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Old Goat tags an Old Goat (w/Babine)
Just returned home from British Columbia following a successful mountain goat hunt with Babine Guide Outfitters. This trip was my first ever mountain goat hunt…originally expected to happen in 2024 at the earliest. I was notified back in March regarding a recent 2023 opening and jumped on the opportunity. Figured, at my age…the sooner I chase mountain goats…the better!
Warning, I did not get many photos of the goat hunt due to a short hunt duration and a lot of smoke drifting in from distant wildfires. Smoke was not an issue on the particular mountain faces we were hunting, but definitely filled the drainages between ridges and blocked otherwise spectacular views.
Arrived in Smithers, BC the evening of September 8th and was greeted at the airport by Lloyd Hooper. Lloyd and his brother Jack are owner/operators of Babine Guide Outfitters. I learned that Lloyd would be my guide for this hunt. We made it to the lodge, ate a late dinner and turned in for the night. The main lodge is on the left. The building on the right has a skinning room on the lower level and an apartment on the upper level. The upper level was my assigned living quarters while at the lodge.
The following morning, we had an early breakfast and then Lloyd went through my gear (I brought more gear than necessary of course). Got my backpack loaded up and shot my bow a few times before heading to our hunting locale. It was roughly a two-hour drive to the parking area. We then unloaded the Polaris UTV and followed an overgrown forest service trail for another 90 minutes…stopping a half dozen times to remove fallen timber using a chain saw. Once we reached the hiking trail, our packs were on and we headed up the mountain…nearly a four-hour hike to the campsite. The last hour of that hike had me questioning my decision to hunt mountain goats. Fortunately, made it to the campsite, set up camp and devoured some Mountain House dinners just before nightfall.
The next morning, following a quick breakfast, we began a steep 1500’ trek towards the ridgeline. I was surprised that my legs had recovered significantly overnight. This photo is our view from camp…the hunt was on!
About halfway up the ridge, we began hiking past several goat beds. A good sign for a rookie goat hunter!
On the way up, Lloyd spotted three pairs of goats and a large black bear. One of the pairs was in a distant bowl. Lloyd was confident those two goats were likely billies, but they were a long way off and wind was wrong for an approach. The other two pairs were nannies with kids. When we reached the ridgeline, Lloyd re-located a nanny and kid now bedded on a snow cornice below. Sorry about the fuzzy photo, but using full zoom with a hand held cell phone apparently is not a good option for me!
In this photo, you can see the smoke blocking our views of distant mountain faces. A few minutes after snapping this photo, Lloyd spotted a lone goat feeding between the trees below.
Here is another fuzzy photo…the white spot being the feeding goat. Lloyd ranged the goat at 700 yards. Eventually, the goat worked its way down into the drainage and bedded. It was impossible to tell if we were looking at a billy or a nanny from that distance…so we decided to close the gap.
We had to cross an open face above the goat, but fortunately had the sun to our backs. The goat did not spot us. The only way off that face was about 200 yards of rock and shale slide. We moved slow but steady down the slide and definitely made some noise rolling rocks…but Lloyd said that is common in goat country…plus we had a steady wind in our favor to help dull the noise. We eventually worked our way within a couple hundred yards of the goat bed, looked over a rise and the goat was gone. Lloyd raised up a bit higher and found the goat still bedded about 50 yards from the original bed.
We dropped our packs and began crawling down the ridge. Ran out of cover about 100 yards from the goat. The goat was facing our direction, so we had no other option at the time than to sit and wait. About an hour later, the goat stood up and reversed directions. Here is another fuzzy photo taken while lying flat on my back. Sure wish these photos were crisp, not fuzzy!
Once the goat was facing away, I asked Lloyd if I could attempt a stalk. There was some high grass to my right and a couple small pine trees over the bank. My plan was to slide through the grass on my back until I reached the first pine tree…line the pine trees up between me and the goat…and then make the stalk on foot. Lloyd agreed that plan might work. He told me to keep eyes on the goat while sliding through the grass and freeze if he looked my direction.
The goat did look my direction a couple times. The wind had calmed and I’m pretty sure he heard me sliding. That said, I made it to the first pine and then closed the gap to the second pine. Waited for the goat to look away and then scooted around the last pine for an open shot…range was 49 yards.
