Contributors to this thread:
Becoming a Mountain Goat Bowhunter
Kyle Mudge, me, Chuck Harb and Josh Harb set out on August 1 2016 to help me to further my goal of becoming a Mountain Goat Bowhunter! For some background information I'm an outfitter/guide in Alberta and a part owner of a remote guide area in BC, this is where I am able to hunt goats. A group of us bought the area in 2005, it had basically been unhunted for 30 years. We very lightly hunted/guided in it from 2005 to 2016. The place we were headed to had barely been touched. We headed into it with a hand drawn map from a previous hunter. We were on a quest to take a bigger goat than my 2 other bow killed ones taken in 2012 (45 1/2 net score, 9 1/2 inch long) and 2013 (47 score, 9 5/8 long). We also had an unsuccessful week long hunt in 2014. So basically ours was a do-it-yourself hunt with Kyle as my guide and Josh and Chuck as scouts, extra eyes. I also had a stone sheep tag in my pocket just in case.
We had to go in by 4 wheelers to begin to get into our area. No BC resident would go where we were going because we had to go by good goat country to enter our guide territory. As you can see we were excited about the hunt and the weather was good, no rain!
Sweet!! This should help me pass the time before my goat hunt this September!
2012 goat. 40 yd shot. 3 1/2 yr old billy. My goal on this hunt was just to take a nice billy, not shoot a nanny. It was a very physically tough hunt, mostly because Kyle and I were overloaded with gear in a jungly lower area and then had to deal with a steep, rocky alpine. We learned a lot and pulled it off! Very happy.
Kyle Mudge, me, Chuck Harb and Josh Harb set out on August 1 2016 to help me to further my goal of becoming a Mountain Goat Bowhunter! For some background information I'm an outfitter/guide in Alberta and a part owner of a remote guide area in BC, this is where I am able to hunt goats. A group of us bought the area in 2005, it had basically been unhunted for 30 years. We very lightly hunted/guided in it from 2005 to 2016. The place we were headed to had barely been touched. We headed into it with a hand drawn map from a previous hunter. We were on a quest to take a bigger goat than my 2 other bow killed ones taken in 2012 (45 1/2 net score, 9 1/2 inch long) and 2013 (47 score, 9 5/8 long). We also had an unsuccessful week long hunt in 2014. So basically ours was a do-it-yourself hunt with Kyle as my guide and Josh and Chuck as scouts, extra eyes. I also had a stone sheep tag in my pocket just in case. We had to go in by 4 wheelers to begin to get into our area. No BC resident would go where we were going because we had to go by good goat country to enter our guide territory. As you can see we were excited about the hunt and the weather was good, no rain!
Our 2013 goat, by ours I mean Kyle and mine, team effort for sure! Kyle guides for my outfit in Alberta and is my guide in BC. He is a huge asset, he is known as Eagle Eye for a reason and he is always aware of our surroundings, spotting Grizzlies, caribou, wolves in oddball spots way away from the goat country. He misses very little.
35 yd 1st shot, miss on moving 2nd shot, 40 yd 3rd finisher shot. Taken in same mountains as 1st goat, lots of rain on 1st hunt. Lots of sun and heat on this one, we got burnt to a crisp and hiking in the heat was tough. The bugs in August are terrible, about 5 different kinds that harass you endlessly, even in the alpine, unless it's windy then not bad. Still loved the hunt, so great to unplug from civilization! We only carry an emergency locator, no text messaging, no phone.
Back to 2016 we all had to wear glasses to keep from getting our eyeballs whipped apart. I went with double glasses just in case! They all laughed at me!! Haha. We got lost for a couple hours trying to figure out the right overgrown road and then eventually figured it out to get way up what we hoped was the right valley, huge country, no trails, google maps doesn't load up on your phone and we didn't bring a gps with maps. Didn't want to make it too easy! Haha
(Sorry for any upside down pics, they come that way from my phone and I can't seem to get them corrected even with the image tools on my laptop?!)
I'm too old to do anymore goat hunting. I did harvest a goat here in CO but I swore that I will never go after another one EVER. My son took a picture of me on the ground trying to get some rest on our way out. This is definitely a younger man's sport. Thanks for posting your pictures.
End of the road, Josh and Kyle. Still deep in the jungle in an old overgrown cut block. Last chance to ditch any uneeded gear, like "do I need the machete, leather gloves, extra pants, extra food, beer?". A machete and leather gloves was essential on the first 2 hunts. I hacked away with it for 5 hours straight to get through the Devils claw on our hikes to get up, out of the alpine. There wasn't too much of the stuff in this area in 2016. We stashed the quads and trailer and hoped a grizzly wouldn't pop the tires chewing on them while we were gone. The uphill hike began!
