ELM ``Student`` Testimonials

Straight Talk from ELM Graduates 

“Elm guide school has been one of the best life decisions I made. I grew up in Minnesota doing powerline construction ,but a new part of me was born after my first hunting trip in Montana. I became obsessed with the Rocky mountains and all they have to offer, laying awake at night trying to find a way to get out west!

I started calling guide schools, and after talking to Julie and Michael Knott the choice was obvious. Talking to Julie was like talking to someone I’ve known forever, and I liked the idea of a home study course before I went off to hands on training. The home study course prepared me well and gave me a better understanding of what I was getting into.

I didn’t grow up around horses or even much of an outdoors lifestyle, so I was a little nervous before hands on training started. I came into it thinking it would be a cool experience, but wasn’t confident on if I could make a lifestyle out of it. After about only the 3rd day of school, it was obvious I wanted to work in this industry. From never riding a horse to where Im at now has got to be the greatest confidence boost of my life!

When school was all said and done and we said our goodbyes, it wasn’t but a day later Elm had a few job offers for me! I made my choice, finished a load of laundry, and within a few days I was packed up and headed to work! This is a great lifestyle and every day is an adventure, my confidence and horsemanship skills are growing every day and Im only looking forward at what’s to come!

However, most days my cheeks get awfully sore and Im picking bugs outta my teeth cause Im smiling all the time!”

Dustin Skovich
Brainard MN
Class of 2017

“I’ve been riding horses for many years and I’ve always dreamed of one day becoming a hunting guide. I researched many guide schools and when I found ELM Outfitters and Guides Training Program, I noticed they are the oldest guide school with a great reputation. After speaking with Julie Knott I knew I made the right decision to sign up. The home study prep-course is packed with extensive information that got me ready for the month long hands on training int he field. The test had me take my time and really think about the situations. Mike and Julie were always ready to help me whenever they could. The hands on training exceeded my expectations. Each day was a new lesson and a new adventure. That adventure and knowledge is what I always craved and riding through that beautiful landscape, pulling the mules I loaded up was when I realized my dreams were coming true. I even got three job offers just days out of school! There is not a better program out there!”

April Wolff Dearduff
Missoula MT
Class of 2017


“ELM Outfitters and Guides Training Program gave me so many great experiences that I will keep with me for the rest of my life. You can not and will not find a better program. If you’re looking into be a Guide and/or an Outfitter one day. The amount of information you learn from the first day with the home study course to the last day of the hands on training school is priceless. Not only do you have fun while learning many different skills you feel comfortable doing it, this makes learning fun as well as understandable. If you’re looking into being someone in the Outfitting business Michael and Julie will not give-up on you and will make sure you get what you need if you meet the right requirements that are needed. After leaving school and heading straight for work I felt confident and ready to work thanks to everything that I learned through school. This can be an opportunity of a lifetime, it’s in the palm of your hands all you have to do is commit and you will not regret it. Huge thanks to Michael, Julie and Josh for everything they have done and taught me the ways of guiding that I know today. “

Jordan Struve
Tega Cay, SC
Class of 2014

“ELM Outfitters and Guides Training Program presented me the opportunity to experience the knowledge of outfitting and guiding. Their home study prep-course gave me a great deal of knowledge, which was very extensive on the information necessary to help me get my start to fulfill a passion and a great possibility of a career in the great outdoors. The manual is written objectively and has very clear examples of the information portrayed in the text. Since completing the ELM course I feel much more confident and capable in my outdoor abilities. For anyone interested in heading into the back country, hunter or not, I strongly recommend ELM Outfitters and Guides Training Program. This can be an opportunity you don’t want to pass up. I’m glad I didn’t. Michael and Julie who oversee the whole training program—from start to finish—are true professionals.”

Elliott Beckstrom
Palo Alto, CA
Class of 2012

“Going through ELM Outfitters and Guides training program was the best decision I have ever made. I had always wanted to do something like this. I went with ELM because of their reputation and I’m so glad I did. I spoke with Michael and Julie many times over the course of my training; they were always there ready to answer any questions I had concerning the home study and big game guiding in general. The education I received both in doing the home study course [The Outfitters and Guides Bible] and my hands on class far exceeded my expectations. I soon found out why they are the best out there. I’m now ready to move forward with confidence and put my thorough training to work. My advice would be to give Michael and Julie a call and they’ll help you get started.”

