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Thread: Gear for Goat hunting?

  1. #1
    Member skydiver_99654's Avatar
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    Default Gear for Goat hunting?

    I'm trying to put together a lightweight pack for a 3 day hunt for goat in the Kenai Mts. I always hear seasoned sheep/goat hunters talk about packing light (20 pounds). What essentials do I pack? Which do I leave home? I know it sounds like it should be common sense, but my pack weight is always around 40-50 pounds. 2-man Kelty tent, sleeping bag, and Barneys pack already weighs about 15 pounds! How do you guys keep it light? Sleeping bag weighs about 5 #. Tent 4#6ounces, Barneys 5-6 pounds. Food for 3 days-~3 pounds, etc..... What is essential? what is not?
    ANY help would be beneficial to my learning curve.
    Thanks,
    Johnny

  2. #2

    Default Start with lighter gear

    Quote Originally Posted by skydiver_99654
    How do you guys keep it light? Sleeping bag weighs about 5 #. Tent 4#6ounces, Barneys 5-6 pounds.

    You are starting with some mighty heavy gear. My sleeping bag weighs less than 3#, so there's a 2# start. I use that 2# by taking a bivy sack rather than a tent, so that eliminates the 4+ pounds of your tent. And a pack that starts out empty at 5+ pounds? That's excessive by at least 2x.

    You need to think in terms of get-in, get-out. For example, a Trangia alcohol stove weighs about 4 ounces and will boil a 1# coffee can full of water on one filling. A filling of fuel is about 4 ounces, so a pint of fuel will give you one hot meal every day of your 3 day trip. "A pint's a pound" so take a bit more just for the luxury of 2 hot meals a day, and you're still in the 2 pound range (less than half of the tent that stay's behind).

    If you'll be doing much sheep and goat hunting, it is worth it in the long run to get the necessary specialized light weight gear.
    He fears his fate too much or his desserts are small who fears on just one touch to win or lose it all.

  3. #3

    Default

    Depending on your size, lighter gear might not be an option. Being a big dude myself, it is hard to find lighter gear for me. I looked high and low for a sleep bag lighter than 3# that wasn't down, and struggled to find something that fit my shoulders. My bag is a Big Agnes and it about 3#8oz and the pad is about 22oz.

    You can try a bivy, but I've found that you'll need a rainfly/tarp to put above you to keep a driving rain from getting you soaked in the bivy.

    Also, look at your knives, ammo, toiletries, extra clothes, rifle. What do you need and what don't you need. I used one lightweight folding knife (1.8oz), a roll of TP, 7 rounds of ammo, lightweight gun (under 7lbs), windstopper fleece (to eliminate heavier coats and pants), light weight rain gear (frogg toggs or impertech).

    Shoot me a pm and I'll give you my gear list for our 6 day goat hunt.

  4. #4
    Member skydiver_99654's Avatar
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    Default big guy

    Yep, I'm a big guy. Most bivy sacks you will need a tarp over top just to keep you dry. I shopped around and thought that a 2 person tent that weighed 4# would do the job. I couldn't find anything much lighter. Maybe I should do more shopping? The pack/pack frame is from Barney's. I'm guesstimating the weight is 5#. Maybe a tad lighter. The bag is rated to 10 deg. Maybe that may be too warm for the hunt, but if I get stuck on top somewhere up in the snow line, it'll get pretty darn cold. I have a lightweight sleeping pad. 3 mountain house meals for 3 days, as well as 6 packets of oatmeal, and 6 energy bars. Throw in the spotting scope (need one?) or just binos, ammo, gun, at least one extra pair of clothes to stay warm/dry out, knife, 50 foot length of 1/4" rope, cooking stove (lightweight), + satphone, 2 aerial flares, and first aid kit. Looks like the weight keeps going up. I really don't understand going out with less than that (the absolute essentials). That makes for a pretty hefty weight. Do most of you hike back to the base of that big hill, set up camp, and hike very lightweight up the mtn, with 1 day food/ 1 flare/ 1 sat phone / 1 tarp, just for in case you get stuck up on top?
    Sorry for all the questions. I've done as much reading as I can on the subject of goat hunting, but the gear lists that the books/internet articles provide seem way excessive if you want to cut back on weight.
    Thanks again,
    Johnny

  5. #5
    Member Bighorse's Avatar
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    Default Goat hunting

    Its definatly a compromise between comfort and effort. I personally dont compromise much but I have the back to handle it. I'm 6'3" and 230 and can carry a 45 pound pack up the mountain. I have a 6 pound tent with a solid rain fly. I carry a 0 degree rated bag and stay warm up on top. I carry a water filtration system. I do carry at least a dozen rounds for goats. I just bought a Bora 95 pack that has some huge capacity. Once the animal goes down then it don't make much of a difference, that pack is heavy.

