Mathews Inc.
Sometimes the first one is easy!
Mountain Goat
Contributors to this thread:
Treeline 28-Oct-19
Bowboy 28-Oct-19
EmbryOklahoma 28-Oct-19
Treeline 28-Oct-19
Treeline 28-Oct-19
Ambush 29-Oct-19
tkjwonta 29-Oct-19
JakeBrake 29-Oct-19
BULELK1 29-Oct-19
Scoot 29-Oct-19
Paul@thefort 29-Oct-19
Rookie 29-Oct-19
Treeline 29-Oct-19
bohuntr 29-Oct-19
Rock 29-Oct-19
Treeline 29-Oct-19
Treeline 29-Oct-19
Brotsky 29-Oct-19
Treeline 29-Oct-19
Bow Bullet 29-Oct-19
Treeline 29-Oct-19
Treeline 29-Oct-19
Treeline 29-Oct-19
JohnMC 29-Oct-19
Treeline 29-Oct-19
Treeline 29-Oct-19
Treeline 29-Oct-19
Treeline 29-Oct-19
Treeline 29-Oct-19
Treeline 29-Oct-19
altitude sick 29-Oct-19
Treeline 29-Oct-19
altitude sick 29-Oct-19
Treeline 29-Oct-19
Stoneman 29-Oct-19
Treeline 29-Oct-19
JohnMC 29-Oct-19
Treeline 29-Oct-19
JohnMC 29-Oct-19
Treeline 29-Oct-19
altitude sick 29-Oct-19
t-roy 29-Oct-19
Treeline 29-Oct-19
Treeline 29-Oct-19
Treeline 29-Oct-19
Treeline 29-Oct-19
Treeline 29-Oct-19
altitude sick 30-Oct-19
Treeline 30-Oct-19
Treeline 30-Oct-19
Treeline 30-Oct-19
Paul@thefort 30-Oct-19
Treeline 30-Oct-19
Treeline 30-Oct-19
Grey Ghost 30-Oct-19
Treeline 30-Oct-19
Grey Ghost 30-Oct-19
Treeline 30-Oct-19
Treeline 30-Oct-19
Treeline 30-Oct-19
Treeline 30-Oct-19
Treeline 30-Oct-19
Nick Muche 30-Oct-19
Scoot 30-Oct-19
Brotsky 30-Oct-19
Treeline 30-Oct-19
Treeline 30-Oct-19
Treeline 30-Oct-19
Treeline 30-Oct-19
Treeline 30-Oct-19
Treeline 30-Oct-19
Treeline 30-Oct-19
Treeline 30-Oct-19
Treeline 30-Oct-19
Treeline 30-Oct-19
Treeline 30-Oct-19
Treeline 30-Oct-19
Treeline 30-Oct-19
Paul@thefort 30-Oct-19
Treeline 30-Oct-19
Treeline 30-Oct-19
Treeline 30-Oct-19
Treeline 30-Oct-19
Treeline 30-Oct-19
Treeline 30-Oct-19
Treeline 30-Oct-19
Paul@thefort 30-Oct-19
Bou'bound 30-Oct-19
Treeline 30-Oct-19
Treeline 30-Oct-19
Treeline 30-Oct-19
Treeline 30-Oct-19
Scoot 30-Oct-19
Treeline 30-Oct-19
Treeline 30-Oct-19
Treeline 30-Oct-19
Treeline 30-Oct-19
Treeline 30-Oct-19
Treeline 30-Oct-19
Treeline 30-Oct-19
OFFHNTN 30-Oct-19
RogBow 30-Oct-19
Brotsky 30-Oct-19
Paul@thefort 30-Oct-19
Treeline 30-Oct-19
Bowboy 30-Oct-19
Treeline 30-Oct-19
Ambush 30-Oct-19
Stoneman 30-Oct-19
Scoot 30-Oct-19
goelk 31-Oct-19
otcWill 31-Oct-19
elkmtngear 31-Oct-19
Ermine 31-Oct-19
Ghost425 31-Oct-19
Adventurewriter 01-Nov-19
Whocares 01-Nov-19
JohnMC 01-Nov-19
Treeline 01-Nov-19
Ermine 01-Nov-19
Ucsdryder 01-Nov-19
JohnMC 01-Nov-19
Treeline 01-Nov-19
BULELK1 04-Nov-19
Smtn10PT 04-Nov-19
From: Treeline
28-Oct-19

Treeline's embedded Photo
Treeline's embedded Photo
Those of us that have been playing the application games across the western states for multiple years know the highs and lows that come from both sides of the coin when it comes to drawing tags.

