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Thread: Our no goat hunt report

  1. #1
    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    Default Our no goat hunt report

    My wife and I were fortunate enough to win three drawing permits this year. After connecting on two caribou on two consecutive Saturdays, it seemed as though our luck was running high this year. Alas, such streaks must eventually come to an end. As luck would have it, this was not to be our year to get our first goat.

    We flew in on Saturday morning with Scenic Mountain Air out of Trail Lake. We were supposed to fly in Friday evening, but the good folks at Scenic Mountain were kind enough to call us just before we left home to tell us that the clouds were low and there was almost no way we would make it into our intended destination that night. We weren't thrilled with the news, of course, but appreciated the heads-up and got a restful night sleep instead. We were there at 8:30 the next morning and they got us in under some low ceilings to our hunting area. This was only my fourth fly-in hunt, and only my 2nd if you don't count deer on Kodiak. I was excited, but for my wife on her first fly-in, she was practically ecstatic as we unloaded our gear onto the beach.



    Within an hour and a half we had hiked the 1/2 mile to some high ground and got camp set up. With a generous weight limit, we decided to test out our 4 person 4-season tent for the first time. Used to sharing a tiny 2-man mountain tent, we were loving the comfort of this mountain mansion.



    The clouds stayed low most of that first day. We did spot five goats on a distant mountainside that looked to be in stalkable terrain, but due to the prohibition on hunting on the same day as flying, we spent our day down low getting familiar with the area and spotting. At about 5pm we saw another two goats come skirting across a mountainside closer to camp. These two were clearly billies, and better yet, they were on a mountain that was more tame by goat standards. They were in a big hurry, though. Goats tend to move less than sheep in my experience, but these two were only visible for about 30 minutes as they crossed nearly two miles of mountainside and disappeared into the next valley.

  2. #2
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    Better luck next time.
    If you can't Kill it with a 30-06, you should Hide.

    "Dam it all", The Beaver told me.....

  3. #3

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    Still looks like a GREAT way to spend the weekend. Bummer on the no goat, but as you know just getting out with the lil lady is the best part anyways. Glad you guys a had a great time. Thanks for the pics.
    Last edited by Alaska_Lanche; 09-01-2009 at 15:34.

  4. #4
    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    The next morning we decided to climb the mountain that held the two billies the previous evening. We didn't see them, but from maps we knew they would run into a giant chasm and then a glacier, so we hoped they would hang out there in the crags and allow us a stalk. By 9am we were on top and moving slowly along the ridge. One thing that amazed me about those mountains was how little you could see of the slope from up there. Unlike many of the sheep mountains I have been on, every 20 yards there was another roll behind which could lurk an unnoticed goat. Instead of just hiking in a straight line from point to point, we were instead forced to zig-zag here and there, checking behind every roll and crag to see if we could find our quarry bedded down. We eventually got to the end of the line in the direction we had started. Stretching from the peak to close to the valley floor was a spectacularly beautiful glacier. A bit closer than that was a crevasse that was absolutely uncrossable due to its 100+ foot vertical walls that stretched to the bottom. I studied it for a while, but never saw a goat. In hindsight, my best guess is that the goats had dropped to the valley floor the night before and crossed below the glacier. I could be wrong, of course, but they were at only about 500' of elevation when we saw them, so it wouldn't have been much of a drop.

    We decided to backtrack and follow the ridge in the opposite direction. We were already up here, so we figured maybe we would find some other previously undetected goats or maybe find that the goats we saw before had circled back around up above the clouds. We had a wonderful time exploring the area in the sun and gentle breeze, but alas, we couldn't find any sign of a goat on our chosen mountain. One thing we did find, though, was that the other goats we saw on the distant mountain would not be approachable. From our alpine perch we could see a raging torrent of water coming down off a glacier near where the five goats were lying. Try as I might, I could not find a spot where it looked even remotely possible to cross. It was among the more violent mountain streams I have seen, and we ultimately decided that it just wasn't going to work.