    I like to camp up high while goat hunting. Once you anticipate the animals movements then you need to be prepared to place a good stalk. Nothings worse than being at the base of the moutain while the goats are out and about.

    There is really alot to it. Whatever you do be prepared to spend the night on the mountain.

    Best wishes on finding the right mix of weight to comfort.

  6. #6

    Default Light gear

    I've found my pack weights are pretty similar whether a three day hunt or 10 day. The only difference is food. You still need all the gear, clothing, shelter. You are just going to have to make the choice on how ultra light you want to go and wether you are willing to sacrifice comfort. My sleeping bag is (gasp) down. and weighs about 2 lb 4 oz. I use a paratarp for shelter (16 oz). Food weighs about 1.5 lbs per day. Look at your stuff and be creative. What's in your 1st aid kit? Are you carrying a whole box of ammo? Do you need those extra socks? You know what though, however "hardcore" you decide to be, remember to have fun. I went goat hunting once with a guy who carried a huge army surplus bag, 20+ year old frame pack and a blue tarp. He had just as fun as I did with all my specialized gear.

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    Default less wt

    last year on my goat hunt i just brought a small tarp and some rope and made a pretty nice tent, it rained plenty and i never got wet, it all weighed under a pound

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    Member AKMarmot's Avatar
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    Default partner

    Skydiver,
    Are you hunting with a partner ? If not try & find one. That way you split up the tent poles / stakes & tent. Split up the stove, fuel, & pans etc... You get the idea.
    I agree with bighorse, have fun & if you are comfortable to a degree it will make things easier mentally & physically.
    There is no system that will work the same for everyone. If you set up a base camp leave extra items there but at least you have them accessible if need be.
    If I'm out in Kodiak goat hunting & a 6 day trip turns into a 9 I am in a lot better state of mind in my 4 season tent listening to the weather than huddled under a tarp. Warm dry & rested so when that window of opportunity presents itself you can hump it up the mtn a lot easier.
    Sure there are times where things are nice & some can go with minimal food, shelter, or without extra clothes. There are also times where this will get you a trip back courtesy of a HH-65 or other gov't ride.
    You kind of have to find somewhere in the middle that works for you.

  9. #9
    Member skydiver_99654's Avatar
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    Default Partner

    Nope, couldn't find one for this trip. I know. Don't preach. I believe in always having a partner also. Couldn't find one at all for this 3 day excursion. It is road accessible. I will have a sat phone. I've left detailed hunt instructions of where I will be and when to expect me back with several people. I'm not at the high end of foolish when I'm solo, though. I will not take any unnecessary risks of climbing something that is not doable. I'm just weighing the risks with the benefits in my mind, and I think the benefits outweigh the risk right now.
    Anyway...that is a whole different topic for this forum. I have half the battle won right now as far as weight goes. I'm going to mountain bike the 12 miles into Bench Lake with a child carrier attached to the bike to haul my gear in...and hopefully goat/gear out. My only other obstacle is to ditch the bike into the alders for a few days, and then hike the 45 pounds uphill. That is still doable. I will probably take my time. I figured setting camp up about 2000-2500 foot level in protection if I can. Then strike out from there with just the basics (tarp in case I get stuck, etc). With the dust creeping down the mountains, maybe the goats won't be quite as high as hopefully they will be grazing a little lower into the green. Any insight into this? Anybody else ever hiked the Johnson Pass Trail in the Kenai?
    THanks everybody for all the info.
    Johnny

  10. #10
    Member AKMarmot's Avatar
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    Talking good plan

    Sounds like you have a good plan. I have thought about doing the same thing...biking to Bench Lake but every time we have decided to do it they didn't open it up for the registration hunt in Nov.
    If you search the old forums a couple people did this with a permits & did well from what I remember. They did have an incident or two I think a fall while hunting & I think one came out with a dislocated shoulder. But had the goats.
    They might still be on the forum as well. Later tonight I will see if I can find the post.
    Have fun.

