You Can't Win If You Don't Play

By Willi Schmidt

You cant win it if you dont play

Willi Schmidt
Colorado, 2010, DIY, Public Land 

As I made my move to get into the final position, my left foot nudged a pinecone and I stared in disbelief as it rolled toward the ram. Could this whole ordeal become unraveled by one little pinecone? Fortunately the ram didn’t appear to pay much attention to it. At least he didn’t run or look up to see where the noise originated. It wasn’t until seconds later, when I nocked my arrow, that he finally looked up at me...

This once-in-a-lifetime hunt began in the spring while driving back from a turkey hunt. I had been putting in for points for bighorn sheep in years past, but my friends, Chris Nowak and Brad Billingsley, told me I was crazy not to be putting in for actual hunts. As the saying goes, you can’t win the lottery if you don’t play.

When I received my refund check for my goat application, I decided to check online for the draw results. I was glad I was sitting down when I saw “Successful” next to Bighorn. I immediately sent out a few e-mails informing my friends of the luck and told them that hunting season was starting early this year.

As with any special draw tag, there were a lot of opportunities to hire an outfitter to help with this hunt. I’m certainly not opposed to using outfitters, but if given the choice and chance, I’d rather do it on my own. The results are far more rewarding and that’s why I chose the DIY route.

Months went by and I shot my bow every chance I could because I wanted to be dead on out to 60 yards. Also, I had already been doing a new workout program in preparation for a triathalon in mid June. What better way to help me get into “sheep shape”?

I scouted several times with friends who had hunted the unit in past years and two guys I met at the sheep and goat seminar put on by the Colorado Division of Wildlife. During the first archery season, there were three rams killed in my unit and anticipation for the start of the second archery season was almost more than I could take.

August 18 rolled around and the next day was the opener. Chris and I didn’t put any sheep to bed that evening, so we started the next morning cold. I didn’t get much sleep that night and was already awake and ready to get up when the alarm went off.

Chris and I saw seven good rams on the first day and I was able to get in two stalks. The wind swirled both times and although I got within 100 yards of two rams and 41 yards of a lone ram, there were no shot opportunities. However, it felt good to have two stalks under my belt.

You cant win if you dont play

For a full account of Willi's adventure, go to page 26 in the November/December 2010 issue of Eastmans' Bowhunting Journal.