Wyoming Mountain Goat Hunt
Yes, the title, Wyoming Mountain Goat Hunt is a bit misleading. I will admit to it right here. It is just my feeble attempt at being clever and grabbing your attention. Now, I won’t come out and say that it is entirely inaccurate because pronghorn antelope are often referred to as “goats” and I did take it on a mountain. Here is the story.
The last year we were successful at drawing tags for antelope in Wyoming, but the second year we didn’t draw a tag. Instead we had to find a unit with left-over tags if we wanted to hunt. Our normal unit had lots of public land, but the one we settled on had very limited public land, but we had a connection that would hook us up with a landowner that for a trespass fee would allow us to hunt his land.
What none of us realized was that the land was at the top of a mountain; hence, the title, Wyoming Mountain Goat Hunt. See, I told you that it wasn’t entirely untrue. We tried the public land options the first day, but had little success. I did have a pronghorn with about 12 inch horns in my sights on that day, but the guys talked me out of taking him. They suggested that the private land would likely yield bigger bucks. Yeah, right.
I don’t blame them because I made the decision and really thought that private land would equate to better hunting opportunities and bigger bucks. I was wrong, but I am not complaining because as many people have said before me, there is a lot more to the hunt than just taking an animal. This hunt would turn out to be one of my favorites and most memorable.
Getting back to the mountain, we met the land owner and he gave us a map to his land. It had rained and even with four-wheel drive it was a bit slick getting to the top of the mountain. It seems that is normally so dry in Wyoming that the gravel roads are covered with a dust that creates a very slick coating when it gets wet. We made it to the top of the mountain and decided to take a hike to see if we could find a goat.
We all know the saying about things going from bad to worse. Here we were on top of a mountain in Wyoming with what seemed to be little game so how could it get worse? Add a blizzard, yes a raging wind blown blizzard to the mix and that is how it can get worse. It was freezing and the visibility made glassing for the goats very difficult.
We decided to call it quits and wait out the storm. As we headed back to the truck, I caught some movement in the distance. I scanned with my binos and saw that it was a buck antelope. I could tell he was young and small; smaller than the one I passed on yesterday, but with no better prospects I was going to take him.
The year before I used a .30-06 but this year I was carrying my .243 Winchester. It had a laminated stock and a bull barrel so it was a heavy rifle, but accurate and fun to shoot. I extended the bipod and settled in for the shot. I estimated the distance to be 200 yards and squeezed off the trigger. Charlie immediately told me I missed, but I didn’t think I did. Still, I chambered another round and was in the process of acquiring the goat in my scope when he just fell over.
The 100 grain Sierra Game King bullet did the job. It was a perfect shot except for one thing. No one told the goat he was dead until he fell over. He just never know he’d been shot.
So that is the story of my Wyoming Mountain Goat Hunt. I didn’t get the biggest goat, but I think I came away with one heck of a story. How many other people can brag they shot a pronghorn antelope on top of a mountain in a blizzard?