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Unlike the singular world of whitetails found east of the Missouri River, big-game hunting out West is often a multi-species affair. Hunters routinely go afield with multiple tags in their pocket, hunting targets of opportunity ranging from antelope to mule deer and elk, not to mention keystone predators such as the wolf, black bear and mountain lion. The geography west of the 100th meridian is often just as varied, with wind-swept plains rising to scrub-covered foothills that transition into mile-high or higher mountains of evergreens and dark timber.

I say all this not to disparage the wily whitetails and the hunters who pursue them. The country in which the deer roam and hunters stalk is, if markedly different, equally as diverse, with mile-long beanfields, big-timber hills rolling into the distance and elegant plantation with rows of pines as far as the eye can see. And, with elk reintroductions taking hold in several eastern states, black bear numbers on the rise and cougars expanding their range, new big-game hunting opportunities are soon to follow back East.

My point is, hunters, in their travels, experience a wide range of terrain, not to mention a variety of conditions—terrain and conditions that require guns and gear that are up to the task. The problem is, in today’s economy, specialized equipment is a luxury. Instead, budget-conscious hunters look for gear that can cover all their needs, and that includes one rifle for everything, a rifle not unlike Mossberg’s dependable, affordable ATR, or All-Terrain Rifle…

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