Soak It Up
General Topic
Contributors to this thread:
otcWill 03-May-21
otcWill 03-May-21
Chief 419 03-May-21
otcWill 03-May-21
APauls 03-May-21
otcWill 03-May-21
otcWill 03-May-21
otcWill 03-May-21
midwest 03-May-21
otcWill 03-May-21
otcWill 03-May-21
Beav 03-May-21
t-roy 03-May-21
otcWill 03-May-21
otcWill 03-May-21
otcWill 03-May-21
otcWill 03-May-21
otcWill 03-May-21
otcWill 03-May-21
otcWill 03-May-21
otcWill 03-May-21
otcWill 03-May-21
otcWill 03-May-21
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otcWill 03-May-21
otcWill 03-May-21
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Charlie Rehor 03-May-21
otcWill 03-May-21
otcWill 03-May-21
otcWill 03-May-21
Bowboy 03-May-21
otcWill 03-May-21
otcWill 03-May-21
otcWill 03-May-21
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otcWill 03-May-21
otcWill 03-May-21
otcWill 03-May-21
otcWill 03-May-21
otcWill 03-May-21
otcWill 03-May-21
otcWill 03-May-21
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Jaquomo 03-May-21
elkmtngear 03-May-21
Bake 03-May-21
otcWill 03-May-21
BOWNBIRDHNTR 03-May-21
bowhunt 03-May-21
otcWill 03-May-21
otcWill 03-May-21
otcWill 03-May-21
otcWill 03-May-21
otcWill 03-May-21
otcWill 03-May-21
drycreek 03-May-21
Inshart 03-May-21
Dirty D 03-May-21
Ermine 03-May-21
badbull 03-May-21
Ron Niziolek 03-May-21
Brian Brooks 03-May-21
APauls 03-May-21
Julius Koenig 03-May-21
bigswivle 03-May-21
WV Mountaineer 03-May-21
Empty Freezer 03-May-21
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JL 04-May-21
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JL 04-May-21
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WV Mountaineer 04-May-21
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Willieboat 04-May-21
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Matt 04-May-21
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otcWill 05-May-21
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Inshart 05-May-21
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Charlie Rehor 05-May-21
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iceman 05-May-21
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Wv hillbilly 05-May-21
JLeMieux 05-May-21
Julius Koenig 05-May-21
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BigSkyHntr 05-May-21
Empty Freezer 05-May-21
Marty 06-May-21
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Sunset 06-May-21
SBH 06-May-21
Ermine 06-May-21
Scoot 06-May-21
Treeline 06-May-21
bowhunt 06-May-21
JTreeman 06-May-21
Scott/IL 07-May-21
Jaquomo 08-May-21
Glunt@work 08-May-21
Rgiesey 08-May-21
otcWill 08-May-21
APauls 10-May-21
Paul@thefort 12-May-21
From: otcWill
03-May-21

otcWill's embedded Photo
otcWill's embedded Photo
Been sitting on this for a while. Debated not posting at all, but this site has brought me so many opportunities and so many of my very best friends. Stories are the best part of this site. This is my contribution.

It will take a while as there’s no way I can finish in a day, but I hope it’s worth the wait. 2020 was good to me.

From: otcWill
03-May-21
I was obsessed with bowhunting years before I could legally hunt. I can still remember dreaming about killing my first whitetail with my bow. I made that dream come true at the age of 9 out of a treestand I’d built by myself. A couple 2x4s and a fistful of nails. No safety harness. Pendulum sight. The world wasn’t what it is now.

Both my father and I shed tears of joy on October leaves over the small doe. From that day on hardly an hour went by that I didn’t think about bowhunting. These days I can’t even drive to or from work without looking at a draw, fencerow, or distant mountain and imagining what the hunting might be like. I call it Hunt Vision. You know it. You have it.

I’ve got a few years on that little boy, but little else has changed, except that my dreams and my frame have gotten bigger. Still dreaming. Still making them come true. As I type this, I’m fully focused on killing a Colorado mountain goat. I will do it. I promise. I’ve blundered several times in trying to describe the feeling of the days closing in on a hunt. First is simple excitement, but as the wait becomes shorter the “dream” becomes more real, more tangible. I texted a friend the morning I wrote this that I was starting to feel that calm focus that only a hunter knows. Angst has become confidence. Game face.

From: Chief 419
03-May-21
Looking forward to following along Will.

From: otcWill
03-May-21

otcWill's embedded Photo
otcWill's embedded Photo
It’s funny, years ago I didn’t even aspire to hunt goats and now it might be the single most vivid hunting memory I’ve made. (Well, it was when I wrote this, but that has changed in the past few months. A story for another time ??) I’m not even totally sure what it is about the goat hunt. The country? The feeling of being on top of the world and the work it takes to get there? Being on a 14,000 foot mountain really frames it for a man just how small we are in the scheme of things, how insignificant. Don’t slip. You’ll die. The mountain and the goats won’t care.

From: APauls
03-May-21
Looking forward to hearing where arrows # 1-4 ended up!

From: otcWill
03-May-21

otcWill's embedded Photo
otcWill's embedded Photo
As I’ve said many times to friends and will certainly say again, I’ve never enjoyed the prelude to any hunt nearly as much as this one. The scouting, hiking, reading, talking to goat hunters and biologists, map study, glassing, freezing, sweating, bleeding and obsessing were somehow far more fulfilling than past work. For the months leading up to the season I absorbed every bit of knowledge I could. I studied goat habits both in person and in text.

From: otcWill
03-May-21
I’m not sure when it happened, but I’ve come to enjoy the scouting for any species a little more than I do the actual hunting. Nothing that I’ve scouted compares to the physical work and with that the reward that comes with scouting goats.

