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Loveland bowhunter takes 'Big 8'
They are known among Colorado sportsmen as the "Big 8," the primary big game species in the state.
Given the hundreds of thousands who focus their efforts exclusively on Colorado's iconic elk, a relative few have successfully hunted the Big 8. Among those who hunt exclusively by bow and arrow, only about 80 are known to have harvested all eight species: mountain lion, black bear, pronghorn antelope, elk, mule deer, whitetail deer, Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep and Rocky Mountain goat. (More recently introduced Shiras moose and desert big horn sheep round out the even rarer Big 10.)
Newest among their ranks is Loveland carpenter Joe Bradley, 32.
Laboring through fresh snow at 13,000 feet, Bradley developed a healthy respect for the animals deliberately introduced to expand Colorado hunting opportunities back in 1947. The steep, rocky terrain and rarified atmosphere mountain goats call home is challenging enough. Factor in 6 inches of snow, winds nearing 50 mph and Bradley's exceptional commitment to tradition, and the efforts he went through to achieve his objective earned Bradley some respect as well.
"The Big 8 is a great accomplishment for bowhunters and is a very select group. But unique to Joe, he makes all of his primitive archery equipment: bows, arrows, everything," said Stan Grebe of Arvada, an official measurer for Pope & Young bowhunting record books.