Contributors to this thread:
I got into hunting at a young age. I mostly rifle hunted in the beginning hunting elk and deer. It wasn’t until high school that I got serious about wanting to be a Bowhunter! From the early beginning I dreamed of harvesting the 8 big game species of Colorado. It was something that seemed obtainable both in that I might draw the tags someday and financially possible. Being blue collar people I could never afford to hunt a lot of these animals in other places.
The big 8 of Colorado included. Bighorn sheep, Mountain Goat, Whitetail Deer, Mule deer, Elk, Mountain Lion, Black Bear, and Antelope. I’d seen many guys complete it (many guys on bowsite) and I thought they were cool and that it would be a good lifetime goal to strive for! Especially for just an average joe.
Believe it or not. My 1st big game animal with a bow and arrow was a mountain lion. My good friend Dean offered to take me cat hunting. We treed this cat in a ponderosa tree. Because of a rock the dogs were able to get right up in the face of the cat. I was about 10 feet from the cat. Cat swiping at the dogs. Because of the situation we were unable to get the dogs and tie them up before the shot. My buddy dean said, “make a good shot!!!” Man talk about intense and feeling some pressure. My arrow struck the cat and the cat died instantly. At that moment I was hooked!!
From there I ventured into bowhunting Different species. Learning all I could about bowhunting (tuning bows, hunting tactics, and animal behavior.) Killing antelope, elk, and mule deer.
Antelope have always been a really neat animal to hunt. It took me a few years to figure them out. Very interesting and beautiful creatures. Pronghorn are also one of mine and my families favorite table fairs.
I decided to try whitetail hunting and got a tag for the eastern plains. I went with a buddy and we spotted this awesome buck and I took him on the ground at 17 yards. My one and only whitetail buck!
Bears have always been a hard one for me. Seems that when I have a tag you never see them. And in reality bears in Colorado are very hard to find in my opinion. A lot depends on the area your in and the density’s maybe I’ve always been in low density areas but I’ve only killed 2 bears over the years.
I grew up elk hunting with my dad. Elk have always been special to me because of that. Not much beats bugling bulls and hunting them with bows. I’ve killed a handful of great bulls for Colorado. Elk was always the animal My dad loved to hunt. Good memories hunting With him
You've had a great "run"...Congrats...Keep'em coming...
Mule deer have also been bread and butter for me. My 1st animal ever killed for me when I was 12 was a mule deer doe. I’ve harvested them both hard horned in the rut and early season. The past recent years I’ve really gotten into high country velvet bucks. Man they are such cool and smart animals. I enjoy watching them and the country they live in. So challenging too.
One of Bowsites greats !!!
Once I could afford to I started applying for sheep and goat. In hopes of drawing tags someday. By the time I was 27 years old I think I had killed all the animals on the list of big 8 except bighorn sheep and goat. The limiting factor there was the tags! I just needed to draw them. But I just waited my turn
For years I applied for units that had success on big rams! I decided after not drawing for so long that I would switch it up for a unit that was easier to draw but had lower success rates. Well I drew! And then the pressure set in. This would likely be my only time getting to hunt sheep! The unit was a Really rugged and tough hunt. And anyone who says sheep are easy to hunt and you can just walk up to them haven’t hunted wild sheep. These suckers were wild and more spooky that any mule deer or elk I have hunted! I found a lot of rams and I spooked just as many. I ended up finding a band and finally arrowing a ram at 30 yards! A true wild sheep backpack hunt in some of the most steap mountains Colorado has to offer. Checking off my bighorn off my list!
Early on you will notice the Colorado 8 was a dream of mine. Notice I never mentioned anything about the Colorado 9 (moose). Well I applied for moose as well. But in the back of my mind, a moose was a tag that I was unlikely to ever draw. I think it’s got to be the hardest tag to draw for guys. I know quite a few guys who have been applying for 25+ years with no luck. I know many more who have quit applying after so many years. Moose was in the back of my head, a tag I would never get! Well in 2019 I was just a touch surprised when I drew my once in a lifetime Colorado bull moose tag. To make things even crazier I found out a little after the moose that I drew my mountain goat tag! The same year! Unbelievable! And to think if I was successful I would not only complete my life long dream of the Colorado big 8. I could complete the 9!!!
Moose I set out scouting in the summer. Locating the biggest moose I could find. I had a fun summer of scouting for moose. They are surprisingly hard animals to find at times. And different from elk and deer in that they will often be bedded at prime time when all other animals are out. The stars aligned and I harvested my target bull on opening day. I got within 30 yards of the bull out of sight using a small hill. The wind was right and the moose had no clue I was there. The bull was blocked by some willows and a cow and calf were nearby. For no reason The cow turned her head at me and saw me standing there motionless and the 3 moose blew out of the willows running hard like they were in a horse race. I grunted at the bull and he fortunately stopped at 57 yards. He was Hard quartering away from me. My arrow was on the way hitting the bull perfect. I hit him with a second arrow just for added Insurance. Shortly later I was standing over my once in a lifetime Colorado bull moose. A true whopper shiras moose!
