Hunt of a Lifetime - 2010 Mountain Goat

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My friend Charlie and I planned a mountain goat hunt about 18 months earlier and the time finally came to make the 2 ½ day drive to British Columbia, Canada.  We arrived in camp on Wednesday, September 21, 2010.  Beaverfoot Outfitters ran their operation out of a group of chalets nestled at the base of the Canadian Rockies near Golden, BC, Canada. 

It was a nice sunny day, the first in over a week.  Our arrival had been preceded by rain and lots of it.  The outfitter’s wife, Claire greeted us and showed us to our chalet.  It was a nice cabin with two bedrooms and baths as well as a kitchen.  Of course we wouldn’t need the kitchen as Claire would be preparing our meals.

Claire turned out to be quite the cook; nothing gourmet or fancy, just home-cooked, made from scratch and hearty.  The plentiful food was just what hunters need to fuel them for strenuous hunting in the mountains.  My favorite was the lunch meal featuring a sandwich consisting of Canadian ham or summer sausage and cheese between two thick slices of homemade bread.

Breakfast was at 6 am and soon after it, Troy my guide and I headed out.  We drove the mountain roads to a spot at about 5,000 feet in elevation.  Donning our packs we then headed up.  We climbed through thick brush and over rocky steep terrain for over two hours to get above the timberline.  This got us close to where the goats lived.  It gave us a vantage point to begin glassing for goats.

The trees ran out at about 7,500 feet.  It gave us a clear view of the mountain peaks around us.  It also gave us a magnificent view into the valley below.  The clouds rolled in after we got to the top and it was spectacular.

We hiked, stopping to glass, along the mountain ridge.  My guide spotted a legal mule deer buck.  Mule deer have to have at least four points on one side to be legal.  This was a 4 x 3 young buck that despite being legal wasn’t a shooter for me.  My focus was on mountain goat and it would take an exceptional mule deer for me to deviate from my plans to take a mountain goat first.

The following picture was taken the second day from another mountain.  We were right at the base of the tall peak on the first day.

We pressed on looking for goats.  After lunch we topped a ridge and scanned the next peak for goats.  I couldn’t pick up the two specks, but the guide did.  Once pointed out to me, I could view a nanny and kid through my binos.  They were resting on a ledge across from us.  Not sure if it were a billy if I could have taken him.  Probably could have gotten close enough for a shot, but not sure how we would have recovered him. 

To get to the next spot we had to cross a loose, snow covered shale field.  The footing without the snow would have been treacherous, but the snow greatly added to the danger; at least from my perspective.  Troy had no problem crossing it, but the steepness and uncertainty of footing made slow going for me.

I trained for the trip, but my thighs were cramping from using muscles that only the mountain could find.

I would put the angle of the mountainside there at about 70 degrees.  It was so steep I struggled to stay upright.  It wanted to pull me into the mountain.  Carrying a backpack and rifle just added to the difficulty.  I was actually scared, but I did it. 

After the shale slide, we had to cross a boulder slide which was actually easy in comparison.

We didn’t see anything else that day and headed back to camp for dinner.  Dinner was at 7:30

I don’t recall what we ate, but it was good.  I worked up an appetite that day.  I was joined by my friend Charlie, a young hunter from Texas, Travis and a young doctor from Denmark who was in the country for a conference and decided to make it into a black bear hunt.

After dinner there was just enough time to clean up and get some sleep before breakfast the next day.

The next day was Friday and we headed out with a pack horse Smokey.  I was a long easy ascent to the cabin.  On the way we spotted a black bear.  I told the guide that I wanted to focus on mountain goat, but he was insistent that we take a closer look.  It was a really nice black bear so I went along, but when we got to the spot where the bear “was” he was nowhere to be found.

So we continued onto the cabin.  After unpacking the horse and putting our gear into the cabin we headed out up a valley.  It was a couple hour hike to where we started spotting for goats.  Troy found two billies at the top of a mountain bedded down.  It was around 2 pm and we decided to wait to see if they would get up and feed.  There were about 600 yards away and it was steep.

We waited until 4pm and they didn’t show any sign of moving so we decided to move closer to be prepared for a shot.  It took a while of staying in the timber and belly crawling to find a spot that was close enough.  We got to 271 yards, but it was steep. It was so steep that I kept sliding down from my shooting spot; about a foot or two each time.

I set up in the prone position on Troy’s backpack and waited for them to move closer.  We waited and we waited but they didn’t move much closer – maybe 250 - 260.  The angle was almost straight up so I had to calculate the actual distance (guess really).  I held on the bigger of the two’s shoulder for about 225 and squeezed the trigger when I got the okay.

The goat dropped instantly and then fell off the bench.  He rolled down the mountain flipping over and over for 50 yards.  We then had to climb up to retrieve him.

It was grueling, straight up and rocky.  I was relieved to find that he had both horns with just a small chip out of one when we arrived an half-hour later.  It was so steep we had to tie him to a tree to keep him from falling down the mountain when we tried to position him for pictures.

