Re: WA "High Buck Season"
"Give a run-down on your equipment and rifle when you get rested up.
Are mountain muley does pretty good table fair ?
What were the nightime temps ?"
I'll give it a stab:
Temps were unusually warm last week. I doubt the lows dipped below 40 or 45 degrees. I was very comfortable in just a lightweight sleeping bag and a gore-tex bivvy bag. Didn't bother with a tent this trip.
Table fare - I like 'em, but they do taste different, stronger, than mulies from wheatfield or alfalfa country. I do a good job on the BBQ with the mulie steaks though and my family agrees, they are good.
Pack - an old Kelty frame pack from the late 1970's that I haul out for a couple of weeks every year. It's still in pretty fair shape despite the years. It did take about a decade off while I wore out an internal frame pack.
Bag/sleeping/shelter - an old North Face "superlight" down bag. Doesn't loft as much as it used to though. Lots of years on it too. If I leave the tent behind, like I did this time, I use a gore-tex bivvy bag over the sleeping bag. Those things work pretty well as a windbreak and shed light rain or heavy dew just fine. I'm easy to please for a sleeping pad, mine is just an old ensolite pad, nothing special. When it's real cold, I'll use two to keep off the cold ground. I also generally have a light tarp with me that I can use under the bag, or rig above me for rain shelter.
When I drag a tent along, it's a "three man" (yeah, right) backpacking tent by Mountain Hardwear. Very comfortable, and sturdy and holds up well to blowing rain, snow etc.
Stove - this is a real pleasure to use - it's a little MSR Whisperlite. Danged thing boils a quart of water in about a half a heartbeat compared to most other backpacking stoves. Mine uses white gas, but there are models which will take kerosene or other fuels. Noisy little sucker, but dang it cooks fast! Nice for in the morning or evening when a quick mug of tea or instant coffee and some oatmeal or a freeze-dried backpacker's dinner is needed.
It will go twice a day for a week on that little liter bottle of fuel pictured.
This time I used "aquamira" drops for water purification. Generally I use a Sweetwater water filter/pump.
Boots - lightweight hikers by Vasque. Comfortable & light.
Scope stand is by Al Ewing in Spokane. Great little piece of gear. I'm less pleased with the Leupold/Wind River spotting scope. It's okay, but a bit heavy for packing, and not real useful in low light at dawn or dusk. Am looking for an upgrade.
Rangefinder is a Swarovski - wow - what a great piece of gear! Excellent glass, and it ranges out beyond 1000 yards w/o problem.
Rifle is a Winchester Model 70 Coyote w/laminated stock, 24" light varmint stainless barrel, Jewel trigger. Badger 20 MOA scope base, Leupold 4.5-14x Vari-X III. I had Leupold add M1 elevation and windage turrets. Turner leather "tactical" sling and of course the ubiquitous Harris bipod.
Rifle is a tad heavy for backpacking, but I'm willing to lug it along for the accuracy and ease of shooting accurately. Ammo is handloaded .300 WSM stuff with 190 gr Berger VLD bullets at 2870 fps. Good accuracy to 600 yards. Haven't tried it past that.
Nothing real fancy, just a solid, reliable combination.
I guess that's most of the gear. The big stuff anyway!