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Thread: Kodiak Goat Hunt Story

  1. #1
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    Smile Kodiak Goat Hunt Story

    I have held off long enough. Wanted to jot a short story with photos before I do a larger one like in my signature block. This will come in pieces starting with today and the trailer.

    Not sure which link will work:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b14i-eB-RGk

    http://s1371.photobucket.com/user/wi...iz9lh.mp4.html

    Hunt: DG476
    When: Sept 25th - 1 Oct 2014

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    Alright, so it started with the input of the draw. Since my last draw (Delta Sheep) and the return of the mount my wife has been asking when I would get a goat for the wall (great wife). This year was the year, a pull of DG476, 1 person out of 30. I immediately picked up the phone and texted my sheep partner and sent "just drew Kodiak goat, you want to go?" and quickly received "for sure, when". That was the start of the planning. I made a few phone calls and after discussing with a guy a work, I decided to go with Roland in Seahawk air and put some money down. Jimmy and I had not seen each other since the sheep hunt but spied in on each other in Facebook. Funny thing is, we wouldn't see each other, nor talk until I picked him up the day of the hunt. Such a great partner that we didn't even have to discuss much, he left the game plan up to me and we exchanged texts 2 weeks prior stating, "you got tent and water filter?" "I got range finder and spotting scope". There were more texts but that was it.

    I picked him up on 25 September for our flight early in the morning. We didn't really rearrange any bags just loaded them up. Being active duty military I was able to have 5 and he could bring 3. Using totes and cooler would ensure weather would keep it dry. Travel was real easy and things were going smooth. Got to Kodiak, rented a car to do some running around for the basics. After visiting Safeway and Walmart and Max Sporting goods we were full. Not really, since the Beaver would allow up to 1,500 lbs. We decided on some comforts in the food and grabbed 2 boxes of compressed fire logs (handy) and also two camp chairs. Loaded it up in the car and headed to the dock for our flight.

    Upon arrival we started to discuss the plan with Roland. He was very cautious and was very informative on the area. He put it all out there for us, the good the back and the ugly. He gave us lots of leeway to make the decision on where we would go. It was a great day and weather would not be an issue on the land (anywhere) but he warned, over and over, the pickup might bring difficulties in some areas. Jimmy and I though he was trying to talk us out of an alpine lake and in the sea but we wanted to go in high and not "bush whack". Roland again cautioned and we said we would make the call from the air and how easy it would be for us to shelter from any bad weather. Again there was more caution but we all agreed so we prepared to pack the plane. As we started to pull the bags out of the car, we were missing something. Yup, we left both totes at the airport.... Crap, now we had to go back and get them. Just then I get a call on my cell phone from the airport saying the troopers have cleared my bags of any hazards and they were there for pickup... good thing... We departed, retrieved and started to load the planes.. Jimmy and I and gear 680lbs.



    We took off shortly after and traveled in the direction of the point where Ugak and Killuda bay meet. There we flew around a bit to look at peaks and hillsides and where would be a sufficient camp area and hunting grounds. After a few choices Jimmy and I asked if that lake was good. Roland said yes but he didn't put people there often due to pickup problems and the tail wind coming off the lake. After a few more discussions, we asked if he could put us there today.. He said yes and we agreed we would roll the dice



    After unloading we and his exit we ferried the gear to a suitable spot, after hearing the wind directions and weather problems that might arise. It was still early enough in the day to get a good camp set up. We picked a spot that we thought would be good protection from the bad winds. In looking up we watched 3 goats, 1,000 yards looking down on us as we set up camp. Jimmy had his Kifaru Tipi tent which he assured me would be good in any weather, maybe not 80mph winds but is a very good tent and could withstand a bunch. I trusted him and we pumped water and broke out the comforts.











    We spent the rest of the day watching the goats above. We even climbed a little to get educated on the stalk that we hoped to do the next day. We found some area were very hard to get to with large boulders and canyons that you could not get over. We knew it was not going to be like sheep hunting, we knew it was going to be hard and we were ready for the challenge.

    more tomorrow when I have another 20 minutes to spare..

  3. #3
    Moderator stid2677's Avatar
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    Great so far,, I have heard that same speech from Roland.
    "I refuse to let the things I can't do stop me from doing the things I can"
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    Awesome read so far. 3 more days and I'll be leaning in Kodiak for my goat hunt.

