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2013 Sitka Gear Catalog
Karsten Hart: Hunter, Freestyle Skier
Kissed by an Elk
May 27, 2009
Enjoying a nice Memorial Monday at a friends cabin out in western Sonoma County here in CA, and we spot a coyote jogging down the end of the meadow, and out comes the .223. After a little calling she comes back into the meadow at 150yds with what looked like a dead rabbit in its mouth.
One shot, whiffed it by a mile(I wasn't on the trigger I swear), and she dropped the rabbit and bolts. 20 seconds later the "rabbit" gets up and bolts to the tree line. After a couple minutes of searching I notice two little finches throwing a fit over a juniper bush and low and behold our "rabbit".
He was about 4.5lbs and about as cute as they come. After about ten minutes of pictures and oohs and ahhs he resorted to the ultimate escape attempt, diarrhea. We dropped him back in the bushes and I assume the mom came back and grabbed him.
Definitely makes shooting Coyotes a little tougher, guess I am getting soft.
Hope you all had a great memorial day.
Hart Mountain Weekend
May 26, 2009
Made a mad dash with the wife to one of my favorite places on earth this weekend, Hart Mountain, Oregon. Here are a couple pics. Spent most of our time scouting for Antelope for when I draw the tag again someday, hopefully soon....
5 miles from camp, 2000 Feet above the desert:
Rachael. High and Mighty.
Oregon Desert Sunset.
"Six Pack & an Old Dirt Road".. A journey back to elk country.
Author: Chris Awe
May 20, 2009
I woke up 2 hours before my alarm was scheduled to go off. The hitch of my truck was literally dragging on the ground from the heavy berth of the U-Haul trailer. We had exceeded the weight-load two times fold, and i had every intention of surpassing the advised travel-speed limitations as well. 1600 miles of American "road culture" stood between us and home (trucker bombs, road kill, and toothless smiles).
Fighting off the hypnotic rhythm of Darrel's ears flapping in the wind, I stayed awake as he barked out the window into the early morning light.
If we could keep this pace, we'd make into the mountains by night fall
. My fiancee (Annie) was piloting our other rig: a sweet-ass Subaru garnered with every roof-rack accessory known to mankind. Employing the means of everything except maybe a few kayaks, Annie flew the soaring colors of a "Mountain Dew" generation high above the Suby as we boogied through the western states.
Our destination was the mountain life we'd come to love over the last decade. having most recently spent several months in the Bay Area of NorCal, our wandering spirits were ready to go back. Back to where cellular service (if any) is strongly affected by cloud cover, to where the bartenders happily pour "to go" cups, and also to where elk scream in the mountains 3-4 weeks out of every fall.
As a whole, the sub-Transamerica 32 hour push unfolded rather well. Annie started to show early symptoms of a potential Swine Flu infection around hour 11. Luckily we were able to flush her system with a healthy dosage of fluids and TexMex from a characteristic lobby-bar in the border lands of Nevada & Idaho. A battle for the fit, Annie fought and won. Swine Flu or Highway Fever, we left it there.
Now home; it's back to the war-path of work and play. It's 4AM, and I'm writing these thoughts from a one room cabin outside of town. As the light bulb next to me illuminates my steaming coffee, I know it's the only lamp burning for miles. With Annie jabbering nonsense in her sleep, and our two dogs snoring at the base of the wood stove, I look forward to my commute into town. There, I will regain an internet and cellular channel to the guys & gals at Sitka, and carry on like normal. (Warpath) Blazing efforts to contribute greater awareness and brand integrity to the best hunting gear the world has ever seen... Sitka Gear.
Taos Pueblo Sheep Hunt
May 18, 2009
By Brendan Burns
Hey guys I wanted to let you know how the new gear performed on the sheep hunt. All the new Sitka Optifade gear arrived just in time. Ten hours after it hit my door I was on my way to New Mexico.
I’ll give you a little background on this hunt. The Taos Pueblo Indian Reservation is located in Northern New Mexico. Each year the tribe auctions off two Bighorn ram permits at the FNAWS banquet. These tags are a top revenue producer for the Taos pueblo’s well-run game and fish department, and helps fund some of their wildlife management endeavors. Over the years this hunt has produced many top end Boone and Crockett bighorns including the state record (198) in 2005. With a reputation for great age class and score this is the best sheep hunt in New Mexico.
I was invited to go along in this hunt by the Taos Pueblo Warchief and his staff, Outfitter Jon Barker, and head guide Willie Hettinger. The lucky winner of the tag at the Wild Sheep show was Greg Strait.
