What’s Luck Got to do With It?
Any hunter knows that there is a lot of luck involved in hunting. My luck happened before the hunt when I found a great extreme mountain gear company with excellent product and exceptional customer service. My wife and daughter drew deer tags in the Idaho high desert. We had recently moved, and I had could not find my usual “go-to” “work-with-everything” jacket. Being a creature of habit, especially with my hunting gear, I was panicked, and after a week of looking everywhere in the house my emotion turned from “where is it” to “how fast can I get another.” My first thought was just to get another version of my old jacket, again a creature of habit. I looked on their website, and they were out of stock (of course, right before hunting season). I figured I would bite the bullet and overpay. I found the jacket I wanted (and was willing to overpay for it significantly) only to find out it was also out of stock. At that point, I went to high priced company number two, just to find out that I would likely have to wait 3 to 4 weeks for my order to be filled. At this point I was desperate and by luck stumbled on the SKRE website.
I was immediately attracted to the camo pattern (perfect for the backcountry of Idaho)…I thought, hey, this is better than the overpriced gear I was looking at anyway. I did a quick internet search and saw some great reviews. At that point, I was willing to try it at least, but I was concerned that I would not be able to get it in time. I made a call; customer service was excellent, they informed me that I would get the jacket within the week. They were accommodating with sizing information and genuinely seemed concerned with making sure I got exactly what I needed. At that point, I remember thinking this company is special. I got my Hardscrabble Jacket the day before I left for my hunt. It was awesome, perfect sizing for my long appendaged 6’4” frame. The camo pattern was even better than expected, the jacket was obviously well-made with attention to detail. I was excited to field test it. It did not disappoint–indeed, it overperformed in every aspect. Hunting in Idaho means hunting in all kinds of conditions. The mornings were bitter cold and the days were warm if not downright hot. It rained and even snowed on us. The Hardscrabble Jacket with its cooling zippers and pockets were perfect. The jacket was the ideal outer layer. It repelled the intermittent rain, and I did not even break out the rain gear.
Old Gear Stood Out Like a Sore-Thumb
The camo in the Idaho high desert country was amazing. My brother was working a ridge over from me, called on the walkie-talkie because he could not see my position. He was wearing my old brand go-to jacket brand; I could easily see him. At that point, I was sold. After a couple of days of hunting my wife harvested a 4 by 3 mulie, her first buck. The stalk was awesome. As we approached our shooting position in some fallen timber among new growth sagebrush, I remarked how quiet the fabric was on my jacket. We approached the group of deer in the early morning undetected. She set up and made a great shot on a mature buck. With the hard work beginning, I quickly shed an underlayer and put my hardscrabble jacket back on. After quartering the deer, we were ready to begin the hike out. The jacket again worked to perfection, giving protection to the wind and elements and yet the flexibility to maintain a body heat that did not result in hard sweat that could make the ATV ride out unpleasant. They say luck is preparation meeting opportunity. For me, I am glad the prep work by the staffers at SKRE enabled me to enjoy a successful and enjoyable hunt with my wife. Thanks, SKRE, you have a fan for life.