The goat was huge weighing in at about 300 pounds with 9 1/2 inch horns.  He was later aged by the official Canadian inspector at 9 years old.  Troy began the task of skinning him after pictures.  It took until about 8:30 for him to finish and then we had to pack the hide and meat down the mountain to the cabin in the dark.

My pack probably weighed around 50 – 60 pounds and it was heavy.  Going down a mountain is a little easier than going up, but it has its own challenges like tripping or losing your footing and tumbling down.  We got to the cabin about 11 pm and it was not a minute too soon.  I was dehydrated and in desperate need of something to drink.  Fortunately I had a hydration drink waiting for me.

After a Molson beer and a dinner of moose chili we hit the sack. 

This hunt is by far the most challenging hunt I’ve done.  It challenged me physically and mentally.

I have the goat meat in the freezer and will do a life-size mount of the goat.  But most of all, I have a sense of accomplishment for pushing past my limits.

Comments

AlpineClimber's picture

Fantastic!

This article fired up my morning and I'm heading back to the gym this afternoon.  I have a Mountain Goat Hunt in the Kootenays with Whiteswan Lake Outfitters, October 1.  You can count on a Molson in my back pack to celebrate as well.  Great job.

buffybr's picture

Congratulations on a great

Congratulations on a great hunt and thanks for posting your story and pictures.

Like you said, goat hunts can be very strenuous.  Every year when I apply for a tag, I hope that I can still make it up the mountains to hunt them.  It seems like the mountains get steeper every year.

HOGGETTER's picture

Congrats on a great hunt!

    Good job, Can you post some more mountain pics?

CVC's picture

I just made a gallery called

I just made a gallery called mountains. yeah, I know real original.  I will post some more on Friday for you.  This is just what I had handy here.

gatorfan's picture

Sounds like a fun

Sounds like a fun time!

Congrats on your success and thanks for sharing!

Ca_Vermonster's picture

Other than the rockies in

Other than the rockies in September, when the aspen leaves are all turning yellow, it is hard to imagine a place so beautiful as where you go Goat hunting.  Those are great pictures, a great story, and looks like a great hunt!  Congrats!

CVC's picture

Nature is the most talented

Nature is the most talented artist and no man-made art compares to the beauty that she has created.  The sheer rugged beauty, the crystal water falls and wide open skies about green valleys are just a few of the memories I have.  The scenic beauty was as much a part of the hunt as the hunt itself.  I would be hiking and then just have to stop and take pictures.  I am glad I did and that I could share them.

SoCoKHntr's picture

Awesome!

Great story and excellent pictures, congrats!

GooseHunter Jr's picture

Man that is a great story.  I

Man that is a great story.  I love the photos from the top of the world.  Someday I would love to go on a goat hunt like that.

CVC's picture

It was incredible to stand at

It was incredible to stand at the top of the mountain and look down.  I guess I knew, but it didn't sink in until I got there that we would have to climb to the very top of the mountain each day. 

Thanks for your kind comments.

ecubackpacker's picture

Congrats CVC on a successful

Congrats CVC on a successful hunt! That's a good looking goat.
I have always wanted to go on a mountain goat hunt to BC, maybe one day soon I'll make it. It will take some work for me to get into moutain goat shape. How long did you train to get in shape for the hunt?
Your story was a great read while in the stand this morning. The deer and turkeys interrupted me about half way through it.

CVC's picture

I started training as soon as

I started training as soon as I booked the hunt so about 18 months.  During that time I lost 15 pounds.  One thing I learned is that I think I peaked a little too soon.  18 months of training is a long time so I think my intensity started to wane towards the end.  If I did it over, I would start building a base and then ramp up the training about three months out.

One guy in camp was doing 3 hours on the stair climber each day.  He was young and I think this is overkill, but the better trained you are, the more you'll enjoy the daily climbs.  Despite the running I did, the climbs hit muscles I was not used to using.  So I guess nothing replaces actually climbing.

CVC's picture

You can't tell from the

You can't tell from the picture, but the goat is being held up by some rocks we wedged under it.  It was so steep we had to tie the goat off to a tree before moving it for fear it would fall down the mountain.  The guide commented that i seemed a bit nervous.  Heck yeah, it looks flat where I was sitting but it was a 70 degree slope everywhere else with lots of loose rocks.  I was cautious coming down the mountain, but I had visions of falling the entire time.

jaybe's picture

Nice Goat!

That's quite a hunt. From everything I hear and read, I won't be going on a mountain goat or a sheep hunt unless I can be airlifted in and out by helicopter!  ):>)

Too many years behind me - to say nothing of the cost involved.

But I'm glad to read about the success of others.

Nice shot, by the way; those steep up/downhill shots can be very deceiving, and they sometimes reward you with the infamous "scope eye."

Congrats - be sure to post a picture of the mount when it's done.

Thanks for the story.

CVC's picture

I will post a picture of the

I will post a picture of the mount and thanks for the kind words.  I really am a lucky guy to have a wife that allows me to pursue adventures like this, plus to bring the mount home even though it her words it "will creep" her out.  She is a vegetarian and non-hunter animal lover but she realizes that her lifestyle isn't mine.

CVC,  Congrats my friend on a

CVC,

 Congrats my friend on a great hunt. Thanks for sharing your hunt with us.