BEER ! ! ! Goat Taken !
That's right. You guys earned it for all the advice you've given me on my goat hunt up Eagle River Valley.
I went out on Saturday afternoon heading back into Icicle Creek. This time I rented a Satphone just in case I got hurt on my solo Goat hunt. This hunt had plenty of highs and lows. But all in all, I am back in one piece and I was successful.
Anyway..I walked back the 6 miles to Icicle Creek, and then up the 1500 feet to the ledge that led back into Icicle Creek. I got there right when it was getting dark. Just enough time for me to set up the tent and settle in for the night. As Saturday was a beautiful day, I was hoping waking up on Sunday for my hunt would be the same. WRONG. By 9:00pm that Saturday night the wind and rain started and lasted all night long. I woke up, called the other half to let her know that I was ok. She asked if I was going to head home early because it was so nasty out. NO WAY ! This was my last ditch effort for goat. I told her I was going to suck it up and head high after goats. So on Sunday morning, after I climbed out of the tent, I realized that visibility was only about 50 yards. The clouds were right down on top of me. I figured if the goats can't see me, even better. The bad thing is that I couldn't see them either. I headed up 2000 feet in the pouring rain and wind. It was pretty hairy climbing up that slick slippery stuff being solo. I got up to about the 3500 foot level right around the time the wind blew away the clouds. I saw no goats anywhere. I walked around the base of some cliffs and saw a sliver of white on a ledge about 500 feet higher. It was a billy from what I could tell, and he didn't see me. I kept a huge boulder in between him and myself on my ascent up to where he was. I dropped my pack and went up the last 100 feet keeping the boulder between him and I the whole time. I popped up over the boulder and the goat saw me. The only thing he saw was my rifle and my head. He was laying down so there was not shot. He kept looking at me and would'nt stand up. After about 10 minutes of watching him through my scope he finally started to stand. I didn't wait. I shot him head on right thru the chest at about 50 yards. He went right down. I watched him to make sure he was down for good. He was. I went back down to get my pack and the ****dest thing happened. Out of nowhere.... 11 GOATS JUMPED UP NOT 50 Yards away from where I shot their uncle Billy ! ! THey stood 50 yards from me and watched me the whole time. Seems like they ran Toward the shot and now away from it. Some of these goats were nannies, some were kids, but a couple were quite a bit larger than the Billy that I just shot.
Now, I had to go inspect my trophy. THe only problem was I had to go up 100 feet up a steep incline cliff wall, then walk 20 yards on a ledge that was only wide enough for my boots to step on heel-to-toe. As I'm traversing this, I look down and realize if I slip...I'm dead ! SOmehow, I make it over to my goat who is perched on a 3 foot ledge. I take a coupla pics of the goat, and one self portrait of me with my prize. I realize there is NO WAY I can dress him up on this little ledge with a 100 foot drop down to the next ledge. The next ledge down was about 8 feet wide, so I figured I would drop him over the edge down to the next one, head down and dress him out. I dropped him right down onto the next ledge. NOw for the ultimate of lows....The goat doesn't stop there, he stops momentarily on the bigger ledge, then slides off of that one picking up momentum the whole time. He kept rolling and didn't stop. I lost sight of him at more than 1000 feet down. I knew that if he rolled all the way to the bottom of this chute, there was a 600 foot drop into the canyon of Icicle Creek and that he would be completely unrecoverable. I just went from the HIGH of all highs, to the LOWS of all lows. I was cursing myself for all the hard work, just to lose him like that.
I slowly made my way back across that 5 inch ledge and slid on my ***** the 100 feet down to the beginning of the chute. I followed the chute all the way down. 2000 feet down. NO Goat ! He must've plummeted into the canyon. I prayed to God that I didn't just waste an animal for nothing. As soon as I did this, I caught a glimpse of something in the brush right before the canyon. It was covered in mud and almost completely covered in brush, mud, and rocks. This was 50 yards from me. I have no idea how I found it, but I did. 3 feet from the canyon's edge. I got down there and realized that I had to tie his leg to a tree so he didn't slide all the way down into the abyss. I worked for 4 hours right there skinning him and de-boning him. The other horrible thing is that on the way down he lost his horns ! I went from a High to a Low, then to another high, then to another low. At least his meat didn't go to waste.
I packed him back to camp through the rain, and slippery rocks. It was tough going, but I got him there right at nightfall.
I jumped on the SATPHONE and called my hunting partner (who chose not to go hunting Goats), and asked him if he could meet me down on the trail at 10:00 to 11:00 in the morning so he could help me pack it out the last 5 miles. Thank GOD he did. The next morning I packed everything I had up into just my pack and packed it all down through that really gnarly slide 1500 feet to the bottom. I then had to bushwhack a mile to the trail. Soon after, I found him and he was definitely a GODSEND ! At this point, I was completely wiped out. I was dehydrated, I was starting to get hypothermic. All my clothes were soaked to the skin. Either soaked from sweat, or soaked from the rain. The rain gear actually didn't help because I was sweating so much. Either way, I ran into my partner who broke out the bottles of Gatorade which I thoroughly chugged. THen he handed me a sandwich, and some dry clothes. It was wonderful. We split the load and finished the 5 mile hike back to the Nature Center.
I was elated that I finally accomplished this hunt, especially solo. I was scared to death at times. And I was happy as a lark at times. One of the thing that dissapoints me the most is that he has no horns now.
On the way home, I dropped the meat off at the butchers. I then went to F&G to check him in. When I got there, the Bio asked me incredulously where his horns were. I told him that they busted off on his 2000 foot fall. I don't think he believed me ! I told him the whole story and he still couldn't understand why I would drop him that first 100 feet. I told him that it was either him or me. He said he believes the goat to be no older than 2 years old. Not a Monster BIlly, but not a baby either. SHould be good eating.
