The following are some random thought I had regarding my recent Montana elk hunt. In no particular order they are as follow: There is a difficult tradeoff between a good long range hunting rifle and one that's good at close range in the woods. My AWM in 338 LM is good on elk out to about 1000 yrds (+/- depending upon variables like temp and altitude)and weighs about 18#. It is superb for long-range shots. However, when stalking elk in dense snowy woods it's a little difficult. First off holding a 18# gun in your hands mile after mile grows tiring for your arms. Second off shooting off-hand with a 18# gun is a bit difficult as compared to a nice light 7 or 8 lb rifle. I guess the answer is that you need to carry two rifles with you for hunting, kinda like golf clubs. Having a guide-only Montana elk license has it's downsides; namely that you always have to hunt with a guide. Having hiked two guides to the point of exhaustion on my last hunt, it would have been nice to have been able to leave them and go off hunting on my own. There was one point where my second guide actually refused to walk any further after I had dragged him over the mountains for about six hours. Additionally, all of my guides insisted that I carry my rifle without a round in the chamber. This was very difficult for me to do as I carry loaded firearms very frequently (I legally have a permit to do so). I always shoot with loaded firearms and carry them that way. I have been on hunts where I and the guide "forget" that my chamber was unloaded, this leads to a very embarrasing "click" when you're finally trying to take a shot at the giant buck or bull. At times when we were hot on the tail of elk they'd have me load my rifle, and then sometime a bit later they'd have me unload my rifle. Followed later by reloading my rifle followed by ... well you get the idea. At one point my first guide asked me "is your rifle loaded or not?" It would just be simpler if I could hunt alone. Additionally being raised as a whitetail hunter, I had must better noise discipline then guides raised in the wide-open spaces of the West. My first guide had me cover my muzzle with duck tape to keep snow and rain out of the barrel. They said that they had been doing it for years and it had had no effect on accuracy. I wonder what effect duct tape would have on long range accuracy. I do think that it was a good idea as at the end of one non-snowy day, when I hadn't had the barrel covered with tape (because it wasn't snowing), when I opened my action to clean it out at the end of the day a pine needle fell out. Traveling light cross country is the only way to go. My first day out I took all the basics plus a bunch of survival stuff. I felt in much greater danger of falling and injuring my self while carrying all that survival junk, then I did when I left it all at home. Being light on your feet enables you to walk more safely cross country, makes you more sure footed and therefore safer on your feet. Also it much less tiring. Carrying tons of survival junk just becomes a self fulling prophecy. Wool truly is an amazing material for hunting. It's warm, waterproof, sweat-proof, windproof, wearproof and very importantly it QUIET. None of the so-called modern fibers and materials can add up to have all of the same qualities and advantages. Good three-layer Goretex is certainly more waterproof, but it's noisy as heck (especially when walking in snow with Goretex pants, when they freeze they just rub together making an incredible amount of noise), wears poorly, looses it waterproofness when dirty. My last guide told me that there's something in horse sweat that just destroys the waterproofness of Goretex. The ideal way to hunt elk in the mountains, would be to show up at your hunting lodge or camp about 3-5 days before the start of the season, and then spend those days hiking and getting used to the altitude, while scouting out the local area. Well that's all I have for now, I may have somemore "random" thoughts later.