Me with my carefully chosen gear. 55-60 lb pack, didn't weigh it but that's what it normally would be. Kyle and I share a tent, Josh and his dad Chuck shared another one. We were careful to not have doubled up much gear unless on purpose like 2 stoves, 2 spotters. Every meal is figured out for each day. I always carry bow repair gear too, portable bow press, spare string, d loop material, serving string, extra peep, extra rest, 2nd release, 10 arrows 15 broad heads and little target. If my bow fails me I'm done, the gun is just for Grizzlies protection or an unreachable wounded goat.
Tons of berries, blueberries and raspberries. At least that's what they looked like so I ate them, lots of them. Made a guy a bit nervous about bears but that adds to the adventure! On we climbed, tons of deadfall in thick bush, hard to see more than 10 yds. We worked our way through a few cutblocks and old growth forest. It was hot, sweaty tiring work tinged with excitement for what lay ahead. Peaks through the trees at the mountains far ahead gave us an indication of the right direction. We also went by how the ridges and valleys seemed to be, we knew we should break out of treeline at the base of a big alpine bowl. Some old survey ribbon sort of helped us out too.
Keep er coming!! I love these stories! probably the only way I will ever get to "go" on some of these hunts:)
Kyle resting on a big, downed old growth tree and Josh laying in the weeds. Josh got hit by a 24 hr flu the day before and it left him dehydrated for the hike up, he was dieing with wicked leg cramps. He downed tons of water which may have made it worse, threw his electrolytes all out of balance. Josh also guides for me in Alberta and he is a killing machine, consistently getting animal after animal for his clients. Give him a day off and he brings a critter home for himself almost every time.
The huge downed trees can be really hard to get around, half impossible to climb up on and big detours to get around the ends of them. Cooler temps in the forest though.
Pretty good start to a great story...
We finally made it out of treeline! That is probably the most difficult part of these North Western BC goat hunts, especially where no trail has been cut out. It can beat your legs and whole body so bad that sometimes you never recover from it for the rest of your hunt. That is why I always like to stay above treeline for the whole hunt, never go back down to horses or a main camp, especially when bowhunting. I prefer to stay as high as finding a flat spot and the water availability will allow. We were headed for the peaks in the distance which still wasn't within our guiding territory, lots more ground to cover.
Good luck, Robb
LOVE it so far Mike! But hurry up!!!
Tuned in for this story. Seems like a great adventure in the making.
We got a bit further in and the side hilling was really slippery. The vegetation holds the moisture and you have to seriously dig the side edge of your boot into the hill. Your legs are constantly tensed up and it is draining, plus you can't see your feet in the 1-3 foot high greenery so you are always getting tripped up. and did I mention the bugs? Because stopping to rest isn't much fun as they bite and pester you, that's why the long sleeves in 80 F heat. Not complaining, just trying to give an idea of what it;s like, cause it all looks fun, enjoyable and not very hard in the pictures. Trekking poles are a blessing and a curse, a blessing to keep your feet from shooting out from under you and landing on your butt but a curse because they get constantly caught up in the bushes. I alternate between 0 and 2 poles. Young guys, in 20's, like Kyle and Josh usually like no poles. Chuck is 54 yrs old and he didn't think he could have done the hunt without them. This was Chuck's first time ever climbing a mountain. He kicked ass with no specific training for the hunt, just hunting and working around home in Ontario.
In this pic we have just gotten out of the taller vegetation and we are thinking about how much further we will go before setting up the tents. Josh's legs are not doing good, no fault of his. Plus we have no idea how high we can go and still have water for the evening meal and morning. None of us feels like packing water and if you are totally fogged in the morning you want water nearby in case it takes a day or longer to clear. I rarely camp without a water source close by.
Yeah Baby!!! Great pics and story!!
Keep it rolling Mike!
