Best laid plans sometimes go awry

Elk 2021 Truck Packed

With all the gear you need to pack for an extended hunting and tent-camping trip, it seems inevitable that you will forget something. But forgetting six “somethings”? Egad.

Yes, full disclosure: I am the culprit, confessing on the backside of a long, hard Colorado elk hunt. The hunt’s another story.

I typically have been “the guy” who always has everything. Over the years, I have had to supply even ammo to one of our annual deer camp’s members. Twice. Not to mention various and sundry other bits and pieces of gear.

But this time, I won the “forgot” prize, even though I can make the weak argument that half of it was the weatherman’s fault. The forecast for our time in northwestern Colorado’s high country did not match what we encountered when we shut down the sturdy F150 4X4 of my son Aaron at a campsite on a remote, sloppy national forest two-track at 9,850 feet. Not even close. Glad Aaron remembered tire chains.

Trying to save a little space, since an elk camp requires a ton of gear to begin with, we bought into the prediction for “just” one to three inches of snow followed by days of much milder weather. A foot of near-blizzard, driving snow and five degrees above zero later, we guessed were should not have been so gullible.

Buying the weather forecast was why I left my toasty-warm Kamik insulated arctic-grade boots at home. And my wool pants. And even my insulated tea jug (I figured I could just sip water in the field. Huh, it was nigh frozen.) Those were the comfort items I left behind. Then there were my best binoculars, a terrific pair of Vortex Viper 8X42s, the auxiliary peep sights for my two scope-equipped rifles, and my range-finder (excellent for setting up shooting-distances to various points around a chosen stand when scouting).

Yes, there were work-arounds. I had along a spare pair of binoculars that always travel – superb old 6X26 Bushnell Elite compacts – and they sufficed. My old, twice-resoled Asolo hiking boots had at least a little insulation and I had plenty of warm SmartWool socks (my feet were not as happy as with the Kamiks in the deep cold). With a spare rifle, and no mishaps, I never got down to missing the auxiliary sights. But boy, hot sweet tea would have been really nice during hours on a cold stand. Instead I had slushy water – after I warmed the plastic water bottle in my hands a few minutes. And there was no replacing the left-behind rangefinder, other than long experience at estimating distance and son Andy’s rangefinder, borrowed. He remembered, and generously shared.

Since I have returned from elk camp and am prepping for Ohio deer camp, you can bet I will have the aforesaid “left behinds” accounted for and packed this time.

You still have time to get your camp-hunt list ready. Just ignore what the weatherman tells you.

Categories: Bloggers on Hunting, Ohio – Steve Pollick

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