“As I fell further down the rabbit hole of western hunting, I soon realized I had some gaps in my skillset. Instead of relying solely on trial and error, I looked for a way to quickly gain the knowledge and confidence to go further in my hunting. I researched numerous schools that took the GI Bill and easily settled on the Bridger Institute. Larry expertly balances robust, classroom lectures with plenty of time for students to go hands on and practice various skills covered in the course. His decades of experience further supplement the learning experience with real world examples and stories. Additionally, I thoroughly enjoyed the history covered as well as how approaches to certain skillsets have evolved over the years. The different topics covered in the course provide a holistic overview of how to thrive in the backcountry and survive any situation. I personally needed to round out my gear toolbox and Larry did an excellent job covering what are must haves. Larry also brought in several other experts to go deeper into other topics. The only regret that I have is not attending the full Guide School. Unfortunately, due to obligations I could not attend the full, 4-week Guide School and had to settle for the Mini Guide School. I would encourage anyone to try and make the time for the full school. If anyone is on the fence or is looking for a student’s perspective, please feel free to get my contact info through Larry.”


- Sean


“If you're on the fence about becoming a guide or just eager to explore a skill set that the modern world seems to have pushed you away from I can say without a doubt that Mr Larry & The Bridger Institutes 10 day mini guide school can really help you choose your path in what is quickly becoming a forgotten way of life. The mini guide course is a wonderful introduction to what could truly become a very satisfying career. The course delves into bullet casting into relevant calibers for big game hunting. You can check out old arts like trapping and snaring even making your own flies for fly fishing. Keep in mind this course is more of just an introduction "a tasting" if you will to find out if this truly is your path in life. If you're uncertain and don't want to commit to the FULL guide course or just want some basic steps to help you on your way to becoming a better hunter or trapper or fly fisher I can truly say this course is worth EVERY PENNY! At the least you will walk away more self reliant more confident in adverse conditions with a basic knowledge of how to provide for you and your family than you did before. With these uncertain times being able to cast your own ammunition and reload your own shotgun shells can be quite beneficial. There is no shortage of experience when it comes to Mr Larry and the subject matter instructors he has teaching you. You get a block of instruction in the morning and a block of practical application in the afternoon. The amount of information can be daunting at times but as Mr Larry opens doors you never knew existed your interest will really start to peak and the amount of information soon becomes intoxicating and you just can help but want to learn more This course can also be used to supplement the full 30 day course should your life require you to break things up a bit as 30 days can be a bit long to be away from family and your job. Mr Larry is very good at providing you with the knowledge and skill set to overcome any fears or doubts you may have. I highly recommend if you're unsure about your path in life and just want to be more outdoors enjoying good company making good memories and not glued to a cell phone or TV screen all day that you give this course a chance. The Bridger Institute also has other courses that can help you become more self reliant in other areas like wilderness first aid, survival, gardening etc. Truly worth it.”


- Mike S.


“As a recent graduate of the complete Guide School program, I’m very satisfied and happy to recommend Bridger Institute for any and all prospective outdoor professionals. The course offers a very strong foundation in horsemanship and packing skills, as well as covering topics well beyond “just the basics” of the industry, including survival and self-sufficiency elements, as well as options for off-season pursuits. The culminating pack trip at the end of the course provides beautiful scenery and ample opportunity for hands on application of the different elements of the course. Larry and Julie are both very knowledgeable, hospitable, and accommodating to the students, and all of the supplemental instructors are very knowledgeable and helpful, with many years of experience in their respective fields.”


- Jonathan


I loved Bridger Institute going into the mountains on a painted horse was the best time i ever had. Learning to be a profesional guide and get my resume ready to work on a ranch with a new fresh look at life the best foods and a strong physichal job not one sitting on my behind. If your ready for real adventure Bridger Institute is the place for you to start.


- Tim Domuczicz


Whether you’re interested in pursuing a career in the guide industry or just want to expand your skillset, Bridger Institute is an experience you shouldn’t miss out on. Larry is a great teacher, and though I started with no experience in packing or horse riding, I was confident in my abilities by the end of the course. What makes Bridger Institute so special in my eyes is the rapid pace of learning and hands-on experiences, broad range of topics covered, and the overall atmosphere of the course – it felt like a summer camp for adults. If you’re still in doubt about signing up, I’d strongly recommend taking the leap for both the knowledge and the experience.


