Wes Hodges began guiding elk hunters in Montana in 1985. He has tramped across the Bob Marshall Wilderness dozens of times and spent last year in the Beartooth Wilderness, places where there aren't many elk--just big elk. Hodges estimates that he's helped hunters take 45 bulls in his career so far. Here's what he gears up with.
Optics "You can cut corners on lots of things, but not optics," Hodges says. His choice of binocular: Swarovski SLC 10x42. On his rifle is a trusted, 20-year-old Redfield 3X¿¿¿9X.
Firearms In bear country, Hodges carries a single-action Navy Arms .45 Long Colt but keeps a Ruger Vaquero .44 magnum as a backup. His rifle is a Mark X Mauser in .300 magnum.
** Knives** Hodges likes custom-made (but not high-priced) fixed-blade hunting knives by Paul Marvel or Ken Westbrook. "I carry an Uncle Henry Stockman to spare my hunting knife from regular cutting chores."
** Boots** Hodges wears Danner or Rocky models for the early season. In cold weather, he wears Schnee's pac boots.