  11. #11
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    Default Gear List

    Kusko gave me a pretty good gear list that he used on his hunt. Here is mine. Should I pitch anything? Or do I have to have something else that I'm not thinking about?
    Thanks,

    Barneys Pack
    (1) 8X10 tarp
    (1) fleece pants
    (1) Sporthill pants
    (2) game bags
    (1) stove/fuel
    (2) pr. long johns
    (1) impertech raingear
    50 yards rope
    black knit hat
    6 Mt. House meals
    crystal Light
    First Aid Kit
    Lighter
    parachute cord
    GPS
    knife sharpener
    VHF radio
    (3) aerial flares
    sleeping bag
    sleeping pad
    head net
    (1) titanium cookpot
    (1) Kelty tent
    (3) pr. socks
    (2) fleece shirts
    (1) wyoming saw
    (1) pr. gloves
    (2) walking sticks
    (6) oatmeal bars
    spotting scope
    fire starters
    matches
    3 glow sticks
    (1) knife
    (1) flashlight
    batteries
    (1) H20 filter
    ammo
    TP
    salt 5#
    headlamp
    rifle
    Granola
    spoon
    rainpants

    I've taken the time to vacu-seal all of my clothes just to ensure I have dry clothes if I manage to get wet. Any other info would be appreciated. My pack right now stands at approx. 60-65#. Heavy, but doable.

    Thanks,
    Johnny

  12. #12
    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    Default

    Everything on your list is useful, but if it were me I would leave the following behind:

    -Salt - If you're only going in for 3 days, the cape will be fine without salt. I've had sheep capes for that long that were in great shape. Just roll it up and flesh/salt it when you get home. That's an easy 5 pounds saved.

    -Glow sticks - If you have a flashlight, I don't see the need for these.

    -1 pr. socks - 2 should suffice.

    -pants - are you wearing one of these pairs? If not, drop one. You only need one extra pair.

    -1 pair long johns - I can't see a need for an extra. Re-wear them if needed, and it's really not that cold yet.

    - Tarp - I don't carry a tarp when sheep/goat hunting. If I do, it's a much smaller one to cover the meat...maybe a 6x4. 8x10 is unneccessarily large.

    - Flashlight. If you have a headlamp, I don't see the need for an extra flashlight.

    - knife sharpener - Just get a really good edge on your knife. If you're only cleaning one animal, you shouldn't need to sharpen. It might get a little dull, but it's worth the saved weight.

    - Crystal Light - It's nice to have, but certainly not necessary for 3 days.

    - VHF radio - I could be wrong on this one, but if you're not near the ocean I don't think anyone really monitors these inland.

    - Headnet - Unless you have really bad reactions to the bugs, I wouldn't bother. Up above treeline they're not too bad...usually.

    - 50 yards rope - why do you need this if you have parachute cord? Seems redundant.


    Just my opinion, of course, but those things don't go into my sheep/goat pack. Good luck!

    -Brian

  13. #13
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    Default Very Good Points

    I'm wearing 1 pair of pants, with 1 extra. I'll get rid of the flashlight, and VHF.I was thinking about the rope...tying up meat bags if I spend an extra night out? I do see your points on a lot of these. I will re-evaluate and try to lose some weight.
    Thanks,
    Johnny

  14. #14
    Member 8x57 Mauser's Avatar
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    Thumbs up

    I'm pretty much with B_M on his recommendations. The same rope or parachute cord can tie game bags to your pack and hang them overnight. You don't really need both.

    I'd bring an emergency radio and drop the flares. Or at least two of them.

    I'd keep the extra socks.

    And I'd keep the headnet. Bugs like the taste of me.

