Mountain Goat - My Mountain Hunting Dream Realized

buckchaser

Junior Member
Joined
Nov 12, 2013
Messages
30
I shared this on Hunting BC because I felt it was most relevant there, but some may appreciate reading it here too.

One of my lifelong dreams has been to hunt the mountains of Canada's west. I've had the good fortune of whitewater kayaking, canoe tripping, rock climbing/mountaineering, and skiing across the western Canadian mountains in British Columbia, Alberta, and the Yukon. However, as a Canadian (but not a resident of British Columbia) the requirement to either have an outfitter (prohibitively expensive for me) or a close resident friend (none at the time who hunted) meant I had never been able to pursue it.

Those circumstances changed a few years ago when a younger friend who I had helped get into hunting finished university and moved west to British Columbia. We talked about getting together for a hunt and when he became eligible to host me we delved into the Permit the Accompany process in earnest.

Plans quickly came together and our Permit to Accompany was approved for mountain goat in 6-15, 6-16, and 6-17 in August 2019. As a high school teacher, I could only do the hunt during July-August so mountain goat became the obvious target species as Permit to Accompany tags are readily available and the season opens August 1. I flew into Terrace August 15 and we departed for the North Coast. Our hunting party would be myself, my friend, and the regular BC hunting partner of my friend. All three of us had mountain goat tags.

Very quickly our largest obstacle became apparent - the weather. While I had expected poor weather in an area notorious for it, we got some historically bad weather. Areas just to the north received enough snow to cause backcountry hunters to be rescued. We had a touch of snow one day, but otherwise we had nine straight days of cold (single digit temperatures), rain (a few days with rainfall warnings), and poor visibility.

Our primary hunting area was composed of alpine valleys extending off an active glacier. The terrain was extremely steep. On our first morning I set up my spotter and immediately saw mountain goats high on the green slopes at the head of the valley. The first day we spotted two nannies, two kids, and a billy over several hours of glassing - but they were in terrain that was inaccessible.



Mid-afternoon on our second day we spotted a large goat bedded/standing on a ledge that we thought "might" be accessible. We embarked on a 1000 foot climb to gain elevation and then sidehilled in to see if we could close enough distance to properly assess what we thought was a billy and whether or not a shot was feasible. Unfortunately, visibility declined to near zero once we reached our destination and we were forced to retreat to the valley floor.



After two further days of hunting this drainage (and the one adjacent), we decided to explore further. Although we were seeing mountain goats daily, none were in terrain we could realistically reach. A near 3000 foot gain bushwhack led us from rainforest to our target alpine ridge top.

Once we had nearly reached our destination, we sat down for a quick snack and hydration break. The weather had moved back in and visibility was now partially obscured by mist. I caught motion in a rocky saddle about 250 meters ahead of us and quickly determined that instead of a mountain goat, it was a grizzly bear. I've been somewhat of a "grizzly magnet" on past trips to the mountains and this was our second encounter (we had been growled/howled at on the third day when investigated another area). Unfortunately the bear sat down and was in our direct path of travel. It was a large bear (my two hunting partners see them regularly) and appeared to be curious about us so we decided a smooth retreat back down the mountain was probably best. Our disappointment was somewhat eased by the appearance of several striking rainbows.

We kept pushing hard and finally our efforts were rewarded on the sixth day of the hunt. At about 2:00 PM a lone billy was spotted bedded/feeding in a location we felt was possible to access. This was in the same general area as our failed stalk on Day Two so we knew what route to take up. After two hours of climbing (precarious at times), I and one of the other hunters were in position - problem was visibility had deteriorated. Having climbed up this far, we elected to wait and hope it improved. After an hour the valley floor was visible again so I crawled out onto a sketchy slope (big cliff pretty much directly below) and slowly raised my head. My heart leapt when I saw the billy was not only in shooting range, I was confident we could recover him after the shot. I performed the delicate dance of removing my pack (kicked a ledge in the scree so it didn't slide into the abyss below), studied the billy with my binoculars, ranged him quickly (120 meters) and then slid my rifle up onto a boulder as a rest. The billy was staring at me, quartering to. He wasn't alarmed, but clearly had noticed something. I didn't waste time and sent the 140 grain Trophy Copper 7mm-08 through his near shoulder. At the shot the billy collapsed and toppled off the slope, rolling and sliding down the rough scree slope below.



