Hunting Guide School
Horse Packing in the Salmon River, Idaho
T.R. Michels' Hunting Guide School & Whitetail/Turkey/Elk/Waterfowl University has a limited number of openings for anyone interested in learning about white-tailed deer, turkey, elk, ducks and geese. The information acquired while attending classes will help students better understand the animals whether they wish to use their knowledge as hunters, naturalists, photographers, writers, authors, seminar speakers, guides, outfitters or hunting consultants. The courses will include whitetail, turkey, elk and waterfowl biology and behavior; communication by calls, scents and body language; breeding behavior; nutritional preferences and needs; thermal and security cover preferences and needs; reaction to daily and seasonal meteorological conditions; and reaction to predatory behavior and human intrusion.
T.R. at whitetail rub
The School's Founder and Head Instructor
T.R. Michels, the school's founder and head instructor, has been hunting waterfowl, small game, upland game birds and big game for over 40 years. He has been a professional hunting guide, outfitter and consultant for over 17 years, and he has researched white-tailed deer for 10 years, turkeys for 4 years, ducks and geese for 4 years and elk for 4 years. He has guided for elk in Colorado, New Mexico and Idaho; and white-tailed deer, turkey, black bear, pheasants and waterfowl in Minnesota and North Dakota.
He researched white-tailed deer behavior for 10 years, including how deer react to the weather conditions each day, and whether or not they are influenced by the moon. He has studied over 100 scrapes and 50 rubs per year. As a result of his research he has developed several different hunting techniques for deer hunting using scents, calls, rattling and decoys; and a system on How to Pattern a Whitetail Buck based on his scrape research.
He has researched turkey behavior for 4 years, including how turkeys react to the weather each day. He has also extensively studied turkey breeding behavior and how it affects gobbling activity throughout the turkey breeding-season. As a result of his research he devised hunting techniques for each of the several different phases of the breeding season that hunters are likely to encounter.
T.R. has also researched elk behavior for 4 years, including how elk react to the weather each day, and whether or not the animals are influenced by the factors of the moon. He has also extensively studied how breeding activity affects bugling activity. As a result of his research he devised hunting techniques for each of the several different phases of the rut.
As a result of his experience as a guide and outfitter, and due to his research, T.R. has become one the best known outdoor writers, seminar speakers and authors in North America. Since 1989 he has given seminars at most of the deer and turkey shows and major sports shows in the Midwest, as well as Colorado and Louisiana.
T.R. began writing hunting articles in 1989, and since that time has written "how to" and game animal "biology and behavior" hunting articles for the National Rifle Association's American Hunter and InSights magazines, the National Wild Turkey Federation's Turkey Call magazine, as well as North American Whitetail, Petersen's Bowhunting, Bow & Arrow Hunting, Wildfowl, Waterfowl USA, Buckmasters, Fur-Fish-Game and several state an regional hunting magazines. Many of his articles can be found on the internet by typing the keywords "T.R. Michels" in the search box on Google.
T.R. Michels with 168" ten point whitetail buck.
As a result of his experience as a professional hunting guide and a wildlife researcher, T.R. designed the original Konifer camouflage, which was available in the Cabela's in the 1990's; and Snow Field Stalker camouflage, which was available in the and Herter's catalogs in the 1990's. He also developed the idea for the Feather Flex Upwind Goose decoy, their bedded deer decoy, their rabbit decoy and their strutting turkey decoys. He was instrumental in the first commercial elk and deer urine scents, which were marketed by Wildlife Research Center. He has also consulted on the design of elk calls, hunting blinds, hunting clothing, duck and goose decoys, and he gave Randy "Flag Man" Bartz the idea of using the white crescent on his Lander Kites.
T.R.'s hunting and guiding experience, and his research on whitetails, turkeys, elk, ducks and geese makes him one of the most knowledgeable hunters and teachers in North America, making well qualified as the schools founder and head instructor. In addition, T.R. enjoys sharing his knowledge and experience with other hunters, outdoor lovers, naturalists, photographers, students and researchers, whether they are men or women, boys or girls, novices or experts.