Depression from not drawing that coveted tag that you have diligently applied for for over 20 years.

Exhilaration when that coveted tag is in your hand.

High anxiety to be able to make the time away from work, home and family to have even a slim chance of success.

Tough wilderness mountain hunts in crazy country for such amazing creatures as sheep, goat, and moose are the most precious and coveted of those tags. Many of these can take the better part of a lifetime to acquire.

Only a crazy person would apply for those super tough hunts with a bow. Only a truly insane person would think that they would have a chance with a traditional bow!

Guess I fall into the latter group...

From: Bowboy
28-Oct-19
This is going to be good!

28-Oct-19
Oh yes... come on with it, T!

From: Treeline
28-Oct-19
My 2019 goat tag arrived in the mail on a snowy day in May. I was the proud owner of a tag to hunt what has been labeled “the toughest goat hunt in North America”!

Yeehaw! Let the games begin!

I had committed to helping one of my best and oldest hunting buddies for an elk hunt in Colorado. On top of that, I had also drawn a top shelf Wyoming elk limited draw that had taken 1 less than maximum points.

From where I sit, I was probably holding two “once in a lifetime” tags.

On top of that, I was right at a year into a new job with very limited vacation!

Anxiety ensued. In large doses.

From: Treeline
28-Oct-19

Treeline's embedded Photo
Treeline's embedded Photo
Looks about like any other tag in Colorado, with a few minor differences;-)

From: Ambush
29-Oct-19
OH Yeah!! He done it!!

From: tkjwonta
29-Oct-19
Woohoo Tavis, been waiting for this one. Bring it on!

From: JakeBrake
29-Oct-19
Looking forward to this....did I miss your Wy elk story, or have you not yet posted it?

From: BULELK1
29-Oct-19
I'll have to double check for this when I get back next week as I am leaving this early AM for another elk hunt.

Congrats in advance Tavis!!

Good luck, Robb

From: Scoot
29-Oct-19
Can't wait for this! Tavis won't disappoint!

From: Paul@thefort
29-Oct-19
Goat hunting CAN be fun. Good luck. my best, Paul

From: Rookie
29-Oct-19
Awesome looking forward to seeing how this all plays out! Wishing you the best of luck!

From: Treeline
29-Oct-19

Treeline's embedded Photo
Treeline's embedded Photo
I immediately started contacting people who had previously hunted the unit as well as several people with horses. The recommendations were, for the most part, very similar as to where to go and matched the CPW kill data.

I was actually considering going deeper into the back country than what most hunters do on horseback. The trip to the area I was looking at is 18 miles from the south trailhead and would be quite the adventure.

May was still really early down in the San Juan’s this year. Still way too much snow. Colorado had a bumper crop of snow last winter and the SW corner really got pounded with around 500% of normal.

A buddy from down that way sent me a picture of what it looked like on the highway on one of the passes on May 16.

Scouting would have to wait a bit...

From: bohuntr
29-Oct-19
Looking forward to this Tavis!

From: Rock
29-Oct-19
Travis stated "On top of that, I was right at a year into a new job with very limited vacation!"

I have that same issue back in the mid 80'2 when I drew a Sheep tag for a 30 day long season. Told my boss that I had drawn a OIL Sheep tag (actually my second) and that the season was 30 days long and I was going to hunt every day of it if needed. Told him I would be back to work after I killed one or the season ended if he still wanted me back. He said to call him when I was back in town, when I did he told me I could come back to work the next day after hunting all 30 days.

That was not the first or last time I told a boss what I was going to do or quit a job for a hunt.

From: Treeline
29-Oct-19
To reply to a couple of comments:

Jake, I will touch on Wyoming a bit further along.

Ron, I pulled off as much time as possible! Had a couple of things pop up right in the middle of hunting season that I had to deal with though. More detail to come...

From: Treeline
29-Oct-19

Treeline's embedded Photo
Trout on the Yampa
Treeline's embedded Photo
Trout on the Yampa
Treeline's embedded Photo
Redfish in Louisiana
Treeline's embedded Photo
Redfish in Louisiana
Treeline's embedded Photo
Wife with a nice red
Treeline's embedded Photo
Wife with a nice red
Treeline's embedded Photo
Nathan with a nice brown
Treeline's embedded Photo
Nathan with a nice brown
Well, summer blew past. Seems like every year that goes by is shorter than the last. Could not imagine what my grandparents were talking about when I was young and they kept telling me that.

