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So I started this thread over on the Colorado forum last year and left the story hanging. I’ll try to post the story as a timeline semi-live style and add some pics along the way. Here it goes...
This hunt began unlike any other. It did not begin sometime in early summer with a successful draw. In fact, it was another year without drawing a Mountain Goat tag in my home state of Colorado. It began months later in early October. I was at work watching the season come to an end for my favorite baseball team. In the late innings I got a phone call from a Denver number that I didn’t recognize. Normally I wouldn’t answer but for some reason I did. The conversation went something like this. “This is Tyler from Colorado Parks and Wildlife. I’m calling to see if you would be interested in a special management hunt for Mountain Goat.” After many years without luck drawing a tag, I didn’t hesitate to say count me in! Then I had to ask, “what’s that?” Apparently, there is a small population of goats in a sheep management area competing for food and resources with the local bighorns. When he explained the general area that the goats have been seen in it was almost too good to be true. I spent more than 10 years living in the nearest mountain town and knew these mountains well. This was going to be a high altitude hunt, even for Mountain goat standards as the majority of Colorado’s highest peaks are in this area. I knew this hunt was going to be tough, my only other question was “when does it start?” “That’s the catch” he said, “it starts the day after tomorrow”. As a firefighter I already had 4 days off starting the next day, so I made a few calls, did a few trades and I was good to go. After little sleep that night, I headed home, loaded up the truck and after 12 years of unsuccessful applications, less than 24 hours after that phone call I was going Mountain Goat hunting!
That’s a great call to get! Look forward to the rest of the story
Getting to the top
Getting to the top
The first evening I thought I would focus my spotting efforts near a mountain pass where I had elk hunted and fought a few wildfires in the past. I ran into a lucky Moose hunter who had been in the area for 10 straight days. He said he had only seen 2 goats one time and that was a few days ago. I knew that the population of goats in the area was low because after talking to the local wildlife manager he said he was only aware of 5 goats in the entire unit which comprises about 532 square miles. Light was getting low and I was unable to locate any goats, but I did put together a game plan for the next day. I would get up before sunrise and hike up a couple thousand feet so I could parallel the tree line and cover the most alpine ground I could. The morning came fast and the weather was cool but not too cold for this time of the year. I made it up to tree line and the sky was clear. I set up the spotting scope and could see for miles along the ridge... nothing. I hiked a few more miles and the weather was changing fast. Clouds were building and I figured my window for spotting was closing. A few hours later, I made my way all the way up to the ridge, so I could see into the basin on the other side. After hours of one foot in front of the other at nearly 14,000 ft, about the time I reached the ridge the clouds began piling in. I was only able to glass into this basin for a few minutes before and visibility went to zero. Time to head back down. The way back down was slippery and sketchy. The clouds brought with them some serious wind and classic Colorado grapple. A painful on the face mix of freezing sleet and snow similar to hail. After 3 or 4 hours of basically being sandblasted I made it safely down to the truck.
Very cool.....just to put eyes on a goat will be a success.
I can't wait to hear the rest of this.
I can’t either. One written post a day is really stringing it out too
Since I covered some real ground and came up with no goats that morning I loaded up and headed around the mountain range to the other side. I found an old unmaintained mining trail that led up just below an alpine mountain lake. I made it up as far as I could, grabbed my pack and spotting scope and was off for the evening. I got into a high basin surrounded by treeless rugged peaks and some fresh blown in snow. I set up the scope and began scanning around the ridges. It wasn’t long before I pointed the scope toward the most rugged, inaccessible and steep cliffs in the valley. Wouldn’t you know, that’s exactly where they were. I saw 2 goats feeding in a cliff band about 500 feet below the summit and maybe 1500 feet above the lake. I watched them until dark and all morning the next day. They never left that rock band. I hiked up the next afternoon and got as close as I safely could. Although this was a rifle tag, I have always dreamed of getting it done with bow in hand. The closest I could get was well over 1000 yards away. I knew there was no way I was going to get within bow range when they were in that location. I watched them closely until dark and could tell that both goats were mature billy’s, but one was a little better than the other. They both had decent length, but one had noticeably bigger bases and a substantially bigger body. They were both absolutely beautiful with thick pure white winter fur. For me, either would be a fine trophy. Maybe tomorrow I could make a play on them?
Nice! Hopefully you can close the gap somehow fishnride. Love to see it done with a bow. Best of luck...and thanks for taking us along. Kevin
That is simply awesome terrain. I'd love to be there!
Going to be a fun hunt to follow!
Fun stuff especially when you look down and see the top side of the clouds.