That is getting It done. The past was great and the future will be better
Up next was mountain goat! Again the unit I drew was a hard terrain unit. I’ve heard some reference the unit as one of the hardest goat hunts out there. It was really neat to have drawn both tags. But I also kind of wish they were spaced out a little so I could enjoy them separately. But I wouldn’t complain about that! I headed down for goats. Not being able to scout because of the moose tag. I had limited time to hunt also because of the moose hunt. I had in my mind that every basin would hold goats. I was humbled when the goats were much harder to find than I thought possibly. I Backpacked with a buddy into an area and finally found some big billies. By the time I found them food was already running low. I was within 80 yards before they decided to move off into some cliffs that I was unable to follow them in. Out of food and not sure how long the goats would stay in the cliffs. So we made the decision to leave. We hiked all the way out Restocked on food and hit a different spot that was closer. Found a group of nanny’s. Really wanted a big billy. But I decided if I got the chance then I would punch the tag. Well the goats got up off their high perch and moved over the hill. I was able to sneak up over the hill and found the goats feeding on the other side 20 yards away. I put an arrow thru one of the goats. It ran off a few yards and stopped. I snuck around and put two more arrows thru it’s vitals before the goat went down!
Wasn’t the big billy I dreamed of! But limited time to hunt I was happy to punch my tag and finish off the list of Colorado animals! Very fortunate to draw the tag. And thankful to physically do the hunt! What an adventure!
One heck of a goal, one heck of a write-up, and one heck of an accomplishment! Congrats!
Mission accomplished. I had completed my lifelong dream at 33 years old. When I look back I’m proud to say I killed them all myself with no guides. I couldn’t afford a guide if I wanted one haha. Majority were solo hunts and on public lands.
I’m just a blue collar guy. Work as a fireman and have a beautiful family. Very fortunate and thankful to be able to even hunt at all. Let alone the opportunities that I have had.
Well my goal has been completed so now what do I do?. I figured now I can stop bowhunting and maybe take up watching sports or golf or .or something like that?
Haha yea right.
I’ll just keep enjoying life with my family. Family is what is most important to me. Showing my daughter how amazing the outdoors are. And I’ll also dream of sheep and goat hunts in remote places.
Technically there are 10 animals in Colorado. Maybe I’ll keep the luck going and draw a Desert bighorn
Some beautiful animals. Congrats!
Well done, you sir are an accomplished Bowhunter and in an elite class. World class.
That's an awesome accomplishment-Congrats!
That is awesome! Big goal of mine too. I am two short Mt. Goat and cat. I also want to do them DIY but I figure I will have to hire a outfitter with dogs to get a cat. I really want to have a P&Y animal for each. I am three short of that, the two above and mule deer. I have a hard time not burning by points for whitetails.
Are you now putting in for a desert BG or building points for another bighorn?
Great write up of an even greater accomplisment! Congrats!
Awesome thread! Congrats to a stone cold killer.
Congrats! Definitely world class. Keep them coming and stay safe.
One amazing accomplishment Ermine! Congratulations! I will say though with great confidence that your best moments on the mountain and in the woods are yet to come. When that little bowhuntress is able to accompany you is when life's goals will really come into focus! Congrats again, truly an awesome achievement! Thanks for sharing it with us!
That's super awesome Justin. What an awesome feat. You're an outstanding bowhunter and sound like a great family man who knows where his priorities are at. At 32 years old I'd love to say we have so much in common like shooting skills and the like but reality is more like the same hairline and a gorgeous outdoor-loving young daughter! Congrats again. PS How old is she? I just ask out of total curiosity as my daughter is 5 and they look similar in age.
Congrats my friend. There was never any doubt. Lots of killers out there but few who are as humble as Justin. Happy for you brother. You earned it
Heck of an accomplishment, especially at your age. Congrats on all the fine animals, and on getting it done the hard way.
Ermine, congratulations on making short order of a monumental accomplishment.
Something to be very proud of for sure...as well as your beautiful Family!
You're one helluva bowhunter, Ermine...Congrats !
Great thread Ermine ! That pic where you’re looking at the moose with your hands on your hips just says to me “I’ve got this huge motha on the ground, now what do I do ?” :-)
Very nice Justin, congrats!!
Congrats!! Tremendous accomplishment and well deserved:)
Congrats on a great accomplishment!
Totally cool! These will pale in comparison to when you see your kids start accomplishing their own goals - especially when you are there to witness it.
