Alyssa Nitschelm put in for her first-ever hunting draw and hit the jackpot by drawing a Rocky Mountain goat tag.
Though she never really hunted herself, Alyssa Nitschelm grew up in a hunting family near Redmond, Oregon, and has many fond memories of her father hunting and bringing meat home for the family after a successful hunt when she was a child.
After graduating from college in Idaho, Alyssa decided she wanted to start hunting this year as a way of spending time with her father and to enjoying the outdoors as a more active participant.
With help from her dad, she applied for a number of controlled hunts in Oregon earlier this year. When the draw results came out a few weeks later, she was dismayed at first to see that she wasn't selected for the limited-entry deer, elk and pronghorn tags she put in for. However, she got the surprise of her life when she learned that she had been selected for a Rocky Mountain goat tag.
Those tags are extremely tough to draw and many hunters apply for decades without success. Indeed, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife issues fewer mountain goat tags than any other animal (including bighorn sheep) each year. So you can imagine her shock when she found out she drew a tag on her first-ever attempt.
In addition to being difficult to draw, mountain goat hunts can be incredibly physically demanding, as well. Though the weather was very nice for their hunt, mountain goats often live in really steep and treacherous country, so Alyssa certainly had her work cut out for her.
However, Alyssa and her father quickly located a number of mountain goats in the unit she drew in central Oregon and made a plan to pursue them on the opening day of the hunting season in September. They stalked two billies on opening morning, but weren't able to close the deal initially.
After regrouping, they made a second approach and managed to close the distance with a couple of billies that didn't immediately realize Alyssa and her father were there. While they were waiting for those goats to make their move, a lone billy suddenly appeared immediately in front of them.
Unfortunately, that billy disappeared before she could take a shot. To her surprise, that same billy reappeared even closer a few minutes later and stared down on Alyssa and her father from above for what must have seemed like an eternity.
The mountain goat eventually lost interest, turned broadside and took a few steps back up the mountain. After he turned, Alyssa aimed at the billy with her father's Browning A-Bolt and squeezed the trigger.
The woods echoed with the report of the .280 Remington, but to her surprise, the mountain goat was still standing there as if nothing had happened. Alyssa chambered another round, took aim and again squeezed the trigger.
This time, the goat instantly dropped as the 150-grain Nosler Partition impacted into his shoulder and began tumbling down the mountain. Fortunately, he came to rest right at the edge of a cliff.
Just like that, Alyssa Nitschelm had harvested a Rocky Mountain goat on the opening day of her very first hunting season.
Great work, Alyssa! Congratulations on harvesting your first-ever big-game animal and good luck with the rest of your hunting career!