Bob House’s roots are in the Yukon, and they run deep. When he was just 4 years old, Bob’s parents moved the House family from Coeur D’Alene, Idaho, to Whitehorse, Yukon Territories. At 14, Bob shot his first mountain caribou, fell in love with hunting, and hasn’t looked back since.
Hockey and Sheep hunting are two of Canadas greatest pastimes. Bob House has excelled at both. Bob was the first Hockey player ever drafted to the NHL from the Yukon, and following a successful 12 year hockey career , he again turned his focus back to his first passion of hunting. After Hockey Bob began working as a guide for Bull Basin Outfitters in Colorado chasing huge mule deer and elk.
In 2008, much to the dismay of many big Stone’s Rams, he again turned his focus to hunting the rugged and remote mountains of the Yukon, guiding backpack sheep hunts for his childhood friend Jarrett Deuling in his newly acquired hunting concession.
Bob is not only a great Guide, he has also taken an impressive amount of game for himself. Having hunted several Stone’s and Dall rams in the Yukon, and a huge old Colorado bighorn in 2016, Bob is lacking only a desert ram to complete his Grand Slam.
Bob is an advocate for preserving the traditifons of hunting. In his own words, “In today’s world, approximately 10% of the population are hunters, and approximately 10% are anti-hunters. About 80% of the population is indifferent, meaning they are neither for nor against hunting. What can we do as hunters on a daily, weekly, monthly basis to portray our hunting lifestyle in a positive light so that those 80% don’t develop a negative opinion of hunting? The more we can do, the better. I’ve found that for the most part, the 80% just don’t know how much we care about the animals we hunt, the lands we hunt, and the freedom we have to be able to choose to be hunters. We owe it to ourselves and our peers who choose to hunt to educate as many of those 80% as we can. We cannot afford to lose them.
We need to remain united in our efforts to ensure we maintain our opportunities to hunt. Too often, we are quick to condemn our hunting brothers and sisters. How many times have you seen the term “slob rifle hunters” or “elitist bow hunters” on forums and hunting sites, or straight from peoples’ mouths? If you think about it, no matter what weapon or method we choose, we are all hunters. Trophy hunters, meat hunters, die hards, weekend warriors, all year trainers, year-round researchers, hard cores, casual, killers, armed hikers, tag eaters – we are all hunters. Let’s do our best to remain united in our cause no matter how, where or why we hunt, since we have a much stronger voice when we are united.”
Bob and his wife Gerri live in Colorado with their two sons Nate and Zachary.
- Name: Bob House
- Age: 43
- Company: Deuling Stone
- Areas Hunted: Central East Yukon
- Animals/Species Guided: Stone Sheep, Dall Sheep, Moose, Mountain Caribou, Grizzly Bear, Black Bear, Wolf
- Years Guiding/Outfitting: 12
- Hometown: Centennial, Colorado
- Vias or Verde?: Vias
- Favorite Piece of KUIU Clothing and/or Gear: I love it all! If I had to choose just one piece, it would be my ICON Pro 7200.
What’s your philosophy on gear? What made you choose KUIU?
I demand a lot from myself when it comes to guiding hunters. In turn, I demand a lot from my gear. We do not have the luxury of going down the street to a sporting goods store if something fails on a backpack hunt. I expect my gear to function and do what it’s supposed to do. In my opinion, KUIU is the only choice when it comes to top quality clothing and gear. When you really take a look at the model, KUIU uses the best, most innovative materials available, at a lower price point than the other guys. It is a no-brainer for me and I love it when my hunter steps off the float plane and is decked out in the full KUIU kit. Nowadays, hunters invest so much in their hunts and when they invest in the KUIU system, I know that they will not let inadequate gear or gear failure determine the outcome of their hunt. Why would you pay more for something that doesn’t compare in function or quality?
When you aren’t guiding, what’s your favorite animal to hunt for yourself?
When I am not guiding, my favorite animal to hunt for myself is sheep. A very close second is mule deer. I have been extremely fortunate to have guided several hunters to 200+ inch mule deer, and have been lucky enough to take one myself.
How did you get into guiding?
