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Montana X-treme
Rifle Magazine
March - April 2005
Volume 3, Number 2
Number 14
On the cover...
Cover photo by Ron Spomer. Turkey photo by John R. Ford.
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Cabela’s Lightweight Ghillie Extreme Series

I’ve discovered the Cloak of Invisibility! That’s not what the Cabela’s catalog calls it, but the name works for me. I’d tried on a military-style ghillie suit several years ago. Wearing the suit, I could merge into my surroundings simply by sitting down. Generations of U.S. Army and Marine snipers have relied on these suits to keep hidden from sharp-eyed countersnipers. The suits really work – I can’t imagine more effective camouflage.

Unfortunately, garments made of multilayered burlap are too heavy, bulky and hot to wear in most hunting situations. Burlap strips hanging before your eyes also limit sideways vision. I gave up on ghillie suits as a bad idea.

A few months ago I was invited to hunt black-buck antelope on a Texas ranch. “These animals are extremely wary,” I was told. “They’re far more difficult to approach than western pronghorn. Be prepared for long-distance shooting.”

I’ve never considered pronghorn terribly difficult to hunt. I’ve killed several at ranges well shy of 200 yards, and two were barely 35 yards away. Black-buck antelope may be harder to stalk, but I still wanted to get as close as possible before shooting. Question was, how to do it without belly-crawling across a quarter-mile or more of open, prickly pear-studded terrain. Been there, done that, and didn’t need another T-shirt.

By pure chance, I was thumbing through Cabela’s catalog and came across Cabela’s Lightweight Ghillie Extreme Series camouflage. Unlike the ghillie suit I’d once briefly tried, this suit is made of lightweight, breathable polyester mesh. A scent-absorbing Scent-Lok lining was optional.

“This series is dramatically lighter than traditional ghillie clothing,” the catalog promised, adding that the fit is “similar to standard hunting garments,” and the suit “won’t weigh you down or trap unwanted heat.” The suits were available in Mossy Oak New Break-Up or Advantage Timber.

The outfit I ordered consisted of a pair of pants with long zippers in each leg to allow the pants to be put on over heavy boots, a zip-front jacket, a boonie hood to fully cover the head and the back of the neck, and a face mask in matching Mossy Oak New Break-Up camo. Chest-high bib overalls were also offered.

I tried the new ghillie suit on as soon as it arrived and found it to be just as advertised – lightweight and easy to wear. It went with me to Texas.

Before daylight the first morning, the guide dropped me off on the edge of a huge field virtually barren of cover. As the sun rose behind me, I spotted two different bands of black-buck feeding 600 yards away. I sat tight and hoped they would wander closer. An hour later this hadn’t happened, so I decided to give my ghillie suit the acid test. The antelope had bedded down for a midmorning nap 500 yards away in the middle of the field. Aside from the ghillie suit, my only cover was a thin screen of bare-branched trees. I could see the animals clearly through the trees. I was equally visible to them.

Standing erect, I slouched toward the resting antelope, pausing every 20 yards or so, pretending to be just another bush. To my growing astonishment, the black-buck paid me absolutely no attention. Ap¬≠parently a wandering bush didn’t worry them. Lacking a bipedal man-shaped appearance, I was able to shamble up to the skeletal cluster of trees to within 100 yards of the antelope. It was like trying to hide behind a pair of soda straws. Essentially, I’d been in plain view throughout my “stalk,” which was really more of a stroll. What’s more, I didn’t even work up a sweat in the lightweight suit.

Lowering myself to a sitting position, I scooted sideways until the trees no longer screened me. I was seated on bare ground not 90 yards from the bedded buck, who didn’t give me a single curious glance. I sat there a good 10 minutes, raising the binocular, lowering it, then unlimbering the Steady-Stix bipod to rest the rifle on. Even these movements didn’t alarm them. When I decided to rouse the herd to its feet, it took three long, drawn-out whistles to do the job. I didn’t shoot the lone immature buck I could see, but the ghillie suit had done a remarkable job of getting me within virtually point-blank rifle range.

The following day I plopped myself down on open ground 40 yards from a feeder. Within an hour a half-dozen whitetail showed up, including a gorgeous 8-point buck. Lacking a deer license, I was forced to hold my fire. No black-buck put in an appearance, but I had deer saunter past not 20 yards away. After all, I was wearing the Cloak of Invisibility.

Lightweight Ghillie Extreme Series camouflage (my complete outfit cost just under $200) is available from Cabela’s, Dept. SH, 400 E. Avenue A, Oshkosh NE 69190; telephone toll-free: 1-800-237-4444; or visit online:

Accurate Powder
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