Excellent write up Justin. Congratulations!
Hell of an accomplishment Ermine! My hats off to ya man.
Congrats Justin! You're a freaking machine!
Thanks for the kind words!
Not sure why some of the pics disappeared or didn’t load
Yea my daughter is 5. And you guys are right. The best is yet to come!
Congrats on reaching your goal and being determined enough to accomplish it.
Congratulations, great to see people with goals and then achieve them.
Also shows your commitment to the bow and arrow on tags many wish for, but will never draw. Way easier said than done, congratulations.
Great looking family and trophies. Congrats on both.
Congrats to you on a tremendous accomplishment, Justin! Some world class photos in your thread as well!
Well done sir! Excellent post and pics, that's definitely something to be proud of, looks like you have a wonderful family as well, blue collar or not, you are RICH!
A great accomplishment and a super write-up of your journey. Congrats
Fantastic !!!!! And thank you for your service as a Firefighter !!!! Great stuff man !!!
Man that's awesome! Great job. I set a goal to get my Anasazi award here in Utah which is 5 Utah book species with a bow. I killed a decent bull elk last year which was my 5th but have just never officially entered them. You have inspired me to get them all scored and entered. Good on ya man!
congrays nothing like reaching your goals
Totally awesome, Justin! Congratulations!
Looks like you have achieved more than a few goals man!
You are certainly living the high life!
Beautiful family, lots of great hunting experiences, and some spectacular top end critters!
Can’t wait to see your desert ram:-)
Incredible!! Some awesome experiences right there and an amazing accomplishment. Congrats!!!
Can't wait to continue watching you achieve your goals. It is fun to watch!
Absolutely incredible! Amazing job and pics Justin.
Awesome animals and you have some amazing photos to capture the moments. Congrats!
Congratulations and great job taking us along.
Justin that is way cool man, big congratulations on a tremendous accomplishment!
One of the best there is! Good work buddy
Great accomplishment. Congrats. Always enjoy and respect your input. Keep at it!
Bad ass... that describes you! Always enjoy your photos, now your write up. Congratulations, man!
Badass buddy!!! Well done well done!!
Great recap!! Amazing really to accomplish at any age let alone 33!! Well done!
Way to go! Great looking family. Oh, nice job on the critters too!
Amazing feat accomplished.
Really enjoyed your post.
Well done Justin! DIY Colorado big nine at thirty three years old with archery equipment. That's just incredible! Congrats on your achievement!
Ermine you’re my hero bud! Way to go. Monumental accomplishment and many many congratulations.
Congrats on meeting your goal Justin, lots of great animals there! I hope the rest of your years are just as rewarding bud!
You have accomplished more in your 30's than most will their entire lives!!
Congratulations on your achievements!!! You have a beautiful family and know your priorities, Very Well Done!!!
Amazing story Justin! A case study of a balanced, full life. Inspiring!
Thanks for sharing your incredible accomplishments
That is an Amazing accomplishment! I am a midwest Whitetail hunter but reading these stories always puts a smile on my face. Not only the success of harvesting such amazing animals but the breathtaking scenery you all spend time living and hunting in. Big congrats on your dedication and perseverance to accomplishing a world class goal. Best of luck on whatever you decide to do next. P.S. I would be very nervous if I was the next animal on your hit list!
You’re so blessed to live where you can work on those goals!
I can only echo what everyone else has already said. Awesome in everyway...the hunts, the pictures, the family, the write up, the values.....Thanks for putting it all in one thread!
Congratulations! And thanks for sharing your adventures. You definitely have a lifetime of memories, and you aren’t done yet!
Outstanding Justin! Congrats on accomplishing your bowhunting goals and having such a beautiful family!
I'm especially jealous of that lime green Camry, tho! ;-)
Outstanding thread. You also have a knack for taking great field photos.
Justin, I enjoyed that a lot. Lets team up next year for the Colorado Desert Sheep hunt. I just got that feeling. Just saying!. my best, Paul
Congratulations Justin!!! Thanks for taking us along. That’s quite an accomplishment — made all the more special by all of the challenges engaged over decades of your life. You accomplished something truly special, enjoy savoring it.
Justin.... that's awesome on a stick.... congrats.
Been following your adventures here for years, thanks so much for taking the time to take us along. Pretty cool. 33? Doesn't seem possible...... forever 21 is how I see it....
Congrats on 10 ringin' your goals. And a huge congrats on a beautiful family. Does one's heart good to see it.....
Fantastic writeup!!! Thanks for bringing us along on tour life's journey. Good luck on your future hunts and we can't wait to read about your hunts with your daughter in the coming years.
What an awesome thread, thanks for doing it!
