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GUNS Magazine November 2011 Digital Edition - Page 52

M u s i n g s o f a M i n i M a l i s t h u n t e r . those lightweight binoculars, etc. You can’t do without cutting gear. I must own 50 knives, some of them custom made and some of them on the expensive side. My favorite was handcrafted by another gunwriter. Custom made folders can cost upwards of $600. SOG Over the years, I have found myself needing three cutting-type tools. The first is a lightweight folder to do almost everything you need done on even the largest animal, a tool with everything on it but the kitchen sink, and something large and light I can use to hack away at breast bones, branches, dig holes, or build a hooch. I remember well a conversation being held by some Rangers and an enthusiastic wannabe about what knife they carried. As I walked up to the crowd, the fellow stated that having been in Special Forces, I must have had some fancy hog leg critter like the Yarborough knife. “No,” I said, as I pulled the small Swiss Army knife from my pocket. “This is it!” His face reflected considerable disappointment. Most of the knives that do the job don’t cost that much. I picked three I thought would meet my needs from SOG’s catalog (see chart). The Flash II folder has two locking mechanisms to secure the blade in both the open and closed positions. The blade style is what I have found to be the most Jacob Gottfredson aving lugged packs, rifle, ammo, and other sundry gear around in the military for a few years, weighing sometimes upwards of 100 pounds, I spent two years trying to reduce that load to 65 pounds when I got out. now, in my waning years, I find even that load to be oppressive. But technology is beginning to solve my problem. h I was a backpacking hunter for more than 30 years. I remember having to design my own tent to produce shelter weighing less than 3 pounds, reshaping gear with a file to reduce weight, and learning to do with less. I have run through a myriad of backpacks trying to reduce weight while adding efficiency. In the Army I called it “running gear.” When you had to make tracks or die, you learned what you could survive on and what was fluff. But for a hunter, the situation is not quite so dire, and we do appreciate a certain modicum of comfort. As an optics writer, I evaluate and write about glass you would only carry in the vehicle vs. those that will fit in a shirt pocket. During a caribou hunt in Alaska, my companions, both Alaskans, surprised me by using very small Leica binoculars, which I call “running glass.” But small as they were, they got the job done. They also carried small, lightweight rifles and other lightweight gear. They often hunt sheep alone in high altitudes. 52 Having taken an animal, they make their way off the steep mountain slopes under loads weighing 130-plus pounds. That means their original packs, prior to taking the animal, had to be light and efficient but able to weather the Alaskan environment. The stove I carry is a Brunton Crux, and is about the weight and size of a flattened golf ball. When I fly, however, I can’t take canisters, so I must do with white gas if I can find any. My Brunton Nova stove is only slightly larger. Water is obtained by pulling it through a very lightweight filter. Remembering back to when I was knee high to a grasshopper, we just laid on our bellies and sucked the cool, clear stuff from the nearest stream. But today, much of that water is contaminated with giardia. A smart backpacker gets by with 1/5 of his body weight. For me that is 180÷5=36 pounds. That means most items must weigh just ounces, not pounds, for two weeks in the outback; meaning the lightest GPS available, the smallest effective rangefinder, Best to get in shape prior to an adventure such as this. Ed Marsters (left) and Jeff Graham were nice enough to let Jacob accompany them on an Alaskan caribou hunt. They posed with the bull Ed spotted for Jacob. Jacob doesn’t believe there was another human within a 50mile radius. What they had with them had to do the job. WWW.GUNSMAGAZINE.COM • NOVEMBER 2011

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