Please give me an overview of what your company does and where you are located.
Milligan Brand Outfitting and the Milligan’s are located on our family ranch near Chama, New Mexico, where we have outfitted Elk, Mule Deer and Bear hunts for 25 seasons. Over the years we have expanded to New Zealand and Africa helping “Dreams come true” for my clients on three continents.
All of our hunting is full service, and all on private land. Here in New Mexico the public cannot hunt Elk, as the landowner/ranches receive, landowner authorization certificates, which I acquire as part of our lease agreement. When a hunting client and I make an agreement, the authorization certificate is transferred to the hunter. No Draw – Guaranteed Elk Licenses.
How long have you been in business, how did you get started?
I got started outfitting, by happenstance. After college I went into commercial fur trapping, it was an adventure of “wonderlust” that took me to 21 states. This experience working alone in the field really molded me into an independent and self relient person, that paved the way for a life time of self employment
The trapping career entailed not only piling up huge numbers of prime pelts, but spawned 4 books, and for seven summers I conducted trapping seminars, spanning 38 states coast to coast.
Then the anti-fur movement destroyed the fur trade, in the mid-1980’s, my wife Colleen and I, had four kids and a mortgage and I had lost a career.
So I thought “What is the second most politically incorrect job I could have? Stick with blood sport” – I went into outfitting.
The transition was not an easy one. But we still had our trapping lure and scent business, and our hunting scents were in Cabelas, Bass Pro, Gander Mountain and Walmart, so we had some wiggle room.
1987 and 1988, were hybrid years trapping and outfitting, and by 1989, outfitting consumed my fall and winter – and ever since.
What is your opinion of the future of the long-range hunting and shooting industry?
I see a bright future for long-range hunting, in fact it is the future! Why? Human Nature.
In 1973, I put a 4x scope on my 7mm – doubled my effective range in one week, about 10 years later I put aside by recurve bow and bought a compound – doubled my effective range in one week. We all want the best equipment, so the hunting world will evolve to more long-range capability as we go forward.
My personal experience with long-range hunting occurred with a chance meeting with John Burns in one of my camps, in September of 2002. I shot one of John’s guns and immediately put my deposit down. The simplicity of John’s dial and shoot system was just amazing and I have been hooked on it ever since.
In 2008, myself, John and 3 others (Scott Down, Adam Talamante and Craig Carlson) formed GreyBull Precision LLC., a long-range rifle and scope company.
All of us having the “big one” that got away haunting us. Why would anyone not want long-range capability on their hunt. With the price of hunting, who can afford to miss.
For nine seasons, I always carry a long-range rifle. This has made it possible for me to harvest 4-5 extra trophies over this time. My clients have benefited too, as 30-40 “extra” elk are harvested each season, thanks to GreyBull Rifles and/or scopes. I know at least 15 of my guides carry a long-range rifle when they guide, because they know a harvested elk equates to a happy client.
So if you are still shooting with open sights and using a longbow you probably are not a candidate for a long-range rifle.
What non-hunting and shooting hobbies or activities do you participate in?
Ray with his family in Africa and his daughter's great Blue Wildebeest
You mean there are other things out there? Besides hunting, fishing and trapping?
I enjoy my ponds and improving them, currently I have 9 ponds with bass, trout, crappie, perch, bluegill and catfish, plus ponds for raising fathead minnows to supplement the game fish.
Additionally, I am experimenting with food plots, to attract elk to my leases. This has proved promising and I will add several more 5-10 acre plots for next season.
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