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    We appreciated his honesty and being up front but allowing us to make the call. We kept saying there are bold and there are old but there are not old and bold.

    Bring a small shotgun, wish we did. Plenty of birds

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    So, 5 kids will make this come in small bites for sure

    After a good day of setting up it was time to break out the sleeping bags and lay the tarp out on the dirt floor and hit the sack. The 12 man Tipi was roomy for us and all the gear.

    Waking up in the morning we were full of energy and read to go. We had our oatmeal and a little coffee and got the packs ready to hit the first day of the hunt. We knew goats were in the area but we knew they knew how to stay just out of range. We made a plan to skirt the North side of the lake and make our way around the back of the lake to see what was there. It looked like an easy walk of boulder hopping and some small climbing. We headed off to turn around after 50 yards to see a goat above camp moving pretty quick up the "no touch me land" Yup we spooked it but they were there when we landed so we would let this one go as we knew it was steep up there. We moved on to find some very fresh bear sign (weeds not even wilted on a dig). We looked down in the front bowl facing Ugak bay and we could see our first 4 bears, mama and two cubs and a bore. Fun to watch but we were looking for white animals.



    We continued to the back and up the other side. We saw nothing, nothing but we pressed a little further because we didn't have anywhere else to go. We got to the back with a small glacier and peered over the top, only to see another mama with cubs, going what looked to be nowhere but a large glacier. We watched and just glassed. There was a lone sheep but way, way to far to even think of going. It was a learning experience, so we called it



    So then we could look back at the lake (2333) that we landed at and could see base. We really didn't go that far but it was good to see.



    We decided to come down from the hill and head back to camp



    As we were making our way back the wind started to pick up and we could feel a little drizzle in the air. No big deal, this was Kodiak... We stopped along the way and ate some of the many blueberries that we would have on this trip. They were everywhere. We made it back to camp hoping to find the other goat that we left. They were there but so far up they looked scared. We himed and hawed and decided it was a good warm up day and we would get some dinner and maybe start a fire in the stove for the upcoming rain. Jimmy broke out the stove, I the wood log. Easy, just light and throw it in there. WRONG! Those logs need air.... We lit and since there was not enough, it smoked, and smoked, and smoked. I thought we were in a fish house. The stove and logs seemed to be failing, Jimmy scooped it out and we gave up. We just chilled in some chairs in the tent, listened to some tunes, eat and chatted as the rain came down. It was nice to have the Tipi. I asked many times, are we good? Jimmy -"sure are" this tent has seen some bad stuff...

    We decided to call it a night and hit the hay. Jumped in our bags and listened to the rain stop... Good news!!! The wind kept coming.... We tightened the tent once, Jimmy put rocks on the stakes, we were good to sleep. ALL night, I was woken by the wind and it hitting the tent and wondered, would we be a story. I had my PLB, we were ready... I don't know the exact time but remember looking up in the dark at the center of the tent and that is when I noticed. The 2" pole in the middle had a concave bend in it. I yelled "JIMMY, THE POLE". Jimmy jumped and we tried to prevent any further damage. After about 15 minutes in the cold Jimmy said, we have to bring it down. He told me to get dressed with all your stuff and jump in the bag. I put it all on, camo, and even the Helly Hanson and held the pole for Jimmy for him to get ready. We then dropped the pol and climbed in the bag and pulled up the bivy. Now, we are in our bags with just the Tipi slamming against our heads... What fun this is going to be... One good note, we were still dry. It was a long night and something to get used to.

    We woke to the same wind but dry ground and still the tipi whipping against us. We got up for some breakfast and we decided to build a wall to shelter some of the wind. It was very foggy out at the time so we couldn't even see our friends above us. It was a good day to take it easy and take care of the gear we had. We moved rock, and more rock. We joked how we were ants in a big bowl. We moved more rocks and it kept us busy until pretty much early afternoon. It looked like our gear was good but the Tipi was shot and only if the wind would stop we would be able to fix it to put it back up.



    After moving rock we decided to go to our shelter on the hill. I felt like a goat. It was a small patch of grass overlooking the land below and sheltered from the wind.