We hiked a couple hours further and set up camp, almost in our guide territory. Beautiful spot to camp, catching a bit of wind, less bugs, lots of water. Excited to be so close to where we could hunt. Sorry to beat Josh up here but keeping it real. His legs were screwed by this time, full on calf and thigh cramps, seizures, legs locked up like wood posts. He barely made it. I thought maybe he hadn't trained properly for the hunt? He assured me had, lots of hiking and leg workouts. He was surprised it was so bad. A training tip that I always like to use is starting about 2 weeks before your hunt, no matter what shape you are in, do a 20-40 minute routine of squats, lunges, forward and sideways box steps. Do it till your leg muscles are totally pumped up, shaking, exhausted. Do a cycle of it non stop as much as you can, do the movements slow, no ballistic fast work so you don't injure anything, especially a knee. Do it every day from say day 12 before your hunt to day 7. Your legs should be sore as heck the next day after the workout, do it again anyway and again the next day for about 6 days. This best simulates your hunt and conditions your legs. Then do no hard leg workouts for the week before your hunt, let them fully recover. You can't have your leg muscles cramp up during the hunt from not being in shape, it will end your hunt. Blisters can be managed, so can sore upper back muscles from the pack, cramping thighs and calves and you will be done. I was really hoping this wasn't the case with Josh when we went to bed that evening.
The next morning while making breakfast this big, ole grizzly with her cubs came strolling by camp. Pretty cool to see especially for Chuck who had never seen a grizzly before. She went by camp about 200 yds away. Josh was much better in the morning but we decided to do a lighter day just in case, do a scouting, recon type trip to figure out the route ahead, get into our area, see if we could find any goats without our full packs. Good thing we did because we climbed all the way up a big peak on our intended route and it was impassable on the other side, at least with full packs and no climbing rope. We came across goat sign and saw some of them way in the distance. We also mapped out a better route and got back to camp late that evening. Josh and Chuck were happily hanging out in camp.
Day 3 saw us leave camp and get into our guiding territory. Josh and Kyle searched hard for goats, me and Chuck too. Again some were seen in the distance and we headed their direction going the long but safer way around the big mountain peak.
After a long days hike we made it to camp 2. Some of the scree slopes were really steep, Chuck took a slide down one on his butt on accident and Josh did it once on purpose just to get down. His legs were doing great so it must have just been the temporary dehydration, not being out of shape. There was lots of water around which was great because it was hot out, 80+ F. We saw one lone goat that looked like a good billy way down a big finger ridge and some nannies and kids far away on another mountain. The billy looked to be within a day's hike and we watched him feed while we set up our tents. He would be our target come morning. No sheep seen. For tents we used a 6 lb kuiu tent and an 8 lb MEC tent. Both worked great.
A drizzling rain woke us up in the night and a whiteout fog come morning. You can't hunt in it and you need to be patient, wait for it to break. For some guys this is tougher than the hiking, laying in a tent waiting and waiting not knowing when you will get to hunt again. I passed some of the time shooting my bow. At 49 years old I was having trouble with my eyesight, struggling to see my pins and target at the same time, plus a 10 year dose of target panic meant I needed to shoot whenever I could to keep tuned up. I was shooting a new thumb trigger release which was really helping my target panic but I was by no means cured. We glassed from camp when we could see a bit and spotted the lone Billy again in the same general area. Fog and rain stayed with us right till dark and we fell asleep well rested and hopeful for the next day.
Morning came with a clear sky, calm and cool out. Kyle and I headed out of camp towards the big finger ridge where the lone goat had been hanging out. No sign of him at first light. Josh and Chuck would glass for him from camp at first and then scout out another area, keeping an eye out for big Billy's and Stone Sheep! Josh's legs had fully recovered and they were anxious to do some exploring. We left our camp set up and all of us set out with minimal gear, enough for the day. We all planned on being back in camp that evening but plans don't always work out!
This is awesome, keep it comin!
Kyle and I hiked along the main camp ridge for awhile and then headed down the finger ridge towards a huge intimidating looking peak, it looked steep as hell but no way around it. We stopped often to glass spotting more goats a long day hike away in a different direction. We hoped our targeted Billy was hidden away in the folds of the mountains somewhere in front of us. It was sunny and hot out.
In case you wondering what we eat on these hunts, you probably weren't but I'll tell you anyway. I have 2 packs of oatmeal, small handful of nuts, 2 Starbucks mini coffee packs and a tablespoon of peanut butter for breakfast. Then I pack along a granola and blueberries mountain house pack and 3 bars, cliff, energy or chocolate bars for lunch, throughout the day. Then I just plan on eating a freeze dried meal when I get back. If I'm smart I bring another 2 emergency bars and if I'm really planning ahead I have my stove, a mountain house meal, tarp and even a sleeping bag. It's often worth the extra weight. This day I wasn't even a bit smart, only an extra chocolate bar. What an idiot!
Meanwhile when we were tackling the long finger ridge Josh and Chuck were doing their own big hike in search of other goats and hopefully sheep. We didn't even know if we had any sheep in our area during the hunting season. They had only been seen on the fringe of our place a couple of times outside of the season. We get a one sheep kill a year quota which really just means that we may have sheep somewhere, maybe. I hoped we would see some. Josh took a break overlooking this unnamed lake, it was a big, tough climb to get there. They saw some nannies and kids but no for sure billies. It's not always easy to tell, especially for amateurs like us.