This hunt quickly became about spending as much time in their environment as possible, learning as much as I could in the time before the season, Soaking It Up. The actual killing would end all the best parts of the pursuit. I can say with all honesty that I’ve read many authors write about this type of perspective, but I’ve never felt that way at all myself. This hunt changed me or at least changed the way I enjoy my time in the woods or on the mountain. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always enjoyed the little miracles that come with spending time outdoors. I’m a hunter, a killer and a provider. That is, has been, and will remain the focus. But now, it seems I’ve started to take more enjoyment in what’s in the peripheral. I sure hope I’m not growing up :)

From: otcWill
03-May-21
My first day of scouting was with my Dad, as was my last day of hunting in 2020. We ran up to the mountains for a little fishing. Ever had one of those days that you catch so many dang fish that you just call it a day? Well, we had one of those days; and after catching at least 50, we turned the truck back South and decided to make a stop in my goat unit to see what was accessible.

The first access road we went up was snow packed less than halfway up. I hopped out to glass the surrounding cliffs and spotted goats before I even got my binos up. This scenario would pretty much reflect my entire season.

From: midwest
03-May-21
'bout time.

;-)

From: otcWill
03-May-21

otcWill's embedded Photo
otcWill's embedded Photo
otcWill's embedded Photo
otcWill's embedded Photo

From: otcWill
03-May-21
Staring up at these critters perched on the cliffs and imagining what it’d feel like to slip in above them for a shot made this hunt immediately real for me. My excitement level was through the roof and I hadn’t even had a chance to put boots on the ground.

From: Beav
03-May-21
This is going to suck! Refresh, refresh,refresh,refresh!

From: t-roy
03-May-21
This should be another epic read. Bring it on, Will!

From: otcWill
03-May-21

otcWill's embedded Photo
otcWill's embedded Photo
otcWill's embedded Photo
otcWill's embedded Photo
Didn't mention, I drew a nanny tag. These are all mature nannies.

From: otcWill
03-May-21

otcWill's embedded Photo
otcWill's embedded Photo

From: otcWill
03-May-21
Summer was filled with family time and work, but I managed to sneak up to scout and glass whenever I could. With every scouting trip the excitement dial cranked up a bit. I’d plan to take the whole season if necc. Then, as luck would have it, I drew a good WY lope tag as well as a great rifle lope tag in Colorado’s hybrid draw. Didn’t see that coming. All 3 hunts would land at the same time. I also wanted to help my buddy Joe with his elk hunt if I could cram it all in.

From: otcWill
03-May-21

otcWill's embedded Photo
otcWill's embedded Photo
Come from a long line of frog and snake catchers

From: otcWill
03-May-21

otcWill's embedded Photo
otcWill's embedded Photo

From: otcWill
03-May-21

otcWill's embedded Photo
otcWill's embedded Photo
Country doesn't get much prettier

From: otcWill
03-May-21

otcWill's embedded Photo
otcWill's embedded Photo

From: otcWill
03-May-21
My first trip of the year bow in hand would be a scout/hunt mission to my WY lope unit. My Dad and I would go for 3 days of camping and checking out new country in preparation for my hunt later in the season. Of course, I brought my bow just in case.

We rolled into the unit around midday on August 22. I stopped when we got to the first corner of public land in the unit to put on my camo and release on cuz you just never know.

A few miles later I spotted a decent goat in a very good spot and parked the truck. I told Dad I’d shoot him if given the chance. Truth be told, I’d not have even looked twice at this buck if he’d not been in a spot that Dad could watch the whole thing play out. There were some dandies in the unit. Sometimes, maybe more often than not, the experience outweighs the score. This was the definition of one of those times.

From: otcWill
03-May-21
I parked about ¼ mile away from the goat giving Dad the perfect vantage point to observe the hunt. With my father watching over my shoulder through the binos, I moved quickly out of the goat’s view and down into a ditch that would bring me within bow range if things went as planned. They did.

Before long I was within striking distance. I glassed back at Dad before popping up to range and hopefully shoot. He was glued on me and signaled a thumb’s up. I raised up on my knees to see the buck and he caught me as I did, trotting a couple more yards before stopping broadside. I was settling my pin as he assessed the situation.

From: otcWill
03-May-21

otcWill's embedded Photo
otcWill's embedded Photo
It was one of those moments where time seems to stand still. I pulled through the shot and watched a perfect arrow sail for what seemed like forever before entering his shoulder, passing through his heart and exiting through the center of his femur on the off side. The buck ran on 3 legs at full speed for less than 5 seconds before expiring on his feet in dramatic fashion.

I looked back and saw Dad waving his hands and pumping a fist. I pumped back right before becoming overwhelmed by the experience and dropping to a knee to soak it all in. To say Thank You. The accomplishment was nothing special, but the experience was more than I deserve; more than I could take. Best hunt of my life without question. I said a prayer and left a few tears on the sand and sage before walking back to the truck to hug my father who was feeling all the same things.

From: otcWill
03-May-21

otcWill's embedded Photo
otcWill's embedded Photo
Dad was at least as stunned, humbled, grateful for the experience as I was. We recovered our buck together and spent the rest of the day exploring and telling stories, stunned at the blessings we’ve been given. We camped in the middle of nowhere that evening, watching the sun set over whiskey and memories. The weather was perfect. We slept under the stars.

From: otcWill
03-May-21

otcWill's embedded Photo
otcWill's embedded Photo

From: otcWill
03-May-21

otcWill's embedded Photo
otcWill's embedded Photo

From: otcWill
03-May-21

otcWill's embedded Photo
otcWill's embedded Photo
Dad was at least as stunned, humbled, grateful for the experience as I was. We recovered our buck together and spent the rest of the day exploring and telling stories, grateful for the blessings we’ve been given. We camped in the middle of nowhere that evening, watching the sun set over whiskey and memories. The weather was perfect. We slept under the stars.

03-May-21
Hunting with Dad. Simply the best...

From: otcWill
03-May-21

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otcWill's embedded Photo
otcWill's embedded Photo
otcWill's embedded Photo
otcWill's embedded Photo
Best one we found in CO
otcWill's embedded Photo
Best one we found in CO
We spent the next couple days getting to know my CO pronghorn unit. We caught trout, ate fresh backstrap, drank, laughed…..It doesn’t get better.

