USA: The Goat Hunt Covid-19 Couldn’t Stop


AH enthusiast
Jan 10, 2012
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Hunting reports
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SCI, RMBS life member, NRA, DU
South Africa, New Zealand, United States
Here in Colorado mountain goat tags are strictly limited often taking several years to draw if at all. The phrase getting into “Sheep shape” goes double for hunting mountain goats.
The division of wildlife posts results of the draw on their website.
I’m very used to opening the site each year and reading the same form letter, “ Thank you participating in the draw, you were unsuccessful and have now received a preference point for, xxxxxx.
This year was to quite different. 2020 is a very strange year.
In May I contracted Covid and was hospitalized, in fact while in the hospital I opened my I pad and read Congratulations you have drawn a mountain goat tag in Unit G4!
My first reaction was shock then followed up with laughter.
Here I’m in isolation on a Covid floor hooked up to a monitor and oxygen.
After a call to my wife my next call was to Terry Sandmeier Jr, who guides for Geneva park Outfiffers.
Hey Terry, I’ve got good news and not so good news. First of all I drew a mountain goat tag. Bad news is I’ve got the damn Chinese virus.
Talk about motivation to get better this was a big one.
Fortunately I am discharged from the hospital in a week and sent home on continuous oxygen.
I’m a critical care nurse and work in a ICU. So knowing all the pulmonologist they gave me a pass to go home but continue monitoring my oxygen levels and call immediately if things change.
My journey to get into shape started a bit behind the eight ball.

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Off to a bumpy start

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So you were discharged back in May? When is the hunt? Lots of areas it is getting late for a goat.

Tried for a goat once a bit over a year ago in BC. Seven day hunt and 2 1/2 days of weather that we could glass. Did not see a Billy in an approachable position on those days, though we did do two blind climbs. Butt kicker of a hunt.

Best of luck.
My hunt came to fruition.
I count myself extremely fortunate not only to have drawn the tag, recover from covid and make it up the mountains.
I had lots of help and my greatest praise goes to God.
Now my hunt start date was September 28th 2020.
Getting your legs into shape and dropping some weight are the easy part, Getting your lungs into shape is a whole different deal.
Started doing walks then stairs then watching my diet. More walking more stairs and pushing myself.
Along the way plenty of help. A new rifle to me from Ridgewalker, 300 win mag even a bunch of reloading data he had worked up and a box of ammo. The scope from @Warpig602 a wonderful vx6 Firedot
Then reloading and shooting with a good friend Andy.
I'm on the right path.
My send off crew.
Grandson Zane 6 years old
And my wonderful wife Laura age not disclosed. 35 I believe
I think we about to get a hunting story. :A Big Hello::A Hi Five::E Dancing:
My send off crew.
Grandson Zane 6 years old
And my wonderful wife Laura age not disclosed. 35 I believe

I think you wanted a picture here?