Cody McCarty
Ft. Collins, CO
Class of 2010

“The ELM training program got me off to a great start. It has an abundance of good information. Michael and Julie are definitely true to their word about helping you find a job. I was hired by an outfit in Montana just one day after class was over. I have had a blast learning all that I have learned about the stock and about hunting. There is something about leading a pack string through the mountains that just makes me stop and grin. This is an experience that has been well worth the cost no matter if you’re looking for a good career or just want to learn the skills for your own hunting experiences. I want to thank everyone involved in my training for helping me along. This was all an opportunity of a lifetime for me.”

Ricky Jackson
Chatsworth, GA
Class of 2010

“I decided to take this course simply because of the adventure. It has been one of the greatest things I have ever done. I had some absolutely fantastic experiences, experiences that are still in my mind even though almost a year has passed since I did the course.

The home study course provides you with such a vast array of knowledge, that when you start your hands on training class you are more than prepared for the month to come. I learned so many things I would have to make a very long list. Everything from horseback riding, packing, hunting techniques, setting up camps, shoeing, taking care of the stock [which is vital in this business] even naming different plants and trees.

Thank you Michael and Julie for your support and in helping me with all the practical information prior to my leaving Denmark to join the hunting guide training class. It was a great pleasure to meet you both during your visit to our class. I received what I know was the best training that is out there. The training I received both from the home study course and the hands on training class were given with true professionalism and far surpassed my expectations.

Through it all I made a lot of friends and they were all great people to share this experience with. If you are considering getting into this profession, do yourself a favor and go for it! Give Michael and Julie a call.”

Amir Shantia Maleki
Vejle, Denmark
Class of 2009

“The Erv Malnarich home study course is designed to make you think. It definitely prepared me for the month long guide and packer school. To be a professional guide/packer, you have to be able to think and make decisions quickly. I was hired by an outfit in Wyoming right after graduation. The first time I called in a big bull elk for my client I knew I had made the right decision to do this. I want to thank Michael and Julie Knott for all their help with the home study course and their continued support and guidance throughout all of my training. I will soon be heading back to Wyoming for my second season of my awesome new career. Thanks Guys!”

Ron Willhite
DeSoto, Kansas
Class of 2009

“Thank you so much Michael and Julie, not only did you set me up with my dream job, but your courses both on-site and the home study prepared me for what I hope to be a life-time of opportunities.

I had the time of my life participating in the ELM Outfitters Guide/Packer training program. My instructors gave me the experience and knowledge I needed to earn the job I’ve always inspired to have one day. Now, I am living the dream in Idaho doing what I have loved my whole life and getting paid for it. So thanks again for helping me to see what I knew I could be one day and I know if I ever need anything or have any questions the Knott’s will always be there. I truly can not thank you enough!”

Paul Gatti
Memphis, TN.
Class of 2009

“Becoming a backcountry camp cook has always been a dream of mine. I came upon the ELM training program and soon afterwards contacted Mike and Julie Knott. They guided me in the direction I was looking in order to obtain some very precise and detailed instruction. I attended four weeks of camp cook school and every day was a unique experience for me, learning all the ins and outs of cooking for an outfit along with a bit of packing and saddling.

It was all so very exciting. My instructor was very thorough with my training and I even picked up some terrific recipes from her. Through this entire program I had the time of my life and I just recently landed my dream job in Wyoming. Michael and Julie’s outstanding job placement is now taking me into a position where at one time I felt was only a dream. Now it’s a true reality.There were students from all over the world in my class, even as far away as Denmark. They were all great. I have made a lot of friends and I received the best possible training that’s out there.

Thank you Mike and Julie for everything!

All I can say is, if you want the experience of a lifetime and the opportunity to do something with it afterwards, ELM Outfitters and Guides Training Program is the place to start. Git ‘er done!”