From: otcWill
03-May-21

otcWill's embedded Photo
otcWill's embedded Photo
Next up was elk season. My original plan was to forgo my own elk hunting to spend 10 or so days helping my buddy Joe. He had a decent tag and hadn’t killed a good one in a while. When I drew the goat tag, that limited me to about 5 days for Joe’s elk hunt. We made the 6 hour drive on Thursday Sept. 3 and followed that up with a 10 mile quad ride and a mile hike to get to our spot. That night, Bugles Over Bourbon. Life is good.

From: otcWill
03-May-21

otcWill's embedded Photo
otcWill's embedded Photo
The plan for the morning was to get high and do some glassing/listening from a place that we could get in the game if necessary. That morning we glassed up the biggest September herd I’ve ever seen; at least 150 head. Exciting to see and hear, but 150 cows don’t help when you’re trying to pick off a herd bull. We watched them bed and moved to a safe distance to nap and wait for the evening hunt. At about 5:30, we watched the first cows start to filter out to feed just below treeline and heading up. The main herd was about ½ mile away but before long we heard a bull bugling much closer and on our side of the drainage. Perfect.

From: Bowboy
03-May-21
Keep it coming and glad your posting you're adventures!

From: otcWill
03-May-21

otcWill's embedded Photo
looking straight down into the willows he was in
otcWill's embedded Photo
looking straight down into the willows he was in
We followed bugles carefully until we found him in a secluded willow patch 300 yds below the ridge we were on. He was a 280-290” 6x5 with a few cows and was raking and bugling nonstop. He’s in trouble. Joe slipped down the open hillside like a cat and was within 100 yds in short order. We don’t need to communicate anymore. We’ve hunted together long enough to always know what the other will do. Joe will attempt to kill him without making a noise while I watch from about 50-100 yds behind him. If at any point I think it’s not going to happen, it becomes a call and stalk operation and we will move forward together until he’s dead or we blow him out.

From: otcWill
03-May-21
From my vantage point, I’m thinking “this is over” as I watch Joe move into bow range of the bull who still seems completely oblivious, raking, bugling, hardly moving. I’m not sure if a cow heard something or what, but they slowly began to file out of the willow patch and into the timber with Joe inside 50 yds, willows too thick for a good shot. They weren’t at all spooked so the jig was far from up as I moved to keep my place at calling distance from Joe.

From: otcWill
03-May-21

otcWill's embedded Photo
raghorn
otcWill's embedded Photo
raghorn
otcWill's embedded Photo
otcWill's embedded Photo
I saw Joe move for the “buttonhook” (possibly bowhunting’s deadliest move) and I slipped into position to slow the bull down or bring him in. A few lost cow sounds got the game started. I could tell the bull was upset immediately as he began trying to “round me up”. Without knowing Joe’s exact position, I didn’t want to bring the bull all the way in so I just kept him interested hoping to hear a THWACK. Outta nowhere, another bull bugled downstream of me and obviously coming fast. I just laid low knowing Joe would pick one and stick with the decision. Minutes later a young 5x stepped out into the drainage and came to 35 yds before stopping to destroy some willows. Joe had chosen right to stick with the first bull. This was a nice little bull, but he’d have gotten the pass without question.

From: otcWill
03-May-21

otcWill's embedded Photo
otcWill's embedded Photo
Joe stuck with the bull the rest of the evening with me keeping him going, but just never could quite get a good shot. We hiked the couple miles back to our camp and enjoyed an extended happy hour before calling it a damn good day.

From: otcWill
03-May-21

otcWill's embedded Photo
otcWill's embedded Photo
Next morning we were back on em well before light. There were at least 8 bulls bugling in about a 100 acre area, surely surrounding, dogging, keeping tabs on the massive summer herd of cows. It was just stupid.

There were so many dang cows and so many bugles it was hard to decide which to work. There was one particularly nasty sounding bugle so that was our target. In hind sight this guy was actually just hanging outside the herd waiting for things to pop off.

No matter what we did he seemed to keep the cows between us and him. I truly believe he’d have come in to something I had for him had there not been so much already going on.

Bulls were cutting each other off constantly. Cows and calves were mewing, chirping, whining, even bugling. Lesser bulls were right in the middle of it all ripping off challenges as if they were ready to die for this group of cows. The giant, who we finally caught a quick glimpse of (every bit of 360”), just moaned every 5 minutes or so but never really raised an eyebrow to all the commotion going on. He knew it wasn’t the real deal yet. We kept putting the pressure on em with me lagging just behind Joe.

This is the stuff elk hunters dream of. I looked at the sky and soaked it up.

From: otcWill
03-May-21
Eventually we came to a piece of topography that allowed us to get in their laps without the herd being able to see us; the perfect situation to bring one of the “big talkers” in for closer inspection, maybe even an arrow. When I saw Joe get into position and signal back I did what I do best.

It didn’t take more than one or two of my favorite cow sounds followed by the exact same bugle that I got in response and I saw Joe pull out his rangefinder. I could see the tops of what looked to be a 300”+ 6 point framed in my direction as Joe clipped his release and drew.

Moments later I heard a crack and saw Joe put his head immediately in his hands. NOO! I’m not sure what exactly happened. Maybe he dropped his bow arm? Forgot to aim? Either way, he missed him clean at 30 yds and we both wanted to puke. The herd blew out with the sound of crashing timber and round up bugles filling the basin.

From: otcWill
03-May-21
I can stay level headed and keep a smile on my face regardless, but there’s no denying the let down involved in these situations. All the work, planning, strategy, sweat, and luck involved in getting that perfect opportunity to make a great shot and clean kill on a mature animal, down the drain in an instant. It stings. Understatement.

