Hunting Tips

I used Trijicon’s 5-20X mil-dot reticle on a recent hunt in Pakistan. I had done my homework and knew the values for both the mil-dot and the turret adjustments, and I was ready for shots at longer ranges.

SCOPE RETICLES

Okay, the word is actually “reticule.” You won’t get the word “reticle” to come up on your spell-check. But over the years, in our little world, we’ve shortened it to “reticle.” Whatever you call it, it is the arrangement of aiming point or points that you see when you look through your riflescope.Read more
This Thompson/Center Encore has a Nikon mid-range variable on it.  This is a good example of the class of scope most American hunters choose.

NOTES ON CHOOSING SCOPES

I started hunting in the 1960s. At that time the telescopic sight was more than a century old, but only fairly recently had come into widespread use. The variable-power scopes we take for granted today were still a bit finicky, so fixed-power scopes were almost universal.Read more
An Arizona desert sheep tag is a once-in-a-lifetime tag, so you’d best make it count.

YOU HAVE TO APPLY

In the late afternoon we picked up fresh tracks along a snow-covered ridge, big ski-like tracks of a full-grown moose…but not big enough to be a mature bull. It could have been a youngster, but more likely a big cow. If so that was just fine. The rut was on, and she might lead us to a bull.Read more
The Himalayan ibex, though not an expensive hunt, is considered one of the more difficult mountain species, hunted in few areas and always at high elevation in very tough country.  This is probably the largest-bodied of all the ibex, with very thick horns.

IBEX

Nearly 90 years ago Theodore Roosevelt’s son, Kermit, journeyed to the Tien Shan Mountains of western China. His book, East of the Sun, West of the Moon, is a legacy of adventure only slightly less rich than the great literary legacy left by his slightly more famous father. From a hunting standpoint, that Roosevelt expedition is fascinating because the primary and most prized quarry was the ibex found in those Asian mountains, with long, curving, heavily ridged horns. The argali sheep they hunted along the way were considered little more than camp meat.Read more
Grizzly bears are extremely omnivorous, but they are also very effective predators. In Arctic Alaska one of a bear’s first actions upon coming out of hibernation is to kill a moose. He’ll cover the kill, and then lay on it for several days.

GREAT GAME ANIMALS: THE HUMPED-BACKED BEAR

The bald eagle is America’s icon, without question a regal bird. Benjamin Franklin’s preference was the wild turkey, a choice that today’s turkey hunters would no doubt approve. Legend, or at least Hollywood, has it that Theodore Roosevelt thought the grizzly bear was a better choice. True or not, I vote with Teddy! To me the grizzly bear is the ultimate symbol of the American wilderness, and North America’s ultimate game animal.Read more
If you are going to use iron sights at all—or think you might—then you must commit the time required for serious practice.  Most of us today grew up with scopes, and we don’t wake up in our middle years and find sudden proficiency with iron sights.

SCOPES OR IRON SIGHTS?

Ken Elliott and I had an argument regarding iron sights that ran for years. Ken, my long-time boss, believed strongly that a centerfire hunting rifle should wear iron sights in addition to a scope, preferably with detachable mounts. I never agreed. Only once in my hunting career have I removed a scope in favor of iron sights (more about that later).Read more
This young bushbuck ram perched on termite mound near our camp in central Tanzania and watched us for hours. With chestnut and white on the legs and white patterning on the body, this is an exceptionally colorful bushbuck.

AFRICA’S WHITETAIL, THE BUSHBUCK

Okay, so I didn’t really know what a “bushbuck” was the first time I went to Africa. Most hunters probably don’t. Obviously, it’s some kind of buck that lives in thick bush, right? The bushbuck, Tragelaphus scriptus, is actually the smallest member of the group of spiral-horned antelope, and is very possibly the most widespread of all of Africa’s antelopeRead more
The .300 Winchester Magnum, left, shown with the .300 H&H and .300 Weatherby Magnum.  Introduced in 1963 as the replacement for the old-fashioned .300 H&H, the .300 Win. Mag. is faster than the H&H, but not as fast as the .300 Weatherby Magnum.  It is also much more available, and develops noticeably less recoil.

CLASSIC CARTRIDGE: .300 WINCHESTER MAGNUM

Introduced in 1963, the .300 Winchester Magnum was the last of Winchester’s family of standard-length belted magnums, following the .458 Winchester Magnum (1956) and the .264 and .338 Winchester Magnums (1958). All were based on the .375 H&H case, shortened to (more or less) .30-06 length and necked to caliber. The .300 Winchester Magnum would become the most popular of all.Read more
My 2003 ram is one of the good ones, with heavy horns and a very deep curl.

MARCO POLO'S ARGALI

The year was probably 1272 when Venetian traveler Marco Polo first encountered the wild sheep with the fantastically curling horns that, more than 700 years later, still bears his name. This meeting almost certainly took place in the Pamir Mountains of Central Asia, a range of high valleys and rocky ridges that lead from present-day Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Afghanistan into western China. For Marco Polo, this “roof of the world” offered a potential trade route to the Orient. For today’s naturalists and sportsmen, the Pamirs, plus a small slice of northeastern Pakistan, define the range of the most coveted of the world’s wild sheep, the Marco Polo argali.Read more
I took this Pyrenean chamois in Spain in 2005.  It was a tough hunt, but I missed two shots

CHAMOIS: THE SMALLEST GOAT

Depending on which authority you adhere to, there are eight or nine varieties of chamois from northwestern Spain to Russia’s Caucasus, plus Alpine chamois introduced to New Zealand’s Southern Alps. The genus is Rupicapra, aptly translated as “rock goat,” with both males and females growing very similar horns (like our Rocky Mountain goat, to which the chamois are distantly related).Read more

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