    As we ate lunch we noticed way down below, what we though might be the edge of deer country, a white goat. HOLY CRAP, right there!!! We watched and said "we can cut him off, he is going toward the others on the opposite ridge. We moved like we didn't move a crap load of rocks. Grabbed the gear and essentials and this was going to be it... Sweet... It was all down hill and we had plenty of cover. We thought we timed it right, he was going to show up right around the corner. After 30 minutes of downward boulder hoping I was sweating and couldn't believe the decent took little time. He was coming, right around the corner.. I was ready... Where did he go, he should be, should be... wait.. ****, he switched paths and headed straight down and up the other side... Man he is far away... Yup, he was smart and got us for sure. Now it was going to be pain to walk back UP... A we sat resting we could see another mom and cubs eating blueberries behind us, 1,000 yards. On the way down we noticed the goats we though the one we were chasing were heading towards and decided head that was on the way back.

    As we moved toward them, 2 moved to a higher ridge but one stayed steady, right at the cloud line. We figured we would walk to see where it went. We watched and moved and it stayed tight. It was high on a ledge/cliff and we went back and forth to see if it was doable. I didn't bring the range finder so as we got close, we didn't know what the range would be. As we glassed, it was clear that this goat was sleeping in a straight legs under way and with the head position it was clear it was a Billy, but we didn't know how far and the angle to get it on that cliff and I didn't want it to fall for sure. We went back and forth.... what do we do... that is far but any closer the angle wouldn't be there. It's late, around 5:30 now...

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    So we debated... Take the shot, or leave for tomorrow... it is getting late.. We really couldn't decide. If I did take a shot, he would stand and present another good shot but the first shot could have done the trick.. "Do we have time?", "What is tomorrow's weather?" "Do you really want to walk back out here just to see?".

    That was all I needed to hear. I decided, I wasn't walking back to camp regretting not taking the shot. I buckled down for what seemed to be a long shot..


    Jimmy was filming, with his iPhone 6... I could hear him in my ear. Just as we started, I was saying "I got him, can see him good"... "Wait, clouds.. can't see for a good shot, shut it down"... So we waited and I settled in. So for the next 5 minutes I steadied the gun and got ready. I told Jimmy to start the film and I was ready, good sight. The camera wasn't on for 5 seconds... BOOM... Jimmy "he's up and not going anywhere, take another shot...BOOM.. Ok that was a good one, take your time, take your time, take your time." BOOM That's a hit, you got him in the back... Oh, he's coming down, he's coming down" That was a big deal, him coming down meant we would get to him easy. As so it went on, until he fell.. Boy did I have Buck Fever but it felt good. He fell, dropped off a ledge in a crack but he was good on some steep hill. Easy to get to.

    The bears below us didn't move and the goats to the left just watched their buddy fall.



    The bears were in this next one toward the bottom





    We were some happy guys for sure



    This is an "enhanced photo" but a very cool shot of where the other two goats were...



    Well, now we were there it was time to get to work. Time was short and as we all know, the trip isn't over until you get the animal back to home. We trucked up the hill, sweating hard, celebrated a bit, and got to work. We decided that we would take the two hind quarters and leave the rest. Got the knives out and started to get to work. We moved all Jimmy's pack stuff to mine and he took the quarters. My pack was nice and I found out later he got the raw end of the deal that day. We got it all packed and ready to go and headed home in a race to beat the dark. It took us a bit as we bounced on the boulders, me worrying about the bears and if they would get to the meat. We just about made it before we got disoriented by the dark and we would able to find the direct path home without over shooting the one path to the tent. We got to the tent dropped the meat and grabbed dinner on our favorite "blueberry patch" This time we brought the Mt. House and some of the Whiskey... We had dinner and made plans for the morning, treck back and finish the job. We called back to Roland just to let him know that we were ready when ever. We then decided to climb back under the tent and get to bed. Yes, remember the tent is still down and still flapping in the wind. We crawled in, got in the bags and felt the pounding on our heads the rest of the night.

    As we woke up the sun looked to be coming out and it was time to finish the pack. We ate and grabbed the bags and off we went. We could see an eagle over the kill and wondered what would be there when we got there. It took about 1 1/2 hours to get there and it was mostly side hilling on big boulders. We got there and did some more celebrating and amazed at how big the goat was. We did some capeing and finished the job... This time I got most of the meat and Jimmy took the hide.









    It was a good trip back, knowing the kill was over and we were getting it back to the edge of the lake. Now all we had to do is wait on Roland.. No big deal right??? Well, that is when things happen like on most hunts....

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    Ok, I did say I was going to finish, as long as my computer agrees.

    We did get it back to camp and that began the waiting game. Since it was early enough we gave Roland a call to let him know we were ready when he was. He said he didn't know about the weather but to call back tomorrow.