No other hunting school can offer students an instructor with this expertise on the biology and behavior of white-tailed deer, turkey, elk, ducks and geese; along with the experience of being a professional guide, naturalist, outfitter and hunting consultant; as well as a professional outdoor writer, author, seminar speaker and wildlife photographer.
Our in-field study area is located in beautiful southeastern Minnesota (home to monster whitetail bucks and big tom turkeys), approximately 30 miles north of the Mayo Clinic, the Gander Mountain store, the Rochester Goose Refuge (home to 30,000 Giant Canada geese in the fall) and the largest elk farm in Minnesota (700+ head, including over 150 mature bulls) in Rochester, MN. It is approximately 50 miles east of the Cabela's store in Owatonna, MN; and 50 miles south of the Mall of America in Bloomington, MN.
Because we have access to several different properties, where T.R. has studied deer and turkeys for several years, the school is a "hands on" in-the-field experience, where students can watch and listen to the animals, so they can learn from the animals while T.R. explains their behavior and how and why they react to the several different factors that influence their daily, monthly, seasonal and breeding behavior; and explain how to use the best tactics and techniques to scout, locate, observe pattern and hunt the animals.
While they are in the field the students will have the opportunity to walk rub routes and scrape lines, learn how to locate buck bedding areas and turkey roosting sites and strutting areas, and how to pattern deer and turkeys. They may also have the opportunity to participate in the ongoing deer or elk research in the fall, and turkey research in the spring; which will help them understand how the weather and the moon influence the seasonal behavior and breeding activity of the animals They will also learn how to choose hunting sites based on the seasonal and daily use of the animals; and the best times, locations and techniques to locate deer and turkey during the different phases of the breeding seasons.
Because we have access to the largest privately owned elk herd in Minnesota, with over 700 elk, including 100 bulls scoring over 300 Boone & Crockett points, our students will be able to learn about elk behavior by listening and watching the elk as close as 5 yards away. On most days they will be able to watch the elk get up out of their beds, watch the bulls scrape and wallow, hear live cow and calf calls, and hear 100 to 300 bugles in 2-3 hours. No other hunting school in North America can offer their students the opportunity to learn about elk behavior this close, from this many elk. As a result of this our students will learn more about elk in 2 to 3 hours with us than most of them will be able to learn in their life while hunting elk. Fenced elk hunts for trophy class SCI bull elk are also available with either shotgun or bow.
We also have access to the Rochester Goose Refuge, where students can watch and listen to mallard ducks and the famed giant Canada geese. For an additional fee students can participate in a guided goose hunt while learning how to set goose decoys, blow duck and goose calls, and flag geese.
Why choose T.R. Michel's Guide School & Hunting University?
No other hunting, guiding or outfitting school has a head instructor that has done as much research on the biology and behavior of white-tailed deer, turkey, elk, ducks and geese, as our school has. No other school can offer you an instructor who has personally hunted and guided for the wide range of species as we do, or offer an instructor with as much knowledge and understanding of those animals as our school can. If you want to learn the most you can about the biology and behavior of whitetails, turkeys, elk, ducks and geese, and the best tactics and techniques for scouting, locating, patterning and hunting those animals, why not learn from one of the best researchers and guides in North America?
Why you should not choose to go to a Guide School or Hunting University
Unless you plan to have a full-time job, and use guiding as a second income, we don't suggest you become a hunting guide. No matter what any guide school tells you (they want your money), it is very difficult to make a living as a guide on one income, especially if you plan on having a family; because you are only employed 4 - 6 months a year. We strongly suggest that anyone who does not have a good income already (a full time job, retirement fund, pension or other income) - go to college or trade school or get some other training - so they can make a decent living.
All of the students who come to school with us fall into two categories: 1. Those who have a good income or those have a wife with a full-time income, and plan on becoming outfitters (owning the business as a second income). 2. They come here to learn about the biology and behavior of the animals, so they understand them better, so they can become better hunters, naturalists, writers or photographers.
As a result of his experience as a hunter, professional hunting guide and outfitter, and as a wildlife researcher, the school's founder, T.R. Michels, has learned that the more our students know about the biology and behavior of the animals, the better they understand the daily and seasonal activity of those animals, the better they understand how the animals react to the weather conditions each day, and the better they are at understanding how the animals act during the different phases of their breeding seasons. He has also learned that the better our students are at predicting where to regularly locate the animals under the current weather conditions, during the different phases of the breeding season, and under the current hunting conditions, the better hunters they are.
