Spencer Glacier - no goat
Buddy and his wife and I went into the Spencer Glacier area to fill his DG336 tag. We hiked up above tree line and set up our spike camp. We spent the days traveling away from camp and glassing. We covered a lot of ground and glassed a lot of territory, but we didn't see a single goat.
The thing that confuses me is this: people have always told me the goats are waaaay up in the cliffs. We camped above treeline on a big mostly flat area. There were rolling hills and gullies everywhere, but it was certainly not cliffy. Pretty easy going, actually. I could have biked a lot of it I figured from looking around that we were too low and flat for goat hunting. To my surprise, though, we encountered a bunch of goat sign - urine, droppings, and tracks - in the snow patches. (There was snow everywhere. Crazy summer.)
So ***? It was only at about 2000', but the goats had certainly been there. Plus, I have seen goats on two other occasions, and both times they were at roughly the same elevation, 2000' - 3000', not at the tippy-top of cliffs. Granted, we didn't see any goats on this trip, but I have a hard time believing it was because we were too low. We did hike up to about 3500' a couple days, and we spent a lot of time glassing higher. We saw more sign lower down around 2000'. I just think they weren't there at the same time we were, something that can happen on any hunt.
Any comments? I know several of you will read this and respond saying you took a goat at like 14,000' from the top of a vertical cliff of ice, but have any of you taken goats further down, and in easier terrain than what is typically thought for goats? This is important info, as I have a goat drawing tag to fill that starts on Monday, and my buddy's tag is good until mid October.
On a side note - we were not the first hunters that checked out this area. The guys that were there before us, aside from possible scaring away all the goats, sure left a pretty mess. Trash was scattered everwhere. We found where they camped, which was a total mess, but we continued to find discarded food containers, etc. all over the place. We'd get to a rise of land suitable for glassing and find an empty beer bottle (drinking + hunting... awesome) or food bin. It really sucked to see that. I tried to tidy up at first. I tend to pick up trail trash when I see it. But I quickly realized I would fill several garbage bags if I really wanted to take on the task, so I let it lie. If you are reading this, and you are the kind of hunter that throws trash on the ground, you should know that you are a piece of sh*t, honestly. For everyone else, if you ever see someone doing the same, don't turn a blind eye. Get in their face. It may make a difference. Trash in the outdoors is infuriating and simply unacceptable.
I had this hunt two years ago and could not get to the goats because of the raging rivers. When I last talked to the Biologist I think there were 120 goats in the hole permit area. If the clouds ever lift, I would suggest a flight to see what end they are at. If I get some time I will forward you a couple of emails and pictures that successful hunters shared with me. Have none a few people to get into the goats up by trail glacier. If I get a chance maybe saturday I might take a flight and drop you a pm. Good Luck to your friends.
Garbage is pretty common where winter sports happen. Walk through the timber on either side of the highway in Turnagain Pass and you will find lots. I suspect stuff falls in the snow and is lost and when the snow melts it looks like a garbage bomb went off. Both the motorized and nonmotorized folks are guilty of this. The Spencer glacier area is very popular with the snowmachiners and skiers.
As for the goats... They hang out next to cliffs. No cliffs no goats. In the winter time they can often be found low... near cliffs. As the snow recedes they move up to the higher cliffs leaving sign as they climb. Spencer Glacier area has no shortage of goats or cliffs and it can be difficult to hunt. When there is more snow than normal it may take more glassing than normal to find them.... lots of snow this summer means lots of cover for them. This is where good (heavy) glass pays off. Don't get discouraged, keep up the hard work and you will find them.
Also and this is especially true with goats. Just because you can shoot a goat doesn't mean you should. Look at where they will end up after you pull the trigger. Will you be able to recover them? Will there be anything to salvage after they fall?
Have fun... I'm envious!
Thanks for the responses guys. I was just thinking that the goats may be lower down this year since there is so much snow. And really, there is still so much snow! I'll attach photos from just this last weekend so you can see the terrain. Again, there were fresh-ish tracks (a few days old) and droppings on many of the snow patches.
In regards to the trash, I would not bet on snow machiners. There was a big pile of empty Mountain House meal packages. I can't think of anyone bringing those unless they were backpacking. And there was enough garbage in specific areas to tell that the stuff had been deliberately cast away. We're not talking several items strewn about a huge area that could conceivable fallen off a machine or out of a pack. We found the place where they had camped, and just in that one spot, there was enough trash to fill a garbage bag. Then we found, in somewhat close proximity, spots where likely the same folks had sat, probably looked for animals, eaten and drunk, and tossed the garbage right there on the ground. You could tell it was deliberate. Friggin pathetic.
Photo from trip:
Last edited by Gr is for Greg; 12-23-2009 at 09:36.
My signature is awesome.
I flew back by lake george yesterday and all the goats were down in the green stuff, saw 8 goats and not one was in the rocks.