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2014 G1 success
After getting my bow tuned up and receiving a great shooting tip from a tech at Pellegrino's Archery Hut just days before my hunt, I was told by another customer that I must have had a green clover for drawing my Colorado mountain goat tag after "only" 8yrs. I guess he was right! After just three hours into my hunt while backtracking the ridge to my ATV, I looked over my left shoulder at a goat fish eyeballing me from just 60 yards below. It was a WTH feeling since I had been trying anxiously to morph everything white into a goat. Then suddenly from out of nowhere this snow white puffball appears and gives me the stare down at what feels like a stones throw away.
I waited until the first weekend to hunt so that I would not miss too much work and was still ill prepared on this Saturday morning. I was still contemplating the likelihood of being able to find someone who would be willing, wanting, and able to join me. By the time I had finished gathering all of my gear and supplies it was past noon. I hit the road to embark on the short 2.5 hour drive stopping on the way to consult with a taxidermist on the cost and options of his work. Finally, I buy ice and a few other items before getting my butt up the mountain. In lue of pitching a tent, I find a somewhat level spot (with the use of rocks and wood under some of the tires) to park my truck where I will spend the night in the cab. I set out on my ATV to get as far as I can for my hurried quest to commence.
The ATV ride was an adventure in itself since the road up was nearly blocked off by an abandoned truck that had nearly slid off from the mud resulting from rain that had evidently occurred earlier in the day. I had to unhook their Come-Along cable that was wrapped dubiously around a rock and attached to the bumper so that I could squeeze by. I felt as though the slightest nudge would send it toppling down the mountainside. I then reattached it which made it feel like I was entering a gate of sorts to my hunting grounds. After taking the road as high as I could and further than I should (in terms of safety) I set out on foot. I reach the ridgeline and carefully glass the area. I see nothing, but notice evidence of what I believe to be goat activity in the area. I walk down the ridge as far as I dare on this first day and then turn back while scanning the mountainsides carefully. Right as I get back to the ridge saddle where I had initially entered is where I take a final look back over my shoulder to see this goat! Shortly after the initial shock I realized that the goat was not too concerned about my presence. I began to calculate what I should do with this situation. I had very little prior knowledge of goats and had spent a lot of time and money educating myself on how to hunt them. Topics were thoroughly absorbed as I read about them in this forum such as where to go, ethical means of stalking, how to identify a billy goat from a nanny, what kind of gear to use, why to hunt with a partner, and so on. I head read plenty of stories about how difficult goat hunting is and now am faced with the decision of potentially bringing it all to an end before it had really even started. However, it was a lot to pass up. Cool weather, cloud cover, evening soon to set in, relatively close to the quad, bragging rights, etc.
It didn't take long to confirm his gender as he stretched out his hind legs to urinate within a couple of minutes. He looked awesome and his coat looked great to me although he seemed smaller than I expected and his horns appeared tiny. That's when I decided to break out the camera so that I would at least not go home empty handed. I then thought to use the zoom feature to try to better determine horn length. They looked better then, but I have turned small bulls and bucks into great looking trophies by using binoculars at close range, so I still had my doubts. I was not looking for trophy, necessarily, just a mature billy that I could be proud of. In the end I decided I had too much preparation to end this hunt this effortlessly.
Two weeks prior, in the second of two scouting trips, a buddy and I had spotted three of what I presumed to be billies near there. I thought, "a good hunter" would try to locate the other two before shooting this one. Besides, the goat was appeared to nonchalant for me to feel like I was really hunting him, so at 28 yards I turned and walked away. It wasn't long before my own devils advocate kicked in telling me that I had just crapped out my green clover and disappointed the hunting gods that had made me an offer on a silver platter!
To each their own! Thanks for sharing and good luck...
