Though I used a rifle, I am posting on "Bowsite" because I owe so much to so many on here (though many of you may not even know it) for your generosity, knowledge and inspiration.
My buddy and me each tagged beautiful October mountain goats with Fehr Game Outfitters. I feel very blessed to have made one more childhood dream come true due in large part to so much I have learned here on Bowsite over the past six years.
Thank you again. Mike
His horns were 9 3/4" with 5 3/4" bases. My buddy's were 9 1/4" with 5 1/4" bases. It was amazing to see the "significant" (as described by the inspector and term I will not let my partner forget) differences in horn mass and head sizes.
I did not bring my bow. However, the day before I blew a chance at smaller goat I would have shot getting within 15 yards before being busted.
Attached is a picture of the mountain where we both got our goats. My buddy killed his in the bowl on the right, mine was in the ledges just below where the treeline starts in the left of the picture.
I will post the story later today.
10/6 Saturday: After breakfast, we packed the horses and began a 3 hour horseback ride into spike camp. Once we arrived, we unpacked the horses, set-up the tents and glassed for goats from the lake. We saw one goat. 10/7 Sunday: After breakfast, our plan was to climb a small mountain to glass the surrounding area. It took about an hour to climb. After glassing for a couple of hours, we then climbed the adjoining mountain behind spike camp. We spent all day up there. We didn't see any animals. We did see Ed and Johnnie a long ways off. We got back to camp in time for dinner. Ed and Johnnie never showed. 10/8 Monday: Ed and Johnnie still weren't back. We were confident they had gotten either a goat or a grizzly. We planned on walking around the lake to climb the mountain where we saw the goat on the first day. On our way across the meadow, we looked back to see a goat in a very accessible location walking across the mountain behind camp, only about 3/4 of the way up. We watched him for about 20 minutes before he bedded down. We hiked 2 hours up a drainage before getting to the point where we thought we could begin our stalk. After about 50 yards, I took a step, saw a goat's head appear from behind a rock, made eye contact and off he went...never saw him again. What a helpless feeling. We side-hilled our way around the mountain to a small basin. It was about 2pm. We didn't think it made much sense to go farther as this was where Ed and Johnnie had been. We went back to spike camp. Ed and Johnnie were there with stories and a goat! After Ed got done shooting, they saw a bigger goat going over the rim into the next basin. They didn't think he was spooked and suggested we go after him the next day.
We knew it would take about 3.5 hours to get there and would most likely have to spend the night, successful or not. Of course there was no decision to make. We were going after him. 10/9 Tuesday: After breakfast, we broke camp at 7:30am. We took a little extra food knowing we would probably be spending the night. It took about an hour and a half to get to the basin where we ended our hunt the day before. It took another hour to climb up and over the rim. We walked past the basin where we thought our goat might be to the far basin where Ed had shot his. At about 11am, we had lunch. We got up and walked back to the rim of the first basin, and at noon, immediately saw the goat bedded in the cliffs just below tree line.
We glassed him for about 20 minutes and then took our time walking down the rocks, trying to be as quiet as possible. At 2pm, we got to the spot where I thought we would be in range. However, not only was he still over 400 yards away, he was up and moving away. He eventually made his way around a rockface and out of sight.
We didn't know where he was or where he was going. My guide was confident he would bed down and get up in a couple of hours. We chose to move down more into the trees opposite of where the goat went. However we only gained a little distance...we were at 386 yards from where we anticipated the goat to appear...too far for me.
I wanted and needed to get closer, but the only way was to get below him. We were concerned with the wind and thermals and planned to wait until around 3pm before we made our move. After not seeing anything, we got up and started moving gingerly across a rockfield in the wide-open before finally setting up next to a large rock 250 yards away.
It was a perfect plan. After we got settled-in around 3:40pm, it was only about 20 minutes before I spotted some movement as the Billy was walking back around the rockface towards us. I tapped my guide on the shoulder and got set for the shot. Suddenly, the goat stopped and was staring right at us.
It was the most intense 20 seconds I have experienced in hunting. It was the culmination of a childhood dream along with a year's worth of the time, training, and practice. He was giving me a frontal shot at 250 yards, not necessarily what I was hoping for. However, I had a solid rest and confidence in my shooting, knowing the bullet would drop 3" at this distance. A few previous encounters with animals came into my mind within that short period of time as I weighed whether to wait-him-out for a "better" broadside shot or take the "good" shot I had. First and foremost in my mind was the encounter with the goat from the day before who saw me and vanished within a split-second. My instincts were telling me he was going to turn and go. Without conversation, I clicked the safety off, took a deep breath and slowly squeezed the trigger....
My first shot was true as I saw him raise up and absorb the bullet's impact. My second shot also hit its mark, albeit a little back. With only a small window of opportunity but having remembered hearing "no mountain goat is too dead," I rattled the rocks with two more shots.
When we finally made our way up to him, he was absolutely beautiful! I had only seen mountain goats in pictures and a couple in Glacier National Park about 10 years ago. He was much bigger than I imagined and way bigger than the one from the day before! He was perfect!
By the time we got done taking care of him, it was late, and we knew we would be spending the night. We climbed down to the bottom of the bowl where there was an abundance of firewood. Fortunately the weather to this point of the hunt was incredible which lasted through the night. I didn't get much sleep.
10/10 Wednesday: At 7:30am, we began our way back. The shortest way would have been up and over the rim from the direction we came. However, with a heavy load, the steep face and both being fatigued, we chose to side-hill the mountain to get to spike camp.
After about an hour into our climb, weather moved-in. The fog turned to rain, which turned to snow and ice which blanketed the mountain and the rocks. Finally at 1:30pm and after 6 hours of hiking which seemingly was all uphill, we made it back to spike camp. And after gorging upon everything in site, we packed-up camp and the horses to prepare for our 2.5 hour trip back to base camp, arriving about an hour after dark.
A great experience with great people! The attached picture is with my guide, Peter. I will attach a few more.
This is the ledge from where I thought we would be close enough to get a shot...however, he was still 500 yards away and was on his feet when we got there.
Good luck, Robb
Jim, this was my second mountain hunt having been lucky enough to travel to Alaska last summer for Dall Sheep. I am so thankful to have experienced these true wilderness adventures through hunting!
Attached, please find the picture of my buddy's goat. Of course, he takes credit for mine as well. :)
Take care. Mike
His thoughts are the 8 man is really a 4 man, 6 man really a 3 man under backpack hunting conditions. Also that the liner is a must!
Anyway thanks for the info and great looking goat!
Congrats to you and your buddy!