From: otcWill
03-May-21

otcWill's embedded Photo
otcWill's embedded Photo
You can see it on our faces

From: otcWill
03-May-21
We were already a heckuva ways from camp and would hunt a few more drainages before the wind switched. The plan was to make a big loop in the afternoon and hunt some “fresh” country. As many times as I’ve seen it, it still surprises me when I hear 100+ bugles in the morning and not a peep the same evening. That was the story for our PM hunt. It didn’t help lessen the hurt of the gut punch of a missed opportunity. But whiskey will ??. Tmro’s another day.

From: otcWill
03-May-21

otcWill's embedded Photo
otcWill's embedded Photo
I thought about getting a bear tag for the unit and ended up deciding that would only detour my friend's elk hunt. So of course, we walked up on a great bear :) He stood there forever ripping up the ground, completely oblivious as all animals are when you don't have a tag.

From: otcWill
03-May-21

otcWill's embedded Photo
otcWill's embedded Photo
The next morning we awoke to smoke so thick we really had no choice but to get out of there. We’d head out and hunt another spot that’s been good to me in the past. It would also be easier for me to head for home the following day. Long story short, we got extremely close on a good bull several times in the next few hunts. Joe actually had a shot at one point but assumed the bull would come closer. I think the miss had gotten into his head because in any other situation I know he’d have put one through “the goods”. We parted ways the next morning after dogging the same bull. 2 days later Joe killed him. Man I wish I was there, but I still got “that feeling” when I got the text. Great bull buddy!

From: otcWill
03-May-21

otcWill's embedded Photo
otcWill's embedded Photo

From: Jaquomo
03-May-21
This is great stuff, Will!

From: elkmtngear
03-May-21
Top shelf recap as always, Will...keep it coming!

Congrats to Joe, that's a great Bull...redemption !!

From: Bake
03-May-21
Awesome! Following closely

From: otcWill
03-May-21

otcWill's embedded Photo
otcWill's embedded Photo
otcWill's embedded Photo
Steep. I was built for this. I have to hunt goats again.
otcWill's embedded Photo
Steep. I was built for this. I have to hunt goats again.
otcWill's embedded Photo
otcWill's embedded Photo
Gonna throw in a bunch of my goat scoutn pics because I love photos and because the scoutn was the "meat" of the hunt

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
03-May-21
Awesome story so far Will, definitely looking forward to the rest!

From: bowhunt
03-May-21
Thanks for taking the time to post this. Great stories so far, and I love your perspective on hunting. The total experience is what makes some great memories.

From: otcWill
03-May-21

otcWill's embedded Photo
otcWill's embedded Photo
Good as it gets

From: otcWill
03-May-21

otcWill's embedded Photo
otcWill's embedded Photo
So dang cool to see the mountains change through the s seasons

From: otcWill
03-May-21

otcWill's embedded Photo
otcWill's embedded Photo
I had a complete “scout/glassing route” dialed in for the goat hunt so no real need to get back up there until a couple days prior to the opener. I’d put in my time scouting and I had 17 days planned to hunt goats and CO lope afterwards if I was lucky enough to tag out in time. I don’t think I’ve ever looked forward to “escaping” for a hunt as much as this year.

From: otcWill
03-May-21

otcWill's embedded Photo
otcWill's embedded Photo
Snuck in a hunt before work on about a week before my goat season started and confirmed bow was shooting well. B list doe tag filled and at work before 830 :)

From: otcWill
03-May-21
I hugged my wife and kids and I hit the road on September 19th. Just another dream hunt. I’m almost getting used to the feeling. I’m not sure text could ever do it justice. So high on life you can feel it in your chest. The feeling of anticipation for a dream about to become reality coupled with the pure gratitude for all of life’s blessings is overwhelming. Beyond humbling. This wasn’t the first time I’d felt this way this season and it wouldn’t be the last.

From: otcWill
03-May-21

otcWill's embedded Photo
otcWill's embedded Photo
No goats in the first spot or the second. I was really hoping they’d be in one of my top 2 as these seemed to be the most “huntable”. Everyone says, “Don’t shoot one where it’ll roll off the mountain”. Well, those folks must have never hunted mountain goats. In all my scouting, I only saw them once or twice where they wouldn’t roll if killed.

On my 3rd stop I found them in some of the gnarliest terrain the Rockies have to offer. There were a few that I would call mature nannies, but not quite what I was looking for on the first day. I took a few photos before moving on to my next couple glassing spots.

At my fifth and final spot I found what I was looking for, 2 fully mature nannies with great horn length as well as kids that were over a year old. The sun was retreating behind a couple of 14,000’ peaks as I poured a drink. I’d camp here for the night. I sat there speechless as the last rays of light passed through a glass of bourbon and into my soul. This……is living.

From: drycreek
03-May-21
Will, you’re a great story teller, can’t wait for the rest of it.......

From: Inshart
03-May-21
Great story - wish my Dad would have lived longer. The older we get the more important it is to spend time with family - kids, brothers, sisters, parents, G-parents.

From: Dirty D
03-May-21
Good stuff Will!

From: Ermine
03-May-21
Fantastic story so far. Epic pics man

From: badbull
03-May-21
You nailed it Inshart. Will really makes me remember feelings and appreciate what I have experienced with family...... Badbull

From: Ron Niziolek
03-May-21
Lovin this Will. I wish you'd do twelve of these a year.

From: Brian Brooks
03-May-21
Following

From: APauls
03-May-21
Looking forward to hearing where arrows # 1-4 ended up!

03-May-21
Miss these threads!!

From: bigswivle
03-May-21

bigswivle's embedded Photo
bigswivle's embedded Photo

03-May-21
I’ve been looking forward to an otcwill hunt recap. I’ll be watching like a hawk.

03-May-21
Somethin about these stories just put me there with the hunter while im sittin at home. I cant thank you guys enough when you post this stuff. Amazing pics and stiry telling. Thank You

From: Oryx35
03-May-21
Good stuff! I just might have to pour myself a bourbon.