Feeling pretty optimistic about getting another chance at him or maybe a different goat the next day, I returned to truck for the night. I was quick to remember just how uncomfortable sleeping in a pickup really is. My legs began cramping from being unable to stretch them out or it might have been from the hike or the bomber of stout beer that I drank which may have contributed to dehydration. Coupled with the elevation, the beer was not a good idea for my muscles or my head! The seat belt receivers kept jabbing me in the back and legs as I could not fold them down or adequately pad them. Additionally my fellow campers began to hoot and holler and fire high caliber guns intermittently from about 9pm until after 11. Voices in my head that had told me not to be too picky and asking me why I didn't shoot helped to prolong the night and gave me the resolve to take him if given another opportunity.
Good luck! He has a really nice coat for early Sept!
The next morning I went to the opposite end of the ridge and hiked it back glassing the southern reaches of the draw and the opposing ridge for the other 2 goats or any for that matter. I was fortunate to catch a glimpse of the same goat just moments before he disappeared out of site over the furthest ridge North. I thought I would hunt the entire ridge side down to him. I encountered a couple of avalanche chutes that were more than I wanted to chance so abandoned that plan and headed back. I made a trip back to Mt. Princeton where I could get cell service to check in with my wife and review my Google search on how to field judge a goat. I new the ear test didn't bode well, but comparing horn length to the face looked promising. I returned at about the same time as the previous day prepared for success with another bag of ice and everything that I thought I should need to complete the task.
I repeated the prior days hunt almost exactly, heading to the North until I began getting close to where the trees meet the ridge. At this point I am beginning to question my sanity of shooting one this far away, realizing how much better situated I was where I encountered the fur ball the day before. I am about one chute further than where I saw him drop into that morning when just as suddenly as yesterday I saw him right in front of me at about 80yds. Working his way to the crest of the ridge, he did not see me. Then he took a turn away and stepped behind a rock outcropping with about 7' walls that served as his passage to the top. The wind was in my favor and I dropped over to the opposite side of the ridge to head him off where there is a nice trail to assist me in beating him to the spot. I just got it ranged at 15 yards when he popped over the rocks and turned to look directly at me. The last picture is the approximate location of the encounter. Suddenly I have my doubts again! At this close range he is looking to be smaller than ever! Is it worth it this far away from the quad? He took a couple of steps when I remembered that I had resolved to take the shot. These thoughts were whirling through my head as I was already drawn, so cutting the arrow loose was rather easy at this point.
I believed the shot to be true and it was, evidenced by his reaction. He looked hit hard, but I had learned of their resiliency and after trying to get a look at where he was hit knocked another arrow. In what seemed like no time flat, he was getting out of my comfort zone. I didn't want to fumble around ranging him, so I estimated him at 40yds and let one fly. That was a mistake as the arrow glances of the rocks just behind him and hurled recklessly through the air with some wicked sound effects. Now he was startled and picked up the pace where he was definately out of range for any kind of accuracy from me (in my second year of archery hunting). I had shot a lot with field tips but very little with broadheads... Big mistake! In addition to his now being 80 yds away there was quite a brisk wind as well. Unable to close the gap, I decide to let another one go with the same result. Expletive!
I had retrieved the arrow from my first shot, which was covered in blood and fur and he was very wobbly throughout this, so I didn't fear that he would go far. He began lying down in fact, so I was merely trying to speed his passing. I'm quite certain I should have left him alone and he would have bled out more peacefully. Instead I am trying to be humane and blundering miserably. As I try to move closer, he tries standing. With his shoulders up and his haunches down I am not about to drop another one short. I aim just above his hairline with the appropriate pin. To my dismay it zips just over him, right where I was aiming! Seriously? This is like 60 yds. Expletive to self! I am glad I had decided I was only going to take a close first shot! He is now about done for, but still trying to help him out I knock another arrow at 30 yds. "OK, I can put this one on the money" I think to myself. Release, and the bow makes a loud pop and the arrow isn't even close, maybe 3/4 of the way. Great! I figure I must not have fully knocked the arrow...Hell, I don't know! I start to inspect my limbs for any sign of a fracture when I hear a loud rocky commotion from the goat. I look up suddenly and yep, hooves! Then head! Bittersweet moment! I don't have to watch him die any longer, but goat roll here we go!
