Okay, here is the long version...
Just got back from the Kodaik goat trip. We flew down on Sunday the 28th of September and had some time that night to get out and climb a ridge to do some scouting. We made it about a half mile from camp before realizing that we should have been working out a little more. We decided the next day that we would hike in and set up a base camp at least a mile in as we had spotted goats, but all were several miles away through some pretty nasty looking country. On Monday we headed into town for a little bit of gear and on the way in we spotted some goats in a different range. We decided to head up after them, and got within 400 yards in about an hour and a half. There was no way to get in closer as the cover was gone. We backed out and headed to town after heading back down the mountain. We got our gear at Mack's and headed back down to the area we had originally planned to hunt. After treking uphill about half a mile, we finally hit the top of the ridge and walk in another half mile and find a good place to set up camp. At this point we are feeling like we may be in a little over our heads as we were pretty sore from the 5-6 miles of packing and climbing.
We wake up Tuesday morning and have a choice to make. Head north east towards goats that are 3 miles away in some serious up/down country, or cross a steep decline/incline and head over the next set of mountains and go in blind. We decided to go after the goats that we could see off in the distance. We leave around 8am and get to where we can spot and determine a way in on the goats around noon. We see 4 cresting the top of a large ridge and decided to go after them as they were closest. It took us quite a bit of time crossing knife edge ridges and scaling steep inclines with some nasty splat factor to get up to where we saw the goats. Because of the country, I decided to leave my bow in the pack and use the rifle as we could easily lose a goat here if it had a chance to run far. At the top of the ridge an hour and a half later... no goats.
However, another decision time came. Do we descend this large face and head for the 18 goats we could see on the next ridge, or head back to camp. It was closing in on 2pm, and we figured if we went down and got a goat, we would have to head straight west back to the road as we wouldn't be able to get back up the mountain to go to camp. Being anxious to get on goats as we could feel how this terrain was kicking our butts, and didn't know how much we had left in us, we descended the mountain and went towards the larger herd. Once we finally reached the valley between the two ranges, we noticed the large band of 16 (mostly kids and nannies) got up and started to head up and over their ridge. There was one lone goat above them, and one well below them, so we waited for them to get out of sight before moving in for closer looks. We work in on the lone goat up top, and notice it is a young guy, probably a yearling billy, so we pass on taking him. He hangs out and watches us for quite a while. As we are watching him, Jeff looks back up on the mountain we just scaled down and 4 goats we initially set after are standing on the trail we just left. They soon disappeared back in the cliffs on the side of the mountain we could not traverse, but it was disappointing to see them standing right where I could have taken them and we could have gone straight back to camp. It would have been nearly impossible to climb back up to them.
Our only option was to scale the side of the mountain on a thin goat trail to see if we can't get on the other goat down below. We could tell it was a larger goat horn wise, but didn't seem so big body wise. After a couple of minutes of moving in on the goat we see it move up the mountain and out of sight. We figured that was all she wrote for probably the next couple of days, and maybe the whole trip. We kept on the trail and rounded towards a large bowl in the mountain when Jeff whispers at me to stop as he saw the goat about 275 yards up in the rocks. We decide that even though the terrain looks rough, we can get up there. We stack the packs on top of each other, and the goat is looking straight down on us. I can't get enough of an angle to shoot off the two packs, so Jeff has to kneel down and prop himself up on the packs so I can get enough angle. I get steady and squeeze off a round right into its chest. The bullet hits perfect and the goat is down within seconds. It begins to kick a little, and falls about 10 yards and gets lodged in some rocks on a steep reveen. The bullet entered in its sternum, took out half of the heart and exited next to its spine in front of the hind quarters. As soon as the goat stopped moving, we exchange congrats and about 150 yards off, a nice blacktail buck appears. Jeff is eager to shoot but thinks better of it since we already had a critter down and a lot of unknowns ahead of us. It proved to be a good decision, because we had more ahead of us than we could have guessed.
Here is the area that I shot the goat. It was on the left reveen right at the top of it. As with most goat country photo's, the picture doesn't do the steepness justice.
We get up to the goat in about half an hour, and have to jimmy it around to begin skinning. Jeff held the goat from above and I worked from below to cape it out for a half body mount, and as it started to slide some, Jeff pulled and I pushed and one of the horns popped right off. We about all took a couple hundred yard tumble down the reveen, but managed to catch our footing and got the goat propped back up. I made quick work to skin out the goat and while sawing the neck off with the bone saw, the rocks below us started to give. I quickly got the cape off and we tried to prop the goat up, but it was either go with it, or let it go. The goat fell about 150 yards before it stopped in a deep gully. We headed down to it, and had no option but to continue rolling it down the reveen towards the trail we were on. Another little shove and it went past the trail and it stopped roughly 25 yards lower in some alders. If the alders wouldn't have stopped it, it could have gone another several hundred yards before stopping, so we got very lucky there. We quartered the goat and got all the meat off and into TAG bags and headed back up to the packs. We weren't sure how far from the road we were, but we decided since it was 5:30pm, we wouldn't bone out the meat but use that time to try and get out of there.
As we headed west towards the road, we felt good about having the goat, but unsure of how far we had to go or if we were going to make it bofore night set in. We came up to a large hill side that was choked with thick alders and we had no choice but to go down. It took us about an hour to trasverse it, and it kept getting steeper as we neared the bottom. We could see a creek about 300 yards below us, but it looked as if it was within 50 yards of the edge of the hill. At this point we were thinking we might need to head back up, but we plugged on, and eventually made it to the bottom soaked in sweat, exhausted and the sun was getting ready to set. The nights were clear and cool, with temps getting into the low 30's, and after plugging on for half an hour, we realized we would be in survival mode for the night. Here is looking back at the alder choked ridge and the mountain on the right of the picture is where the goat was shot.