Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Join the kamp

Staff Writer | November 30, 2022 1:20 AM

MOSES LAKE - Echternkamps Guide Services provides hunting and fishing experiences highlighting the abundance in the Columbia Basin.

“We are more concerned about everybody’s experience, (we) want them to have a good time,” said Aaron Echternkamp, owner of Echternkamps Guide Services, which also goes by the name Eastern Washington Guides.

The 50-year-old said he started his guide service when he was only 18. When he started, it was mainly focused on waterfowl hunting and later expanded to fishing, although he is focusing on waterfowl currently.

Echternkamps Guide Services has seven guides who are made up of hunters, explorers and outdoor enthusiasts with deep hunting experience in and around the greater Columbia Basin habitat, Echternkamp’s website states.

The majority of their guided waterfowl hunts are aimed at Canadian geese, snow geese and ducks but they also provide guided hunts for doves and pigeons.

Their trips range in cost from $175 to $350 per person depending on the type of trip. He said he focuses on attracting more clients rather than charging more per trip because he wants it to be affordable for anybody, even if they’re just doing it once.

Echternkamp said his clients come from various backgrounds, experiences and locations.

“Primarily it’s people that love waterfowl that don’t have the time to scout,” said Echternkamp. “In order to be successful at it, you really have to watch the birds on a daily basis to know what they’re doing and where they’re going.”

He also said another part that draws people to his guide service is he is already fully equipped for the hunts, which can be very expensive to accumulate and upkeep if someone only plans a handful of hunting trips a year.

Echternkamp said another positive aspect to guide services is their connections and relationships to good hunting spots. Some of those connections are through personal experiences or good-standing relationships with private landowners. Through those connections, they can hunt areas that are not crowded and the birds are managed. As of 2021, Eastern Washington Guides leases over 20,000 acres of agricultural land and cattle farms, their website states.

“I won’t put enough pressure on birds to chase them out of an area,” said Echternkamp.

He also noted that he is not afraid to call up his clients and suggest different days or times for better hunting opportunities. He said his goal is not to simply take people out and make money, he wants them to have hunting experiences that they enjoy and can remember for years to come.

Echternkamp said his favorite part is the thrill of the hunt and being able to share that with others; being able to see the excitement and joy they have during these guided experiences.

That joy is also why he wants to do it for the rest of his life.

“The guide service is my retirement plan,” said Echternkamp. “I would just like to live the rest of my life and do that.”

He said that the guide service is his retirement plan because it is his passion and it doesn’t feel like work.

“When I do that, I feel like I’m on vacation,” Echternkamp said.

More information on Echternkamps Guide Services, or to book a trip, visit their website at https://www.easternwashingtonguides.com/.

Rebecca Pettingill may be reached at rpettingill@columbiabasinherald.com.


Courtesy photo/Eastern Washington Guides

Echternkamps Guide Services has many good-standing relationships with private landowners which allows them to lease over 20,000 acres of agricultural land and cattle farms in Central Washington to hunt on, their website states.


Courtesy photo/Eastern Washington Guides

Depending on the type of game bird, hunting seasons for the various fowl in Washington last from around September until March. Owner Aaron Echternkamp, right, started his guide service when he was only 18.

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