- Charlie Pond


I attended Bridger Institute Big Game Hunting Guide School hoping to just learn more about Rocky Mountain big game hunting for my own use and knowledge base. Within the first week I found a deeper passion within the guiding type work and horsemanship that changed my life plans for the better. This course gave me the ultimate baseline to grow from with many different aspects and specialties: Hunting, fishing, tracking & trapping, outfitter & guiding, Horsemanship and horse & mule packing. Larry, the primary instructor led quality blocks of instruction that went well above and beyond anything I expected of the course to teach. We did not just learn one method of doing tasks, but several. The quality of instruction by Larry and his specialized instructors he brought in to teach specific crafts, of their profession, was better than any school I have attended before. Comparing the course content to civilian and US military schools, including US Special Operations schools, this school was the best school I have ever attended. Most proficient use of time, the most one on one time with instructor for individual students. I truly believe students get unique and better information, knowledge, and hands on experience from this course than many others out there. Students will learn things in this school that you can not get anywhere else. Something I didn’t predict to be so in-depth was a week of horsemanship followed by a week of horse/mule packing using all different types of pack saddles in North America. I had not ridden a horse since I was a child. I got tossed several times while learning the basics of how to shoe a horse with a professional farrier. Got stepped on by a mule blowing up while attempting to adjust her pack saddle. Had my saddle roll on me while on dangerous, cliff ledge, terrain towards the end of a six hour ride into the mountains. I had it pretty good though, as I observed some of my peers experience a little worse. After it all, every single one of us want more! It was the perfect way and place to learn tough lessons and tasks that many of us must learn through failure in order to become proficient and efficient with this trade. This proves the Bridger Schoolhouse does an amazing job developing students with hands on training in getting comfortable with the horses and work. The lessons learned in this school were life changing and more useful and cool to me than anything I learned in military. This course was a life changing experience that showed me a new direction. I wish I could go back!


- Austin Frankel


When most people think of a school, they think of classrooms, essays, quizzes, tests, and boring instructors. I lived through this type of schooling while in high school, college, and the military. While Bridger Institute Hunting Guide School does have a classroom; it is jaw-dropping compared to all of the other classrooms I have sat in. And while Bridger Institute does have one test; upon passing, you receive a Wilderness First Aid certification. Bridger Institute does not have quizzes and it certainly doesn’t have any boring instructors. In fact, Larry and his guest instructors were the most knowledgeable and seasoned outdoorsmen in their respective fields that I have come across. Guest instructors included a farrier, a pack-saddle retail merchant, a Pope and Young official measurer, a wolf trapper, a taxidermist, a fly-fisherman, and an outfitter. Larry’s wealth of knowledge in all things outdoors is truly mind-boggling. His guest instructor team mirrors him well. The amount of experience and knowledge Larry brings to the table far out reaches anybody I know in the outdoor industry. The depth and diversity of instruction is positively overwhelming. You could come to Larry’s school every year he has instructed up to this year and all the years he plans to instruct in the future, and you would still learn something new each time, and more importantly, you would have the opportunity to practice those skills once again as that is the most important piece of action once leaving Bridger Institute Guide School in order to retain the knowledge learned. With all of Larry’s ability, he doesn’t do it all alone. His wife Julie provides wholesome, filling, and delicious meals. She instructs camp cooking and fashioning rope halters. She also helps students prepare for the pack-trip breakfast, lunches, and dinners that students are required to cook and prepare. She does all of this while also providing for and taking care of her own family’s needs. She is the epitome of a hummingbird constantly moving and a honeybee constantly working. The two of them; Larry and Julie, are the ultimate duo. I look up to them very much not just because of the superb school they are operating, but primarily because of the high quality people they are at heart. Their school wouldn’t be as good without the values they uphold. They are the people who people want to be. Myself included. After a while, they really do feel like family, and they open their home up from the get-go as if you are family to them. If you are questioning whether or not to come to the school, stop questioning and START DOING. You will be thankful you came, and you might even find a new passion, job, or even career along the way. I urge you to make the decision to change your life and come to Bridger Institute Wilderness Hunting Guide School.

Feel free to contact me with any questions if you are a prospective student.

