: Maine, USA

Hunt Information

Animals Hunted: Black Bear

Game Quality: Average

Game Quantity: Average

Accomodations: Average

Camp Condition: Average

Food Quality: Average

Guide Experience: Good

Other Personal Experience: Average

Review Information

Hunter: George Dillon



Would Recommend: No

Overall Impression: Below Average

To start this story off, I have been anxiously waiting for this week in September 2009 for a year, just to go bear hunting at Turnpike Ridge Outfitters in Maine with a total of 7 hunters in our group. Let me say right off the bat on the first day of the hunt and only 2 hours and 15 minutes on the stand I killed a nice 200 lb black bear. I was so happy that my first bear hunting experience went so well. Now that being said, let me get to the nitty-gritty of how things went throughout the week at camp. I found out really quick that the owner Don Helstrom was not a nice man. He was rude and crude to say the least. He mistreated several guys in the camp throughout the week. He made fun of them and made unprofessional comments about certain hunters in his truck as he took us to our bait sites. I felt very uncomfortable to say the least. In his information regarding his hunts, there is no where that it states that we have to use our own personal vehicles to get back and forth from camp to the bait sites. Well when we got their we were all shocked that we had to use our own trucks. Now you say what's wrong with using your own vehicle, let me tell you that you are over 40 miles away from a paved road out in the middle of nowhere at the camp site. The roads are terrible and beat your vehicles up bad. The roads are covered in Shale, this in turn means that there are sharp and jagged pieces of rock all over the place. There were a total of 10 flats and that ended up costing over $1,800 in new tires as they left holes in the tires that were not fixable. These drivers had to take time away from hunting to drive an hour and a half to Presque Isle to order new tires. Also if you drive your own vehicle there, be prepared to go to Ashland every other day to fill up, as it costs around $40.00 a day to drive, because Clayton Lake is where you hunt and it's almost 70 miles each way which takes 2 hours to get there and 2 hours to get back on terrible logging roads. Hunters left at 12pm and were lucky to get back at 12am and sometimes 1am in the the morning from their hunts. Don Helstrom not once offered to help with our flats or give us a break as we used our own gas. After a bunch of us guys got together, we all found out that Don is using his hunters to save himself money. There were 3 guides and 22 hunters, tell me how in the heck can 3 guides haul 22 hunters everyday to the bait sites. It aint happening. We ending up paying alot extra in the end. After talking to Gayle, Don Helstoms wife, about having to drive our own trucks, she said after all all you guys have money, or you wouldn't be here. I about fell over when she told us that. Gayle has a helper, her name is Janet. She is awesome and was the glue that kept the camp together all week. She takes excellent care of you and makes up for the rudeness of the Helstroms. Lets get to the guides. First off, they are very experienced in what they do, but several of them were not talkative and very crabby and in some cases rude to the hunters that were there. They don't like questions and don't want to be talked too. George was the worst, with Jeff being the nicest all week. The camp was rustic, I like rustic, but didn't like the fact that you had to go to the spring and fill up a 5 gallon bucket of water to take a shower with. The spring is a little trickle of water that comes out of a pvc pipe from the ground. It takes around 10 minutes to fill up. Then you have to take the water to a tank and pour it in and then build a fire and then 45 minutes later the water was hot, and then you could take the water to the shower and use it. Very time consuming. The bathrooms are disgusting and smell of fecal matter and urine. I can't say much more. In the end, if you want to get used and abused, and kill a bear possibly go here. If you want to be treated like a human being and most of all a customer, don't go here. Don Helstrom ruined my first successful black bear hunt, I will never forget that. Thank you all and I hope someone will find this helpfull.

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