Thirty minutes later, the goat stood up again. Worked the dirt in his bed and laid back down…this time facing uphill…completely broadside with his near front leg stretched out. I wanted to take the shot at that point, but Lloyd told me that he doesn’t allow bowhunters to shoot bedded goats. I had to wait him out…again.
Another 20 minutes goes by and the goat stands and begins feeding my direction. I’m using a rangefinder and adjusting my sight as the goat closes the gap. I believe he caught movement, stopped feeding and began walking towards the ridgeline. My last range was 38 yards, so I drew and aimed with the 35 yard pin. Considered bleating to stop him, but was concerned he might run…since he already knew something wasn’t quite right. When the front leg came forward, I let the arrow fly. Little did I know, Lloyd was filming the entire sequence with his phone. I hope this works…
See video links at the end of the hunt recap. Thanks JohnMC!
I’d like to say the shot was perfect, but it was a bit back. Yeah, at this point I’m second guessing the walking shot. But the arrow definitely hit liver, possibly caught the back of a lung…so it was a fatal shot, just wasn’t going to be quick. The goat stopped short of the ridgeline and stood for what seemed like an eternity. I actually saw his back legs start to buckle a couple times, but he stood firm.
The distance was 90 yards. My sight only goes to eighty yards and I’ve never shot further than 60 yards. I knew the goat was in trouble, but I wanted to get a second arrow in him if possible. He was looking over the ridgeline when I made my move, but he caught my movement soon after and stepped over the ridgeline and out of sight. I hustled to the ridgeline, knocked an arrow and peaked over the top. The goat was standing broadside less than 25 yards. I drew the bow…stepped up and took the shot. Second arrow was perfect and the goat was down within a few seconds. Once on the ground, he started the dreaded roll and slammed into some short pine trees some 150 yards below. This photo is how we found him. Had it not been for that little clump of trees, he would have rolled all the way to the creek bottom…at least another 300 yards.
Evening of day one and my goat hunt was over! The photos really don’t do the slope justice, but there is a reason I’m holding on to those trees in the photo. I would likely be rolling down the hill myself otherwise! In total, twelve goats were spotted that day…before, during and after the shot.
Lloyd took one look at the horns on the billy and said it will either be the largest or second largest bowkill goat he’s ever guided. He would later tape the goat out at 51-6/8’s gross green score and 51-4/8ths net green score. I booked this hunt hoping to get an opportunity at a billy…any billy. Never even considered the possibility of bringing home a potential “awards” or “all time” Boone & Crockett animal. Thank you God.
The location the goat died made it very difficult for skinning and boning. Lloyd actually put a rope around the goat’s neck and had me pulling the rope uphill while he worked. The entire time, I’m wishing the goat would have went down before cresting the ridgeline! We were able to get the goat back to camp just before dark…after falling on my ass at least a half dozen times hiking down that steep slope.
The next morning, we had breakfast and broke down camp. It was a three-hour hike, mostly downhill, to the UTV…with heavier packs of course. With my bow attached, I’m guessing my full pack was in the 70lb range…not even close to Lloyd’s pack weight. I’m sure his pack was well over 100lbs…and he handled it like a pro…very impressive!
We made it back to the lodge late afternoon. Bucket list mountain goat hunt…check!
On Tuesday, we took the goat skull to Smithers for inspection. The billy was officially aged at eleven years old…same age as my first black bear taken in Alaska back in 2019.
Speaking of bears, I had purchased a bear tag at the start of the hunt…just in case. Now that the goat hunt was over…it was time to hunt bears with Lloyd’s hounds. He has two black and tan hounds (Willow and Toughy), a blue tick hound (Chappie), a Karelian bear dog (Gomer) and a Siberian Lakia dog (Cedar). Willow was injured prior to my arrival and did not get to hunt with us.
Over the next three days, the dogs treed seven bears. Hopefully, this video works…
The last bear treed on day three was a beautiful cinnamon boar with Pope & Young potential. I had no intentions of mounting another bear going into this hunt…so after battling the decision back and forth in my head for over an hour…I decided not to shoot…right, wrong or indifferent.
Any of you bear hunters (spring or fall) that are looking for a unique bear hunting experience, I would greatly recommend you contact Lloyd for his hound hunts and/or spot and stalk. I had several opportunities on this fall hunt, but Lloyd said the spring bear hunts are even better.
