Fogged In

Alpine hunting has lots of challenges with heavy fog being right up there in trying its best to ruin your view and get you lost. When you head up on to the wide open tops it’s temping to leave your navigation essentials behind, its open country after all, but when the clag hits you won’t know if you’re Arthur or Martha and it can actually become a bit scary. On the plus side, if you are patient you can actually use fog to give you an advantage over the game you are wanting to find or close in on.

Here are a few tips for making friends with fog.

(A)   Mark your start location.

The campsite, the bush entry on the leading ridge, a saddle or tarn you want to get to; these are all good things to mark on your GPS even if the weather is crystal clear. Fog can suddenly turn up and roll in on you, so let the technology old or new take the risk and worry away. Remember GPS machines are only as good as the spare batteries!

(B)   Make use of fog layer movement over the day

During calm weather conditions the fog will sit low in the valleys in the early morning so you can usually climb through it to clear skies above the clag. You can then glass a lot of the higher country while the animals are more active earlier in the day. If you’ve spotted game in a certain area the previous evening now is the time to move around above them while you are out of sight. As the day warms up the fog layer will rise, this is the time to have a little hill nap and wait for the sun to burn the clag away. As soon as the “burn off” occurs it’s time to glass the best areas before the animals bed down. You will have a lot of advantage being above the game while the wind is rising during the mid-part of the day.

(C)   Drop under the evening fog

If the afternoon fog rolls back in you may be able to get under it to have a window of clear vison on the golden hour, the last hour of daylight. The wind will start to drop down the faces as the air cools and you may have a chance to get into a good position to check over some likely guts by positioning yourself lower down a spur on a knob with a bit of a vantage point. If you spot a desired animal you may have to do some pretty fast and probably dodgy sidling to get into a shooting position before nightfall. If an animal is shot in this situation you might want to consider a quick retreat to your evening camp site and returning in the morning for meat/trophy recovery. Wandering around the alps in the dark is not highly recommended.

Of course there are also foul weather days where it’s more heavy cloud and not just fog, these are days you just have to sit out, as the visibility won’t return until the front has passed through. The good days are often associated with fog, but if you learn how to hunt around it they can become some of your most memorable days on the hill.