This was never more apparent than on a fall hunt for bison on the Mickelson Ranch west of Faith, S.D. Home to nearly 300 wild bison, the ranch is typical of what you'll find on the high plains of the western United States between the end of the growing season and the first snow that stays on the ground. There are gently rolling small hills interspersed with deeper wooded draws and ravines. Everything for miles around is muted tones of browns and flat green.
Because these colors dominate the plains in late autumn from Texas to Canada's prairie provinces, I selected Cabela's Outfitter Camo™ for my hunt and brought my guide some to wear as well. Even before the hunt it became apparent that the choice was a good one. Our Wooltimate jackets and Microtex pants from Cabela's matched the terrain perfectly. Because I was using a relatively short-range large-bore rifle with open sights, we knew getting close to the herd would be key to success, and defeating hundreds of eyes, ears and noses out in the open would be a challenge.
On the day of the hunt we rode horses for a couple of hours to locate the herd, and then began our stalk on foot. Creeping up a wooded draw to keep our outlines below the horizon, we closed the distance to the nearest bison to about 100 yards. Though several bison looked in our direction, they didn't see us as we glassed the herd. Hunting herd animals can be a challenge because a shot passing through the intended target could strike another animal. Our position in the draw was not desirable for that reason, so guide Travis Mickelson suggested a flanking maneuver in hopes of catching a bull at the herd's perimeter. The only problem was that the necessary approach would take us to a knoll overlooking the herd that was completely out in the open.
Backtracking through the draw, we hiked up the side of the small hill opposite the herd. Walking gave way to stooping, and stooping to crawling. It seemed to take forever, but soon we were in position about 130 yards from the nearest bison. I slowly set up my Mossback shooting tripod sticks and eased the rifle into position. My movement got the attention of the herd and soon every woolly head was staring our way. Winds were light and variable, and suddenly some animals must have caught our scent. That's where the Outfitter Camo went to work.
About 100 bison ran for a couple hundred yards parallel to our position before stopping and looking back at us. We remained still. Travis whispered in my ear that the herd probably knew we were around, but the effectiveness of the camo had made them incapable of identifying where or what we were.
Bison are like pronghorns in that they can be very curious at times. After a while, the herd began moving in our direction. They could tell some objects were atop the knoll that hadn't been there earlier, but curiosity got the better of them as whatever wind there was was now in our favor and they were going to check us out. Distances between the nearest bison and us closed from 100, to 80 and then 70 yards. Travis noticed a young bull separating slightly off the herd's right flank. As soon as the animals behind the bull cleared, Travis told me to take the shot. I fired when the bull was 45 yards away, but other animals had approached to within 30 yards to our left. The bull dropped where he stood and only then did the rest of the bison stampede away. We'd remained unidentified by the herd the entire time, thanks to the Outfitter Camo.
After the hunt, the outfitter, guide and family members repeatedly commented about how impressed they were with the performance of the camo pattern. Those who didn't have Outfitter Camo declared their intent to get some. If your plans include fall hunts in the open spaces of the West, I suggest you consider Cabela's Outfitter Camo as well.
Check out the Cabela's Outfitter Camo™