A shot of our camp spot, right on the top of some giant cliffs, lots of goat sign right around camp. Our water was about 400 yds away down in the valley bowl. We took turns getting it.
On our hike Kyle and I tackled the monster mountain in front of us and then continued on a slight downward descent losing elevation as we hiked down the ridge. We ran into a 5 nannies and kids and skirted around them. We also had to deal with a really sketchy section of cliffs and then we got to the area where the lone goat was hanging out, no goat but fresh beds. Then Kyle spotted a lone goat way down the ridge almost to the trees, we only got a quick look but Kyle was convinced it was a good Billy, big, chunky body. We hated to hike that far but went for it. Several hours later, including a close encounter with another family of goats and a wolverine and we were overlooking the valley where we saw the big boy. And he was a beast! Big thick long horns, massive body, yellowish tinge to his coat, just awesome. He was bedded in a big open bowl, very difficult to get within 200 yds, never mind within bow range. It was tough to even guess which way the wind, thermals would be blowing and we had to go even further down the ridge to get closer to him. We kept going and made a big loop which would take us much closer.
Big Billy bedded in the bowl.
Big Billy bedded in the bowl.
He had chosen his bedding spot well. We got on the cliffs above him and tried to figure out a way to get closer. We were 200 yds away. He was dead with a rifle, a probable Booner but we were bowhunting. Kyle's Grizzly gun was with us but I wasn't even tempted. I thought we could maybe get close by very slowly sliding on our butts within sight of him from 200 down to about 150 yds then line up a big boulder to block his view and cut it even further to maybe less than 70 yds? A mini glacier behind us was causing some cool down drafting winds but I figured the cooking hot bowl he was bedded in full sunlight would counteract that issue. We made it to 140 yds and I was getting hopeful. He really looked big, we had both never seen a billy of this caliber, now we knew what experienced goat hunters say they look for in a big billy, bases way bigger than his eyeballs, muscular body with the short coat, pissy yellow colored hair. We lined up the boulder hiding the goat and slithered forward, picking up and carefully setting down my bow with each move, Kyle was close by, ready to give me a range finder reading. We peaked around the rock every so often. All of a sudden the goat stood up, looked around, then stared our way, busted! He smelled us and wasn't going to hang around, he turned and trotted up the mountain. Major bummer. He was so fat he seemed to labor to get up the mountain, breathing heavy and grunting with every step. We could hear it echo in the valley. He went for sanctuary in the cliffs, stared at us some more then moved off up and over the top out of sight. We were very disappointed. We stood up, got our packs and headed back up the mountain which was a smallish outcropping of rock. I said, "Well let's at least see where he went." So we climbed up to the top and peaked over the other side about an hour after after we had last seen him, holy crap! There he was laying in a scree slope, 150 yds away. We lay watching him and discussed what to do? It was getting late and our window of opportunity to make it back to camp was closing. It was a solid 6 hr hike back, the last 2 hours of which we could do in the dark but not the sketchy cliffs. We decided a night on the mountain was worth a chance to kill this big ole billy so we waited to see what he would do.
The big peak with the sketchy cliffs. We had to hike this ridge to get back to camp, a bit scary in daylight. Life threatening in the dark, especially if it rained and got slick.
We waited for the billy to make a move and our window of time to get back to camp closed. We would be staying on the mountain overnight with just our clothes, rain gear included. We didn't care we had a billy to kill. After an hour or so he got up, walked away a bit then towards us, then away, then meandered our way again. We were sitting on the closest patch of grass to feed on and it was above him. He moved our way more and we saw our chance to kill him unfold, he would disappear below us as he moved up and we could slide into a closer sunken spot, it was risky but seemed better than having him just spot us sitting there as he came back into sight at probably 60-70 yds. Kyle wasn't sure it was the best move, I was more confident with it and it would give a maybe less than 40 yd shot. He disappeared from sight and we made our move sliding down as quickly and quietly as we could, me in the lead. All of a sudden Kyle urgently whispered, "He's right there, close and staring at us!" Oh no! I drew my bow, rose up and Kyle gave me the 42 yard reading just as the goat spun around and took off running down the mountain. He stopped at 150 yds gave us a one finger salute and dropped into the trees. Now I was really bummed!