After I got home last night , I stayed up late and my S.O. helped me flesh the hide. She'll never let me live that one down. She doesn't like getting her hands dirty. I did the head, split the lips, the eyes, and the nose. I left the ears alone because I had no idea how to do those long ears. I'm making this into a rug, so I left the legs attached. I had no idea what to do with the hooves, or how to prepare them. I left about 6 inches of leg bone in each leg right above the hoof. I tried calling the taxidermist but he left yesterday morning for a goat hunt of his own on Kodiak. I hope he doesn't get too ticked off that the whole hide isn't done perfectly.
One other question.... Can they make fake horns for something like this? I'd hate to have a goat rug with NO horns on it.
I just wanted to thank all of you with your helpful words and encouragement.
Beer is the order of the day. I've got a Elk hunt on Afognak coming up in less then 2 weeks. So sometime in November, I'll try to get us all together for that beer. You all know who gets one.
Brian, Sheepshape, 8X57 Mauser, BrownBear, Carnivore, VernAK,ERik in Ak,Oakman, Kusko, Tracker 21, BuckNRut,Northway,Mod Elan,Gr is for Greg, F16 Pointy, Lujon (yes, you too), and willphish4food. I know there are a coupla others that I have forgotten. Don't worry, you'll get yours too.
More pics of the goat
SOme goats checking me out after I shot Billy
MOre pics of the goats checking me out after I shot Uncle Billy
Horns or no horns, any goat is a nice trophy.
I am not a taxadermist but have read many books about it and done a few of my own mounts. I believe you can have the taxedermist mount artificial horns on the goat. Not really the same but it will still make a nice mount. Salt your ears store it in a game bag and get the skin in a freezer. Chef
Originally Posted by chef viktor
I talked to the taxidermist's wife and she said use "NO Salt" before the freezer. Is this right? I didn't bother with the ears because I was unsure of how to handle them. The skin was kept outside last night, and will be in her freezer by 7:00pm tonight. 48 hours unsalted won't hurt the hide, will it? Thanks for your comments. Then only other animal I've skinned before is a Kodiak Brown Bear, so I'm still pretty new to all this.
Way to hang in there! That 2 yo billy should be awesome eating. I have never shot a real old one, just 2 and 3 year old billies, and there was no "stinkiness" to any of the meat.
Congratulation on your hard-earned goat steaks!
Way To Go!
You earned that billy goat, man. I know you hunted hard for him, and he made you work plenty after the shot, too.
Plastic horns or horn-less, you've got a great story to tell about that rug for the rest of your days. And you've got the tenderest Mt. goat meat ever in your freezer.
I'll have to pass on that brew, though. USPS doesn't let you mail 'em.
Congratulations! Man, I'm glad to hear that you finally connected - you've worked harder than just about anyone else in trying to get that first goat over the past two seasons, so it's great to see that it worked out.
As for the horns, they can make really realistic casts of real horns that can be added to a mount. Your taxidermist should have some info on this.
As for the beer, I'm in...but you don't need to buy.
Nice looking billy! Sorry to hear about your loss of the horns but I am glad to hear you were able to recover the rest of the goat and even had a hand packing him out.
What a story! Congratulations on the VERY hard earned trophy. The hide should be fine as the ears.
We need to buy you a beer.
Way to go, Diver.
Remember, salt or freezer, but not both. Freeze it if you can.
Wow, Congrats man. Sounds like one serious rollercoater of a hunt. Very pretty goat you got and you deffinitly deserved it. I love stories like this one. WAY TO GO.
Pucker factor is an understatement. That is awsome. Congrats on your goat. If it wan't tender before you shot it, it is now. Joel
Can I have the name and number for that guy? He is a keeper for sure. For a guy to go out like that prepared to do nothing but work is just awesome. Like to think all of us would have been there, but fact is he was the MAN! Way cool story and glad you got home safe.
Ears are easy, but with that said my old partner managed to dismember his. Somebody ought to be close enough to you to show you how. If you can figure our lips, nose, et al the ears are pretty much the same. Again kudos to you and your partner.
Last edited by Ak River Rat; 10-02-2007 at 15:07.
Reason: missed some words
Beer for you
I think that you are the one that deserves the beer. Taking the time to share a hunt like like, I'd buy you 2!!! I'll be there soon enough. The wife has agreed and we are moving when my daughter gets out of school. Congrats!!
I need more than 2 beers now. Mat-Valley meats just called and told me they can't process my meat ! They said it is in too small of chunks. I told them I want it all ground. They said the small chunks are too hard to clean before being processed, so either pick it up, or it gets thrown away. I guess I'm going to go buy a meat grinder after work. I thought that small chunks would be easier to grind than big chunks. Oh well...I'm not gonna let that much meat go to waste....
That's really wierd, Johnny. I always thought that the processors preferred smaller chunks. Is the meat bloody or covered in hair? If not, I don't understand why they need to clean it. ??? Have you tried calling Mike's Meats in Eagle River or perhaps Alaska Sausage in Anchorage? Some folks don't like AK Sausage for some processing because they don't guarantee your own meat, but they do guarantee your own meat for ground burger.
If you have to go the grinder route, stick it in your freezer for a while. I've got a grinder and would be happy to help you grind it up at a later date.
I just called the other half, she is buying a grinder and we'll do it ourselves at home. I don't figure it would take more than an hour or two. Heck...its not a moose! The meat is not bloody, and no hair. There maybe 5 or 6 pieces with some field dirt on it, which I can take home and rinse off in about 1 minute. Oh well, I guess I'll learn how to grind really quick. SO much for wanting to go home and catch up on some much needed sleep...
Thanks again Brian,