Must be getting old.

Working at an office 4 hours from home is a real pain sometimes. Time to do the things I want to do becomes very precious. Weekends home become relegated to yard work, repairs around the house, plumbing, painting, spending time with the wife, vacationing with the wife, etc.

Not much left over for shooting, getting in shape, scouting, etc. I did get in some fishing and one good scouting trip to Wyoming, though.

From: Brotsky
29-Oct-19
Damn, missed the start of this yesterday. There goes productivity this afternoon! Can't wait to see a hero shot here buddy! Bring it on!

From: Treeline
29-Oct-19

Treeline's embedded Photo
Treeline's embedded Photo
Treeline's embedded Photo
Grandson had a blast shooting dinosaurs until he froze
Treeline's embedded Photo
Grandson had a blast shooting dinosaurs until he froze
Treeline's embedded Photo
After several long days of winching out stuck rigs
Treeline's embedded Photo
After several long days of winching out stuck rigs
The annual CTAS high country shoot was a bit of a mess, but managed to muddle through.

Not sure how many big Ford and Dodge diesel trucks got pulled out of the mud by the little toy, but it was a few!

A bit unexpected to get this much snow the first day of summer but we are in Colorado after all!

I did get to shoot one range and went home totally beat. Awesome event!

From: Bow Bullet
29-Oct-19
Brotsky - at this rate your productivity shouldn't suffer too much. C'mon Treeline, step up the pace! :D

From: Treeline
29-Oct-19
Late August and the start of archery season in Colorado found me in Peru. Damnit.

A major proposal had me tied down as soon as I returned. Double Damnit!

Finally got the fires beat down enough to meet my buddies in Wyoming for elk the 22nd of September. That hunt did not go well and lost a lot of hunting time to weather and logistics. A couple of close calls but did not close the deal...

From: Treeline
29-Oct-19

Treeline's embedded Photo
Cold fog and snow sux!
Treeline's embedded Photo
Cold fog and snow sux!
Treeline's embedded Photo
Requisite boot pic
Treeline's embedded Photo
Requisite boot pic
Treeline's embedded Photo
Even the bow was sad without anything to shoot
Treeline's embedded Photo
Even the bow was sad without anything to shoot
Treeline's embedded Photo
Fog below treeline, no elk above!
Treeline's embedded Photo
Fog below treeline, no elk above!

From: Treeline
29-Oct-19
Have a bit of patience Bowbullet! Sneaking in posts between work can be difficult!

From: JohnMC
29-Oct-19
You said you already missed a ton of work for these hunts. What a little more to keep bowsite entertained on a snow day! ;)

From: Treeline
29-Oct-19

Treeline's embedded Photo
Ouray for the night, a little weather possible in the high country
Treeline's embedded Photo
Ouray for the night, a little weather possible in the high country
Wyoming was a bust. Along with OTC elk and two bear tags in CO.

Work took me out of the country again in early October but I was able to get back for a few days to help my buddy get a nice bull with his rifle.

Time was not on my side for the goat hunt, but I was still determined to give ‘em hell! Finally got a break on the work front on October 17 and actually had a buddy with some time that was fired up to come along for the ride!

The truck was packed and we were off!

From: Treeline
29-Oct-19

Treeline's embedded Photo
Some weather headed up red mountain pass
Treeline's embedded Photo
Some weather headed up red mountain pass
Treeline's embedded Photo
A little soggy in Silverton
Treeline's embedded Photo
A little soggy in Silverton

From: Treeline
29-Oct-19

Treeline's embedded Photo
Finally! Goat country:-)
Treeline's embedded Photo
Finally! Goat country:-)
Treeline's embedded Photo
Cool old mine stuff
Treeline's embedded Photo
Cool old mine stuff
Treeline's embedded Photo
Made it to the top
Treeline's embedded Photo
Made it to the top
Treeline's embedded Photo
Top of the world!
Treeline's embedded Photo
Top of the world!
Not sure how to add video on Bowsite from the phone but have some really cool stuff showing how to get a Toyota up a nasty, snowy, icy, mountain;-). It was really windy and stormy on top.

We glassed a number of basins and walls with no goats spotted.

That was OK though because we had a plan! Headed to Goat Central the next day! The place where there were so many goats that they were a considered to be a nuisance! Actually follow the hikers around trying to get a candy bar or a bit of salt from the urine!

