Hunting partner Gary and I got up at 4:30 am today and drove the hundred miles into the mountains to our favorite shooting range just north of Byers Canyon, just north of Hot Sulphur Springs, in order to sight in our rifles for fourth rifle Elk season (which I, unfortunately, will be unable to attend--complicated story). He has a safari grade BAR in 7mm Mag and a Savage in 30.06, which are very accurate; and I have a Colt Sauer in .300 Winchester Mag and a "Weatherby" in .300 Weatherby Mag which are beautiful and accurate, but punishing to shoot. We are freakin' deadly at 200 yards and can consistently put three to five shots through the space of an elk heart. The only downer to the day was that Weatherby cartridges cost about $3.00 a piece; so I shot about $50.00 dollars worth of bullets adjusting the scope back to zero at 200. Ouch.
The mountains are beautiful this time of year and a lot of people go up just to see the changing color--the changing color of the Quaking Aspen, which turn yellow and gold. We noticed a change in the color of other trees, specifically the pine needles. They were red, because they are recently dead--up to 90% of some South facing slopes have been killed by the Mountain Pine Beetle
. It is disturbing and a darned shame. The only natural, widespread control of the beetle is five days of really cold weather, 30 degrees F below zero. And we're apparently not getting those cold snaps lately. Not exactly global warming but certainly local warming with a lot of change as a result.
Sobering thoughts on the future followed on the drive back.
Labels: local warming, personal history