I knew the hunt was going to be a difficult one (most sheep hunts are), but two hours into the mountains it was clear this was going to be harder than I expected. I was prepared for deep snow, cold temps, and long days of glassing. What I wasn’t expecting was the amount of timber where we were looking for rams. I have never grid searched so much timber in all of my life. Over the course of seven days I only saw sheep one time in what would be considered typical sheep habitat. The rest were in heavy cover.
Can you see a ram in this photo? Me either!
The elevation where we were hunting was from 8700 to 12000 feet, and most days we were getting 2 to 6 inches of snow. Our tent camp was at about 9000 feet, five miles up a large drainage. Snow depth varied from 6 inches to 8 feet. Virtually the whole hunt we were either in crampons or snowshoes.
Willie Hettinger thinking about putting on snowshoes. Just about deep enough
Early morning snowshoeing.
Standard gear for the hunt- Crampons, Schnees Sheep Hunter boots, Optifade Sitka gear, and Mystery Ranch Pack.
The target ram on this hunt Jon and Willie had a long history with. Nicknamed “Chip” four years ago after they watched him bust out a large piece of his left horn, Jon and Willie had pursued him unsuccessfully with four separate hunters. If he was still alive, they both estimated him to now be 11 1/2 years old, and score in the 188-190 range, which could make him quite possibly the largest ram alive in New Mexico (NM has not produced a ram scoring over 185 since 2005).
Over the first couple of days we were able to locate 23 different rams ranging up to the high 170 class.
After burning our corneas out for three days looking at snow and timber we caught a break and I got a glimpse of a big ram going over a ridge at 11k feet. The next morning Willie hiked up to a vantage point and positively identified “Chip”. The hunt was on.
I will spare you the blow-by-blow details of the hunt, but it culminated three days later at over 10k feet, with Greg making a fantastic 455-yard cross canyon shot on “Chip”. He turned out to be all that we expected, scoring 188 3/8 inches at 11 1/2 years old. His third quarter measurements are 11 inches. He will be in the top ten rams ever killed in New Mexico.
Hunter Greg Strait and Outfitter Jon Barker with “Chip”
Brendan, Willie, Greg.
Hard not to smile with a massive old ram and great scenery. It doesn’t get any better than this.
The Guide Crew.
Now for a little on the gear we used. I wore one set of Sitka Optifade for the entire seven days in the mountains (90% pant, Traverse Zip-T, Traverse bottom, Jetstream vest, Stormfront jacket, Jetstream gloves, Shooter gloves, Traverse Beanie, Celsius hat). I had planned on getting out to the trailhead at least once for a fresh set of clothes, but it didn’t work out that way. Aside from some fresh socks that I packed in, I hunted and slept in the same clothes for 7 days strait. No problem. Everything kept me dry and warm the whole time. I am continually amazed at how fast everything dries out. I really like the tan base color of the Optifade camo. Great looking pattern that will work everywhere I hunt.
Pack cover or jacket.. no water or wind is getting through.
Riding out another snowstorm waiting to glass
I used the new Stormfront jacket when it was cold or blowing heavy. What a great new piece. I also used it as a pack-cover every night to keep the snow off my pack and optics. It kept my gear and me bone dry. Its light enough to carry in my pack all the time and warm enough to sit out the worst snow storm or long glassing session. Definitely a great addition to the Sitka line and an alpine hunting must have.
Strong work guys!!
Testing New Sitka Gear
May 14, 2009
Lab testing can give you hard data on permeability, breaking points, heat retention, SPF, etc etc. But there are some metrics that can't really be quantified. For example, here we are testing a new hood design for high speed winds. Could we come up with some lab scenario...probably. But, isn't it sometimes just more fun to take it out and see if the design really is bomber. Here's a clip of Kevin, PK, and I, out searching for some new Striper hotspots, running at 40-50 mph with a 10-15 mph headwind. The new hood design...bomber. In fact, the entire jacket...bomber in high wind.
Best part, this is just one test. Now we get to make some tweaks and get it back outside.
Wardi gets some press!
May 13, 2009
May 12, 2009
Expert hunter Tom Hoffman shows PK, Mark, Greg, and I how he used "GAMEFACE" to take this 200 Inch Kansas monster. OVIS Show, Bally's Casino, Vegas.
May 11, 2009
Testing in all enviroments!
Friday Morning Sunrise
May 8, 2009
Starting off the day in the big ring, it's always great to start the day watching the sun rise over the bay while cranking down a deserted street.
Chris's last night
May 7, 2009
Having some beers with Chris and Annie before they head back to Bozeman. Have a great drive to the mtns!!!
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