Hell yeah! Easy Peezy! We were gonna be neck deep in pet goats! Even someone with limited shooting ability like me could even have a chance!

From: Treeline
29-Oct-19

Treeline's embedded Photo
A sign on the sidewalk in Durango
Treeline's embedded Photo
A sign on the sidewalk in Durango
Treeline's embedded Photo
The train
Treeline's embedded Photo
The train
Treeline's embedded Photo
Treeline's embedded Photo
We had booked the Durango-Silverton train to drop us off at Needleton and hike up to Chicago Basin.

Set up the round trip to leave Saturday and come back Wednesday.

Dang! Can’t get the pics to straighten out after the first one. Sorry about that.

Should be plenty of time to kill a goat in there!

From: Treeline
29-Oct-19

Treeline's embedded Photo
Treeline's embedded Photo
We loaded all our gear up on the baggage car and hopped on the train to goat nirvana!

From: Treeline
29-Oct-19

Treeline's embedded Photo
Got to see a bunch of hot air balloons on the ride
Treeline's embedded Photo
Got to see a bunch of hot air balloons on the ride
Treeline's embedded Photo
Spectacular scenery
Treeline's embedded Photo
Spectacular scenery
Treeline's embedded Photo
Beautiful river
Treeline's embedded Photo
Beautiful river
Treeline's embedded Photo
And some not as pretty!
Treeline's embedded Photo
And some not as pretty!

29-Oct-19

altitude sick's embedded Photo
Chicago basin about 10 years ago. I was climbing not hunting. And since I wasn’t hunting the goats taunted me constantly.
altitude sick's embedded Photo
Chicago basin about 10 years ago. I was climbing not hunting. And since I wasn’t hunting the goats taunted me constantly.

From: Treeline
29-Oct-19

Treeline's embedded Photo
Needleton
Treeline's embedded Photo
Needleton
The train stopped at Needleton and they tossed out our bags. There was a big camp of rifle elk hunters already set up across the tracks. We shouldered into our packs and took off across the bridge and the trail to the fabled Chicago Basin.

29-Oct-19

altitude sick's embedded Photo
altitude sick's embedded Photo

From: Treeline
29-Oct-19

Treeline's embedded Photo
Treeline's embedded Photo
Over the river and thru the woods!

From: Stoneman
29-Oct-19
Enjoying the story, great pictures!

From: Treeline
29-Oct-19
They get better, Dave!

Just wish I could show you guys some of the video from the phone. Really cool stuff, there!

From: JohnMC
29-Oct-19
Travis down load it to youtube and post the link. It is easy if you have never done it.

From: Treeline
29-Oct-19
Never done that, will see if I can figure it out.

From: JohnMC
29-Oct-19
If they are short enough to email or text I'll give you a number or email you can send to and can put them on there if you don't figure it out.

From: Treeline
29-Oct-19
Sorry for the delay! Having some technical difficulties!

29-Oct-19
I’ll add some filler to keep it going. Like an intermission :^)

I’ve never had a tag for that unit, but I can say that it’s worth a train trip to the Chicago basin. For a hike, camp or climbing. Just a fun little adventure even without a tag.

Having a goat tag would be a big cherry on top. Successful or not. I will just experience it through your story.

From: t-roy
29-Oct-19
So THAT’S what one of those coveted tags look like!!! Still waiting to draw one of them :-(

Keep it coming, Tavis!

From: Treeline
29-Oct-19

Treeline's Link
Ok. What a pain in the a$$!

Videos suck! Hope this works.

This one was cool busting up the mountain!

From: Treeline
29-Oct-19

Treeline's Link
The train

From: Treeline
29-Oct-19
OK. Figured out a little bit of the insanity of YouTube!

Hopefully some will like those videos. Not professional or even amateur level but limited by my stupidity!

From: Treeline
29-Oct-19

Treeline's embedded Photo
Treeline's embedded Photo
Treeline's embedded Photo
Taking a rest
Treeline's embedded Photo
Taking a rest
Treeline's embedded Photo
Getting a drink from New York Creek
Treeline's embedded Photo
Getting a drink from New York Creek
Treeline's embedded Photo
Camp
Treeline's embedded Photo
Camp
The trail up to Chicago Basin is a pretty continuous grade up from about 8,000 to where we camped at about 11,000.

Think that first hitch was around 6 or 7 miles to get to camp.

Not too bad, but pretty sure we took too much stuff. The weather was slated to get a bit cold so we took a lot of extra clothes and gear to try and stay warm.