William Arthur Parslow III “Big Tex” June 2022


William Arthur Parslow III


As a kid growing up in the North East, I never thought it would be possible to fulfill my dream of becoming a guide in the wilderness of the rocky mountains. After attending the Bridger Institute Hunting Guide class, not only do I possess the skills to fulfill that dream, but I've already landed a job with an amazing outfitter in Montana. Larry Keyes, as well as his other instructors went above and beyond my expectations while teaching in depth classes on subjects necessary for the trade such as horsemanship, packing, hunting skills, tracking, and many more. I would recommend this to anyone looking to become a professional in the outdoors. Thanks Larry!

Nolan Aikman, Hunting Guide School, 2021


My time at Bridger Institute was one of the best experiences of my life. Whether you are looking to go into guide work or just looking to become more self-reliant, Bridger Institute has something for everyone. The wealth of knowledge and insight Larry has is unparalleled, and his patience and willingness to work with people of all skill levels was refreshing for someone who has next-to-no experience doing any of this. Moreover, the level of generosity and hospitality both he and his wife, Julie show their students is amazing. I truly felt at home the entire time I was there. It's not about the money for them; they genuinely love doing this and watching people learn and grow. I would recommend Bridger Institute to ANYONE- young or old; male or female; experienced, intermediate, or beginner, Bridger Institute has something to offer you.

John McLucas, Hunting Guide School, 2020


Finding this school was a major blessing. Larry has a full lifetime of experience and shares it in an intriguing and informative way. He made extra time for the topics we were most interested in and was able to answer any questions we could think of. Julie was incredibly hospitable and they both care about their students and our success on a personal level. They went above and beyond for us. Their drive for their lifestyle is truly inspiring.

I would narrow this down to one of the best experiences of my life and plan to return for more classes as soon as I can. This opportunity allowed me to indulge my passions with others who have the same dedication towards them. The connections I made will likely be helpful contacts in the future while job searching.

The cost of the school is an absolute bargain when you take into consideration all that is included and the knowledge you will gain is priceless. I would highly recommend this class to anyone who is passionate about these topics. Regardless of how experienced you are or are not, what you gain from the class will be worth it ten times over."

Cali Easley, 24 years old, Minnesota


After careful research I decided to attend the month long hunting guide class put on by Larry Keyes of the Bridger Institute. Larry's curriculum had the most depth from what I had been researching and his vast experience and collaboration with other industry professionals seemed to be just what I was looking for.

What a great decision I made! Rarely do I have a "beyond my wildest expectations" experience but this course was a life changer. Larry and his wife Julie treated us like family and nurtured us, fed us and tolerated our inexperience and this led to knowledge and skills and a rock solid foundation in which you can build a career, learn to survive in the wilderness or to treat others that may be injured, learn hunting and fishing skills and horse and packing skills...Larry has devoted his life to share his knowledge of the outdoors and he is the most unselfish man I know. I came back with the confidence that I can survive and prosper in adverse conditions and I never will find the correct words to thank Larry and Julie for all the effort, expense, and knowledge shared for this month long course. They are angels from heaven and I will never forget them for what they gave me. I remain forever indebted.

Tom Hodges, 2020 hunting guide course


Bridger institute opened a whole new world of job opportunities and life experiences waiting to be had. We learned such a wide variety of skills that will be useful in future careers as well as unpredictable life scenarios. Larry and Julie were absolutely amazing and really made sure that we were comfortable and successful in all that we did. Not only did I learn unforgettable skills, I made lifelong friends. Bridget institute is an amazing organization that sets you up for success in any future career you might choose.

McKenna Reid, Minnesota, Guide School 2020


I can not say enough about this Institute!  Larry and Julie Keyes are incredible teachers, leaders, mentors and friends! The men that attend this camp not only leave with a hard earned diploma they also leave with new life-long friends!

Macoy attended in June as a 16 year old. He thrived in the hands on activities and lessons. He also learned so many new skills that will forever be used in his outdoor adventures and possibly some day the workplace!

Macoy looks forward to practicing his new skills and using the education he received as a Wrangler, Guide and some day an Outfitter!

Thank for caring for and challenging Macoy to be a bigger and better young man! We are very grateful!

Melissa, Michigan, Guide School 2018


I would like to take this opportunity to thank Larry and Julie Keyes for sharing their knowledge and expertise.  Larry was very informative and patient when teaching skills such as marksmanship, archery, trapping and tracking and fly fishing.  I have attended other guide schools in Montana and nothing came close to the skills I was able to acquire at the Bridger Institute.  Larry incorporates an extensive hands on approach which allowed me to retain skills after I left the institute.  

Julie's cooking and hospitality is second to none.  She provided us with home cooking and made us feel like part of the family.

