On most Texas whitetail hunts, it's better to pack light, particularly when your hunting camp isn't too many miles to the north of Interstate 10, the southern traffic artery that winds from Beaumont in the east to El Paso on the vast state's far western edge.
Please note that's on most Texas deer hunts, not all.
Because on a recent visit to Mossy Oak's annual writer's camp at Vatoville, a sprawling 9,300-acore-acre whitetail paradise in West Texas, Sherpa fleece, down, and several insulating layers were the order of the day instead of sunscreen and short sleeves.
As a frigid downpour turned into snow flurries at Vatoville â€“ much more snow fell in such spots as Austin, San Antonio, Corpus Christi and College Station — the sudden bundled up Michelin Man look that we were sporting could have made shooting rifles accurately somewhat problematic.
Not a problem said JJ Reich, the Vista Outdoors's communication guru in camp to help showcase new goodies from Savage Arms, Federal Premium Ammunition, Primos, and Bushnell.
To prove it, he grabbed a Phillips-head screwdriver, took an updated Savage Model 110 AccuFit rifle (scheduled to be launched at the 2018 SHOT Show from Jan. 23-26 in Las Vegas), and headed for Michelle Anderson's kitchen at our Vatoville deer camp.
With a few turns of the screwdriver, the selection of the right comb height and length of pull inserts, and some fine-tuning for my bundled-up form, the rifle was soon fitted to my needs perfectly.
Moments later, after a scrumptious meal of West Texas breakfast tacos complete with chorizo sausage and spiced up scrambled eggs, Reich went to work on another Savage Arms Model 110 AccuFit and soon had it perfectly tailored for Anderson.
All from a kitchen table workbench with only a single tool necessary.
And that's the whole idea says Beth Shimanski, senior marketing manager for Savage.
"AccuFit makes it easy for shooters to achieve a fit that allows them to shoulder the gun and align their eye with the optics in a consistent manner, without having to move their head around to compensate for being the wrong height or distance from the scope," said Shimanski.
"The resulting combination of a solid cheek-to-stock connection, proper eye relief and comfortable, personalized fit add up to better shooting form and improved accuracy."
As Reich showed me at the Vatoville kitchen table, comb height is controlled through the AccuFit system's five riser settings, which are adjustable in 1/8-inch increments. You simply choose the riser that creates the desired cheek-to-stock contact and aligns a hunter's line of sight parallel to the barrel. A few twists of the screwdriver later — don't overtighten! - and you're in business.
In similar fashion, the rifle's length of pull can also be fully adapted to the shooter's physique and needs by using one of four inserts included with the rifle. And that's true even if those needs change from one hunt to the next.
"AccuFit is usually a set-and-forget system, but its versatility allows you to tailor length of pull and comb height as needed, such as when changing optics or donning bulky clothing for cold-weather hunting," said Shimanski.
"AccuFit also accommodates physical changes, making it the perfect youth gun that will grow with the shooter throughout a lifetime of use."
While the gunsmithing chores of Savage Arms' new AccuFit system seem simple enough to perform in a warm kitchen, as the saying goes, the real proof is in the pudding. Even if that pudding is all but frozen when the gun is taken outdoors to the Vatoville rifle range on a day where the thermometer hovered above freezing, a gusty north wind blew, and snow flurries were being spit into the air by Old Man Winter.
How does the Model 110 Trophy perform when it's loaded up and a bullet is sent downrange?
While I'm not a renowned gun writer, let's just say that I couldn't find any flaw's in the rifle's performance out on the range, bundled up form and cold weather or not. In fact, I could virtually drive tacks with the rifle, chambered in my favorite caliber of 30.06, even with a bit of a shiver factor built in.
And if I can do that — shoot the gun accurately with heavy clothing in challenging conditions â€“ I'm going to bet others can do the same with a Model 110 AccuFit series rifle from Savage Arms.
After a simple visit to the deer camp's kitchen table, that is.