No fires in Needle Creek so could be interesting. We also took climbing gear just in case we might need it.

From: Treeline
29-Oct-19

Treeline's embedded Photo
Camp sweet camp
Treeline's embedded Photo
Camp sweet camp
Treeline's embedded Photo
Treeline's embedded Photo
Sorry, wrong pic of camp!

30-Oct-19
Nice

From: Treeline
30-Oct-19

Treeline's embedded Photo
Ted’s self bow
Treeline's embedded Photo
Ted’s self bow

Treeline's Link
For this hunt I too two bows - my homemade laminated Osage bow and a very special self bow.

The self bow was made by Jake Powell for a good friend, Ted Grover. Ted passed away before he ever got to take that bow on a hunt. I hunted with Ted’s bow for most of this hunt with my bow in reserve.

I say a little something about it on the video link.

From: Treeline
30-Oct-19

Treeline's Link
A couple more video clips of the hike in. We had perfect weather for the hike!

From: Treeline
30-Oct-19

Treeline's Link
Entering Chicago Basin and looking for a camp spot.

From: Paul@thefort
30-Oct-19
Tavis, it was 18 years ago I stayed at your house in Leadville and then later climbed to the spot you showed me to bow hunt mt goats. I still remember your gracious help to this day for my successful hunt. Fun stuff for sure. my best, Paul

From: Treeline
30-Oct-19

Treeline's embedded Photo
Treeline's embedded Photo
Thanks, Paul!

After getting camp squared away, we climbed up to look for goats.

From: Treeline
30-Oct-19

Treeline's embedded Photo
Treeline's embedded Photo

Treeline's Link
The next morning was cold! The weather was calling for it to get colder with snow over the next couple of days. The forecast called for it to drop down to single digits.

Since we hadn’t seen any goats the evening before, we climbed to the top of the hanging basin above camp to see if there were any goats back there we couldn’t see from below.

Tough camping conditions for sure! Especially with the fire restrictions!

Although it made for extra weight in the packs, we had packed plenty of warm clothes and gear to keep from freezing to death. We also packed in climbing gear just in case we might need it on ice covered rocks and cliffs.

From: Grey Ghost
30-Oct-19
Treeline,

You can embed your Youtube videos directly to your posts. On Youtube click on the "Share" button, then click on the "Embed" button. Copy the embed code, then paste it to your post. Like this:

Hope this helps. Enjoying your story.

Matt

From: Treeline
30-Oct-19
Will try that going forward. My first time ever with YouTube and it is painful!

I know this is carrying on a bit, but working on it in bits and pieces.

Pretty damn good adventure overall and thinking a lot of guys will enjoy the pictures and videos that show the story.

PS. There will be dead critters! You will just have to put up with my ramblings a bit to get there!

From: Grey Ghost
30-Oct-19
Treeline,

Multiple PMs sent. Hope they help.

Matt

From: Treeline
30-Oct-19
So, back to the story and we will see if this works to get a video into it.

Up we went.

From: Treeline
30-Oct-19
Hey, that worked! Doesn't want to work from the phone though...

And we climbed some more.

From: Treeline
30-Oct-19
We saw mule deer and elk on the way up, but no goats.

We kept climbing till we ran out of up.

Then dropped over into New York Basin. A good friend that had the tag a few years back had told me that it was full of goats. At least 60 in there and several billies when he had hunted the last week of the season.

Well, not when we were there. No goats again.

From: Treeline
30-Oct-19

Treeline's embedded Photo
Head of New York Basin
Treeline's embedded Photo
Head of New York Basin
Treeline's embedded Photo
Looking down New York and one of the skyscrapers
Treeline's embedded Photo
Looking down New York and one of the skyscrapers

From: Treeline
30-Oct-19

Treeline's embedded Photo
Still looking! That bow makes a great monopod!
Treeline's embedded Photo
Still looking! That bow makes a great monopod!

From: Nick Muche
30-Oct-19
Looks like really amazing country to be in, let alone with a Goat tag in your pocket!

From: Scoot
30-Oct-19
This is awesome! That country is spectacular!!!

From: Brotsky
30-Oct-19
"PS. There will be dead critters!"

This is Treeline we're talking about here....was there ever any doubt? Ha! Loving the adventure so far Tavis!

From: Treeline
30-Oct-19
Well, after two days, 5,711’ of elevation difference and 18 miles of hiking, no goats!

They must be in the next basin! We will go find them and kill one tomorrow!

Weather came in a bit and the wind picked up. We headed back up to the notch out of New York and dropped the 2,440’ back down to a very cold camp.