We climbed back up the piece of mountain we were on and at the top Eagle Eye Kyle spotted the billy running for the big cliffs back towards camp. He had done a big loop down through the trees and back up the main part of the mountain. Camp was a long ways away and the sun was setting, we were in for a long cold night. At least we had some trees, firewood close by so we agreed to spend the night right there and see if we could find the goat again tomorrow on our trek back to camp. We collected lots of wood and had a chocolate bar for supper. I prayed it wouldn't rain and fog us in over night. We both sort of slept for the first couple hours then the cold woke us up and we got the fire going while we drowsed in and out of some sort of sleep. It was a long night, cool 35 F night but thankfully, no rain.
Kyle in the morning, he got really cold in his rubber rain suit. Too cheap to buy a good jacket! We had to climb that steep hill with the snow patch behind Kyle, deceptively steep, very thin scree, hard to dig in boots.
We did have a sat phone to call Josh and Chuck and let them know what was going on. Josh said he could meet us halfway back with food and we agreed and said then we could just keep hunting for the big goat, not go back to camp. At least that was our ambitious plan. The sun eventually came up, we loaded up our gear and climbed out of the valley, it was steep and tiring. We delayed eating our last chocolate bar for about 2 hours and slogged back to camp up and down the ridges. After 3 hours of hiking we found the big billy again, bedded in some monster cliffs, seemingly stuck on the side of a 1000 foot face, just crazy where they go. He was untouchable for now but there was a feed spot where we could maybe ambush him in the evening if he moved out of the cliffs? We turned our backs on him and walked back to meet Josh. Tired, hungry and once again getting cooked by the sun. It was all good though. I was determined to keep hunting hard, so was Kyle.
Big Billy in the cliffs
Big Billy in the cliffs
We met Josh awhile later, had a great meal of coffee, oatmeal and freeze dried food. It really reenergized us but on 2nd thought we wanted a good night sleep then we would go after the goat again, bring overnight gear this time just in case. We all headed back to camp keeping our eyes peeled for goats.
Taking a bath!
Taking a bath!
On our hike back to camp we came across some ponds in the scree slope valley, some were cold, some were shallow, hot and full of algae. One was the perfect, temperature, like a cool bath. AND Josh had a bar of soap in his pack! Who the hell carries a bar of soap?! We were very grateful though, we washed up and joked around, life was fantastic!
Kyle's head in the bathtub pond.
Kyle's head in the bathtub pond.
One of the best ways we have found to get the goats is to be able to ambush them when they leave the safety of the cliffs and feed on the nearby grassy knobs. It is very different from sheep hunting especially Dall sheep which I used to guide where you wait for them to bed up to stalk them. For goats you need to be camped close enough to them to make an evening or morning move when they are feeding because of their tendency to bed in cliffs in the daytime.
This is an awesome story, so far and I expect it to get better even!!
Great pics of typical goat country. That northwest corner has what it takes to grow big billy's and what it takes to keep average hunters out of it. You earn your alpine time there!
Goat dusting beds.
Goat dusting beds.
The other great way to get them is to find them bedded on a slope near the cliffs. They will often do this on hot, sunny, bug filled days. They will dust themselves, digging up the dirt, kicking it back on themselves to ward off bugs. They could care less about bedding in the shade like a mule deer, even on the hottest 90F days I haven't seen them go for shade. They constantly twitch their little ears and get up all the time to dig more dirt and then they kick it up while bedded. It's neat to watch and you never have to wait long for a goat to stand up, though they often bed down again really fast.
Bedded Mountain Goat
Bedded Mountain Goat
Here is one in a great stalking position. Steep grass slope to slide down with your bow in your lap. Relatively easy to get within bow range, they also generally aren't spooky like a big old muley buck, they'll get up and down without looking around too much. I don't know if the big old ones are like that too? Maybe they are smarter, have to ask a real goat guide that one, not a half ass goat hunter like myself.
Mike, Good story with the photos and description of the efforts and failures. You will earn him when/if you get/got him! Looking forward to the rest of the story!
You guys are bad ass. Great story.
I have read a few 5 Star mystery books by #1 authors, that do not hold one's attentions like this story does.
Thanks guys! It's fun, and a bit of work, to get it all down but then I can go back to it and relive whenever I want. These big hunts make up a lot of my happy place day dreams!!
Here is another pic of the big boy. I have no idea how big he really is but we have killed a couple 11 inch billies with scores over 52 in our territory and it could be another one like that?