    We decided that since we weren't going to be picked up we should move camp and move to the smaller 2 man tent that we brought. It would be tight but we could move it to the side hill and take some of the wind off us. We searched for a spot and found one just below where the main tent site was. We kicked the ground, feeling like goats, and made a big enough area for us to put the tent.








    After everything was set we decided to relax and have a small fire and cook some of the goat. We used the compressed logs and put it behind the wall of the old tent site. We enjoyed the lake and the slight wind. What a great place to be as we just hold and wait for a plane ride home.








    At about dark we decided to call it a night and walked down the hill to the "low camp" and climbed in the tent for a tight night sleep. It was a little weird to not feel the wind and not hear it. It was there we were just protected.

    We woke up to a nice morning with sun and a slight wind. We gave Roland a call and he said he said the weather again wasn't coming in the right direction but we should be ready and call back around noon. So, we decided to just wait and not break down any camp. It was a nice day. We took some target practice down below. That is when we looked around to see that a goat had come 30 yards toward camp. We thought they would run from the gun but this one came in. When we approached it trotted up the hill and was very stressed. We watched as it tried to climb fast but was very out of breath. We left him for his travel and went back to just sitting around and eating blueberries.

    We were watching the weather very close, and today was great. We gave Roland another call to let him know we had just a slight breeze. He said it wasn't save and flew over earlier and it didn't look good, maybe tomorrow but the days after that looked bad and we could be stuck. We might look at traveling to the sea. We decided if we were going to go to sea it would only be one trip and that was to leave, we agreed we would hold tight for at least another 5 days if we have to.

    We just hung around all day enjoying the sun and the then the stars. It was quite the place to just be hanging out and relaxing. We again stayed at "low camp" for the night and waiting for a good weather report in the morning.

    The next morning we got up and called again. Seahawk air said maybe today but we would have to wait on clients. Again we just sat around with little wind wondering how much better it really had to get. That day we started a fire and had some popcorn that we brought







    Again this day we waited only to be told maybe a better day tomorrow. We climbed in for the night and called it good. At least we had good weather

    The next morning it was much of the same but we were expecting out and Seahawk air said there was a good chance this afternoon. We packed up and ferried over everything to the waters edge hoping for pick up. BUT, yup there was now a tail wind coming off the lake and after doing a close flyby he said it was not safe. Now we had to find another camp spot but we agreeded that we would be close to the pickup point that was just on the other side of the lake. We did much of the same thing, kicked some ground, and put the tent down. We again built a small fire and had some Mt. House and watched the bears down below. We think a male caught our smell because he was booking up the side of the other hill, looking back.






    The next day was the final day... We woke up to frozen water and after calling Seahawk from the tent, we were told that Roland was in the air. It was a frantic move to get everything picked and packed. Most of the stuff was at waters edge but we still moved fast. At about the time that everything was packed we he landed and we were feeling real good. He only wanted to take half of the load due to the tail wind but I could care less. It was our time to get out of there and we could still make the airport, good thing I made the airline flight for the day after we were originally supposed to be picked up.

    He took me down to the sea level and left me at a cabin with some really nice folks and went back for Jimmy. He arrived with Jimmy and we packed it all up and away we went. It was really nice to be home and back. Phone calls were made and we got things ready for the airport.



    We were able to make stop at fish and game and make our flight and there were really no issues past that point.

    it was really a good trip and I would fly with Seahawk again, they were very honest and prepared us for the worst that could happen. Not sure what our next venture will be as we have now done the sheep and this the goat. Maybe Kenai caribou or a float for moose. Jimmy is always a good partner and the challenge of Alaska was great and this is another trip that will always be remembered, especially with the half mount that Fosters in Wasilla will be doing.

    Hope you enjoyed. If you want another story, fund me

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    I have some videos and will try and upload them from youtube.

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  11. #11
    Moderator stid2677's Avatar
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    Thanks for sharing, really enjoyed your post and photos.

    Congrats to you both.

    Steve
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    Nice job! Excellent pics and story.

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    What a great story and photos! Thanks. Congrats on the nice goat!
    "Grin and Bear It"

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    Nice write-up! Can you imagine being stuck there without a sat phone and not knowing if the air taxi was coming or not? When a pilot like Roland doesn't think it is safe then you were right to just relax.

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    Thanks for the excellent story and photos. More good reading for the winter months!

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