From: Treeline
30-Oct-19

Treeline's embedded Photo
Cold morning pumping water
Treeline's embedded Photo
Cold morning pumping water
Not sure how cold it got, but it was rough.

I had a water bladder between my sleeping bag and pad and the damn thing froze solid.

Getting water at the creek was interesting. It was frozen solid and I had to break a hole to get to water. Put the pump in my pocket to keep it from freezing up. As soon as a water bottle was filled, it froze.

Really neat watching ice form in your water bottle like that.

Had a little snow. Just enough to make it interesting in the rocks:-)

Was certain that today was the day! Hell, with the fresh snow and ice, they couldn’t possible get away!

From: Treeline
30-Oct-19
We headed further up Chicago Basin to the east and then hooked up into a couple of basins to the north that could not be seen from below. Hiked up to treeline and then cut up to the eastern basin.

From: Treeline
30-Oct-19

Treeline's embedded Photo
Ain’t nuthin but a hill! Ha!
Treeline's embedded Photo
Ain’t nuthin but a hill! Ha!
Treeline's embedded Photo
Little ice left over from last year up top
Treeline's embedded Photo
Little ice left over from last year up top
Treeline's embedded Photo
Treeline's embedded Photo
Treeline's embedded Photo
Gotta be goats in here somewhere!
Treeline's embedded Photo
Gotta be goats in here somewhere!
We climbed till we ran out of up and dropped over the other side.

From: Treeline
30-Oct-19
Looked at the backside and then looped back over to look into another basin that we couldn't see.

From: Treeline
30-Oct-19

From: Treeline
30-Oct-19

Treeline's embedded Photo
Goat hair in the bushes
Treeline's embedded Photo
Goat hair in the bushes
Treeline's embedded Photo
More of it
Treeline's embedded Photo
More of it
There was goat hair in a lot of the bushes around camp and the fingers of trees along the hills. We decided to go west the next day and glass hard down into the trees.

From: Treeline
30-Oct-19
After a few miles down the ridge looking into the trees with nothing spotted, we went up again.

From: Treeline
30-Oct-19

Treeline's embedded Photo
Boot pic
Treeline's embedded Photo
Boot pic
Treeline's embedded Photo
Treeline's embedded Photo
Treeline's embedded Photo
Treeline's embedded Photo
Treeline's embedded Photo
Treeline's embedded Photo
Sat for a breather then glassed hard everywhere a goat should be in all directions.

From: Treeline
30-Oct-19
No goats.

From: Treeline
30-Oct-19

Treeline's embedded Photo
New York Creek camp
Treeline's embedded Photo
New York Creek camp
Well, guess Goat Nirvana moved!

After 4 days in here and no goats seen using good glass, it was time to change plans.

We decided to go down and break camp and hike down to where New York creek joined Needle Creek and see what was happening there.

Rolled down the mountain and loaded up camp. Hiked down to New York in the dark and found a flat spot for the night.

From: Treeline
30-Oct-19

Treeline's embedded Photo
Guess the door wasn’t necessary
Treeline's embedded Photo
Guess the door wasn’t necessary
Treeline's embedded Photo
High class! 2-Holer:-)
Treeline's embedded Photo
High class! 2-Holer:-)
Treeline's embedded Photo
Even had a shelf for “mountain money”!
Treeline's embedded Photo
Even had a shelf for “mountain money”!
Got up in the morning and started looking for any kind of trail up the basin. We crossed the creek a couple of times and eventually ran up against a lot of blowdown and steep.

We decided it would take forever to get up that way and that we still could catch the train out if we hustled.

On the way down we stumbled on an interesting edifice to the mining heritage of Colorado. A bit crazy back that many miles into the wilderness!

From: Treeline
30-Oct-19

Treeline's embedded Photo
Angelo in the outhouse
Treeline's embedded Photo
Angelo in the outhouse
Of course after several days of living on Mountain House, Cliff Bars, and MREs Angelo thought it might be worth a try...

But no luck.

From: Paul@thefort
30-Oct-19
I have always heard that mt goats are easy to see and find. The hard part it getting to them. Well, you are getting to where they should be BUT........................................! good luck.

From: Treeline
30-Oct-19

Treeline's embedded Photo
Coming in across the bridge
Treeline's embedded Photo
Coming in across the bridge
Treeline's embedded Photo
Elk hunter’s camp
Treeline's embedded Photo
Elk hunter’s camp
Treeline's embedded Photo
Treeline's embedded Photo
We packed up our modest camp and headed down the trail to catch the return train. A bit discouraging not to find goats in there but, it happens.