From: JL
04-May-21
Good recap....thank for taking the time to tell the stories and post the pics.

I wish I could have done more stuff with my Pops before he got to where he couldn't.

From: Tilzbow
04-May-21
Great stuff! I’m a Scotch drinker but bourbon is sounding mighty fine right now...

From: tkjwonta
04-May-21
Thanks for sharing Will! Can't wait to hear the rest and I, for one, appreciate the recap in May when other hunting stories are hard to come by.

From: midwest
04-May-21
One of your best, Will. Looking forward to the rest.

Great to see you and meet Joe this Spring. Loved hearing some of the stories in person over a few cocktails.

From: Treeline
04-May-21
Another spectacular recap, Will! Can’t wait for the rest of the story!

From: JB
04-May-21
Fantastic recap and pics! Feel like I'm right there with you!! Thank you for taking us along!!!

From: otcWill
04-May-21

otcWill's embedded Photo
otcWill's embedded Photo
Sept. 20th I was up and enjoying my second cup of coffee hours before sunrise. Joe would be up to meet me mid-morning and we’d finish up the same route I’d made yesterday and camp on whatever was my best option for the opener the following day. I spotted the goats from the day before as soon as my glass could collect enough light to see. I watched them for the first few hours of light to get a feel for what their routine might be. Weather was perfect, a hard frost overnight followed by a high near 60.

From: otcWill
04-May-21

otcWill's embedded Photo
There were goats at the top of this stuff. Some of it wasn't even doable let alone would a goat be recoverable if killed here.
otcWill's embedded Photo
There were goats at the top of this stuff. Some of it wasn't even doable let alone would a goat be recoverable if killed here.
I never did turn up anything in a better place than the 2 I’d found the evening before. Late afternoon we were heading back to that spot. The goats were still in the same general area when we arrived. We set up to glass for the evening and had a toast (or 3) to hunting and life. Tmro we’re going mountain goat hunting!!!!

From: otcWill
04-May-21

otcWill's embedded Photo
otcWill's embedded Photo
No shortage of spectacular country.

From: otcWill
04-May-21

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otcWill's embedded Photo
Either of these would do. They were the biggest I'd found in the 3 days prior to the season. The one in front is slightly bigger and I'd hope for a chance the following day.

From: otcWill
04-May-21

otcWill's embedded Photo
otcWill's embedded Photo
otcWill's embedded Photo
I watched them go just around this peak and bed for the night. You can barely make them out just right of center at the top of the ridge.
otcWill's embedded Photo
I watched them go just around this peak and bed for the night. You can barely make them out just right of center at the top of the ridge.
otcWill's embedded Photo
Gonna climb this in the morning
otcWill's embedded Photo
Gonna climb this in the morning

From: otcWill
04-May-21

otcWill's embedded Photo
otcWill's embedded Photo
I woke on Sept 21 to a clear cold and an anticipation that couldn’t be overstated if I tried. Ever listen to a couple bird dogs “sing” in the back seat when you turn the truck off pavement and onto a dirt road on opening morning of pheasant or grouse season? That’s me. I was about to chew my way outta my cage! As I waited for enough light to spot my quarry on the cliffs above, I had to remind myself constantly to slow down and soak it all in.

From: Treeline
04-May-21
Just went back thru all your pictures to let them soak in! Awesomeness!

04-May-21
Loving your recap as usual. Congratulations on a great year!

From: Scoot
04-May-21
Absolutely loving this!

From: Beav
04-May-21
I vote that Bowsite pays otcWill to recap every hunt he has ever been on!

From: otcWill
04-May-21

otcWill's embedded Photo
The route up. Pic doesn't do it justice. Much of the climb was "hands and feet".
otcWill's embedded Photo
The route up. Pic doesn't do it justice. Much of the climb was "hands and feet".
First time I looked through the 15s I picked up a single goat right where it’d bedded last night. It was still dark as we threw on our packs and started picking our way towards the spot several thousand feet above us. I figured we’d get close (2-300 yds) and start easing slowly upwards glassing until we could get eyes on the goat and hopefully get on level or above it.

From: otcWill
04-May-21

otcWill's embedded Photo
otcWill's embedded Photo
Done plenty of solo hunts but these days I'm convinced our passion is so much more enjoyable with family and great friends to enjoy it with. Soak it up

From: otcWill
04-May-21

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otcWill's embedded Photo
otcWill's embedded Photo
otcWill's embedded Photo
otcWill's embedded Photo
otcWill's embedded Photo

From: otcWill
04-May-21

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Doesn't get any more "over the shoulder" than this!
otcWill's embedded Photo
Doesn't get any more "over the shoulder" than this!
We made quick quiet work of the near vertical climb. I was strapping my hiking poles to my pack when Joe says, “There it is!”. The goat was 52 yds and quartered slightly to me, vitals slightly obscured by the bush in the photo. Joe actually had a little better angle at the time. I quickly nocked an arrow and got a range. She had no idea we were there as she turned and walked over a little rise and out of sight. I slipped up to the spot she last stood and peaked over, ready to shoot.

From: otcWill
04-May-21

otcWill's embedded Photo
just before she turned and walked away
otcWill's embedded Photo
just before she turned and walked away
She was bedded 25 yds away at such an angle that I’d basically need to put one through the point of her hip in order to get the vitals. The wind was good, she had no idea I was there and the thermals were far from switching as I waited for her to stand. Before long she got up and walked straight away to 35 yds before turning for a perfect quartering away shot. I was already drawn and pulling when she stopped.

From: otcWill
04-May-21

otcWill's embedded Photo
otcWill's embedded Photo
FFFFFTT!! My arrow zipped through both lungs before breaking the offside leg in half and sticking in some rocks behind the goat. I had another arrow nocked and ready immediately, but it wouldn’t be necessary. She took two steps and went down, slipping off the little point she’d bedded on and down through an avalanche shoot. It was over.

