Howdy and Welcome!

Michael and Julie Knott, Program Directors.

It’s been over 44 years now, hard to believe. That was the first I ventured to the Rockies, all eyes and ears! Ready to take on whatever they would offer and willing to give up to a still wet behind the ears 18 year old. I was a kid in a candy shop! Just couldn’t get enough! Coming from a rural and farming background I had a good respect and love for nature already planted within me, but soon found I had much more growing to do. This was the beginning of my apprenticeship that would mold and steer me in the direction and course I would follow. I spent a lot of my time in the hills, did more than my share of logging and in between time managed to finish up my education in Wildlife Management and Forestry. As it was, after all this I still couldn’t land the job I was looking for.

Anyone who grew up in the 50’s and 60’s with any interest in hunting or fishing had read plenty of articles and adventures in Outdoor Life, many by Jack O’Connor the renowned hunter, author and also shooting editor for the same magazine. Erv Malnarich, outfitter and elk guru who lived and worked out of the Selway/Bitterroot Wilderness was hired by O’Connor on many occasions, contracted to take him into this country to track down the elusive Wapiti. Through it all they became closest friends with many of their hunts together reenacted through the eyes and pen of Jack himself.

This is how I knew of Erv Malnarich, but didn’t know at the time he ran a guide and packer school or even if he was still alive. I was paging through one of my Bowhunter magazines one day and stumbled across an ad in the classified advertisements. “Big Game Guides Needed! Training Available! Contact Erv Malnarich” This got my attention and I called the number listed. I still remember it to this day. “Erv here, can I help you!” was the way he answered the phone. No last name required!

He told me like it was: no big promises of getting rich quick, a lot of hard work involved, combined with long hours, and wouldn’t be all glory like most people think. He elaborated about the good and bad and what it would take to make it in this business. “You will need a lot of heart, drive and desire for this lifestyle and an all-important attitude to maintain your well being both mentally and physically.” If you can keep all this in check, the benefits will far outweigh everything else. Erv was so right!

It wasn’t long and I was enrolled in the ELM Outfitters & Guides Training School Program and diving head first into the Outfitters & Guides Bible. I went on to Hands on Training down in Wyoming and shortly after graduation Erv placed me right on the job working for a top-notch outfit out of Challis, Idaho. I was finally doing something I loved and at the same time getting paid for it! This was the real deal! I worked as a packer/guide and part-time cook for many fulfilling years. In 1998 Erv and Ardie entrusted their lifelong endeavor wholeheartedly to me, knowing I was the person they were looking for to carry on their program. I took over as School Director in 1999, and by doing so I knew I would be filling some very big shoes. Taking all this into account I took this role very seriously with much respect for the program and today—as always—for the late Erv and Ardie Malnarich.

My wife Julie coordinates the business end of our program bringing new dimensions and fresh ideas with advertising and management, making things run much more smoothly. We both take great pride in the ELM Outfitters & Guide School Training Program and our students. For over 56 years now we have watched this industry continue to grow and have seen our students achieve great success long after their training with us. We look forward each year to guiding students through every step of training in reaching their goals.

Join us as we assist you in your education, preparing you for a rewarding outdoor career and a new fantastic lifestyle. There truly is nothing else like it!