Question first: Anyone tried one of those cheap tyvek painting/asbestos cleanup suits as snow camo? Noisy? Damp? Good? Bad? Why?
Just returned from a Utah cow elk hunt.
I got my elk, right off the bat, first day. My Ute Indian guide Frank always said that's what we were going to do, I made it clear I wanted to enjoy the scenery, he just wants to knock em out.
But we did it the right way, on foot, found a herd after a good bit of mountain climbing over broken terrain, six inches of powder, 8k feet + altitude. This is high desert, sagebrush, low cactus, bunch grass. There's aspen and conifers at higher altitudes.
Must say the old lungs handled it all better than expected. My gym time's been limited lately but I did alright. Hell better than Frank once I warmed up. Oh and it was maybe 8 degrees. At the most. Ice crystals form in your nostrils when you inhale.
We put a classic stalk on them, approaching from about 3/4 mile away, using the terrain to hide ourselves. We had to go sloow and careful as we were pushing a herd of mule deer ahead of us, a big buck, a spike, and a bunch of does, twenty, maybe more. There were also a couple moose laid up nearby but they seemed oblivious. We could not afford to spook any of them or they'd alert the elk to our presence. Our destination was the shoulder of a little hill across the draw from the elk.
On that shoulder was a big bush with the world's most perfect shooting boulder right next to it. Cover for me to sneak up, a solid rest for my rifle.
I came up behind that bush and stretched out in the snow behind the boulder. The sky was so blue it looked black, the sun blinding, as was the glare off the snow.
Eagles, including at least one a Golden, were riding the upwelling off the ridge. Their pinions make a sound like frying bacon as they pass overhead. A palpable stillness fills the air, and you can hear a raven fart a mile away. There's a maherajah's ransom in diamond dust sparkling in the air. At these temperatures every bit of moisture crystalizes.
Frank used a laser rangefinder to determine the distance to the elk he wanted me to shoot. I'd told him I wanted the biggest one, and that's what he says he picked out. Plus she was the only one standing. The rest were down except for a few another hundred yards back among some cedars.
397 yards. Four football fields. Might as well be a mile. Here in the urban US I only have access to 100 yard ranges for practice and must drive about 60 miles to do so. I've only shot at targets over 100 yards away a handful of times. In fact I've only target shot once over 300. And missed.
I worked it out in my head, settled down as best I could, and just popped one off. The rifle bucked in my hands and I lost sight of my target, but a second after the shot the sound of the impact echoed back over the canyon:
The herd moved off running, my beast lagging and looking dazed, but trying to keep up. She paused, legs unsteady. I readied the rifle again, fired, THOKK! echoed once again. She was down.
Both shots tore through the lungs, one grazing the heart.
I would now like to take this opportunity to thank the Ute Tribe, Swarovski, CZ, Hornady, my terrific gunsmith Sandy Garrett, and let's not forget the little baby Jesus.