    We spent the rest of the day putting around the top, hoping to find something but really just enjoying our time in the mountains.





    Our hike back down took us through some beautiful subalpine forest.



    That night we made plans to climb a different mountain behind camp the next morning. Though we hadn't seen a goat on it yet, we knew there was a chance we could find something. There was also a fat black bear that we had kept seeing above 3,000' up there, so we figured we might try to take him if the goats didn't pan out. Right before turning in for the night, though, those plans changed. A brown spot in the willows about 2 miles beyond camp grabbed my attention. A quick look through the spotting scope revealed that it was a bull. It wasn't large - maybe 40" at best - but it appeared that it might have a third brow tine on one side. We decided that we would try to chase him down if he was still there in the morning. Within 15 minutes of waking up, he was there again, this time in lazy pursuit of a cow. Long story short - we tried multiple times to get on him, but the 8' alders and willows made it very difficult to see on the flats. I never did get a good look at him to confirm the third brow tine, but we sure tried. Around 4pm we called the flight service to confirm our pickup time for the next day. The forecast didn't look good, and where we were the ceilings had dropped to less than 1,000' AGL. We talked it over for a few minutes, and though we loved where we were, we made the call to get an early pickup. We partially hated to do this, especially since we were late on the drop-off as well, but we knew it was the responsible thing for us to do with regards to our kid and our jobs. Of course we would have loved to be successful, but in the end we both left with big smiles on our faces and great memories. This really was among my more enjoyable hunts even though we didn't see much for game. Time in the mountains with my favorite hunt partner is priceless, regardless of the outcome.

    Our pilot later told us that he almost didn't get in to pick us up, and that we certainly would have been stuck for a couple of days if we didn't opt for the early pickup.

    Home and comfy, already dreaming of our next opportunity to chase goats.


  5. #5
    Member Yukoner's Avatar
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    Sounds like a great trip with your best friend!
    My wife and i were out on a (succesful) sheep hunt last weekend.
    I always figure if you can go hunting with your spouse and not get into a fight at some point, she's definately the right one (or, she's reeeeeally patient)
    Never wrestle with a pig.
    you both get dirty;
    the Pig likes it.

  6. #6

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    Brian you are a lucky man.

  7. #7
    Moderator stid2677's Avatar
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    WOW, great story and photos. You are blessed.

    Steve

  8. #8

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    Awesome, great photos and a great friend and partner you have.

  9. #9
    Member Sterlingmike's Avatar
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    Thumbs up No Goat

    Thanks! To you and your wife, Brian......... Just thanks.........for sharing.

    Mike

  10. #10
    Member BucknRut's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Cool Beans!

    Always love hearing your stories Brian!

    I love the photo of the small lake/moose pond! Awesome shot!

    I know what you mean about ziggin in and out and around. A guy can put a lot of miles on in a short time.

    Did you ever see the bear again?

  11. #11
    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BucknRut View Post

    Did you ever see the bear again?
    Yeah, he hung out on the same mountainside every day we were there, but ultimately we decided that the moose right in front of us was a more tempting target than the bear thousands of feet up and a few miles away.

  12. #12
    Member B-radford's Avatar
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    Cant win them all. Looks like you guys had a fun trip and better luck next time.

  13. #13
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    Nice write up. Glad that you still had a good time out there...the real reason for the hunt.

  14. #14
    Member Bighorse's Avatar
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    Default sweet

    That photo of the lake with the trees reflecting in it is superior.
    Great photos.......hunter porn.

    I know what your saying about having to poke around and zig zag around when your on top. I just got back from a solo goat hunt and got a 4.5 yr old. It was just like you said except when I poked around my cliff there was a goat there.

    Cool trip and thanks for taking the time to write it up.

  15. #15
    Member bushrat's Avatar
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    Great story and photos as usual Brian. And more beautiful country to explore. Great to see you and Sara getting out together!

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