hope you get some great pics
As he quickly gains momentum, I have just one hope. There is a small patch of trees that he is headed for in a flatter, grassy bench just before it gets steep again. Come on, hit it! Nope, misses by a foot or two and going and is soon out of site. Expletive! I walk down past the trees and still see nothing. This thing extends practically all the way down to the main road! Feeling like this thing was going to be a total loss, I stumble upon him. He somehow stopped on a small old tree stem that might of been standing and broke his momentum. However, there was no obvious evidence of this and I could not see how he came to rest there. Just another 5yds and it gets steeper than anything else that he had covered! He looked ragged, but his horns were still in tact aside from a little tip damage.
I had great pics from the first day, and don't see the need to take the time to have my photo with the poor haggard beast. At this point I am not feeling very accomplished anyways. My one shot kill was marred by a flurry of expensive misses that about completely deflated my self esteem. I am not the kind of guy that can omit the full truth to make myself look good. OK, so I didn't tell everybody because people don't like to hear about that kind of thing but its out of the bag now for sure. 500 ft of vertical drop from where he took his last breath, plus what he walked down from the ridge before that. What happened to my green clover? I wanted to feel like I earned my kill rather than like I had just gone to the zoo. Well this is what I get, I have earned it now. The fun is just getting started!
I like your honesty! Its refreshing around here... However, now that your a BOWHUNTER you need to accept gifts more easily! Like, 80 yards from the truck "he just stepped out", LOL. You have no idea what a blessing that was! But I'm sure you'll be a quick learner after packing that goat back to the truck. Congrats! Mike
Great Job... G1 has been in a downhill roll for many years. Global Warming is what I am told, moving more goats towards Leadville. Congrats.
Very cool! Congrats!
I too like the honesty in your story. But it also sounds like you did it right. Nothing wrong with trying to get another arrow into a wounded animal. And misses in that situation, with the adrenaline pumping, nothing wrong with that.
Congrats! Love the truth and many of us can identify with your situation. What an amazing accomplishment in your second year of bowhunting! I still haven't been able to go after a goat at age 59!
Congrats. Thanks for posting.
Nice.. Thanks for sharing!
Congrats! Good job on the pictures and story!
Congrats and nicely done on the story telling!
Having decided to have a carpet with head made with the hide, I go to work. Why are my knives never as sharp as I think the are for this task? I had just bought a all purpose saw that was much lighter than my Wyoming knife for the sternum and pelvis. Worthless! I was able to cut the sternum with the serrated edge of my knife, but struggled with the pelvis and never did get it completely split. I thought I would do 3 trips. Head and cape with a bag of meat, 4 quarters, and my day pack and bow.
Lol, I guess that would be rug. I am still short on sleep!
It was part of the plan to make the kill near nightfall so that the cooler temps could help me get everything out without spoiling. However, the daylight ran out faster than I would have liked. Thank God he is much easier to handle than an elk, because the scree and slope were challenge enough. The gut bag took a pretty good roll down the hill when cut loose, but by the time I was finished I was right close to it again. Which reminds me of the couple of times that I had to step away from things to gag thanks to the stomach puncture by the shot. Not a smelly animal otherwise.
My 7200 cu.in. Kuiu pack that I ordered 2 weeks prior did not make it in the projected time (should arrive tomorrow), so I had to improvise with my 7lb Sams Club frame and 7lb Walmart daypack that I had strapped to it. I used my GPS to mark my location and moved my game bags of meat and my gear to the nearest trees off to the side so that they were separated from the carcass and would have shade if I did not make it back in time. Strapped the head with cape and bag of Loins to the frame and did a weight check. For the first time I am struck with real fear. This pack has nothing to offer in the way of comfort and balance and the weight is more than I could have imagined!
