28 Sep

>Goats Galore with Swarovski

Steven K. Ledin,


More speedgoats than I’ve ever seen before. The Tillard 55 ranch is run by Casey and his father Marty, true gentlemen ranchers and big hard working sturdy men. The ranch is at about 6000 feet and is mostly for sheep. They said “sheep for money, cattle for prestige.” About 100,000 acres of high desert sage and cactus. Lots of bald and golden eagles, prairie dogs, coyotes, mule deer, elk, and hospitality. Thirty to forty mile an hour winds were ridiculous, even for Wyoming standards. I passed a few times at a few hundred yards because of it. Bullets drift several feet in those conditions at that distance and I’m not capable of making an ethical shot in conditions as described. My shot eventually came at somewhere over a hundred yards and ended with a beautiful pronghorn buck that might make book. I’ll see after drying.

I spent my binocular glassing time with Swarovski SLCs and 10×42 ELs. No finer glass on the face of the earth exists. I’ve been in love with the ergonomics of the EL binoculars since they came out, and no binocular has ever felt better in my hand. For long range viewing through a spotting scope nothing beats the awesome HD-ATS80 with the 20-60 eyepiece. The neoprene protective cover is worth every penny. I used the angled and straight models and there’s good reasons to use both. The angled is easier for shooters at a bench and for stargazing, but the straight is easier for digiscoping and using from a vehicle with a window mount. The Carbon 101 tripod sure took a beating and was none the worse for the wear.
Dustin and Jeff were my hunting partners. Dustin is the Western Regional Sales Manager with Swarovski, and Jeff owns Adventure Outfitters out of Oregon. Jeff told me some of the greatest hunting stories I’ve ever heard. He’s absolutely freaking nuts with his hunting and lives for it. He’s leaving again right away for an extended horseback hunt at 10,000 feet for mulies. Stories included a jackass of a guide during an exiting brown bear hunt as well as the nuances of using his pack goats for hunting. Really. Pack goats. Crazy, man.
I used 5.11 trousers and boots for the hunt. I ripped and blooded the pants, but the ATAC boots were absolutely indestructible. The zippered sides were such a pleasure to use. I also used 5.11 cushioned socks. A nice feature of the sturdy but comfortable pants is that they have an inner pocket in the knees that accept hard-cell foam pads for knee cushioning. They were worth more than their weight in gold while crawling, and I got stuck with less cactus because of them.
A secret weapon for body odor I swear by is the Protech Tactical shirt. I’ve been wearing these t-shirts for a couple of months now for various sweaty work and my pits never stunk once. I really can’t believe it, but the antimicrobial protection works so well you can’t take my word for it. Buy one or two. They’re amazing.
I used several rangefinders including my Nikon 1200, a Leica Rangemaster 900, and the Swarovski 8×30. All worked well, some better in some applications than others.
My scope was a Swarovski AV 4-12×50 with the BR reticle. Perfect for this application, and clearer, brighter glass can not be found.
This hunt was typical of everything that Swarovski touches. High-class, elegant, and no shortcuts to quality. My thanks to Dustin and Swarovski. I didn’t break any equipment or myself, and my Shirley and I are droolfully looking forward to antelopekabobs very soon.

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