This is killing me!!! Want more!!!
The next day came and I found them in the same place, but something seemed different. They were slowly feeding their way up through the cliffs toward the ridge line. I thought this might be my chance, so I packed up and headed for a saddle between the high peak they were climbing and another. It took hours to get up there without being able to see them, the whole time wondering if it was the right move. When I crested the saddle, I looked around and realized that this was the same basin that I was glassing in a few days prior. I looked up to my left, there they were just coming over the ridge. Could this be it? I started climbing up the ridge trying to put whatever little rock pile or topography between myself and the goats that I could. Maybe it was adrenaline, maybe it was training, but I actually felt somewhat acclimated and was making up ground pretty quick. Up on the spine of the mountain the wind was blowing so hard that a few times I had to drop to my hands and knees just to avoid getting blown off the mountain. It took a while, but I was able to get about 100 yards away without them seeing me. I was behind about the last little feature to hide my silhouette. I dropped my pack and nocked an arrow. They were feeding away from me, so every time they would put their heads down I would gain a few yards. The wind was good noise cover, but my plan was to just freeze every time they stopped feeding. Could this actually work? Well after about 30 minutes of creeping along this 12-inch goat trail I identified the larger billy, reached for my rangefinder and it read 28 yards. This was it! I drew back and despite the wind the arrow flew straight right for the vitals. It hit home exactly where I was aiming and the billy ran full speed across a slope where a man couldn’t go even if he wanted to. He went around the peak and out of sight. After regaining my composure, I went back and got my pack. I looked at the GPS and it read 13,825 feet, wow! As I hiked around the mountain, I saw the billy bedded down in the exact same place that I had hiked to from the other side of the range a few days prior. After hiking down to the billy it all became so real. Only a few days earlier I was at work with no plans of hunting mountain goats in my near future. Now I had my hands on a record book billy that I took on a solo hunt with my bow. After years and years of unsuccessful draws it all started with a phone call only five days prior.
Spectacular job! It just doesn’t get any better than that! Congratulations again!
Wow, great story, Congrats on a well earned trophy.
What a great accomplishment! Wow! Thanks for sharing this inspiring story.
Wow, great story and an awesome accomplishment!
Congrats to you on a great hunt and even better goat, Keith!
Nice work. Great goat with a bow to boot. Congrats
Amazing hunt and thanks for taking me along !! Hunt
Thanks for sharing your awesome story and pictures :)
Great reading and pics, congrats!!
Congratulations on an incredible adventure and an amazing trophy! Pete
Awesome! Very good. Thanks for the great recap.
Loved it! Thanks for posting
Outstanding! Congratulations on a beautiful billy!
Amazing story and outstanding trophy photos! Congratulations on a truly great accomplishment! Love stories like this on Bowsite!
Thanks for posting man, epic!
I want a goat bad and stories like this definitely fuel the fire!!
Congrats! What an accomplishment, especially on such short notice.
great story! thank you for sharing.
Have more pics to share of your terrain?
Damn the highest peak in CO is 14.4!!
That is about as close to a perfect hunt as it gets. Well done!
Awesome!! Record book? What does it score?
Good work!!! Very cool indeed!
Awesome story, congrats!!
Great story! Congrats. Great pictures too.
Great job on getting it done and thanks for sharing!
Nicely done fishnride! Congrats on a great goat and recap of your hunt. Thanks for taking us along. Kevin
I finally got to read this-- great stuff! What a fun, exciting, and fortunate turn of events in just a few days. You sure did well with your opportunity when you got it- congrats!
CONGRATS! Amazing goat and hunt!
Congratulations! Great stuff. Thanks for sharing.
Amazing hunt and spectacular pictures, sounds like this was meant to be! Congratulations.
When luck rains on ya...it pours! Great story and pics!
Ultra cool story and a killer bow killed goat to boot!! Very, very well done sir. Bravo!!
Amazing story and goat! Well deserved, congrats!
Congratulations! Great story and accomplishment.
Man, that was great! Outstanding trophy....well deserved!
Good stuff. Congrats man.
Congrats thanks for sharing!
Congrats and thank you for taking me to a place I could never be! Beautiful in pics though! Thanks
Honored to receive this!
Honored to receive this!
Thanks guys. This was certainly the hunt of my lifetime and pretty incredible how it all came together. To answer some of your questions the goat ended up scoring 43 0/8” P&Y and I went with a shoulder mount.
Here’s a few more pics from the pack out which was sketchy to say the least. Thanks for following!
Amazing turn of events! Congrats!