There is a trail about 100' below me that I drop down to thinking that I can follow it around the mountain to the road. I have to rest when I get to it and start to think of my options of who to call to help me finish this project as my leg and hip muscles are on fire and I haven't even really begun. I know there isn't anyone that is going to welcome that call in the middle of the night, but doubt my ability to finish this trip yet alone 2 more. My trail quickly splits. One goes up, one goes straight but is blocked off to prevent motorized travel. No brainer, I am going straight. Now it starts dropping down, which feels good, but concerns me as I know I need to skirt this mountain at about the same elevation. It quickly dead ends at an old mine and I now have to choose between the scree and the trees. I find that when I am in the trees I feel like a nice piece of bear or mountain lion bait. I use my headlamp for security and because it is necessary in the dark of the woods. The moonlight provides adequate light in the open, but it is still difficult to pick a path that will hold out. I start feeling like I am in the Blairwitch Project going up and down the mountain more than I am traveling around it. I realize that I have no idea how many ridges there are, what the circumference is, or what kind of slopes I am going to encounter! The thought often runs through my head, "This is how people die." My only hopes are that I hear the creek getting louder as I go and the distance to the GPS reading of where I had slept in my truck the night before was getting slowly closer. However, I know that the distance is as the crow flies and not necessarily where I am head. In addition, I don't have a GPS reading on where I am parked but think that I am about a half mile closer.
At this point thing start getting steep again. I use one trekking pole, which is always a life saver. However, it becomes rather cumbersome as I have to traverse on all fours. I scramble to the trees as quickly as I can where I can get some hand holds, but have to awkwardly duck and drag bottom to get under the branches that are latching onto my pack. Finally I notice some deer tracks that tend to pick a descent path and follow them a short distance until it flattens out into another long stretch of scree. I recognize the opposing ridge in the moonlight now which is reassuring as it tells me I have made my way around finally. As suddenly as the goat had appeared to my on both occasions, the road was in front of me. I gladly drop the pack and head for the truck, which was no problem without the pack the had to be pushing 100 lbs.
I now have renewed hope and now that I have to man up and finish what I have started. I pack the cape in ice and drive as closely as I can to the quad. There is no way that I am going to repeat that route. On the first day there was a nice truck that had slid off the road and abandoned as it was on the brink of rolling down the hill. I had removed the strap that they had tried to wrap around a small rock in the ground with a tow strap and cummalong since it was loose anyhow and squeezed past with inches to spare hoping that I would not provide the last push over the edge. I felt like I was opening and closing a gate to my hunting grounds. It was fortunately gone upon my return as things had dried out enough to probably just drive it out. I parked just before this spot and have to climb from there a respectable distance just to get to my original starting point where the quad was parked. I believe it was around 2:30 am as I depart.
gogittem, great story and a scray grueling packout! Question though, why not a no gut quater? Would have save you time and agravation and you can still get out all the meat. Great job though and an adventure im sure you will never forget. Your write a very good story.
Good story and congrats on the goat. I used to have a 3 arrow quiver before I had an embarrassing situation of my own with a whitetail.:-)
GotBowAZ the answer is that I have never done much more than skin my game and take it to the butcher. I have had a lot of good fortune to not have to pack out. I have halved some animals and had a buddy help me quarter out an elk only once. I have now gained more experience cutting meat and will try that next time. Stay tuned for the rest of this story. Thanks!
Hey nice goat! Crap happens when we get worked up. Your story reminds me of the second ever whitetail I shot. I missed judged the distance and spined her. Wanting to finish her off and being about as jacked up as a guy could possibly be I shot every arrow in my quiver at that deer before realizing I could simply climb down and put one in her from up close. That poor girl looked like she had been in a knife fight by the time it was all said and done!
