I decided to take on another Kodiak goat hunt this year. My second year in a row. I had success last year with a very scary moment for my hunting partner. He would have no part of it this year. But I had another good friend, Rob (Forum member Magnumrn) who wanted to take his first Alaskan white beast and I was willing to give it another go. And so we went. The time frame was the same as last year, the first ten days of October. Nice coats on the goats and as decent a chance at good Kodiak weather (laugh if you may) as you can get. And that's just how it started. You couldn't ask for better weather to start a hunt.
Andrew Airways dropped us off early. We unpacked some "comfort" gear and strung it up in a tree. We said a quick prayer and started the arduous trek up the mountain to base camp. The first 3 hours up are the worst three hours of bush whacking on very steep inclines that you could ask for. At some areas, it's possibly the most dangerous parts of the hunt. And I don't know what happened this year, but the bugs were trying to fly into every exposed hole and perceived hole (like my pupils) that they could find. Last year, there were no bugs. This brought lots of ribbing from my hunting partner who held up his bug net while we were packing at his house and said, "will we need these?" To which I confidently replied, "nope". We made it to base camp in record time, bug guts smeared all over our faces, under a warm sun. Things were looking good.
After a good nights rest, we ate a hot breakfast and had some coffee and started up the mountain hoping to fill our tags. On the way up we spotted 7 Sitka deer. Three were bucks. We watched as two rattled antlers for several minutes. I got the Swaro spotter out and snapped a quick picture through it. It was tempting to take those two out then head up the mountain. We discussed it and remembered our primary objective was goats. There are deer all over the place. We'll get them after we get the goats. This was the last time we saw deer on the trip and they took the sun with them.
We hiked into clouds, snow, and rain. And that set the tempo. My buddy did get his goat. There were 4-5 adults laying down alone. He picked the biggest one after much studying and he dropped a nice 10 inch nannie. The next picture is Rob hiking back towards base camp. This is not the place to get distracted.
We spent most of the next morning in the tent hiding from the blowing rain and snow. It let up for a second around noon and we bailed out decided to start hunting. The mountain looked at us with a stank eye and we decided we had no business being up there. In fact, we couldn't see it most of the time. But there's deer around, we just saw them yesterday. So off we went. Well, we got some exercise. Day three was shot.
Day four looked like day three. But no snow at our elevation, just rain. We decided we were not going to stay in the tent again or someone was going to get hurt. Just man up, get the rain gear on and go. The mountain was shrouded in snow now and made yesterday's stank eye look like a playful wink. We decided to try our luck again with deer. We hiked for close to three miles. It wouldn't have been bad if it weren't side hilling. We came to a rough cliff area that could be passed if we dropped down a couple hundred feet in elevation. While I was checking the route, Rob says to me "Yogi, there's goats!" And sure enough just over 300 yards up hill, a group of five goats laid waiting. I don't know what the magic word, combination of words, look or thought it was, but something flipped a switch and a persistent 50 mph wind started rushing up the cliffs. It was like it was trying to blow us back to camp. I could hardly stand at times. We started up the mountain and closed to 209 yards. We studied them and I picked out the one I though was most likely a billy. But, the way he was laying, he had an extra bump that I just couldn't discern. Not wanting to shoot a nannie of a kid, I picked the one farthest right, that was standing, alone looking at me. It was almost certainly a nannie, but she was alone. Seconds before I put pressure on the trigger, the weird lump goat stood up, rump rub now visible, the weird lump now gone. He looked "swolt" as he stared down at us. That's what I want my mount to look like. A quick change in aim and he was mine. Only an 8 inch billy, but his coat is incredible. We packed him back to camp, cold, feet soaked. Content.
We woke the next day to sunshine. And why not? We packed camp and trophy out in one haul. Heavy! We saw a blue plane land and take off on the lake below. Figured it was more hunters being dropped off. We didn't care, we had our goats. It came back again an hour or 2 before we whacked our way out of the brush. It was a trooper. I never thought I'd be checked this far from no where. All was good, he even gave us a couple of bug nets. He saw that I pulled the fries out on my goat and was impressed that I did so. He didn't even check the second bag. "If you brought those out, you didn't waste anything else." I think those are his words. Good guy.
This is the view while we waited for the float plane. The snow capped mountain is where we got the goats. I love Alaska. She is amazing.