The third member of our hunting party had stayed on the valley floor to keep visual tabs on the goat and us during the entire stalk. He later said it was like seeing a hunting show unfold! He was able to hustle onto the glacial talus slope the goat had ended up on and quickly locate the animal - a huge relief to us as we still had a treacherous 1.5 hour descent back to the valley floor.



When I reached the billy I was hit with a flood of emotions. He was a young billy, but this experience wouldn't have been enhanced even if he were the new world record. This hunt was particularly poignant for me as I lost my grandfather this spring. As a young boy it was vivid stories of his long ago hunting adventures that lit a flame for outdoor adventure/hunting in me. My outdoor experiences have indelibly shaped my life and without his early storytelling contributions and lifelong support of my adventures around the globe, I would not be the person I am today.

Many years ago he gave me his hunting knife. After his passing in March, I felt a fitting tribute to him would be to carry his hunting knife every day I am afield hunting this year. I was fortunate to harvest two mature wild turkeys this spring here in Ontario and I felt a surge of emotion when I placed his knife on the mountain goat to take the photo below.



British Columbia is an outdoor paradise with what I think is the best big game hunting opportunity in the world. BC residents, you all are very fortunate to pursue big game across its mountains, meadows, and valleys and I sincerely hope the next generation of B.C. hunters enjoy the same. Thanks for reading.
 

scfreeman66

Junior Member
Joined
Mar 3, 2019
Messages
31
Great story
I enjoy reading of other guys adventures. Congratulations on on a successful hunt!

Sent from my moto g(6) play using Tapatalk
 

Jimbob

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 27, 2012
Messages
867
Location
Smithers, BC
Awesome and well done.

The weather was crap in August. I was up north with my Dad and son and we had to retreat off the mountain with over 2 feet of heavy wet snow forecasted to hunt. Sure glad we decided to bail as it hit hard.

Good on you guys for staying at it through the rain and fog and making it happen.
 

kirkschopped67

Junior Member
Joined
Sep 2, 2019
Messages
13
I have been fortunate to have taken two Mt Goats in my bowhunting career. My first was in Alaska. The second was in Idaho. I have to say the the Idaho Goat was my most favorite hunt. Took a 9 1/2 Billy there in 1989. If a Mt Goat is on your list, Kodiak is your best bet. The prices are reasonable and there are a lot of goats. I have a friend of mine that just took a Utah Goat with his bow. Again these are archery goats, Not gun.
 

TC406

Member
Joined
May 22, 2019
Messages
73
Congratulations on an awesome hunt. Your gramps would be proud!
 

hikenhunt

Member
Joined
Jan 28, 2013
Messages
87
Location
WA
Great story! Thanks for sharing! Hoping to get to experience that sometime myself
 

OXN939

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 28, 2018
Messages
424
Location
VA
Solid work! I'm shooting the same Federal Trophy Copper 7mm-08 load now, and very impressed with it so far. Glad to hear it worked out on your end as well, and congrats on what looks like a stellar hunt.
 

AK Troutbum

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 22, 2012
Messages
4,481
Location
Chugiak, Alaska
Congratulations brother! Maybe a new goat hunter/fanatic is born? So, assuming you've had a chance to enjoy a little bit of the meat, what do you think?
 

rlmmarine

Senior Member
Joined
Aug 13, 2016
Messages
370
Location
daytona
I have been fortunate to have taken two Mt Goats in my bowhunting career. My first was in Alaska. The second was in Idaho. I have to say the the Idaho Goat was my most favorite hunt. Took a 9 1/2 Billy there in 1989. If a Mt Goat is on your list, Kodiak is your best bet. The prices are reasonable and there are a lot of goats. I have a friend of mine that just took a Utah Goat with his bow. Again these are archery goats, Not gun.
Due you have a recommendation for an outfitter
 

sam hill

Junior Member
Joined
Dec 8, 2016
Messages
15
Location
British Columbia
Congrats on your Goat, British Columbia is a hunters paradise. Got a taste of Northern B.C this August
on a Stone's sheep hunt and can't wait to go back .
 

pbs76

Junior Member
Joined
Sep 25, 2019
Messages
20
This is awesome! Mountain goat is definitely a bucket list item for me. Such a great story! Congrats!
 
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