We ended up with time to spare When we got down and BS’d with the elk hunters at the camp when we got there. Also tried to catch an early ride out with one of the work cars. The hunters and railroad workers commented on the lack of game this year.

Guess that 500% bumper crop took it’s toll.

From: Treeline
30-Oct-19
The train ride back to Durango was not quite as exciting as the ride up to Needleton.

Just glad they stopped and let us on!

The cold beer sure was nice after our little jaunt, though!

From: Treeline
30-Oct-19
We got back to Durango in the evening and packed our gear from the train back to the truck. We went and had a hamburger and then started driving back to Denver.

I had several meetings and needed to catch up with some work at the office.

I was tired, sore, beat up, and a bit disappointed.

Pretty much game over at this point. Still had a ton of stuff to do to get ready for winter up at the house in Steamboat as well so was figuring on headed home after taking care of the work backlog.

Of course, that long drive to Denver would not be pretty...

From: Treeline
30-Oct-19
The snow was wet and the plows were throwing balls out all over the road. Some the size of small cars!

We tried to get a room in a couple of places, but no one was manning the lobbies in those small towns. One hotel had 8 people crashed out on the couches and floor. Looked like a group of hunters. They probably had their tent crushed.

We ended up sleeping on the side of the road and in a hotel parking lot.

From: Treeline
30-Oct-19

Treeline's embedded Photo
Ice build up on the truck
Treeline's embedded Photo
Ice build up on the truck

From: Treeline
30-Oct-19
Needless to say, the trip to Denver was brutal!

From: Treeline
30-Oct-19

Treeline's embedded Photo
My bow on top of the mountain
Treeline's embedded Photo
My bow on top of the mountain
Missed a couple of interesting ones along the way.

Enjoy.

From: Paul@thefort
30-Oct-19
"sometimes the first one is easy" and then sometimes not! A good hunt although. my best, Paul

From: Bou'bound
30-Oct-19
this is the most epic and data heavy post in bowsite history.

From: Treeline
30-Oct-19
The whole time I was in my meetings and at work, all I could think about was that I still had a few days left and this would most likely be my last Colorado goat tag.

Getting too old and the costs are getting out of hand to apply.

As I was driving up I-70, I made a call to an outfitter buddy. He offered up a suggestion for an area where he had seen some goats 10 days earlier. Only 8 miles or so in! Doable!

Called the wife and told her I was not coming home and was headed back to goat country! She wasn’t overly ecstatic and listed off the chores that needed to be done and told me we had a big winter storm coming in on Sunday with a lot of snow expected.

It was a tight window but possible! Heck, all I needed to do was find a darn goat and run over there and kill it!

Got to Silverton a little after midnight and we’re able to get a room. Backpacks were emptied and repacked for enough stuff to make it for two days - three in a pinch.

After a couple hours of sleep, we were back on the mountain!

From: Treeline
30-Oct-19

From: Treeline
30-Oct-19

From: Treeline
30-Oct-19
We followed the trail for about 8 miles, glassing likely spots along the way. Finally, I spotted the holy grail! Goats!

From: Scoot
30-Oct-19
Get em, Tavis!

From: Treeline
30-Oct-19
Problem was, to access where they were would take at least 2 more days. Days I did not have.

We walked away from those goats and set camp where we had seen what appeared to be goat tracks several miles back up the trail.

On the way out, we ran into a buddy that also had a goat tag coming in. He had one day to hunt and had driven down from Denver in the middle of the night. Traded information and he headed up the trail for his last ditch effort as well.

Hit the snow and ice pretty close to home so it wasn't too bad.

From: Treeline
30-Oct-19

Treeline's embedded Photo
Last evening of goat camp
Treeline's embedded Photo
Last evening of goat camp

From: Treeline
30-Oct-19
My second goat hunt handed me my backside. Left it all on the mountain.

And then some.

Hard to kill ‘em if you can’t find ‘em!

From: Treeline
30-Oct-19
My first goat was a lot easier. Drive about an hour from the house, find a goat, climb up there, shoot it, pack it out. Home before 8:00 PM.

From: Treeline
30-Oct-19

From: Treeline
30-Oct-19

Treeline's embedded Photo
Treeline's embedded Photo
Treeline's embedded Photo
Some goats are easier than others!
Treeline's embedded Photo
Some goats are easier than others!