If your hunt started 28 Sept and your writing this on 1 Oct I’m thinking things went well! Let’s hear the details!
The aspens were in full fall colors and my guide Terry, myself and two pack horses hit the trail. The weather had been unpredictable as 2 weeks prior we had a good snowstorm that moved the goats around so maybe not in the areas Terry had located them in prior to storm.
After 2 hours on horseback we got to base camp. I haven't rode in a while and my butt was sore. Plus I think my horse Bob had a distinct dislike carrying me around.
At base camp another hunter and guide were there.
He was archery elk hunting and we got to swap some stories of African hunts.
The elk were still in rut but they hadn't connected yet. Although he had some cool video of two 6x6 elk pushing each other around.
The stars were out and so bright and clear just amazing.
Got to love it in this wilderness area. No cell service no news nothing but elk moose and mountain goats.
My hunt started the next morning another hour or so ride to get to goat area.
All my stuff checked and double checked
Rifle, ballistic card and extra magazine given to Terry as he will be calling the shot.
A quick breakfast pancakes and cowboy coffee.
On the trail with only one pack horse this time.
The drainage and creeks are postcard looking to be sure.
As we negotiate a trail through the willows and creek my scabbard gets caught up on the willow branches Bob the horse is spooked starts all types of contortions, the saddle starts sliding to the right.
All I hear is " bail off" remember the part where I said its been awhile since I've been on a horse?
Well my bailing off was more like falling off, not so graceful. A one point landing on my back followed by my binoculars hitting me in the head. That was interesting but only pride was hurt.
Soon we are at tree line, shale, rocks boulders are now prevalent.
We are between 2 mountains both over 14000 feet in elevation.
We spot 4 nannies and one kid scurrying up the side of a mountain.
The division of wildlife has asked us to keep an eye out for goats with diarrhea. There has been high mortality of kids due to e coli infection. The biologists have been marking some goats with paintball guns. Now they are double skittish.
Finally we are off the horses and getting up a steep hill and break out the spotting scope.
A nanny and a kid are 600 yards away and we are to close for comfort for them.
How goats get up these mountains so easily is beyond me.
There are 2 goats 2 miles away we need to get closer for a better look.
We can only take the horses so far.
A very short ride and we teather the horses off on large rocks aka smaller boulders as trees will not grow at the altitudes we are at.
Up another hill to get a closer look at those goats. Both are billies they are just lying there soaking up the sun and staying out of the cutting wind.
The stalk won't be easy and will take us up the side of mount Evans via boulder fields and steep climbing.
So far so good for the first hundred yards.
Now my lungs are letting me know they are not happy.
Another 70 yards another rest.
As the climbing gets steeper my endurance is starting to become compromised.
Damn covid. Really beat my lungs up.
Having a good guide is a blessing, Terry is an excellent woodsman, big game guide from sheep moose elk deer to antelope also hes pretty adept with a fly rod.
Terry became my coach, working with me on my breathing frequent breaks.
I know guides who will walk thier clients into the ground to see how they can keep up. I had one of those in Alaska on my Dall sheep hunt many years ago.
Terry is quite the opposite.
As we get to the next boulder field , the words no one ever wants to hear came out of my mouth " Terry I don't think I can make it through that field "
Those were the toughest words to say.
Well my coach sat down with me and said " Mr Cokewell what do we need to do to get you a goat? So some soul searching and a verbal kick in the butt im up again.
A good guide is more than a expert in judging game , getting you in the best possible place to harvest your game, and making great cowboy coffee.
Sometimes he's your coach.
Soon we are back on track but at a very slow pace. The air at this altitude is thin to say the least.
We are in a area completely void of humans. A marmot a hawk and a crow seem to be our audience.
There is a road that goes up mount evans but its been closed for over a month and our approach is definitely the hard way.
As Terry glasses I watch another mountain for signs of life.
Quickly Terry is at my side and in hushed voice tells me there are 5 goats in a small bowl about 300 yards away. One Billy the rest nannies no kids in the group.
With new found energy i cover 100 yards not at rocket speed but much faster than expected.
The boulders are huge the size of your car and everything in between.
The plan is to try and take the billy, second choice is a nanny that is with the Billy.
And if everything goes sideways the other nannies are good.
Terry asks me us that acceptable to me.
In an instant I say let's do it.
200 yards away the terrain looks like the surface of some strange unforgiving planet.
Two refrigerator size rocks are next to each other with a 3 foot gap between them.
The Billy starts and is going to go right between the rocks but a nanny steps right behind him then they dissappear the last goat is going to follow them as soon as she enters the small opening the firedot reticle is right in her shoulder.
Squeeze the trigger and the 165 grain barnes ttsx bullet smaks the goat hard.
Now I've heard stories of goats requiring multiple shots to go down. Fortunately this one went 30 feet and expired on a steep slope.
Once at the downed goat a moment of sadness crossed my mind the animal was a gift I had worked hard for and taking it was special.
Getting pictures was a bit tricky as moving it into position meant holding on tight so we both didn't do the thousand yard tumble into the lake below us, so aptly named Abyss lake.
The goat I harvested was the matriarch apparently as the other goats would not leave and were 20 yards away.
My tag was either sex and I had now punched the only goat tag that I will ever have.
Off the mountain side just at darkness. With a full moon the ride back to base camp that is at 9500 feet.
As a bonus the other guide and his hunter Kevin from Minneapolis had our dinner ready.
And a added bonus 2 bull moose came busting though camp in the morning after cows.
I am indeed a lucky man.
But a wise guide told me " You make your own luck "
Looks like some amazing countryside. As we get older we all begin to feel our limitations. Good for you for being up for the challenge. (even if you weren't entirely up for it) Your hard work paid off for you, and I'm glad you were able to fulfill this dream. One more memory to cherish. Thanks for sharing!
Congratulations and thanks for sharing the pics and story!
Looks like some amazing countryside. As we get older we all begin to feel our limitations. Good for you for being up for the challenge. (even if you weren't entirely up for it) Your hard work paid off for you, and I'm glad you were able to fulfill this dream. One more memory to cherish. Thanks for sharing!
And yes the country is spectacular.
Someone said limitations are in your mind".
But my knees seem to be telling me a different story.
Absolutely awesome story ! Many congratulations!
Outstanding! And taking one this late in the season, she will have had a magnificent coat. Congratulations - well earned.
Outstanding! And taking one this late in the season, she will have had a magnificent coat. Congratulations - well earned.

Thank you sir.
It was a milestone for me.
Well done, congratulations on a fine goat. Thanks for posting your report.
Congratulations! Some good news in 2020 for a change. Thanks for the report, I think we all needed this.

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