Since I’m on the move for most of the hunt, I forgo a spotting scope. Instead, a pair of light 12x42 binoculars hang from my lanyard, providing enough zoom to pick antlers from the buckbrush. I also ditch a heavy pack and instead fill my vest pockets with just the essentials: a knife, matches, a few spare bullets, and a powder flask. The powder measure and capper are knotted to a shoelace around my neck. A single nod to modern technology—a small rangefinder—hangs like a quick-draw holster at my hip. The open landscape plays tricks on the eye, making big-bodied bucks look closer. More than once I’ve sent a heavy-lead buffalo bullet into the frozen dirt well short of its target.