T.R. firmly believes that the more our students know about the biology and behavior of the animals - the better the hunter, guide, outfitter, naturalist, writer, speaker or wildlife photographer they will become.
Being a keen hunter myself, in October 2006 I enrolled in T.R. Michels Guide School. In the two week course I studied animal behavioral patterns and hunting techniques in great depth, particularly Whitetail Deer, Mule Deer, Elk, Ducks and Geese, both in the classroom and out in the field.
The course will prove invaluable to me as I'm looking at guiding in the future. And with the business aspects I've learnt from T.R. I'm excited about the possibility of starting my own hunting guide business in New Zealand.
Thank you T.R. for the experience,
Joe O'Donohue, Extreme Alpine Adventures
South Island, New Zealand
I learned a lot at T.R Michels' Guide School (in September 2007). He showed me all the different types of ducks and geese - in the field. He explained decoy spread set up methods, calling methods, talked about goose and duck habits, and explained that if you go out and just watch geese and ducks, and learn how they interact with each other, it will change how you call waterfowl.
T.R. shows you step-by-step goose and duck hunting tricks and tips, he breaks it all down and takes you out into the field, and shows you how to do it. It is an outstanding school. I suggest going to it if you want to be a guide, or just to brush up on it and be a better hunter.
Thanks again T.R. for taking time to teach me,
South Dakota, USA
Species Specific Sessions
Since it is impossible to adequately cover the information necessary to understand the biology and behavior of white-tailed deer, turkeys, elk, ducks and geese in one 5-day session, or to observe their behavior during their respective hunting and breeding seasons, we offer several different school sessions, held during the period when each of those animals are hunted, or during their respective breeding seasons.
Although this means that anyone interested in learning about two or more species may not be able to learn what they want during any one or two sessions, T.R. believes that the best way for our students to understand each species is to devote at least five days studying the biology and behavior of that species.
He also believes that the best way for our students to learn the biology and behavior of each species is to observe them in the field, and that the best way for our students to learn how to glass, field-scout, read sign, pattern and hunt each species of animals - is to do it in the field.
This means that at least part of each session needs to be conducted in the field; that the session for each species needs to be at least five days long; that the turkey sessions must be held from April through May, the elk sessions must be held from late August through October, the white-tailed deer sessions must be held from September through December, and that the duck and goose sessions must be held from September through November. Therefore, we offer different sessions for different species.
Session Length, Class Size and Reference Materials
Each session will last 3-5 days; students have the opportunity to choose which days and weeks of the spring, summer or fall sessions they wish to attend. They can start any day they want within the session dates (we are in the field almost every day). Class sizes are limited to 4 persons per session. Reference materials for each session will include scientific research papers and books authored by the schools founder, T.R. Michels. Reference material and books not included in the cost of tuition for each session will be available for use from the school free of charge. Information on how to become a guide, outfitter or hunting consultant will be included in each session.
Unless students are only interested in turkey or waterfowl we suggest taking the Fall Deer & Elk Sessions, because those sessions will give them the broadest range of information.
If students are interested primarily in turkeys they should take the Spring Turkey session, because it is the only time of the year they will be able to hear the turkeys gobble and perform other calls, and be able to watch turkey breeding behavior.
If students are interested primarily in waterfowl they should take the Fall Waterfowl session, because it is the best time of year to watch and listen to the migrating ducks and geese.
If students are interested primarily in deer or elk they should choose either or both of the Fall Deer & Elk sessions, because fall is the only time of the year when they will be able to see fresh deer rubs and scrapes, be able to hear over 100 elk bugles a day and be able to see elk rutting behavior at under 20 yards. It is also the only time of the year when students may be able to participate in an early season hunt for giant Canada geese if they wish to. Fully guided goose hunts are available at $75 per half day.
If students are primarily interested in turkey and deer, especially if they want to hunt or guide for turkey and deer, we suggest they take the Spring Turkey Session, the Fall Deer Session, because it is the only way they can learn what they need to know by actually watching and listening to the animals during their respective breeding seasons and their hunting seasons.
