As a died-in-the-wool Minnesotan, if I’ve said it once I’ve said it a thousand times: The cold weather ain’t so bad once you go numb. And dumb as it sounds, I actually take a bit of pride in my abilities to survive—thrive, rather—in lip-quivering temps. Put me in Texas in July, however, and I whimper like a Labrador after getting busted chewing up Daddy’s bear rug. As I figure it, I can always put on more clothes to stay warm, but I can only get so naked and still be hot.
When I stepped off the plane last fall and put my boots to the ice-kissed airport parking lot of Great Falls, Montana, for a muzzleloader muley hunt, I stuck my nose to the sub-zero wind chill and simply smiled. But I’m not here to brag about how mentally unstable I am for enjoying butt-numbing temps.
When I go on a hunt such as this, it’s my job to come home with pictures in my camera and the makings of an article in my head. Sure, you might never hunt muleys in the outskirts of Great Falls, but if I can bring back a tidbit of information—a “here’s something stupid I did, so you should learn from my mistake” tip, or a “this is so cool you have to try it” hint—then I’ve made you a better hunter and I can sleep at night. Specifically relating to this hunt, I learned that I can put the cut-off finger of a latex glove over the barrel of a muzzleloader to keep snow and crap out (check out the photo slideshow in the video player below), and the gas expansion that happens as the powder ignites blows that “cover” out of the way milliseconds before the bullet exports the muzzle, having no negative effect on trajectory.
But all cold and complaining aside, this trip—as do most—provided some fantastic scenery that I love to share. After all, I’d argue the best part of most hunts is getting to return home to family and friends and share stories and pictures. If you want the full story, you’ll have to check that out in the September 2011 issue of North American Hunter. But, because this is the kind of guy I am, you can walk along side me (through pictures, of course) and share the hunt without having to freeze your own snowballs off.
Keep your nose to the wind.