From: otcWill
04-May-21
I stood there amazed, humbled, replaying all the effort I’d put into this hunt as well as the enjoyment I’d gotten out of all of it. A lot of times pictures can tell a story that words fall short of describing. This was one of those moments. I said my Thanks, cleaned her up and took her off the hill.

From: otcWill
04-May-21

otcWill's embedded Photo
otcWill's embedded Photo

From: otcWill
04-May-21

otcWill's embedded Photo
otcWill's embedded Photo

From: otcWill
04-May-21

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otcWill's embedded Photo

From: otcWill
04-May-21

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RIP Louis, Danny, Kelly and others we've lost. You are sorely missed and never forgotten
otcWill's embedded Photo
RIP Louis, Danny, Kelly and others we've lost. You are sorely missed and never forgotten
Carried this little flag on all my hunts this year in memory of a friend I/we lost last year.

From: JohnMC
04-May-21
Will enjoying the thread! Question how hard did you find it to be 100% it was a nanny? I have considered putting in for a nanny tag as odds are much better. But being 100% it is a nanny always worries me.

From: otcWill
04-May-21

otcWill's embedded Photo
otcWill's embedded Photo
Soaking it up

04-May-21
Very nice tribute to all our fallen bow hunters. Known and unknown. RIP

From: otcWill
04-May-21

otcWill's embedded Photo
otcWill's embedded Photo
John, much easier than you might imagine. This hunt was mostly glassing and studying goats. After you watch them a bunch you know for sure when you see a billy. FWIW this nanny would make PnY minimum if I choose to enter her.

From: otcWill
04-May-21
As another aside, the meat is delicious. It's not as tender as elk or deer but the flavor is exceptional and it can be tenderized a number of ways. Wild game is what we eat in my household and the goat is a welcomed treat.

Russ, my 4 year old asked me what's for dinner awhile back:

Russ: What's for dinner, Dad.

Me: Chicken.

Russ: I didn't know you could hunt chicken. :)

From: otcWill
04-May-21

otcWill's embedded Photo
otcWill's embedded Photo
Joe and I headed straight for the closest watering hole after getting the meat and hide on ice. Best burger I’ve ever had. Everything is sweeter with a side of success. The whole experience and especially that day was one of those that seems like a dream when I look back on it.

From: JL
04-May-21
Nice touch with the Flag tribute!

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
04-May-21
Your write up is phenomenal and the pictures knock it out of the park! So cool.

From: zabwelch
04-May-21
Simply incredible Will. The story, the photos, the hunt, everything. Congrats again, and thank you for taking the time to share it with us!

From: elkmtngear
04-May-21
Beautifully crafted story, Will...truly a dream hunt, in a dreamlike setting !

From: midwest
04-May-21
Perfection!

From: otcWill
04-May-21

otcWill's embedded Photo
otcWill's embedded Photo
We made camp and sipped whiskey that night, but hardly said a word. It’s striking to me how much hunting makes a man reflect on life in general. I thought some about the adventures and friends that hunting has given me, but mostly about my family and all of the blessings outside of my passion. I get this feeling almost every time a hunt comes to an end. It’s as if God puts his hand on my shoulder reminding me of what’s really important. A Hunter’s Prayer.

From: otcWill
04-May-21

otcWill's embedded Photo
otcWill's embedded Photo
I don’t mean this to be a religious diatribe. Fact is, I’m far better at sinning than I am at praying. I’m just doing my best to describe this feeling and I guess hoping that others get the same thing. Because this, in my humble opinion, is the absolute best thing about hunting. Savoring the moment. Soaking it in.

From: Scoot
04-May-21
Amen, Will! Per usual, simply outstanding write up! It takes a lot of time and effort to do these stories and it's HUGELY appreciated. Thanks so much for taking the pics, recanting the adventures, and sharing all of it here. As much as a person can, I was soaking it in through your sharing. It's not the same as being there, but it's as close as I could come and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Thanks again and take care! Scott

From: t-roy
04-May-21
Great storytelling, Will! Not a thing wrong with acknowledging where all of our blessings come from! Also loved the added touch with the flag. Again, excellent job, my friend!

From: Shiras42
04-May-21
This is what Bowsite was made for and another one that should be added to HOF of hunts. Awesome!

From: Buckeye
04-May-21
Will, your story's are what got me hooked on bowsite way back whenever I got here. Thank you for sharing yet another great story. The world needs more fellas like yourself.

04-May-21
Grats again brother! Welcome to Alpine Hunting Addicts Anonymous :)

From: Brotsky
04-May-21
Awesome story Will! I enjoyed every picture and every word of it! Reminds me of why I started coming to Bowsite and why I stick around. Also makes me wonder why I haven't done one of these in awhile. Might have to change that :) Congratulations on a beautiful goat and more importantly on understanding what living right looks like.

From: greg simon
04-May-21
That's what it's all about right there!!! Very well done Will. A big congratulations and thank you to you!

From: Treeline
04-May-21
Spectacular recap, Will! You certainly never disappoint with your hunting stories. Thank you!

From: 12yards
04-May-21
Awesome stuff man! Thanks for sharing!

04-May-21
Will, great story telling. Absolutely awesome. Congrats.

From: Bowbender
04-May-21
Great story Will!! As always, thanks for sharing!! Think I'll read it again, and maybe browse back a read "Bugles over Bourbon.

From: otcWill
04-May-21
Thanks guys. Bowsite has given me more than I could ever repay. I promise you that.

Thanks to Pat for giving us this platform to share and store our greatest memories.

This ain't quite over. I'll gloss over the rest of my season and finish with one more hunt with Dad.

Those of you that know me well, know that I'm lucky. This season continued with that theme. So far I've spent countless hours researching and scouting and about 3 hours actually hunting :)

From: otcWill
04-May-21
With another tag filled I had the next week and change to enjoy my family before my CO rifle antelope hunt. We fished, went to the farm to feed the animals, the playground. You know, the good stuff.