If students are interested in the best chance of learning about white-tailed deer, turkey, elk, ducks and geese we suggest they take a Combined Session, because it is the only way they can learn about all of those species during their respective breeding and /or hunting seasons. A Combined Session also offers the best chance for students to be employed on year round basis.
Tom turkeys coming to a hen yelp
Spring Turkey Session
The spring turkey session will include both classroom and in-field instruction; in-field training will be conducted on one of the areas where T.R. Michels conducted his 4-year turkey research project and/or 10-year deer research project. It will include classroom and in-field instruction on the biology and behavior of wild turkeys; how to locate turkey roosting and feeding/strutting areas; interpreting turkey tracks, droppings and dusting bowls; and how to choose a hunting site and use calls and decoys while turkey hunting. It will also include in-field instruction on how to scout for deer and interpret spring deer sign (tracks, trails, beds, rubs, scrapes and rub routes).
Students will spend 3-4 hours in the field at sunrise each morning watching and listening turkeys to understand their morning behavior; to understand when and why they call and how gobbling patterns change during the different breeding phases, looking for turkey roosting and feeding areas, and interpreting turkey sign; 2-3 hours in the classroom using the Turkeys Addict's Manual as a teaching aid to understand the biology and behavior of the animals, and learning how to use calls and decoys to hunt turkeys; and 1-2 hours in the evening listing and looking for turkeys to "put them to bed" on the roost that night so they learn their evening activity patterns and how to choose the best places to hunt the next morning.
Summer Big Game Session
The summer big game session will include both classroom and in-field instructions: the in-field training will be conducted one of the properties where T.R. Michels conducted his 10-year deer research project. It will include both classroom instruction on the biology and behavior of whitetail, elk, mule deer and bear; how each of those species react to meteorological conditions and lunar factors; big game hunting techniques such as scouting, tracking, stalking, still-hunting, calling, rattling, and using scents and decoys; and how to choose the right times and places to hunt under the current weather conditions and during the different phases of the turkey breeding season.
Students will spend 3-4 hours in the field at sunrise each day looking for white-tailed deer and turkeys in order to understand their morning activities, looking for deer and turkey sign, and learning to interpret it; and 2-3 hours in the class room using the Whitetail Addict's Manual and Hunting Northern and Western Big Game as a teaching aids to understand the biology and behavior of the animals, and learning how to use calls, rattling scents and decoys to hunt big game; and 1-2 hours in the evening looking for deer and turkeys, so they learn their evening activity patterns and how to choose the best places to hunt the next morning.
The fall sessions will focus on white-tailed deer, or elk, or waterfowl; with one 5-day session devoted to each species. Two of these species can be combined during one 5-day session, with the primary focus on one or the other of the two species; all three species can be combined into two 5-day sessions. However, to receive a complete understanding of the biology and behavior of the animals, and the best instruction and training on how to hunt or guide for each of these species, it is suggested that students focus on one species per 5-day session.
10pt whitetail buck using the licking branch at a scrape.
T.R. Michels, Photo Hunter game camera
White-tailed Deer Sessions
The fall white-tailed deer sessions will include both classroom and in-field instructions; in-field training will be conducted on one of the areas where T.R. Michels conducted his 10-year whitetail research project. While they are in the field students will learn techniques such as scouting, glassing, recording, patterning and familiarizing whitetail deer; how to interpret whitetail sign (tracks, trails beds, droppings, rubs, scrapes, and rub routes); techniques for using scents, calls, rattling and decoys; and how to choose the right times and location to hunt whitetails under the current weather conditions and during the different phases of the rut.
Students will spend 3-4 hours in the field each morning glassing and scouting for deer, watching the deer to learn their morning activities, and field scouting while looking for and interpreting deer tracks, trails, beds, rubs, scrapes and rub routes in order to learn how to "pattern" individual whitetail bucks; 2-3 hours in the classroom using the Whitetail Addicts' Manual as a teaching aid, and learning how to use calls, rattling, scents and decoys to hunt trophy whitetails; and 1-2 hours in the evening glassing and watching deer to learn their evening habits and how to choose a hunting sight the next morning.
Bull elk sparring at the elk refuge.