Back to the story. Josh, Kyle and I headed back to camp after our bath. (Chuck was hanging around camp) Josh and I were in the lead when I saw this goat laying on the slope below us but I decided to not say anything and let Kyle spot it....ok, that's bull. Josh and I walked right by the goat laying 500 yds down the slope when Kyle said, "hey idiots, there's a goat laying there!" Well that's not true either but that's what he should have said! We hit the dirt, crawled out to the edge and had a look at him. We are not good at trophy estimation like a seasoned goat guide but we figured he WAS a Billy at least and a pretty good one at that, almost certainly bigger than my last one. I hummed and hawed while Kyle and Josh told me to go shoot it. I wasn't sure with the big one still around, sort of. They even told me to just see how close I could get, then decide. I laughed at that one and said if I climbed down there I was going to shoot it, not just look at it. My looking had to be done from a distance. We only had 1 1/2 more days to hunt and he looked big enough. I said yeah lets do it! Kyle and I looped around, got him right below us while Josh would give us any needed hand signals. The wind was blowing pretty hard straight up the slope. The stalk would be pretty straight forward even though he would be out of our sight almost the whole time due to the undulations in the ground.
This is great Mike, keep it coming.
Me in a before picture just before the stalk. Lookin good in my kuiu gear! Haha.
Kyle and I slid and slid, down down and couldn't locate the goat! Knew he had to be below us, so much for straight forward. We didn't want to slide right past him!! We looked back at Josh and he got us on track with a couple arm signals. Then we spotted him at about 100 yds. We sat and looked him over, he definitely looked bigger than 9 1/2 and 47 score but we weren't 100%, oh well, looked big enough. Game on! We slid down more and at 80 I nocked an arrow and Kyle called out yardage at every stop, 70, 60, 50. We hung up and waited, good enough. Half an hr later and he stood up, I drew, he lay back down. Bugger. Then I got nervous about 50 yds, my stupid old eyes, possible target panic and wind was making me nervous. We slowly moved closer while he was bedded looking the other way. We got to 40, now I'm good. I won't miss here I assured myself. We didn't have to wait long, he stood up again and looked away. I drew my bow and....he lay down again!!! Holy crap. I was dieing. More waiting. I let down, 10 minutes later the bugs got to him again and he stood once more. I drew again, was getting him in my sights and he flopped down back into his bed. Seriously?! I let back down. Anxiety built up in me.
Thank you so much for sharing this and doing it so well. Fantastic.
Whoops sorry didn't mean to double post pic of me. I don't look that good! Dang it.
I'll continue the story here since I can't seem to get rid of the picture. He stood for the 4th and 5th times, each time me drawing and letting down, never getting busted. I actually mellowed out a bit then he stood for the 6th time, Kyle hit the record button on the video camera, again, I drew and he spotted me!! He was head on, whole body facing us and I panicked. Hammered my new thumb trigger and totally missed, by like 2 feet and my arrow ricocheted off into space. The goat just flinched and gave us the hairy eyeball. Kyle told me to get another arrow. I did as quickly as I could while he called out the play by play. "He is just standing there, you have time but hurry!". I got the arrow nocked drew again and was ready to let another one rip like a moron. Then a calm came over me, I told myself to slow down, don't wound him, you got lucky by not doing it already. I let down and the goat stared. Let him walk or wait for him to give you a good shot I told myself. He finally looked away, turned broadside and...oh, my wife is yelling at me to get off my phone! I'll be back...
This is great! I cannot wait to be in Goat country this fall. I see your last two were early season and short hair, I'm debating on just saying screw the hair in lieu of better weather early in the season. Goats are so much fun. Thanks for taking us along!
Great story Mike. Appreciate you taking your time to do this and the pictures bring us with you. Well done keep er coming!
Tell her to leave you alone, I'll help pay the alimony!
Jeez! Hate it when the wife starts bugging me when I am working on a story!
Awesome photos and awesome tale! Got me hitting refresh a couple of times here to see what happens...
Putting the miles on searching for critters.
Putting the miles on searching for critters.
I'm back. Before I get on with the story, just so you know I never intended to take a head on shot. I really don't like them and rarely take them except up very close. I wanted to draw my bow as he was standing up so I would be at full draw when he was finished standing, he had been broadside the other times he stood. This time he stood up head on and spotted me! I saw the recognition in his eyes and body language and I panicked, afraid he was going to bolt. I shot when I shouldn't have, fortunately I missed and then got my head back to where it should have been, being patient.