In the early 2000s, I was fortunate to meet one of the top elk and mule deer outfitters in Colorado and we became good friends. I told him I would love to come and work for him someday if there was a spot for me. I retired from hockey in 2005 and Dean Billington of Bull Basin Guides and Outfitters gave me a job. I guided for Deano for 10 years and had the privilege of working with some of the best elk and mule deer guides out there. I met and guided hundreds of hunters in some of the best habitat in Colorado. I did not keep count but would estimate I had over 100 bull elk kills and close to 80 mule deer buck kills during my 10 years with Bull Basin. Having grown up in the Yukon and being a backpack sheep hunter since my early teens, I was very happy when my longtime hunting buddy and good friend Jarrett Deuling bought his area in the Yukon. I started guiding hunters in the Yukon in 2007 and will continue to do so until my legs stop working!
What’s the most challenging hunt you’ve been part of—either guiding or for yourself?
One of the most challenging hunts I’ve been on was back in the mid-nineties. Jarrett Deuling of Deuling Stone Outfitters, who is great friend and longtime hunting partner, was with me on a mission to find good Stone sheep. We had been prospecting several areas in the Yukon looking for big rams. We had packed in to this particular area and had planned on a 10-day hunt. It had been an incredibly hot summer by Yukon standards and we weren’t finding rams. After about day 4 we decided we were going to make a big move, which we were both dreading because of the distance and terrain we were going to have to travel. We hit the tent fairly early one evening to rest up for the death march we were going to start the next morning. At about 10 PM, I got out of the tent and as most sheep hunters do when exiting a tent in sheep country, scanned the hillside. Sure enough, I saw some sheep and assumed they were ewes because that’s all we’d seen so far. I told Jarrett about the ewes above camp and looked again and said holy @#$% those are rams! We watched them until they went out of sight and then it was like an explosion went off in the tent, with us scrambling to get our stuff on and go find the rams. We ran up the mountain as fast as we could. I think my lungs are still scarred from that sprint. By the time we caught up with the rams, it was getting a bit too dark so we bailed off back to the tent and got up at about 3 AM. We found the rams again early and got pinned down in the open for a couple of hours. The rams finally fed over a ridge and we were able to get on them and we both took beautiful 38 inch, 10 year-old rams. Because it had been so hot, water was scarce. I ended up getting severally dehydrated and could not keep anything down. I got pretty delirious and told Jarrett to just head back to spike camp and I’d see him in the morning. He stayed on me and was able to keep me going and we got back to the tent at about 12:30 AM. We had approximately 2 hours of sleep in the previous 2 days. Jarrett made me eat as much as I could hold down, and when we got up the next morning I was feeling quite a bit better and was able to eat more. We had an 8 hour hike out and each of us was carrying our boned sheep, shoulder cape, and horns, which made for incredibly heavy packs. This was before KUIU, and on the way out my hip belt broke as did Jarrett’s shoulder strap, which made things even more difficult. On top of that, we had to push hard to get to our truck and make the drive to a small community so we could fuel up before the gas station closed and complete the 5-hour drive home. Exhausted, we arrived at the truck and I opened the door to find a half-full root beer sitting in the drink holder. I told Jarrett: “Man, I didn’t remember that root beer was here!” I opened it and took two big gulps before I realized it wasn’t root beer, but a half-full bottle of Copenhagen spit…. When we got to the little town, the gas station was closed and the only hotel had no vacancy because of all the mushroom pickers in town for the summer. We ended up sleeping in the truck.
What’s the most unconventional piece of must-have gear that most people would be surprised to find in your pack?
In the past, I would have said the most unconventional piece of gear you’d find me carrying on a backpack hunt was camp shoes. Now, they’ve become pretty standard with backpack guys as there is nothing better than getting out of your boots at the end of a long day and putting on camp shoes, or slipping them on for late night restroom visits. Although this is not a required piece of equipment, several years ago, I found a horse shoe while on a hunt. I carried that horse shoe in my pack for quite a few years and on quite few successful hunts. I passed it on to a fellow guide a few years ago in hopes it would bring him the same “luck” it brought me.
What’s the best advice you can give a hunter headed on a sheep hunt?