From: otcWill
04-May-21

otcWill's embedded Photo
otcWill's embedded Photo
otcWill's embedded Photo
otcWill's embedded Photo
otcWill's embedded Photo
Port's first trout. He's 2 :)
otcWill's embedded Photo
Port's first trout. He's 2 :)

04-May-21
I love it!!!! All of it. And admire the fact you understand who makes the things we love, possible. Praise God.

From: otcWill
04-May-21
I even had the chance to take Dad to Nebraska to scout some public land, hang a few stands and prep a few trees for November. Dad's getting good at camping.

No closures in Nebraska. God bless the midwest!!

From: otcWill
04-May-21

otcWill's embedded Photo
otcWill's embedded Photo

From: otcWill
04-May-21

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otcWill's embedded Photo
Slipped out to NW Colorado a day and a half before my lope hunt in hopes of finding a good one. I did just that the evening before the opener. This was the best pronghorn I'd seen in 5 days of total scouting and the hunt was actually pretty dang good. It took more time than my previous 3 bowhunts combined :).

From: Willieboat
04-May-21
Thanks for sharing

From: Rickm
04-May-21
Living the dream Will! Congrats and thanks for taking the time.

From: otcWill
04-May-21

otcWill's embedded Photo
otcWill's embedded Photo
Stud for Colorado.

For the internet police, I took my orange vest off for my pics. you never know these days :)

From: Treeline
04-May-21
Excellent! Come on Man! We know there’s more;-)

From: Chief 419
04-May-21
I soaked it up, every picture and word. Thanks for sharing this. Awesome write up Will!

From: tkjwonta
04-May-21
Just keeps getting better and better, thanks again Will for sharing!

From: Matt
04-May-21
Congrats on a great season and thanks for taking your time to put this together.

From: JohnMC
04-May-21
The triple goat season! Awesome read! That last pronghorn is a stud

From: yooper89
04-May-21
This right here is what keeps me coming back to bowsite. Great stuff.

From: bowhunter24
05-May-21
Will that was another one of your best stories! I appreciate each and everyone of Bowsite's great adventures but the Rockies really are the marrow of the world! I also wish I could still do things with my Dad but you understand the Big Picture. Thank you!!!

From: BULELK1
05-May-21
Very kool Read buddy

Congrats across the board

Good luck, Robb

From: otcWill
05-May-21
Much appreciated boys. Just a bit more to tell before I put this to rest.

I packed out the pronghorn and spent the rest of the day glassing and talking to other hunters. I was even able to find a good buck and help out a guy I'd met out there. I made camp that evening and watched the sun set while celebrating a good friend's wedding day "remotely". Life is so dang sweet.

From: otcWill
05-May-21

otcWill's embedded Photo
otcWill's embedded Photo
Maker's and Mountain house. Good title for another day :)

From: otcWill
05-May-21

otcWill's embedded Photo
otcWill's embedded Photo
otcWill's embedded Photo
otcWill's embedded Photo
Maker's and Mountain house. Good title for another day :)

From: otcWill
05-May-21

otcWill's embedded Photo
otcWill's embedded Photo
Next up is Nebraska whities on some public we've been hunting for a couple years. I'd killed some does last year and had some close calls, but just hadn't been able to seal the deal on a decent buck yet. That's about to change.

I did slip out before work one day and was greeted by an absolute rut fest on an October snow day. When this young buck gave me a shot I accepted the gift and headed in to work with a deer in my truck and a smile on my face, but only after I took the time to Soak It Up. It was one of those days you'd be snow blind without shades.

From: otcWill
05-May-21

otcWill's embedded Photo
otcWill's embedded Photo
My luck or hard work (quite a bit of both) continued in Nebraska. The afternoon I got there it was hot. I tried a new piece of public so as to not mess with my best spots yet. After watching a parade of yearling bucks a nice 2 yr old gave me a shot and I watched him fall with the sun on the first day of a 10 day hunt. Good thing I can buy 2 buck tags in Nebraska. Great start!

From: otcWill
05-May-21

otcWill's embedded Photo
otcWill's embedded Photo
My first public land buck. I was/am dang proud of him.

I met Joe and my buddy Ryan in camp that night and celebrated hunting and life. Ike would be hunting not far away in KS so it'd be a regular party. Wish we'd taken more pics.

From: otcWill
05-May-21
With my whole hunt in front of me it only made sense to buy another tag just in case. The next morning I sat a stand we'd hung a few weeks back and just after legal light what would be my best buck stepped out at 25 yds. It was like a daydream. I drew, shot, and he was down in seconds leaving me standing in my tree shaking. When it rain it pours! I walked up on him just as humbled and grateful as I had the goat at 13,000 feet a month or so prior. I punched my tag and sat down to take it all in before getting a few pics. Again, "that feeling".

From: otcWill
05-May-21

otcWill's embedded Photo
otcWill's embedded Photo

From: otcWill
05-May-21
Heading to work but will do a little wrap up and add the best part of my season, one last hunt with Dad. Thanks for the kind words and for your patience.

From: Inshart
05-May-21
NICE. ... Not much to say, that hasn't already been said. First thread to open each time I check my puter. Kind of like when you take that first bite of a BBQ'd steak that just melts in your mouth - you just can't wait to take another bite, but at the same time you chew it slow so as to take it ALL in. Bring more Will

From: Bowboy
05-May-21
You had an epic season Will. Thanks for posting your adventures. Again congrats!

From: Bowfreak
05-May-21
Awesome as always. Congrats Will!

From: Treeline
05-May-21
Beautiful! Will patiently wait for the finale!

From: otcWill
05-May-21

otcWill's embedded Photo
otcWill's embedded Photo
I've made the analogy before about the transition a father and son make through life. For years Dad would wish above all else that his son would get a shot or have a great encounter in the woods. The tides have turned and now I pray that my father will get a crack at something.