After the warning shot he took a couple of minutes to calm down. Didn't see us as a threat, probably because he had never seen people before and we weren't chasing him like a wolf, he ignored us, turned sideways, took a couple steps up onto the edge of his bed and gazed over the valley. I drew back once again and settled my 40 yd pin right behind his shoulder and slowly pulled through the shot with a nice surprise release. "Whack", the arrow hit a bit high but because of the downward angle went through both lungs. He bolted over the edge, ran for a bit downhill in our sight then disappeared over a steep cliffy area into the creek bed. We both felt good about the hit and we scrambled down the mountain right away spotting him piled up in the creek. Kyle let me get to him first and be the first one to lay hands on him. I was thrilled to put him down with the one shot after my amateur incident.
Kyle and I with the goat, muddy coat because of the creek. He died on his feet and then rolled quite a ways down the slope breaking the tip of one horn back by just 1/4 inch it looked like. By horn growth rings he was 4 1/2 years old, 9 5/8 inches, same length as my last one but heavier on every circumference. At the time we figured he was 48-49 score. Fantastic genetics. Heavier body too, my guess would be around 200 lbs live weight, 60 lbs of deboned meat minus most of one blood shot shoulder. Josh soon scrambled down the slope to join in the celebration. Chuck unfortunately was in camp not knowing any of what was going on.
Mike Ukrainetz and his bow killed Mountain Goat.
Mike Ukrainetz and his bow killed Mountain Goat.
On these early hunts the capes are not good, this one had the best one so far but not really mountable. I'm ok with that. I just do a plaque mount. I do the hunt more for the overall experience. I'm too busy guiding for my own outfit to do the hunts later in the year. I do love doing the summer hunt anyway, I like to endure the heat or rain or whatever other challenge is thrown at us, keeps a guy feeling so alive! It's a fun challenge to get your gear figured out, food and pre hunt training prep is great too. I actually got a debilitating hernia 3 months before the hunt, blew it out doing a hard hill run. It shut down all exercise except slow walking. Then I had the operation 2 months before the hunt, only slow walking on city streets for 6 weeks, then just 2 weeks before the hunt could I do any hard training. Basically I just tested myself with a heavy pack a couple times before the hunt, did some leg work and felt I was good to go. Fortunately I'm not a fatso to begin with.
The meat is really good too. We ate quite a bit getting off the mountain for 2 days and it was excellent just fried up with a bit of salt. My wife and kids love it too, just as good as moose, better than elk, much better than deer in my family opinion anyway.
Great adventure, goat, and story! Congratulations, Mike!
Hope the pack out was not too bad... You at least had a few strapping young lads to help out:)
The pack out, hot sweaty work for all of us. Not big loads with 4 guys though. We took our time enjoying our holiday. I feel like I'm almost a legit mountain goat hunter now! I want to do at least 2 more goat hunts, hopefully get one that qualifies for Boone and Crockett and then try for another one even bigger, top 10 in the world. I know it's not in fashion right now to call yourself a Trophy Hunter but I am because it ups the challenge and allows me to hunt for more days. Older animals, especially 5+ year old animals act differently, have finely attuned senses, much tougher to get. We did pass up going after a couple of smaller billies too.
If anyone has any questions feel free to post them here, would try to answer them, love to hear from other mountain goat bowhunters too!
Living the dream. Congrats Mike.
Excellent writing, Mike. Really enjoyed it and some fantastic pics too.
Hope I can see the video in early May.
Congrats on a REALLY nice goat.
Great story and pictures. Congrats on a great hunt and billy.
Awesome adventure Mike...Thanks for sharing.....X2 on living the dream!
The moment of truth was really exciting on that last hunt...excellent read !
Best of Luck, Jeff
For one that has also bow killed a mt goat, your hunt was very impressive as was the written/pictured story. Well done Mike. Great to have friends along also. my best, Paul
Great story! Congratulations! Thanks for posting....I love reading about mountain hunts.
Kyle, great post and thanks for taking us along.
Eagle Eye is a much deserved nick name. He gets it the old fashioned way, he earned it!
Great write up Mike. Enjoyed it very much!
Well done all around! Hunt, pics and story and congratulations on a hard won animal. Not often you get a second shot in that type of situation. Good job keeping it (getting it back) together to seal the deal.
Any gear or clothing that exceeded expectations or failed to perform?
Great story Mike! Thanks for taking us along.
Congrats on your goat as well.
Great post! Incredible adventure ! I loved it! Hunt
Great read, thanks for posting it!
Great story! Grats and thanks for taking the time to write it up.
Thanks for the recap. Congrats!!
Awesome story, pics and Hunt!
"The A Team" prevails (once again)!
Congrats Mike and say hello to Eagle Eye for me!
CONGRATS MIKE!!! And thank you for taking us along! Very well done!
The gang of us after the hunt enjoying a great meal and beverages in Smithers, BC.