One is not successful on such a wide array (everything) of animals on one's own on public land without being among the best hunters out there, much less at such a young age. You're a badass Justin. Much respect. And grats on the beautiful family as well. Enjoy those early years with your daughter. You'll blink your eyes and she'll be a teenager.
Everything Ike said!
Congrats that’s incredible.
Congratulations Justin. I can remember back to your Lion hunt and enjoyed watching your achievements stack up. Nothing beats the feeling of being in the outdoors bow hunting with family and friends.
Congratulations on an amazing accomplishment.
Justin, this is great! Do yourself and your family (and future grandkid) a favor and cut-paste this narrative, with photos, into a nice journal. Then add to it as you continue to kill marvelous animals.
Awesome! Congratulations on a job well done.
Wow..., just read this. Congratulations!! I could really feel your passion, and the excellence you have developed with you bowhunting. Respect!!
Congratulations, Justin! Unreal accomplishment and most of us never had a doubt when you drew the tags.
Excellent stuff Justin, congrats!
Great collection of pics!
Congratulations Justin! I too have followed on Bowsite and have been impressed by your success over the years!
I was wondering if you would show what you have done as far as taxidermy and trophies? In my opinion, you have killed some world class animals! Being a high school teacher from the midwest, I get the hunting-on-a-budget constraints. I would imagine some of your animals have made incredible euros and maybe a few shoulder mounts as well.
Congratulations on accomplishing your goal at such a young age! Pete
I bet your Dad is smiling now. You are one of the best !! Keeping on being Justin!! Strong work and great photos as always . Hunter
Justin, Congrads! Great accomplishment and well deserved. Now go do it all again for your 2nd.
Congrats, that's very impressive. That moose, man......a frigging monster Shiras. Wish I had your drawing luck, that's incredible!
Congratulations on a fine collection of animals!
Things tend to die when you have a bow in your hand. Look forward to many more pics, thanks for sharing.
Well done... CONGRATULATIONS.
Very cool story and fantastic pictures too!
Many props to you...you have actually accomplished something that almost all other hunters could only dream of. Major congrats!!
Congrats Ermine! Your accomplishment is very impressive and your dedication to your family more so!
Wow...just Wow. Awesome goals met.
Congrats again buddy!! Like Will said, there was never a doubt in my mind! You are deadly!
Wow!!! Thanks for sharing. And continued enjoyment of your adventures in hunting and with the family!!!!
Justin, big congratulations on the 8/9 species in CO and upcoming awards! Some dandies as well! Some food for thought on new challenges: all P&Y if they aren’t already, do it a second time then a third, go hunt DIY out of state for Alaskan Sitka blacktails, moose and barren ground caribou, OR blacktails and Roosevelt elk, UT or MT bison, AZ Coues deer. All can be done DIY on a limited budget and are a dang rewarding hunt!
And most of all congratulations on your family!
I can’t add anything more than what has already been said Justin. You are one of Bowsite’s legit killers. Your humility is something for others to note. And kudos on a wonderful family. Time is short. Enjoy your time with them!
Thanks for all your kind words guys!
Yea I feel like Now days the odds of me drawing sheep and goat again are slim. I was born years too late ha.
But I think I will strive towards trying to complete the 9 twice. Be a good goal.
And yes the best times are to come. I hope my daughter wants to hunt when she is older. No pressure but I think she will. She loves animals and talks about when she can hunt!
Congrats man! Good to see one of the good guys getting what they've earned... (that bow looks familiar) ;-)
Justin, you might want to give some thought to applying for a Ewe Sheep tag as they are definately easier to draw than Ram tags.
Outstanding! Congrats! This is only the beginning. Continue to follow your dreams. You will be surprised what can happen.
Congrats Justin it has been fun following all of your accomplishments. Well done.......
Oh I forgot one thing........
Outstanding Justin, a very enjoyable read.
Congratulations. Incredible stuff for sure. Awesome to see a "blue collar, regular" guy have so much success. Cheers!
AWESOME!!! Congrats to you!
Great stuff man. Watching you accomplish much of this over the last 8 years has been a real joy. I have always enjoyed your humbleness and the grit you exhibit to get it done. One of the best bowhunters on this site. Which is quite an accomplishment. Congrats again Justin.
Congrats! Very impressive accomplishment. Think of all the fun adventures yet to come. FYI you completed this at the same age Fred Bear was when he made his FIRST bowkill.
Congrats Justin thats one hell of an accomplishment! Also after Jason’s pic I had to make my own addition haha hope you don’t mind Justin!
Good luck, Robb
Congratulations. Awesome stories and pictures.
HUGE CONGRATS Justin!!!!!
Wow, awesome thread and well deserved success! I especially enjoyed your perspective with family. Totally agree. Fine job Ermine!
Awesome, thanks for taking us along. Forrest
Congratulations Justin! What a great accomplishment!! Can't believe I missed this thread.