The best piece of advice I can give a hunter headed out on any backpack hunt is to do as much as you can to physically prepare for your hunt. The more work on fitness you can do, the better. Anything is better than nothing, and if you think you are doing enough to prepare for your sheep hunt, double it and you’re getting to close! Other than fitness, if you’ve done your research and booked your hunt with a competent outfitter, you should be able to trust your guide. Most of us have been doing this for several years and are as committed to your success as you are if not more so. Be honest with your guide and yourself about your physical limitations. Know your equipment and shoot your rifle as much as possible. Mentally, try to keep a positive attitude and be prepared to control your emotions. We are capable of so much more than we give ourselves credit for, and mental toughness will not only keep you going when you want to throw in the towel but it will also let you enjoy your experience so much more.
How do you stay in guiding shape?
I am very committed to my off-season nutrition and conditioning to be in the best possible shape for guiding. I believe in the philosophy that it is much easier to stay ready than to get ready. Over the past few years I have gotten into triathlons, and have done at least one triathlon per year. Last summer, my big race was an Ironman 70.3. This half-Ironman consists of a 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike, and a 13.1 mile run. Although this race was extremely difficult, I was really happy with my time of 6 hours 9 minutes. This summer, I’ve signed up for 2 Xterra races, which are off-road triathlons consisting of an open water swim, single track mountain bike ride, and a trail run. My motivation for training and competing in triathlons is solely so I can be in the best possible shape for my hunters. I train hard 6 days per week and my “rest” day is most often an active rest day. I never want to be the reason my hunter is not successful. If, for any reason, I need to do more than my share on a backpack hunt, I want to be certain I’m prepared to do so to ensure my hunter goes home with a curly set of horns and a lifetime of memories.
When it comes to hunting, what’s more challenging: the mental or the physical?
In my opinion, in hunting, I believe that mental toughness is far more important than physical ability. I would rather have an out-of-shape, mentally strong hunter than a physically strong, mentally weak hunter. Mental toughness can keep you going far after your physical strength has waned. Every day is a challenge. Whether it’s weather delays, lack of calories, sore muscles or even just mustering up the strength to lace those boots up after 10 straight days, mental toughness is everything.
What’s your favorite wild game to eat and how do you prepare it?
My favorite game to eat is sheep. I like a simple marinade consisting of olive oil, salt and pepper, minced garlic and a little rosemary, and then I grill or pan fry the meat to medium rare.
What optics do you use? Straight or angled?
I use Swarovski 10×42 EL range binoculars and a Zeiss Diascope FL 85 spotting scope with the 20-75X eyepiece. I switched to the angled spotter a couple of years ago and could not be happier. I never thought I would like the angled model until I looked through one. It is so much more comfortable in my opinion, even while using it on a window mount. We are all about age with the rams we harvest at Deuling Stone, so as a guide, I feel the slightly heavier weight of the bigger glass and higher power is a worthwhile trade-off.
There are a lot of opinions on what makes a good guide. What makes a good client?
I have been very fortunate in my 11-year guiding career, in that I’ve had really good clients to hunt with. Good hunters show up prepared both mentally and physically, are proficient with their equipment, are willing to pitch in and help where needed, and are honest with both themselves and their guides as to their abilities and limitations. Try to maintain a positive attitude and be willing to trust your guide.
What’s the best advice you can give new guides looking to get in the business? What do you know now that you wish someone would have told you when you first started?
In my opinion, there is a big difference in hunting for yourself and guiding hunters. I believe the most important aspect of being a guide is to have a lot of patience. I remember in my first couple of seasons, I would put a ton of pressure on myself to send every hunter home with not only the biggest set of horns but also the best hunt of their life. Every hunter has a different perspective as to what makes a hunt successful. As a guide, I do my best to remain positive no matter what the situation, and always try to make sure my hunter is comfortable as well. It is key to remain calm, stay patient, trust yourself and what you know, and have fun. Guiding has been one of the most rewarding things I have done and I have met some great people along the way. When I am hunting for myself, I know my capabilities both mentally and physically. I know how far and hard I can push. The challenge in guiding is being able to figure out a way to get your hunter in the right position to give him or her 100% opportunity at a high percentage shot. I will not make a move on any animal, no matter what the situation unless I am 100% sure I can put my hunter in the best possible position for success.