Boston Pizza sports bar. It's where all the best goat hunters hang out!
Did you take a pic with the lifesize billy statue on the street?
Sure looks like a pretty good goat bowhunter to me.....
Great story, pics, very well done. Thanks much for takin' the time to do this and bring us us along. And Congrats!
Did you folks ever spot any sheep?
Great hunt Mike.
Amazing genetics in those Goats to grow so much horn that young.
Excellent! Thanks for sharing.
Really enjoyed this! Thanks for taking the time
Great story Mike! Congrats on a fine animal!!
This Billy came right into camp on the last day!
This Billy came right into camp on the last day!
TD. No sheep spotted. Thanks Ambush. No pic with lifesize goat, would have been cool though! As for gear, loved my new MEC/jetboil imitation stove. Boils water so fast and uses so little fuel. Kuiu 30F bag is all I need on this hunt in August, if it rains or even gets frosty at night I just put on some of my clothes, worst case I wear my pants, (love the kuiu tiburon pants, we all wore them), puffy jacket, toque (non Canadians will have to figure out what that is?) 1 lb thermarest sleeping pad with no insulation works great, kuiu 7200 pack is perfect, can strap a bow to it with no extra bungee or rope, comes off quick. Been using Meindhl boots but they are just so heavy, especially when wet. Just got the Scarpa Charmoz all synthetic ones, 1 lb lighter per boot, hopefully they are totally waterproof and heavy duty enough? Kuiu rain gear is good for most rain and acts as a good windbreaker but just like every goretex like product it's not totally waterproof. Do some bush whacking through wet vegetation and the water will soak through or a driving rain storm, you are getting somewhat wet. I usually don't wear gators or if I do I wear small ones like the kuiu scree ones. I need to get a light weight tarp for emergency over nights. I prefer that to a bivy sack because you can sit or lay in front of a fire with a tarp and cuddle with your guide, haha. As for food I have found that some guys can get away with as little as 1 1/2 lbs of food per day and other guys need 2 1/2 lbs a day, sometimes the most fit, lean guys need the most food! better to go into the hunt a little chubby with conditioned legs and feet. Some guys eat very little all day and then down 2 freeze dried meals at night, if I have a choice I'm an eat all day, 2 to 2 1/2 lb per day kind of guy, not that I'm a lean machine, I just don't enjoy myself when I'm hungry all the time, end up daydreaming about when I get to eat my next bit of food. If you can it's always good to wear your loaded pack as much as you can before the hunt to condition your upper back muscles. I have found the greatest pain, discomfort is from my trap muscles.
Anyway that is some of my random thoughts on it all. Thanks for checking out the thread and for the kind words.
Spring bear coming soon! Can't wait!!
Mike, Great goat story! A local Smithers RCMP officer (and bowhunting legend) recommended the same sports bar for lunch after my successful stone sheep hunt last August. No photo evidence provided though.
Congrats Mike! Great photos of a wicked adventure and well told! I have always considered mountain goats to be one of the greatest archery trophies; pretty damn cool you got three of 'em.
That was a Fantastic story and Congrats on your goat. It really fires me up since I'll be in northern BC the end of August this year chasing them for the first time. You say the capes are no good early in August...how are they by the end of the month (trip is 8/28-9/12)? Hoping to get a good mounter billy. Thanks Kip
Capes are pretty good by end of August, nice even coat, couple inches long. Thanks again guys!
idk.....cape looked pretty nice to me..... not longer fall/late fall hair, but pretty nice.
I think you folks are a wee bit jaded.... =D
Toque! Eh, hoser!
I've watched enough of the McKenzie Brothers to know what it is! Jen is probably pretty happy about now. Her Oregon Ducks just won.
Awesome thread, I thoroughly enjoyed it.
I may have missed it, but can we get some details on your bow/arrow setup?
For all the bowhunting I do I'm kinda bad for bow and arrow setup. Every 5-10 years I go to a pro shop like Jim bows in Calgary, ask them what new bow and arrow set up to buy, try a few of them, pick the one that has the best feel to me, what broadheads work good. Take it home, shoot it at 60-70 yards with broadheads, get a 6 inch group, call it good and go hunt. I now shoot a hoyt defiant at 64 lbs, 5 pin sight, no idea who makes it, with arrows, can't remember who makes them, don't know how heavy they are or the foc, slick trick broadheads, and my new thumb release. I discard any arrows that don't group well, assume that a broadhead that spins well will group well? Mistaken? plus I practice lots and become used to everything so in the heat of the moment I only have one way to shoot, seems to work ok?