CEO- Prois Hunting Apparel
What can we say…. following a month of scouting, topo-mapping and hiking to God-knows-where, our daughter, Hanna, harvested her Colorado mountain goat! I guess that means we can put away the maps, the zebra-skin glasses and hiking boots. For now…
As fate would have it, I was unable to go on the hunt the day of the kill. Steve and Hanna set out alone the night before and set up camp at 12,500ft elevation. Bunking in a forest service cabin saved them from the harsh elements, but not from the bumper crop of mice that apparently ate the popcorn that they coveted. (Unfortunately, no one happened to inform our youngest daughter of this until AFTER she ate some of the popcorn when they got home…sisters.) Where is D-Con when you need it? Apparently, the bold rodents kept busy all night scurrying about…Hanna experienced some heinous flashbacks from a childhood experience involving escaped pet mice, pillows and disbelieving parents. I think that’s a story for her shrink.
Early morning brought about numerous goats and the chase was on. Now, for anyone who has never hunted goats in the extreme altitudes and barren mountainsides cannot even imagine the strenuous nature of this hunt. Elevation gains go above 13,000 feet at times and there is no trail network there. Nothing exists but boulders, rocks and loose scree fields that shift and slide. The work is tough and I personally give chops to anyone who attempts these extreme hunts…especially when the hunter is a kid. They encountered a couple of goats but neither were shooters. They continued their trek through avalanche chutes that I had seen on previous scouting trip. Now, had I known that my first-born was going to be trekking through these chutes I probably would have pitched a wild fit…retrospectively, I think that is why the went without me. Hmmm.
After a late morning of rain and snow, they had been climbing this terrain for over 3 hours. Following a traverse of a particularly dangerous and loose chute- they spotted a nice billy. After some discussion, Hanna decided not to take the shot as they could not determine the nature of the terrain they would have to cross to find the animal should she have shot it. Apparently, this was a wise decision as the ridge abruptly ended and dropped into an uncrossable chute. They scaled their way back up, basically on all fours to navigate the rocks and shifting scree.
Within the hour they spotted another beautiful goat. Gingerly working their way out onto a ridge, Hanna took the animal with one shot. In case I haven’t made it clear- the terrain is incredible. They went to work on the animal, both packing over 50lbs on their backs. Here is a photo Hanna took to give an idea of what they had to scale with their packs. Several hours later, they were off the peaks and on their way home. Thoroughly exhausted but exhilarated!
Any parent who has passed the hunting torch on to their children understands the indescribable pride when their child attempts the seemingly impossible. Having spent the past month on that terrain in that elevation with sketchy elements- I cannot express how proud I am that my 16 year old daughter did what she did. Oh yeah..in my book, the kid is a rock star. Now, I do have to say that she is not really itching to do this hunt again any time soon, but dang…does she have some bragging rights!
So, as we move forward with the seasons, it is time to try to bag the bruin for Haydyn, our youngest daughter. Remember, in Colorado bears cannot be baited, so the spot-and-stalk is on! Keep your fingers crossed