Kangaroos in Oklahoma and going from College to Guiding.
I caught up with Andrew Rice a guide from Oklahoma known for chasing birds all over and a youtube video most of the hunting community has seen. Here is his story. I started hunting at a very young age, going on my first waterfowl hunt with my dad and grandfather. We had a piece of property we called “the prairie” that we would go pond hop. Four years old, carrying a toy wooden gun we come over the pond bank and I would yell, “I got it, I got it!” Of course they knew I had my toy gun but they went along with it. At the age of seven we were at some public land and as soon as I got out of the truck all I could hear was the hundreds of Mallards in the cove splashing, feed chuckling, and flying in. My grandfather said, “go try and sneak up on them.” So I tried and failed but it was a beautiful failure and I sight and feeling I had never felt. The next few years were spent killing mallards and wood ducks in the same cove using the first dozen decoys my father bought me. This is when I knew I wanted to spend my life in the woods chasing ducks.
Throughout high school I took many new hunters and friends and introducing them to waterfowl hunting. Which most of them still do and I still hunt with all of them when given the opportunity. My Senior year my father who was my best friend and my hunting buddy passed away. That year I decided I wanted to start a guide service and hunting group in North East Oklahoma calling it Backwoods Boys Waterfowl. It never became anything but it was vision that really led me down the path of where I am at now. I spent the next four years working as a lawn technician. Every day I dreaded it and found myself constantly thinking about hunting like a disease. I met Brad Albeck owner of “Albeck’s Adventures” on my first guided hunt with some friends. Brad and I stayed in touch and created a great friendship that still exists today. One day my phone rang and Brad said "I need you guys to head west and run some clients for me." I was pumped! We shot a 20 man limit of lessers in 30 minutes. This was my first “guiding” experience.
Going Viral.......One day my friends and I were out one day hunting a field in Adair, OK when my buddy says, “what is that? it looks like a deer running at us.” As it got closer we realized it was a kangaroo and I so happened to video the whole thing. My video went viral all over the world. It still gets new shares to this day.
Despite my new found "fame" I still was working and doing lawn care. Tired of it I decided I wanted to go to college majoring in Electronics Engineering Technologies. I continued working but now at an internship while going to school in the evening. Halfway through my degree, Ben Webster owner of High Caliber Outdoors messaged me about guiding with him the next season. My first full time guide position and I worked for tips. It was an amazing experience. After that season I returned to school finished up but was lost and couldn’t find a job. So back to lawn care I went, but only temporarily due to hurting my back. With sciatica in both legs I could hardly walk. and received spinal injections alleviating much of my pain. During this time I made a post asking if anyone had any leads on a guide position in Canada. I got hooked up with an outfit but was turned back at the border for not having proper paperwork. Another spine injection and seven months later I was accepted by another outfitter in Saskatchewan. It was an amazing experience and before I left I was trying to find another outfitter to work for here in the states and found so in my buddy Brenton. We had guided together in college and he had been guiding full time since so I asked if he had an opening. I then worked for Salt Plains Outfitters full time hunting 150 days and never once did I think I’m tired of this.
Waterfowl Hunting, It’s my passion and what I have worked so long to do. Don’t ever let your dreams just be dreams. If you want it go out and get it. Do whatever it takes to make your dreams come true but stay loyal to those who helped you get there! Being a guide isn’t just about hunting every day. You meet new people and create relationships that can last a lifetime. You have to want others to be successful and you have to love waking up every day in some of the worst conditions. Days off consist of scouting and preparing for the next set of clients. You drive, drive, and drive to find birds sun up to sun down. You may get told no on the biggest feeds you have ever seen or miss getting permission on it because someone beat you or already has it leased. If you want to be a guide and you have the passion, do it.