„Guessing would not do“
The Himalayas are one of the most extreme destinations to hunt on planet earth. To find a blue sheep, an elusive strange-looking creature, you must climb higher than when pursuing any other game species in the world. There is no easy way in. After four brutal days climbing over bare rock and ice we reached camp three at 4,000m altitude. My breath had been wanting and legs straining at the steepness of the terrain.
I’ll admit I was concerned and felt emotional. More than half our climb had been on sheer drops that if fallen from would result in certain death. It was exhausting managing this level of risk. Nausea, headaches and dizziness were plaguing me, a sure sign of altitude sickness. The picture of my two young daughters on the lock screen of my phone haunted my mind’s eye as I curled into the foetal position in the downy folds of my sleeping bag. The next day arrived and with it some positive thinking. I had overcome my inner demons. I suspect this internal challenge is something many battle with in the Himalayas and it would not be the last time for me on this expedition.
Grabbing my Geovid HD-B 3000 and rifle from my tent, I followed one of the guides under the dim light of a headlamp before sunrise. Given the extremeness of altitude, temperature and most probably angle and distance, there was a need for ultimate shooting precision. Guessing would not do. To improve my chances, I had pre-programmed my Geovids with the exact ballistic data of the 300WM cartridge I was using. This information was simply saved to a microSD card and inserted directly into the Geovid which would provide an uncompromisingly accurate customised ballistic solution. Brilliantly, this is possible for any cartridge or load. The data was readily available in the Geovid menu when zeroing and setting up a few days prior. My equipment was ready even if my nerves were not.
We spotted a group of rams as the sun came up. A suitable mature male grazed with them in the first rays of sunlight. Climbing above to nearly 5,000m the wind was wrong but it was all the terrain had to offer. We moved as fast as our oxygen-depleted lungs would allow to get to a final firing position. The temperature was -5 degrees, distance to target was 346 metres and at a 17 degree angle. As the ram moved to leave the area catching our wind, it was finally time for the shot. Angle, temperature, barometric pressure and distance were all calculated against my custom ballistics by the Geovid in a split second. I had a ballistic solution of 16 clicks elevation that I dialled onto the Magnus i turret on top of the rifle. I could concentrate on shooting precisely and with absolute confidence. Despite the severe environmental variables, the shot was perfect to within a centimetre. In the toughest of situations on a hunt of a lifetime, Geovid was the difference between success and failure, plain and simple. Thank you Leica.
Simon K Barr