    You can drop at least one of the walking sticks, if not both. On our goat hunt this year we had two pair of walking sticks for three guys. My brother packed his all week and only used them one time to cross a stream. He could have broken some alder branches for that. My dad found his a hindrance when climbing, but useful when coming down heavy. I'd rather have my rifle in my hand than a walking stick any day - especially when packing meat.

    I don't see the need for both waterproof matches and a lighter.

    I'd also be inclined to drop the spare fleece shirt. They dry fast and are warm when wet, so you can cut weight by axing the spare.

    Good luck up there!

  15. #15

    Default

    Dropping the salt, vhf and sharpener is a good idea. I used a Kershaw blade trader on our hunt and that combo is unbelievable. The saw had no trouble cutting the skull and it also did all the firewood we needed. It was nice to have that two blade system for skinning and boning. If you had one of these, you could throw out the Wyoming saw and the sharpener. You have to check the weight, but it might be a worthy trade off.

    If you don't drop the Crystal Light, I would trade it for gatoraid. At least with Gatoraid, you are getting a little extra sugar and it helps you hydrate faster.

    JMO

  16. #16
    Member skydiver_99654's Avatar
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    Default game bags

    WHen it comes to the game bags...1 or 2 for a goat? If I bone it out, I may be able to put all meat into just the 1 bag?
    I appreciate all the advice from all of you. This site never lets me down. I hope to post a great story next week. Hopefully, I'll be successful, and safe.
    Thanks guys,
    Johnny

  17. #17
    Member skydiver_99654's Avatar
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    Default wyoming saw

    The saw I have breaks down pretty small. It comes with a bone saw, and a wood saw. Its pretty darn nice. If I can keep the VHF, it may also keep me up to date on weather coming in?
    Johnny

  18. #18
    Member Redlander's Avatar
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    Default knife sharpener

    Despite never even hunting Alaska (which I'm going to solve in 2 weeks), I love having a knife sharpener. DMT makes little key-ring sized diamond sharpeners and they weigh next to nothing. I'm carrying a red and blue one with me. Might give you something to do if you get stuck in the tent or while you are resting while you're caping out your goat.

    A buddy of mine who has hunted Alaska numerous times, told me that you can enjoy the hunting, even in rainy weather, if you can get back to your tent, eat a warm, tasty meal, and keep your feet dry (he suggested a Gore-tex type oversock). I'm trying to keep that simple advice in mind.

  19. #19

    Default

    I have a Wyoming saw too. I love them, but I never take it on a backpack hunt. I think it's too heavy.

    You could get away with one game bag for the meat. We chose to put it in two bags in order to separate the steaks from the grind.

    Couldn't you make a call once a day from your Sat phone for a weather report instead of the VHF? just a few thoughts

  20. #20
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    Default Gear

    Sounds like a good hunt, but I can't stress enough that a goat hunt should not be done solo - the terrain just is not made for humans with really heavy packs. Be careful, and take your time - especially when you are really tired, hungry, it's raining, blowing, getting dark, and your coming down with a really heavy pack (been there, done that - many times).

    I agree with leaving the salt, glow sticks, rope, & sharpener. I would keep the extra socks - as dry feet are happy feet. The VHF is optional for weather - as Kusko mentioned - you can use your Sat Phone for that. I'd keep the headnet. That 1-2 ounces could make all the difference for sanity's sake.

    I would use a lightweight folding saw instead of the Wyoming. The have a good (& light) Buck folding saw from down at Sportsman's for ~$20 that has been holding up very well for me.

    I normally take two 48" game bags and one contractor bag (vacuum-sealed). Place all of the boned-out meat in the 1st game bag, then drop it into the contractor bag inside your pack. Squeeze the air our & twist the top closed. Next, open the extra top portion of the contractor bag (above the twist) into a bowl shape Drop the cape (or life-size hide) into the 2nd game bag and set it in the bowl portion of the contractor bag.

    As goat hunting is inherently wet, the contractor bag will stop the wet meat & hide from draining into your pack - which creating a large, slow-moving, easy-to-nail, smelly, morsel for the brown furries. Plus when you are back at camp, you can rest better, not having blood all over your gear. If you choose to hang the meat & hide before you come out, the contractor bag can be folded over the the two for a rain cover/sun shade - which removes the need for the tarp.

    Good luck on your Adventure!

    --Shawn

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