Lol Rooster! Funny thing is I don't think I was very nerved up. I just didn't want to scare him up anymore. Maybe more than I think. I think the wind may have pushed my early shots down a little. On my overshot I don't think I looked at the elevation compensator. And the disaster shot is a mystery. The great news is that the good people at Pellegrino's Archery Hut gave my Matthews Monster a thorough check and a couple of test shots. It got the green light expense free!
Great story. The packout sounded a little scary. Congrats on your mountain goat
Congrats on your goat and a great write up.
Congratulations on a great trophy! Thanks for sharing.
When I reach the quad, I decided it best to retrace the route of my hunt and not risk another unknown shot in the dark. I descend to roughly the same area and then have a heck of a hard time finding my stash as now the wind has picked up, the moonlight disappears, and a light drizzle begins. For some reason when I recorded this spot on the GPS, it did not register the elevation. This makes it much more difficult and I again find myself doing circles trying to get the right direction out of the GPS and try using the distance to landmark as my guide. It gains a little then loses a little. Tells me to go left and then right. Finally I arrive at 4:05 AM.
I was hoping this load would be lighter, but as I tie the game bags to the pack it is not feeling good. I pick it up in disbelief as it is significantly heavier than the first load! I hate leaving my bow which has the bloody arrow in the quiver that passed through the goat and my bag that has my gear and electronics including jerky, snacks, and water. I can just see a bear tearing them to pieces and strewing it all about the mountainside. I have all that I can handle so I head up. Now the wind and drizzle pick up and I am having a heck of a time picking a path. I find some trees near timberline (11,700 ft) that provide some descent cover, mark my location, and decide to go back after my belongings so that I at least have my survival gear which includes Goretex pants. I am moving with haste and have the same GPS troubles finding them again. Likewise, when I do, I overshoot the meat my 80' and have to retreat again to find it. Much of this terrain is 3-4 contacts steep. I decide to take cover, debone the meat and wait until daylight so that I can see where in the heck I need to go.
This has taken me into the light of day and I am again taken back that despite shedding all those bones that this thing can still way so much! Regardless, I strap my daypack over the meat and pack my bow out at the same time. Finishing the trip like the little train that thinks it can, I finally arrive at the quad and return to the truck at 9am. I still think I have a little goat as I arrive at the CDOW office in Salida and make the comment that mine is nothing like theirs on the wall. The officer is surprised when I open up the tarp and assures me that I have done well. With both tips broken they measure him at 6.5 in on one side and 7 and 3/8 in on the other. Circumference 5 and 4 and 3/4. They counted with uncertainty 6 rings, but the taxidermist insists it to be 7.5 years and 8" face. They were both amazed at his coat for the time a year and said he is a big mature goat. Funny, now I feel really good about it! I apologize if my ignorance frustrates the goat savvy among you. Now I have requested a half mount despite having caped it wrong. Hope it turns out!
That is quite an impressive story Mr gogittem. You are in a pretty elite class of hunters considering this is only your second year of bow hunting and I am sure your first goat hunt ever. Getting a tag after only 8 years is impressive enough, but to actually get a very nice billy on your first hunt is pretty amazing. Especially with a bow and in such rugged terrain. Most people can barely walk in those rugged mountains at that elevation, let alone track a nice billy. And to do all that work to track and then pack it out is going to be a story that you will remember until you die. Definitely one you will want to tell the grand kids when you are older and all your drinking buddies. You may even get a beer or two out of the story..... Congratulations!! That is an impressive feat. I am sure your family and friends are very jealous....
Rendering jealousy is not my intent Pan, but thank you for the kind remarks! I would be happy to take you up on one of those beers sometime
Just a few more pics that some of you might like to see. Grizzly Lake while on the search
Now to the right with a little sunlight. Act natural
I am long overdue in posting the mount and am happy that I have been able to edit my story.
I am long overdue in posting the mount and am happy that I have been able to edit my story.
As a goat guide myself, I really enjoyed your write up. Congratulations!!!! All the hard work paid off.