I also attended Bridger Institute's self reliance class taught by Julie.  She taught me skills which included canning, jelly making, sprouting, gardening, Dutch oven cooking and my favorite, bread making.  I am currently back home applying the knowledge and skills she taught me.  The lessons were practical, professional and personal.  I thoroughly enjoyed this class and highly recommend this class to anyone looking to attain a high level of self reliance.  It is a one of a kind class and a wonderful experience.  

I thank both Julie and Larry for their dedication to keeping these skills and knowledge alive.  I recommend these classes to anyone desiring to enrich their lives.

Thanks again,  Craig Larkins, Michigan


My stay at Bridger Institute has been an unforgettable experience. Larry and Julie have been so welcoming to me and the others here that i have felt right at home. Fly fishing on

Flathead river and the rodeo in Columbia Falls were just a few of the many highlights of the trip. The country here is beautiful with the surrounding mountains, lakes and pine trees. The time I have spent here has taught me a lot, I wish I could stay longer.

John Bojtor Melbourne, Australia


My brother and I attended the Bridger Institute Guide School and found it to be a very comprehensive program. Not only did they teach basic fundamentals but also advanced skills and techniques in a very coherent manner. Because of their dedicated interest in each student, all students became excellent in a vast variety of topics.

Larry and Julie provided more tha just a service, inviting each of us into their home and investing with care into the life and future of everyone in the program.

Thank You Larry and Julie

Josh & Jonathan Durkin (Contact info on request)


After doing a day or so of research into finding the best guide school, I decided upon the Bridger Institute. I loved the location and the clear directives of what the courses covered, as well as the wide-ranging topics covered - everything I've always wanted to learn.

So, I signed up and attended the Bridger "Mini Guide School" in June of 2018. Growing up I was not lucky enough to have a close family member or friend who was into hunting or shooting, so my experience in these areas prior to coming to the Bridger Institute was greatly lacking.

There was nothing "mini" about the guide school, as we were constantly learning from 8:30am tp 9pm. Larry Keyes, the main instructor: patient, kind, humble, to-the-point and can even tell a joke or two. The main classroom rivals most modern day classrooms and is great for learning. Instructions ranged from brief PowerPoint lectures, guest lectures, hand-on activities, outdoor activities and the occasional informative video from a local fish & game department.

Larry's wife, Julie, the camp cook, prepares all your meals each day and is really sweet as well. I was pleasantly surprised at how good the food was!

Overall my time spent at the Bridger Institute was one of the best times I've had in a while, and I'd wager the best $1,500 I've ever spent! I not only came away from the camp with a bunch of newfound knowlege and experience, but life-long friends as well.

Christopher Zemp (Contact info on request)


I have taken two courses from the Bridger Institute. Without hesitation, I can easily say that they were the best two wilderness education courses that I have taken. The Bridger Institute team is the absolute best out there. I will be a customer for life and I tell my friends about them, because I learned so much, and I had such a great time. They even have a museum at their facility, and the teaching and instructors, especially Larry, are remarkable. If you want to speak to someone who has been through their courses, please contact me anytime at:

Zach Wagner  (Contact info on request)


Larry Keyes and Bridger Institute is by far one of the best choices an aspiring guide can make.  Larry's passion to teach is evident in the amount of preparation that he puts into everything he does.  You will not go wrong taking any type of course from Larry."

Brian Calcagno  (Contact info on request)

I started searching the internet for a guide school in five different states: Idaho, Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, and Montana. Read lots of reviews, called numerous schools and my search or path always lead back to Bridger Institute. BI offered meals, lodging, internet, mules, horses, sawbuck and decker packing, load and gear requirements for hunters, livestock care, knots, hunting, fishing, trapping, meat processing, scoring, capping, tracking, marksmanship, archery, and certification in Wilderness First Aid. All this at one location, affordability range and financial assistant with VA. So I called talked to Manager Larry Keyes and scheduled  my course!

What I expected from course and what I received was beyond my expectations. BI one on one instruction from instructors was excellent also the experience and ethical practices as professional guides greatly appreciated as a student!!!!! During the course the pace was comfortable, no real boring down time or wasted time on useless tasks and the food was great! We had weekends off to experience the beautiful landscape and took a drive to Canada.

