Arroyo Outfitters Interview
Are you interested in booking a guided big game hunt? Well this might just be your lucky day.
A few weeks ago I had the privilege of introducing myself to James Casaus, of Arroyo Outfitters. James is an experienced big game guide in Cuba, New Mexico. He has over 30 years of big game hunting, guide and outdoor experience to show for. In 2015 he decided to take his passion for hunting and outdoor adventure to the next level.
James operates a successful outfitting business called Arroyo Outfitters, where he offers fair chase hunts for Rocky Mountain Elk, Mule Deer, Antelope, Barbary Sheep, Bear, Cougar and Wolf hunts in Montana and Idaho.
I recently had the pleasure of interviewing James. I was interested in learning more about his business, vision for Arroyo Outfitters, passion for guiding big game hunts and his experience as an Outdoor Entrepreneur. So if you’re itching to book a guided hunt; pull up a chair, sit back and indulge in Arroyo Outfitters.
Outdoor Entrepreneur Feature #3 with Arroyo Outfitters, James Casaus:
Give us a little background about you.
My name is James Casaus, I am also known as Pajaro or Bird by most. I grew up in the backwoods of Cuba, New Mexico in the shadow of my grandfather working cattle fencing and riding horses. When I was 17 my cousin Chile Willie got me a guide job for a local outfitter in the San Pedro Wilderness which I knew well from following my uncle Howard and Chile Willie around during the summer months. Since then I’ve had a passion for guiding and outfitting.
What is Arroyo Outfitters? How long have you been established? Where are you located?
Arroyo Outfitters LLC is a full service company catering to western game hunters and to the adventurer who just likes to enjoy the outdoors. I decided to get my feet wet in 2005 and started up Arroyo Outfitters. With a full time job, a young family and a seasonal business I set Arroyo Outfitters aside in 2008. I pursued my career in the oilfield which lead me overseas and further away from my family. January 2015 I put my career aside and began pursuing my passion. Arroyo Outfitters LLC was established in 2015 just outside of the Village of Cuba, New Mexico.
What’s the terrain like in New Mexico?
In New Mexico we hunt areas from dense high altitude spruce forest and meadows around 11,000′, Rocky mesa (tabletop) formations, sage flats and of course arroyos (deeply eroded drainages) in low lands around 4,000′.
What wild game/hunts can you purchase with Arroyo Outfitters?
All Arroyo Outfitters hunts are fair chase. We offer Rocky Mountain Elk, Mule Deer, Antelope, Barbary Sheep, Bear, Cougar and we will be traveling to Montana and Idaho to hunt wolves.
When’s the best time to book a hunt?
Anyone can book a hunt at any time. To obtain a hunting license in New Mexico thru the New Mexico Game and Fish lottery, all applications are submitted from January 13th through March 23rd. If any Hunter wants a guaranteed license, you have the option to buy a land owner’s permit granting them a license.
How much do your hunts cost?
We try to keep our prices competitive with other outfitters. Visit our website for pricing and/or contact info.
Are lodging and meals included?
Being a full service company, all lodging and meals are provided unless otherwise requested by the hunter or hunting party. Drop camps, semi guided hunts are a couple of customized hunts offered. Necessary/required equipment lists for hunters are being updated on our website.
Do I have to purchase a New Mexico hunting license?
Yes. All persons wanting to hunt in New Mexico must purchase a general hunting license along with a tag for the species they are hunting.
What’s the significance of the name “Arroyo”?
“Arroyo” is a deeply eroded low lying drainage caused by runoff and flash floods.
What inspired you to start an outfitting business?
Hunting is my passion
You mentioned being interested in supporting our US Military Veterans. What do you have in mind?
I would like to donate a Hunt to Outdoor Entrepreneurs for a veteran. Contact Zachary or Arroyo Outfitters for details.
Describe what it was like to get started. What has been your biggest challenge? What has been your biggest milestone?
Starting up an outfitting business was not hard for me. I had a lot of support from friends who guide and cook for Arroyo Outfitters. Many donated camp equipment and much appreciated labor. I had several inquiries and suggestions from people interested in hunting with me to start an outfitting business. My wife has been an excellent business advisor along the way. My biggest challenge has been learning to aggressively sell. Convincing and assuring customers they are making the right choice hunting with Arroyo Outfitters. Telling them they don’t know what they are missing isn’t enough. Go figure. My biggest milestone is progress. Building up our new base camp at a new location with a lodge to better accommodate our customers is our next goal.
Who is your ideal customer?
I recently guided a hunter who has been a client of another outfitter and friend of mine for years. After spending 4 days with him I learned of the great friendship developed between hunter, outfitter and his family. Repeat customers that become great friends are the ideal customers to me.
What marketing strategies do you use to acquire new customers?
