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Each week this big game season, we’ve been told that the elk harvest is lagging because of a lack of deep snow in the high country.

To me, snow has always been a mixed blessing. If you get a lot of snow and cold, elk migrate out of the backcountry to more accessible winter ranges at lower elevations. But a lot of snow also means hunters are limited in their ability to penetrate the mountains by foot, horseback or vehicle because of the heavy snowpack.

What do you think? In this week’s poll, let’s ask: “How important is deep snow to you for a successful elk hunt?” We’ll offer an array of answers. Please explain with a comment on this blog post.

No doubt about it, rifle hunters have little interest in abandoning lead bullets despite a CDC report out of North Dakota that deer eaters showed higher levels of lead in their blood than non-deer eaters.

In last week’s poll, we asked, “In light of recent studies on lead found in big game meat and increased lead levels in the blood of people who eat that meat, do you plan to move away from rifle bullets with lead in them in the future?”

A total of 84 percent (58 votes) said no, they have no plans to change while 16 percent (11 votes) said they did plan to change. Some of the posted comments were very interesting.

RE wrote, “I realize that someone has made the statement that our personal lead levels have gone up but I doubt that it is from the wild game we have eaten. I will continue to take my game with lead bullets and not be stampeded by a bunch of ‘chicken littles’.”

Billy wrote, “People can deny results that they do not like but that does not make the results invalid. Lead studies have not been done on hunters until recently and I for one will be hunting with copper bullets from now on, why take the chance?”

And Dave Salys noted, “I always get suspicious when stories like this come out. Could it be a really back door way to curtail hunting? …All that ammo and reloading supplies you have saved up would now be outlawed. Remember lead shot?”

Ah, the memory of lead shot being outlawed for waterfowl hunting. It made for some changes and changes still seem to be coming annually with new, more expensive, non-lead shotgun shell loads. The change for rifle hunters would be huge. – Mark Henckel, Gazette Outdoor Editor

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