Great experience at BI money while spent, and I have already assisted to two archery horse and mule guided hunts so far this year and planning on two more in rifle season! The level of training I received from BI has made me a valuable asset to any guided hunt! And my Surfer Dude boss is happy I went to, he's thinking about buying a mule to carry out harvest next time!

Ron Lineback   (Contact info on request)


"Over the past five years I have taken several classes at Bridger Institute and can say without reservation that they are one of the very best at what they do. Each class that I took was packed with valuable information and hands-on experience. Their passion for teaching is obvious and the quality of their courses is top notch. They really care about the students. The experience and knowledge of their instructors is a valuable resource for the future. I highly recommend all of the courses conducted at Bridger Institute to anyone who is interested."

Ken Cordoza (Contact info on request)


"I worked as a wrangler for different trail riding establishments for several years. I had some experience in packing horses and mules, but wanted to improve my skills. After talking with Larry Keyes from Bridger Institute and with a few past students that had taken classes there before, I decided to attend the Bridger Institute Guide School and Packing School. The information and skills that I learned during these courses was beyond anything that I had imagined.  I thoroughly  enjoyed every day of each of these courses. If you want to improve your skills in horse packing, hunting, fishing, trapping, wilderness first aid, wilderness survival, and more you would be hard pressed to find a better school. My experience there was great."

Chip Lowley  (Contact info on request)


"I took the Bridger Institute course in the spring of 2017. This course helped me to be much better prepared for the guiding job that I obtained in Alaska. My first year on the job I had three hunters and all three got nice Dall Sheep Rams. I love my job and will be returning next year. The Bridger Institute school incorporates a vast amount of information in each of it’s classes. It was not uncommon for us to finish at 9:00 pm or 10:00 pm in the evening most days. My favorite sections of the course were horse packing, hunting, trapping and wilderness first aid and wilderness survival. The course was great the instructors were great and the food was great. I highly recommend this course for anyone who is interested in entering the guiding industry. You will be much better prepared."

Russell “Tommy” Robinson   (Contact info on request)


"I attended the Bridger Institute Self-Reliance (Homestead) Week while my friend attended the Self-Reliance (Wilderness) Week. We are both from Utah and viewed this trip as an educational vacation. It was an amazing week for both of us. Though we attended different courses during the day, we joined together for meals and evening activities. We would have easily spent the same amount of money or more on just a regular vacation to this beautiful part of the country, but to receive all the information on self-reliance was off the charts. If your are interested in becoming more self reliant and want to vacation in beautiful Northwest Montana, this is the program for you. We will be going back for more Bridger Institute courses in the future."

Mindy Anderson (Contact info on request)


"I am writing in support of you and the Bridger Institute.  I am doing so because in my 50 years of hunting, fishing, camping and backpacking throughout the Western United States I have never meet anyone as knowledgeable as you concerning outdoor subjects.  Additionally, you have the rare ability to convey your vast knowledge in a concise, exciting and understandable manner.  It has been my privilege to attend a number of your presentations and classes and I can honestly say that I have learned something new and valuable each time.  What you know about topics as diverse as “outdoor survival” and “how to be a big game guide” still astonishes me despite knowing you for many years.

I must also comment on the Bridger Institute facilities.  As you know, I have brought many of my family members and friends to see your class room.  Each time my guests have come away raving about your displays and exhibits.  Several guests have commented that your class room is more like a museum than a school setting.  The hands-on learning experience you provide is second to none.

Perhaps the best thing about the Bridger Institute is your professional demeanor and your impeccable character.  Students can be assured that you will deliver on your promises.  Also, I have never met anyone as dedicated as you to outdoor subjects.  You emphasis on ethics for the sportsperson set’s you and your Institute apart from others.

I do not often write letters of recommendation, but I do so unhesitatingly for you.  Anyone who wants to be improve their outdoor skills should consider attending one or more of your courses of instruction.  Without fear of overstatement I describe you as the best and most knowledgeable outdoor instructor that I have ever meet.  I wholeheartedly recommend you and the Bridger Institute to anyone seeking to improve their outdoor skills."

Marty Pomeroy (Contact info on request)


"What a great course. Very comprehensive. Many things covered that you would normally not think of. I was impressed with the thorough teaching and the practice time allotted to apply what was just taught in the classroom setting to a “practice” with fellow students. Well worth the time!"

John Moran (Contact info on request)

What People are Saying...

GI Bill® is a registered trademark of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). More information about education benefits offered by VA is available at the official U.S. government Web site at https://www.benefits.va.gov/gibill.