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I'm pretty sure I posted a couple other stories on here of previous adventures into the needles going back to 1986 or so. Seems there is no record to view of them past page #1 results under goats. In any case I drew goat tag #6 of my life this year, once more into the breech. Usually I let a hunt simmer on the back burner before I write the story, it allows the important stuff to come to the surface and the irrelevant sink from memory. This one I did differently, of course I can always re-visit it in the future. I hope you enjoy the tale, as it is in all likelihood my last goat tag of my life in this state, given the realities of the waiting period and the delay of building up points again.
Go get’em and enjoy the journey. Following…
If it’s anything like your past stories it will definitely be a “must read”!
38 days of Boy George: Another chapter unfolded in my life- long love/hate relationship with the Needle mountains this past spring. While chasing turkeys and fishing in Arkansas this year I got an email that informed me of success in the CO mountain goat drawing… first choice G-5. Usually my diet it always going to start “tomorrow”, in this case it started TODAY! I had just made a terrible blunder and stepped on the scale before leaving for my leisurely trip of boating, eating , and drinking, and the scale had told me some very depressing news, a new personal record, and not one to be proud of. My goal was to have the first number be a “1” when I stepped on it, it was lofty goal of -53 pounds. But I knew from experience what the needles would do to a fat 60 yr old. I very well remember them spitting out chunks of bruised and bloody 26 year old skinny me.
All summer salad became the new standard fare, no bread, no sugar, little fruit, no snacks of any tasty substance. Fortunately the Princess joined me and made it easier to stick with it and of course she made it into a competition. Whoever lost the most that week got to choose our Sunday menu on our “cheater” day, when we were allowed to eat something resembling real food. I spent the summer getting my pack llamas into some shape, with 22 it is difficult to rotate them all through and get them firmed up for the busy hunting season of rentals. Usually I just go up to a high lake maybe 5-6 miles fish a bit, drink a few adult beverages, and pack back down the next day to see what my royal PITA has on my ‘to do” list. Normally these trips have some sort of extravagant meal at tree line if the brookies aren’t sufficiently fried in butter, this summer the fare was a bit more bland, to say the least. Slowly but very surely the suffering paid off and the scale started to be more friendly to me every Sunday morning on “weigh in” day.
I really wanted to use my recurve bow for this hunt as it is in all likelihood my final goat tag if I killed a goat, given the reality of the 5 year wait and points required to draw vs the increased demand for these tags in our populous state. I left the crutch (compound) in the closet all summer and shot my recurve a lot, finally admitting how badly I sucked at it and put an old sight on it and proceeded to still suck badly, but not quite as terribly as without a sight. My belly was shrinking, my groups were shrinking, things were looking better, but the needles are a whole different game, and I knew this from experience.
I had a looming logistical problem. Long before the computer spit out my successful tag notice I had all my llamas booked solid for the hunting seasons of highest demand, which enveloped my goat season. I feed a field full of llamas all winter and was going to have to carry my own pack? WTF? Not only that but I was going to be busy sending out and receiving back all these rental groups at all hours of the day and night, it is the nature of the business, just the way it is. I called on my dear Princess to help me out honey… please please so pretty please DEAR??? I got an immediate “[email protected]#$ Y%$ what part of sole proprietor (my llc’s tax status) do you NOT understand”?
I knew from cold hard experience that the needles can shut down anytime after mid September, in the blink of an eye, they can be waist deep and deadly, especially up in the goat crags. Through some luck, some negotiation, and a cancellation due to injury I freed up a few short days in late September and had a friend who would provide some logistical support of his young llama string for at least my base camp situation. I had one llama from my herd available to help me get to that base camp. This was gonna be VERY tight as I had a property closing hard deadline looming at the back end of this time window October 1st.
On most of my extensive back country trips I end up with a song stuck in my head, it is generally the last one I heard playing on the radio before leaving the trailhead. On my first 38 day needles trip it was “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” playing in continuous loop for over a month. As I drove up the last 20 or so miles to the trailhead the radio was blaring out some very good music all the way, I can replay Pat Benatar for a month easy I was thinking, then, Ok Def Leopard will work…. Then as I slowed down for the parking lot, Boy George came on crooning “do you really want to hurt me?” OH NO! As I shut off the truck and went to packing llamas. “Do you really want to make me cry?”
Two hours later as I cold camped next to the river 4 miles up from the truck I did really want to ‘make him cry”. Next morning up before dawn and 10 more miles until I found Paul’s base camp, trying to evict Boy George with some Garth Brooks but Garth lost the battle. Next morning I left my wooly helper with Paul’s girls and put 4-5 more miles and 3000’ below me wearing my pack… with compound strapped to it. I had folded at the TH with only a 4 day actual hunt window I had reached for the “crutch” and left the recurve under the seat. Ii was trying to follow what amounted to a pig trail up the gulch I had chosen to hunt and lost it a bit before topping out above tree line. As I was bushwhacking my way up through the rocks I ran right into a nanny and a yearling billy at 25 yards. They were startled at seeing me and tore off up through the rocks, this was reassuring as now I was sure I was not going to be chasing tame goats… or so I thought at that moment. I re-located the “pig trail” and made it to my lakeside camp after about 4-1/2 hours of climbing. I was surprised to see another tent there but settled in to glass the incredible vastness that is the needles in all her glory.