Mike Gesling
Summerville, SC
Class of 2009

“I would like to thank Mike and Julie for helping me through their course. They were always there when I had questions and concerns. The home study course was a little challenging which it’s meant to be to get you thinking. Talk about setting a good foundation—it surely does that. I really liked it when they came to my school to sit down with me and discuss my career and any questions or concerns I had. It reassured me that I made the right decision to choose their program. I got a job right after school and love what I am doing. There are a lot of other schools to choose from but this one was truly the best of the best. Great staff and great friends for a lifetime.”

Shawn Lacey
Lakewood, Colorado
Class of 2008

“I can’t thank you enough for how you helped me in my life changing career. Your home study course has a wealth of information and knowledge that I will value for a lifetime. I know that I have received the best training available to jump starting my career as a professional big game hunting guide and packer here in the Rockies. This course made my 4 weeks of hands on training a whole lot easier when it came down to learning the skills. This experience was both challenging and great fun! What really impressed me was how you would keep in touch with me during the hands on schooling, the hunting season, and still do today.You two really care about your students and their success in this business.

Thanks again for all you have done.”

Travis Patterson
West Lafayette, Ohio
Class of 2008

“Mr.& Mrs.Knott have helped me thoughout their program.They were always available when I needed to ask any questions. I chose to go through Elm because of it’s upstanding reputation in this industry and thoroughness of their training. The training I got has helped to get me started on my dream career in the outdoors. If you’re looking for the best training, I highly recommend this school. This has been a once in a lifetime experience for me and I have loved every minute of it. Thank You so much.”

Lindsey Evans
Provencal LA
Class of 2008

“First and foremost I would like to thank Michael and Julie for all their help in the months prior to me leaving New Zealand to attend the hands on training class. They understood that this was something I really wanted to do, and made it happen for me. The home study course I found extremely helpful. I know for a fact that I was much better prepared for my class, because of doing this study. By the time I’d completed the hands on course I had more confidence in my abilities as a packer/guide. The knowledge and skills I acquired were very valuable for the job I landed. I am now guiding in New Zealand. Yes, the game we go after is a bit different then in your states of the US. However, let me tell you the good business ethics you teach, working together as a team, all of the manual skills, those are the things you put forward no matter where you end up working. Once again thank you so much for giving me this fantastic opportunity, it has really meant a lot to me. I would highly recommend your guide school training program to all! With your training this can be passed on to all future generations.”

Logan Morton
Dunedin, New Zealand
Class of 2008

“Thank you for all the valuable information from the Erv book course. There was so much information and the descriptions were all easy for me to understand. It was all so interesting that I could hardly put it down. Thank you both that I have the chance to become a good Packer Guide, Horseman, and Hunter in the Rocky Mountains. I will never forget this opportunity you have given me.”

Reiner Scholl
Dunningen, Germany
Class of 2007

“Michael & Julie, Thanks for all your help. The textbook course really helped me to get all of the basics down, then going to the hands on school helped to visually solidify what I read and studied in the manual. I learned an enormous amount in such a short period of time. I will keep in touch and let you know how things are going. Thanks again and keep up the great work you are doing training young men and women in this work.”

Luke Darling
Lexington, Ohio
Class of 2007

“My name is Brian Johnson and I would like to say that if you are interested in being a guide, ELM Outfitting & Guide Training is the best route to go for good solid, thorough training. This program offered by Mike and Julie Knott is exceptional. I have been guiding for 5 years now and love it. I don’t think there is a better career. If you love to hunt and enjoy the outdoors I would definitely give them a call.”

Brian Johnson
Willits, CA
Class of 2003


“Having been a secretary for 17 years a career change into Guiding and Outfitting seemed like an unreachable goal, but now after completing the Erv Malnarich Guide and Packer Training Course (Home Study) and the 4 weeks hands on training school, I now have more confidence in my horse and mule packing, which actually was one of my favorite lessons taught.

Thank you for all your help in getting me this great new job and I know I will soon be guiding for Big Game. In less then a year I have made my dream come true. After graduating from your Montana Guide School my husband and I moved to the West from Wisconsin and now I am well on my way to becoming a success and loving every minute of it. Thank you so much for everything.”

Rae Whitaker
Amherst, Wisconsin
Class of 2001