width=500 The air is cold, the snow if falling, and I have until Sunday to find some elk, ignite some black powder, and send one of these small, lead balls flying. It’s coming down to the wire in my region, so I’m skipping Thanksgiving dinner (don’t worry, my mom gave me permission) and I’m heading back into the high country for a few days. Here’s the good news: The area is loaded with elk. The weather has pushed some animals down to lower elevations. I hunted two specific basins last weekend and was pleasantly surprised with the number of animals I glassed. All told, my friend and I made seven separate stalks on elk, and we got busted on every single one. The biggest problem was the snow, believe it or not. It wasn’t that light, fluffy stuff that muffles footsteps. Instead it was that wet, loud snow that makes an old, squeaking sound like a rusty fence hinge every time I planted one heel in front of another. They heard us coming from a long way off. Since that time, however, we received more of the white stuff, so I’ll be stalking slowly and looking for fresh tracks. Game on. Unless something else happens, it’s the last big-game hunt of the year for me, and while I didn’t harvest anything (hopefully that will change), I have no regrets. I made some great treks in country I’ve never visited, I got to spend time with my brother and friends, and now, on this last hunt, I’ll be hiking exclusively with my dad. It’s always a good time and we come home with more stories than we do meat. What about you: what’s been the highlight of your season so far? —Ben