After a couple hours some goats came into view, 7 nannies and kids and started to scamper over the rocks in my direction. I went to get closer to them and they had disappeared into a fold of the rocks, as I looked in vain for them in the valley below they suddenly popped up right beside me and trotted over to the other camp and started pestering the campers for free food… Oh NOOOO! The infamous Twinkie goats. I walked over and sure enough they were as tame as any barnyard goat, maybe more so. I took some pictures and upon my departure they followed me back to my camp just to make sure I hadn’t peed yet. This was bad. I had what I call my “condom” instead of a tent. It is a rubber bag that fits over your sleeping bag, army surplus from Vietnam era issue, very light. But the goats were so aggressive and fearless and fighting amongst themselves I was worried they would trample on me while I was rolled up inside my “condom”. Exhaustion is the best sleeping pill ever invented and I slept through any goat trampling that may have occurred.
This is awesome- love it!
I camped at the left side of that pond in the Chicago basin. That was some rugged ass country when I was 24. Can not imagine doing that at 60! Holy crap, that’s fantastic. Good for you!
For the record this is nowhere near Chicago Basin, there has never been a big enough billy to lure me into that shithole since my first adventure in '86... but I digress. At dawn, while humming “do you really want to make me cry” I spotted the snowy rectangle of a mature billy a mile or so away and was off immediately to get a better look. When I got over there he had disappeared and I was climbing all day on the cliffs looking for him. I found a huge billy on the further mountain across an incredible chasm basin that the 26 year old me would have dropped in and gone after but the 60 year old me declined. As Clint Eastwood would say, “a man’s got to know his limitations”. He spotted me even a mountain away and got up and just did what goats do, never hurried or ran but worked his way up and over an incredible rock face and put an additional mountain between us. I guess he couldn’t tell how old I was and was taking no chances. Or maybe he just wasn’t a fan of Boy George, who knows? I was back in camp by evening to be over-run by the girl gang again right at bed time, 14 this time.
The next morning I awoke to “do you really want to hurt me?” (yes, I did) I was determined to go in another direction and look into an entirely different drainage by going over a 13,100’ saddle and dropping down to a very high lake hanging onto the side of a 14,000’ peak. This very solid and workable plan was immediately scrapped when I glassed up what was probably the same billy from the day before just 2-300 yards from where he had given me the slip the day before. This time I knew the lay of the land a bit from the day before and I watched with some patience while he chose his day bed, then made my move in his direction. I knew better how to conceal my approach across the face of the mountain and when I got there he had vanished yet again. I ditched my excess gear and slowly began a check over every ledge, keeping the upwind drafts in my face, trying to find where his heat of the day bed was. As I peeked over a stone ledge he was right there at 10 yards lying in his dirt bed. He spotted me at the same instant as I ducked and knocked up an arrow. I eased my head up and he was gone, disappointment was short lived as I saw he was trying to circle me and climb the peak to escape. He didn’t see me as I scrambled to set up a 20 yard confrontation and was at full draw as he rounded a large boulder and we were eye to eye full frontal angle. I put the pin right below his chin and released and the arrow flew perfectly. He whirled and was gone in an instant but I knew the hit had been perfect, and the blood trail told me I was right.
YEEEEESSSSS!!! Man I love your stories!!
I followed very cautiously and saw my large billy showing no signs of any wound just 30 yards below me. This made zero sense until I could see he was staring with all his might at a very dead and bloody goat 15 yards in front of him. I pulled the camera out as he spooked, Im not sure which of the two was bigger but I knew damn sure which one was deader. It was a beautiful day and spot for a butchering party and I got him all skinned and chunked in a couple hours time.
Leaving the meat on some rocks to cool I took all my gear and the rug back to camp and took a 65# load the 4-1/2 miles and 3000’ down to base camp. The next day was the hardest with sore muscles to start with and a round trip of 9 miles and 6000’ on the day’s schedule. This second and final trip was a 75# day, and I was feeling every bit of 60 birthdays upon arrival back at base camp. The following day with the wooly boys for help we did a 14-1/2 mile run down another 1600’ and the truck was a very welcome sight indeed.
We name all the mounted heads in our house and my Princess asked if he had a name yet, as sometimes it takes a while to come up with an appropriate choice, but this one was an easy one, he’s going to be Georgie Boy. Thank goodness that it was only 6 days of Boy George another 32 and it might have gotten ugly up there.
Thank you for the write up!