He doesn't car at all. He smiles regardless and success is just the sunset to an already perfect day in his eyes. When we left the house on a crisp clear morning last fall our hearts were filled with thanks and our minds were overwhelmed with the possibility that only the prelude to a hunt provides. You know, "that" feeling.

From: otcWill
05-May-21

otcWill's embedded Photo
Our view of Dad's shot. Deer were following the tree line
otcWill's embedded Photo
Our view of Dad's shot. Deer were following the tree line
We would wait until light before getting out of the truck. There were deer all over the place. The fires had burned most of the available habitat right up to the piece of private ground we had to hunt. We saw several bucks chase a doe right off the property before I could get Dad set up to shoot (he had a doe tag). After several close calls right away we worked our way slowly up hill. Before long I saw the biggest doe I've ever seen being dogged by 2 bucks. Looked like 2 deer following a cow elk. I got the tripod set up and whistled them to a stop at 280 yds. I was telling Dad to shoot at the big one and letting him know he didn't have to shoot if it didn't feel good when the gun went off.

From: otcWill
05-May-21
She dropped in her tracks and started sliding down towards us. Dad opened the bolt and put the gun down before stepping back and letting me know he needed to catch his breath. We hugged and remained silent for some time, looking around, breathing, feeling the sun on our faces. It was one of those moments that I'll think about on my death bed one day. It was perfect.

From: otcWill
05-May-21

otcWill's embedded Photo
otcWill's embedded Photo

From: otcWill
05-May-21

otcWill's embedded Photo
otcWill's embedded Photo
You can see it on our faces. I know you all have had these moments and I hope you have many more. Please don't forget to slow down and Soak It Up. Thanks for listening.

05-May-21
For many of us our Dads are already gone but seeing you experiencing/appreciating these hunts together is inspiring. This passion must be passed on.

Going forward if you’re lucky you will get a few hunts together with both your father and kids.

From: midwest
05-May-21
Spectacular....was smiling the whole read. Thanks for taking the time to put this all together. Looking forward to the next chapter!

From: iceman
05-May-21
Love it! I try to go with my dad as much as possible too. Thanks for taking us along

From: Beav
05-May-21
Thanks Will for the entertainment and reminder to soak it all in!

From: huntinelk
05-May-21
Awesome, thanks for sharing

05-May-21
Thanks so much for taking the time for the recap! Hope to read about many more adventures with your dad. I wish bowsite had more of these stories like it used to.

From: JLeMieux
05-May-21
What a great season Will! Thank you for posting the recap.

05-May-21
Wow Will, congrats. Thank you for taking the time, I always love reading your write ups!

From: Chief 419
05-May-21
Awesome write-up Will! Really appreciate you taking the time to share the details and pics. It's a time consuming process. Thanks for sharing your insight and hunt details. Outstanding!

From: BigSkyHntr
05-May-21
Great story Will!! God Bless.

05-May-21
After reading the whole thing i am amazed at how good i feel and how much i appreciate the fact that there are fellow humans that have a passion for the outdoors and can put it in a story like Will. Thank you. Bowsite is the best.

From: Marty
06-May-21
Great write up Will, thanks for sharing and here's to hoping you have many more great hunts! Kevin

From: Zackman
06-May-21
Spectacular Will! This is what it is all about

From: tkjwonta
06-May-21
Awesome from beginning to end, thanks again Will for bringing us along virtually on all your adventures last year. Here's to an equally amazing 2021 season!

From: sticksender
06-May-21
Clever writing and a great photo chronology....thanks for sharing it. What a fantastic season you had!

From: Sunset
06-May-21
Well done........on your season and your write up!

From: SBH
06-May-21
Thanks Will. The Bowsite is a better place with guys like you here. Appreciate the write up and glad to hear you are well.

From: Ermine
06-May-21
Awesome Will. You hunting with your dad is the best part. I would give a lot to get to hunt with my dad again. It’s good your making those great memories

From: Scoot
06-May-21
I really enjoyed that! Thanks again for taking the time to share it, Will! Congrats to you for making some really great memories with the ones you care most about. The meat, punched tags, etc. is great, but the time together with loved ones is what it's really about (at least in my book). Like Ermine mentioned, I'd give my left nut to hunt or fish with my dad one more time. You're fortunate, you can do it AND keep both of your jewels! :)

Thanks for sharing, congrats, and enjoy that time while you have it.

From: Treeline
06-May-21
Excellent! You certainly captured those important moments and described perfectly the value of “Soaking it up”!

Thank you for taking the time and taking us along! Well done!

From: bowhunt
06-May-21
Thanks again for writing this up.

As I read each part of your season, it brought up great memories of the hunts I have had in the past.

My best memories of hunts involve lots of preparation, sharing the hunt with a great friend, and having success!

Great write up!

From: JTreeman
06-May-21
Living the dream and solidifying your hero status. Congrats on a great year.

—Jim

From: Scott/IL
07-May-21
Amazing write up Will. Thanks for sharing, and congrats on a great year.

From: Jaquomo
08-May-21
One of the best stories ever on BS. Excellent work, and congrats on another great season!

From: Glunt@work
08-May-21
Well done! Good story, good hunting , good attitude - Thanks for sharing with us.

From: Rgiesey
08-May-21
Thanks for the stories. Well done!

From: otcWill
08-May-21
Thanks for all the kind words guys. As I said, Bowsite has been very good to me. Sharing stories is a great way to give back and to store my memories and relive them any time I like. Take care, dream big and aim small my friends.

From: APauls
10-May-21
Thanks for the story time Will. Such an enjoyable read from a guy with priorities in all the right places. Takes a lot of time to put that together so well. Thanks for the big investment. I know you enjoy the scouting so much, because the hunting never lasts long!

From: Paul@thefort
12-May-21

Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Thanks Will for taking the time to "stop and smell the roses" and then through pictures and story, remind us all why we truly love to hunt; family, friends and the great out doors. Nicely done my friend. My best, Paul

PS. maybe all of us will find that pot of gold.

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