The best advertisement is word of mouth, so we do our best to accommodate every client that comes through our gates. I have also done well presenting at hunting and outdoor shows in the past. In my experience, SCI and the Harrisburg show are two of the best hunting and outdoor shows around. I look forward to attending more outdoor shows in different areas.
What’s the future look like for Arroyo Outfitters?
Arroyo Outfitters future is looking exciting and busy. Along with striving for every hunting season to be more successful than the last, we are currently scheduling/booking for spring and summer trail rides, camping trips and are looking forward to a three day cattle drive this spring.
Where’s the best place for your customers to learn more about your business and purchase a hunt?
We have a website. Check us out at huntnewmexico.us
What social media platforms are you on?
You can follow Bird Casaus on +G and Arroyo Outfitters on instagram.
How long have you been hunting?
I have hunted since I was very young. Roughly 30 years now. I killed my first deer 24 years ago and have been guiding for 21 years.
What’s your most memorable hunt?
Way back when I was guiding in the San Pedro Wilderness. My cousins had drawn an elk rifle tag down in the Gila Wilderness and wanted me to come along to help out. Anything for family right. So we packed up and headed south. After driving for 6 hrs, with 10 horses in tow and all our gear, we arrived at the trailhead. We all got a good night’s rest for the long ride in the next day. About 15 miles of good times seemed like just a few. We arrived with enough daylight to set up camp and tend to the horses. First morning – we woke up to find half of the horses gone. So instead of hunting elk we spent our morning hunting horses. By noon we had them all back in camp. Now it was time to get lost in the woods. Chile Willie and myself are the only two that have hunted in this wilderness before. Cousins Fabian, Jeremy and Sammy were like kids in the zoo. Fabian was able to fill his tag on the first day with Chile. Day two – Sammy’s bull elk
caught us by surprise while letting the horses get a drink. Day Three – we rode out on a trail that showed sign of horse tracks. We followed it for about three miles but didn’t see any sign of horse or man. Nothing but a lone bugle here and there off in the distance. The ridge had gotten smokey from a fire about 20 miles to the south. So we decided to instead make our way down to this a nice park. We crossed a trail that looked abandoned. I had never been there before, but I had a pretty good idea that it would lead us to some elk. As we continued along we encountered a cow elk laying 75 yards off of the trail. She watched us ride by not alarmed at all! We passed the odd cow and pulled up. I turned to Jeremy and asked if he had seen what I saw. He said yeah, why didn’t she run? So we turned around and went back to find her. But she was gone. We climbed up on the ridge we had last seen her and there they were, about 30 elk all on a dead run. Jeremy jumped off his mount, grabbed his rifle and took a shot. He was so mad at himself for shooting that he mounted up and was ready to get back to camp. I told him we had better look for blood, but he assured me that he had missed. I rode around looking for any sign of that bull. Sure enough there he lay, a nice bull elk about 100 yards away. I dismounted and called Jeremy over to check out his harvest. He got there and saw the bull. With so much excitement, he started hollering and picked me up in a bear hug. Squeezing, shaking and kissing me like I was his lost teddy bear or something! After all the celebration we loaded up the elk on our horses and walked out of there. That’s probably the main reason I started up Arroyo Outfitters. It’s the excitement I look forward to seeing on every client’s face! But no kissing please.
What’s your favorite animal to hunt?
My favorite animal to hunt would be the one I have yet to hunt.
Share an interesting hunting fact with us.
I’ll tell you a joke…. Three guys go hunting. On day one, the first guy goes out and comes back with a dandy buck. His buddies ask him how he found that dandy buck. He tells them, “Me follow tracks me find deer.” On day two, the second guy goes out and comes back with a big buck. His buddies are in awe so they ask him where he found that big buck. He tells them, “Me follow tracks me find deer.” On day three, the third guy goes out and comes back to camp beat up with scrapes, scratches and bruises. His buddies look at him in disbelief and ask, What did you get into? He replies me follow tracks me follow tracks and me get run over by train. Hunting fact: Learn to read the signs of nature and you will be a successful hunter.
What advice would you give a fellow outdoor entrepreneur who’s looking to start his own business in the outdoor industry?
It’s not an easy business to get into but it is rewarding. There is a lot of competition in the outdoor industry right now. Ask yourself what you can offer that the other guy does not or cannot. Create your own adventure then give it 100%
What is the most important takeaway message you can leave our audience with?
Pass on the tradition to someone, anyone.
Another great interview with an Outdoor Entrepreneur. It’s important to stay focused on accomplishing your dreams. Aligning your business/career with your passion isn’t an impossible feat. Taking action and staying consistent is the key. Make sure you contact Arroyo Outfitters before booking your next guided hunt!
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Until Next Time…Hunt Hard!