The fall elk sessions will include both classroom and in-field instructions; in field training will be conducted on the 1600+acre elk reserve, which is home to over 500 head of elk including over 100 bull elk scoring between 200 and 400 points. While they are in the field students will learn elk scouting techniques such as glassing and bugling to locate the elk; how to interpret elk sign (tracks, trails, scrapes, wallows and rubs); techniques for using calls and scents; and how to choose the right times and locations to hunt elk under the current weather conditions and during the different phases of the elk rut.
Students will spend 3-4 hours listening to and watching the elk to understand when and why they use calls, and learn their morning activity patterns; 2-3 hours in the classroom using the Elk Addict's Manual as a teaching aid and learning how to perform cow/calf calls and bull bugles, and scents and decoys to hunt elk; and 1-3 hours in the evening watching and listening to the elk to learn their evening activity patterns so they learn their evening habits how to choose a hunting sight the next morning.
Giant Canada Geese
Duck & Goose Sessions
The fall duck and goose sessions will include both classroom and in-field instructions; in-field instructions will be held at local area lakes, and may be held in the field with local guides or outfitters while they are hunting, provided that the goose season is in process. While they are in the field students will learn duck and goose scouting and hunting techniques such as duck and goose calling, flagging and decoy placement; and how to choose the right time and place to hunt ducks and geese.
Students will spend 3-4 hours listening to and watching ducks and geese in the morning, to learn their morning activity patterns and understand why they use their calls; 3-4 hours in the classroom using the Duck & Goose Addict's Manual as a teaching aid to learn the biology and behavior of ducks and geese, and learning how to use calls, decoys and flags to hunt ducks and geese; and 1-3 hours in the evening scouting for ducks and geese so they learn their evening activity patterns and how to choose a hunting site the next morning.
Curriculum for Each Species
1. Biology and Annual Behavior of the Animals
a. Habitat Needs and Preferences; resting/security cover, escape/thermal cover, forage, breeding/feeding areas, water
b. Home Range; size, shape, annual, seasonal
c. Senses; vision, hearing and smell
d. Reaction to Meteorological Conditions; temperature, sky conditions, precipitation, humidity, wind speed and direction, wind chill/heat index, barometric pressure
e. Communication; alarm/distress, agonistic/threat, social contact, female/neo-natal, male advertising/breeding calls, communicative sounds
2. Daily Behavior of the Animals
a. Daytime activities, morning, mid-day and evening activity
b. Nighttime activities
3. Seasonal Breeding Behavior of the Animals
a. Breeding Dates: season, onset, peak and duration
b. Breeding Phases
c. Activity and Calling Changes during the Different Phases of the Breeding Season
4. Avoiding Detection by the Animals
a. Reducing or Eliminating Sight, Scent and Sound
b. Camouflage, Concealment
c. Stealth; using terrain, habitat and natural sound to avoid detection
d. Sight Avoidance; tree stands, blinds and pits
5. Locating the Animals and Predicting their Daily Activity
b. Field Scouting
d. Interpreting Sign
6. Hunting Tactics
b. Choosing Hunting Sites
f. Hunting Specific Types of Habitat
7. Hunting Techniques
a. Calling and Rattling
b. Scent Placement and Use; during the different breeding phases
c. Decoy Placement and Positioning, and Flagging
Communicative Scents and Pheromones of each species discussed during sessions
1. Nasal, Salivary, Pre-orbital, Forehead (sudoriferous), Interdigital, Penal, Tarsal and Metatarsal glands, and Vomeronasal organ
2. Self-impregnation of Tarsal glands through Rub-Urination; and Rubs, Rub Routes and Scrapes
1. Pre-orbital, Cheek, Belly, Metatarsal and Anal glands, and Vomeronasal organ
2. Self-impregnation through Spraying the Belly gland neck and mane, and Scraping and Wallowing; and Tree Marking with Cheek glands
Communicative Vocalizations and Sounds of each species discussed during sessions
1. Alarm sounds; foot stamp, snort, by expulsion of air through the nostrils