That evening, the other goat hunter in camp (Mike) and his guide (Gavin) arrived back at the lodge with another bowkill goat. A beautiful billy with 9”+ horns taken on day six of his hunt. To date, Babine has hosted three mountain goat bowhunters in 2023…and are 3 for 3 on those hunts. Babine’s awesome reputation on Bowsite goes without saying…but 2023 has been yet another stellar year for this outfitter. If you want a mountain goat and get an opportunity to book with Babine Guide Outfitters…don’t hesitate!!!
Special thanks to the Bowsite brothers that responded to my questions regarding this hunt: JTreeman, sticksender, Ken, kota-man and BOHNTR. (Hope I'm not missing anyone). Appreciate your responses guys!
Congratulations Pav….I mean “old goat”! That is so awesome!
Congrats sounds like a great hunt! If you want to post videos you need to upload to youtube. It is easy to do. If you need help figuring out send me a PM and I'll help you.
Been looking forward to this recap (for multiple reasons) Paul. When you sent me the pic of your goat, I thought it looked like a pretty good one, (not that I know much about goats) but, WOW!! Congrats, my friend, on a beautiful goat, as well as a successful bucket list hunt! Hopefully you get the video thing figured out and posted on here, as well. I’ll be picking your brain about your hunt, gear, etc. Kudos to you!
Well, let a BC local be the first one to congratulate you on a fantastic BC (and B&C) goat!! I had heard they got a great billy but pretty cool it was by a Bowsite'r!
Congrats Paul way to get it done! Steve B stole my joke.
Thanks John...let's try this bow shot video again...
EDIT: Video is working now.
Great Goat! Glad you had a great hunt.
Great job Pav. Thanks for sharing your success. That is a big goat!
...and here are Lloyd's bear hounds on video.
Edit: Video is working now.
Congratulations Pav. You hunted with a great Outfitter and guide for sure. I hunted with Lloyd 2 years ago and had a hunt of a lifetime. Anyone that wants a top-notch goat hunt should definitely book with Babine. Thanks for sharing your hunt!
Awesome adventure, thanks for sharing!
Congrats! Great goat!!! By your description of getting there, it sounds like the same area I killed my goat. They're great guys with an awesome area! Thanks for sharing!!
That was awesome, congrats!!!
Congrats on a successful trip with a great billy!
Congratulations, awesome goat
From one Paul to another, congrats on a great animal!!
Congratulations! Big goat!
Congrats on an incredible goat pav! Thanks for sharing!!
Congratulations on a great goat!
Babine definitely has a solid reputation for bowhunting goats. I am booked on this hunt for 2025 and really looking forward to it, bucket list item for me as well.
Congratulations on an awesome hunt!
Pav congratulations! This was a great write up, just as I am leaving, you got me pumped up! Thanks
Congrats! Great goat with a great outfitter! I should get back up there!
Great job, way to make it happen!
Congrats Paul. Great trophy!!
WOW, great billy!!!! Congrats!!
Congratulations Old Goat! Wonderful pictures and letting us share the experiences!
Congrats on a great goat!
Helluva a goat! Thanks for taking the time to post your adventure.
Congratulations on an incredible goat. Lloyd and Jack run a real special place and are great people. Enjoyed a wolf and trapline trip with them and hope to go back for a goat myself. Thanks for sharing your trip with us.
That's awesome! Congrats!
Congrats Paul! What an amazing billy!
Spectacular adventure and conclusion! Well done all the way around! Congratulations, Paul!
Congrats pav, nice goat !
Congratulations PAV,fantastic job!
Beautiful animal. Congratulations!!!
Awesome goat and thanks for the recap!
Way to go pav. Well done.
Congrats Paul, one hell of a goat. Super stoked for you!
That goat looks huge in the video! I love these goat hunt threads because I know I'll never do it myself. Congratulations and thanks so much for sharing!
Fantastic! Congrats on a huge Billy
Congrats on a fine old goat Pav!
That was quick! Congrats on a fine billy!
Great work Pav!! Congrats on a beautiful Mountain Goat!
Congratulations on a great goat!
Great job! Thanks for sharing the hunt
Too bad they don't have a signature wall for clients to sign up in the apartment we stay inside.
Good luck, Robb
Awesome! Definitely on my “to do” list as well, sure not getting any younger.
Congrats Paul! Heck of an old Goat. Nice animal, too....