While I didn't reach my weight loss goals I did come close at -45#. My billy was 9" and I gave him 6+ years the CPW said 3
I know what ya mean about getting the last song ya hear , stuck in yer head for along time. Nothing worse than taylor swift on repeat for a week straight.. Lol Great story and congrats on the goat.
It was a Steely Dan tune for me, on my elk hunt this year...didn't do much to put me in primal predator mode! Nothing I could do about it.
Another great entertaining write-up, nicely done, and a big Congrats!
Great read and congrats. And what a pleasant surprise. I was expecting another political thread about some of our liberal members when I saw the title a Boy George.
Hell, Mt. Goat hunting with the bow is easy???? Do all of the prepping, just spot one, climb up 3,000 to 4,000 ft to get to them, make the shot and DONE. Well not so easy as your story tells. Nicely done. Enjoyed that a lot. My best, Paul
Way to "get-r-done" in such a short time frame. Congratulations!
I usually just put Fancy by Reba McEntire on repeat when I head to the elk woods.
Enjoy all of your stories. Thanks
Nicely written… thanks for sharing!
Awesome story! Thanks for posting ! Congrats!
Nicely done! Thanks for sharing your adventure with us.
That was awesome on a stick. Congrats on a great hunt! And thanks for taking the time to take us all along.
Congrats on a great trophy!
Congratulations! Way to get it done! Very nice billy!
Hopefully another chance will happen for me before I hit 60! My last go around in there was brutal! I did learn a lot, though! Big mistake to wait till the end of the season to try and make it happen…
PS - I remember your earlier goat story and thought it might be saved to my favorites. I looked and it’s not there. A crying shame! That was a CLASSIC!
Good(great!) job on the story. Been in there with no goat taken. 1983.So also impressive job on the hunting.
Great write up! Thank you for taking us along!! Also thanks for the laughs. We call those last songs Brain Worms. My worst ever on a remote fishing trip was Cindy Lauper - Time after time.
I miss my Llama Packstring
Kool looking area for sure.
Congrats, and thanks for sharing. It's on my bucket list.
Great story and photo's, congrats. But, I almost did not or could not open it with the Boy George thing. What a hateful and pitiful period we had to go through having that thing on the radio's!!!
Congrats on a great goat. Also awesome story and pictures!
Congratulations on a great billy and a great write up! I have to say, the Boy George title almost made it a no go to click on but curiosity got the better of me. Glad it did.
Great hunt and write up! Why does it always seem the song we don't like is the one that sticks in our heads?!
Enjoyed the story and pictures very much. Sure is a nice billy, well done. Percy
Amazing! Thank you for sharing your adventure with us! Really inspiring.
I always get Edmund Fitzgerald stuck in my head when storms blow in. "Does anyone know where the love of God goes when the waves turn the minutes to hours?"
Post a close up picture of horns from about 1/2 way down to the base and the Bowsite experts will weigh in on his age :)
And can you give a little more detail on exactly where you hit? Maybe a better picture? A successful frontal shot on a goat is not the most common thing you see and really good info.
Ok. He's a smoothie. Tough to age imo.
Other side same smoothie.
On the frontal shot I hit dead center 2-3" beneath his chin arrow was out his hind quarter maybe 2" from base of tail with the arrow still left in him but 1-2" 0f arrow (and broadhead) broken off (probably from the fall). Incredible blood loss and blood trail for maybe 75 -100 yards off of 3 ledges leading to a very ugly dead goat, compared to how beautiful he was just as I released. He lost a few inches off of his right horn during the fall as well. But he is beautiful just as he is to me, no reconstruction required, these guys are just amazing to me, always have been, always will be. Now Boy George is a freak and Ugly, always has been and always will be!
Great story! Mountain goats are an amazing animal. That range is no joke. I climbed some peaks in that range at 50 Yrs old with only ultra lite climbing gear. No bow etc and it was tough. Congrats!! Man am I envious
Congrats! Great story.
I agree with you on the age.....6 year old
Congrats and thanks for taking the time to tell the story and post up the pics.
Looking back....any second thoughts on not using your recurve?
Congratulations, great story.
“Im not sure which of the two was bigger but I knew damn sure which one was deader.”
That is in the all time bowsite classic quote hall of fame.
Yes jl of course I wanted to get it with the recurve. I would not have taken that specific shot with my recurve. And under no circumstances would I have shot a Twinkie goat using any weapon. I know many do it but it's not for me. Maybe next tag. 70 is the new 40 you know!
WOW!! Great story. Sounds to me like hard work is in your DNA. Love the twinkie goats. Had to be nice coming back to camp and that greeting....lol
Thanks for sharing
excellent story and thanks for sharing!
This story is just what I needed instead of all the political bickering! Thanks for the LOL several times but the comment about the "sole proprietor" is classic!!! Congrats on a great goat!!
Congrats Kevin! Great accomplishment, great story!
Very well done. Congrats and thanks for posting. These stories are the lifeblood of bowsite..
Congrates on a super nice goat and thanks for shareing!
Congrats on a great Billy! Thanks for taking the time to share!