From: Treeline
30-Oct-19
Just not much of a story that way...

From: OFFHNTN
30-Oct-19
GREAT thread! I feel your pain!

From: RogBow
30-Oct-19
Nice effort, thanks for the story.

From: Brotsky
30-Oct-19
Heck of a ride Tavis! All you can do is give it your all and leave it all out there. You did that and then some. Every once in awhile I guess it’s okay if the animals win. Great story, thanks for taking us all along. Would love to hunt goats someday but will likely never happen. Good to live vicariously through you guys!

From: Paul@thefort
30-Oct-19
Tavis, good story/pictures. While I felt I was along on the hunt for every step, I did not even break a sweat while reading it. my best, Paul

From: Treeline
30-Oct-19
69.7 miles and over 21,000’ vertical in 6 days. (Angelo’s wrist gizmo)

Whew!

Kind of a workout for an old fat man!

Goat hunting ain’t for wimps!

From: Bowboy
30-Oct-19
Thanks for taking us along on your adventure. Did you lose any weight?:)

From: Treeline
30-Oct-19
Not enough...but a few pounds for sure!

From: Ambush
30-Oct-19
Haha Tavis! I kept scrolling ahead to the dead goat pic and then this! A surprise ending for sure. But well played, well told and well hunted!

I feel your goat deprived pain and I can hunt them every year if I want. They just make you sore all over!!

From: Stoneman
30-Oct-19
Good story Tavis. Lasting memories and beautiful views. Thanks for sharing.

From: Scoot
30-Oct-19
I loved that story Tavis! It had the feel of my NM elk hunt this year, except on steroids! Great effort is typically rewarded, but sure as heck not always. Congrats on a great effort. In the end effort is one of the few things you can control.

From: goelk
31-Oct-19
Thanks for sharing beautiful country.

From: otcWill
31-Oct-19
Helluva hunt buddy! I really enjoyed it

From: elkmtngear
31-Oct-19
Great story, pics, and video. A dose of reality for prospective goat hunters, for sure!

From: Ermine
31-Oct-19
Tough unit and tough year! Heck of an effort! Enjoyed the story

From: Ghost425
31-Oct-19
Great read, thanks for sharing your story. Really enjoyed the pics to go with along with your adventure.

01-Nov-19
Well damn.....I know you gave it hell

From: Whocares
01-Nov-19
Fun story. Tough hunt! Tough guys.

From: JohnMC
01-Nov-19
Tavis - Any guess why the goats were not in Chicago Basin? I’ve always heard they were all over. Thiink going late season they had migrated out?

From: Treeline
01-Nov-19
We did not just look in Chicago. Looked in upper New York, upper Ruby, top of No Name, Elk Creek, Whitehead, Cunningham, Stoney Pass, over the top of Lime and Silver Mesas.

We had the Swarovski 15’s and Spotting scope.

I am fairly good at glassing from years of Coues deer hunting. .

Maybe I was just massively unlucky to not find more goats. Maybe they picked this year to migrate when they never have before.

I think that there are a lot less goats in the whole unit. If I were to guess, I would say the population is down over 75-90% versus last year.

That over 500% snow down there probably killed a bunch.

From: Ermine
01-Nov-19
Yea I would agree. I was very disappointed in the amount of goats. I think there was a massive die off. Something weird was going on. Hardly any goats

From: Ucsdryder
01-Nov-19
Dang! Great story, thanks for the write up. Guys wait decades to draw, just goes to show you, just because you get the tag, it doesn’t mean you’re going to kill a goat!

From: JohnMC
01-Nov-19
No way I was doubt you. Sounds like you covered tons of country. Was only curious to your thoughts on why your hunt this year was so different from reports in years past. It is the unit I have been putting in for so that is also part of reason for question. Thanks for the answer. Country still looks awesome from all of your pictures!

From: Treeline
01-Nov-19
I love that country!

Most spectacular mountains in Colorado!

Went by places that I shot my first elk and where I missed several world class mule deer 25-30 years ago!

Just kind of drew the short straw on the wrong year...

From: BULELK1
04-Nov-19
Well, hell Tavis.

No one can ever say you half ass a hunt!!

Thanks for taking us along man.

Good luck, Robb

PS~~ the lil fella sure has grown up! My fav pic of him that I still have is the one when he was like 5 years old and had that high country lake fishing Trout pic!

From: Smtn10PT
04-Nov-19
Give one, take one...excellent work! I always enjoy your write ups!

  • Sitka Gear