Western Hunter Magazine July/August 2019 #70 - Page 14

S pring thunderstorms have to be at the very top of my list of things I enjoy. It’s a sure sign that summer is on its way. It’s electrifying yet peaceful; violent yet nourishing; stunningly powerful yet beautiful. This spring has had plenty of them. In their wake, arrowleaf balsamroot sunflowers are vi- brant and yellow, grass is growing fast, and antlers are sure to follow. Arizona has had some record snowfall and rains, and very little drought remains, pointing toward a po- tentially exceptional year for trophy quality. Colorado’s snowpack levels are off the charts. All the way up to our Canadian neighbors, it’s been a spring of heavy precipitation, late snows, and a rollercoaster weather pattern. Will this equate to a bumper crop of trophy-class bucks and bulls? Hopefully. For all the growth that will happen to those animals that made it, it also was above average in winterkill again this year. Colorado is go- ing to take a hit, as is Wyoming, Idaho, and Montana. Such is the catch-22 of big game hunting in the West. The moisture giveth...and the moisture taketh away. We have bit of a mule deer theme for this issue. I will go to my grave with the belief that the ultimate hunting accomplishment is taking a truly giant mule deer. They are so solitary; so cunning; and lately, so rare. It’s a monumental challenge in today’s world to find a 200-class deer and getting harder annually. If taking a giant mule deer is your goal, Mike Du- plan tackles the subject in part 2 of his series. The book, The Edge, the book that he and David Long co-authored, is a great resource for helping you get nearer to that goal. If a singular animal isn’t quite your style, Remi Warren’s article on a “Western deer slam” is another unique goal. It will take you from the southwest deserts to the Alaska coastline, but you’ll have one hell of a journey along the way. Remi’s article covers Columbia blacktail, Sitka blacktail, Coues deer, and also touches on mule deer and whitetail. Darin Cooper’s article on rangefinding binoculars highlights our gear articles for this issue. Darin is a savvy son of a gun when it comes to gear, and I’ve al- ways enjoyed his insights. It’s pretty stunning what has happened just in the last five years when it comes to rangefinding technology and also the interface with overall shooting and data. It’s a lot to absorb, no doubt. The draws will be winding down or over by the time you get this. I hope you all scored a good tag or two. I know I did. I lucked out and drew a New Mexico elk tag. Here’s to chasing big bugling bulls! Just in case you might miss it, I’d encourage you to read this issue’s back-page article. Change is coming and I want you all to know that I’m thankful for each of you. As always, my friends, “Keep your nose in the wind and your eyes along the skyline.” $23.7 MILLION in LAST 5 YEARS • directed to wild sheep restoration | conservation | education | advocacy JOIN TODAY and Help us “Put & Keep Wild Sheep on the Mountain” 406.404.8750 | wildsheepfoundation.org 14 WESTERN HUNTER www.westernhunter.net