2. Alarm call; alarm snort
3. Distress calls; snort, distress call
4. Social Contact Calls; social grunt
5. Agonistic/Threat calls; low-grunt, grunt-snort, grunt-snort-wheeze
6. Maternal/Neonatal calls; maternal grunt, fawn bleat, fawn bawl
7. Mating; buck tending grunt, click
1. Alarm call; bark
2. Alarm sound; foot stamp
3. Distress call; distress mew
4. Social Contact calls; bull contact grunt, contact mew
5. Contact sound: knuckle-cracking
6. Agonistic/Threat sounds; tooth-grinding, glug (tongue-plopping), loud inhale/exhale, cough
7. Agonistic/Submissive calls; submissive mew, sparring mew, threat rumble
8. Maternal/Neonatal calls; cow mew, calf mew, calf bawl
9. Mating/Herding calls; growl, roar, bugle, chuckle
10. Mating/Herding sounds; glug (tongue-plopping), loud inhale/exhale, cough
1. Alarm call; alarm putt
2. Social Contact calls; tree yelp, loud yelp, cutt
3. Agonistic/Threat calls; feeding purr, fighting purr, fighting rattle
4. Maternal/Neonatal calls; hen yelp, kee-kee, kee-kee run
5. Mating calls; tom gobble, hen whine
6. Mating sounds; spit, drum (boom)
1. Social Contact call; honk
2. Maternal/Neonatal calls; goose honk, gosling peep
3. Greeting/Mating calls; loud honk
4. Territorial calls, gander spring territorial call
5. Pre-flight call; preflight honk
1. Social Contact calls; hen calls, drake calls
2. Maternal/Neonatal calls; hen quack, duckling peep
Materials used during the different sessions
Spring Turkey Session: Turkey Addict's Manual
Summer Big Game Session: Whitetail Addict's Manual, Elk Addict's Manual, Hunting Northern and Western Game
Fall Whitetail Session: Whitetail Addict's Manual
Fall Elk Session: Elk Addict's Manual.
Fall Waterfowl Session: Duck & Goose Addict's Manual
Spring: Turkey Session: 5-day sessions available from April 1-May 30.
Summer: Deer, Elk or Western Big Game Session: 5-day sessions available from June 15-July 15.
Fall: Deer or Elk Session: 5-day sessions available from September 1-November. 30.
Fall: Waterfowl Session: 5-day Waterfowl sessions available from September 1-10 and September 20 to November 30.
Individual Sessions: spring, summer or fall 5-day sessions without room & board $400. Students can stay in one of the nearby motels.
Combined Sessions: 5-day Spring Turkey, 5-day Fall Deer, 5-day Elk and 5-day Fall Waterfowl Session without room & board $1500.
Students will receive a final test after each species-specific session, and upon receiving a passing grade will receive a Certificate of Completion. Upon completion of a Combined Session the school will assist successful graduates in job placement if they wish to pursue a career as a hunting guide. Job placement is highly dependent on the type of game each individual chooses to guide for and the state they choose to guide in.
Nature Tours, Birding and Photography Sessions
We also offer guided Nature Tours and Bird Watching Trips to several State Parks and Wildlife Areas in the Bluff and Coulee country of southeastern Minnesota; and to several National Parks in North America. More information: Trinity Mountain Outdoors Adventures
February and March: You can see and photograph dozens of wintering Bald Eagles, diver ducks and swans on the Mississippi River.
Summer: You can see nesting Bald Eagles, and have a chance to see the large Pileated Woodpecker, Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker, Red-headed Woodpecker, Red-bellied Woodpecker, plus the fabulous Indigo Bunting, Scarlet Tanager, Baltimore Oriole, eastern Blue Bird, Rose Breasted Grosbeak, American Redstart, Bobolink, Meadowlark, and several species of thrashers, flycatchers, ducks, gulls, terns and wading birds including the rarely seen Upland Sandpiper.
Spring & Fall Bird Migrations: You may see several species of hawks, sparrows, finches, blackbirds, warblers, ducks, geese, swans and Sandhill Cranes.
Fall: We offer Wolf Howling, Elk Bugling, and Buffalo and Bear Viewing and Photography trips in Minnesota; in Custer State Park, and Badlands and Wind cave National Parks in South Dakota; in Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks in Wyoming; and in Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado
T.R. Michels, Trinity Mountain Outdoors
Trinity Mountain Outdoor Products Catalog T.R. Michels Guide Service / Hunting Trips