Wintertime Mountain Goats

By Live 2 Hunt | Feb 21, 2011

I just made it home from a two week hunt in northern British Columbia, with my good friend and Outfitter Brian McConnell. Kelsy hunted Mountain Goats with Brian back in August, and I arranged with Brian to head out to do a winter goat hunt for myself.

This hunt, was without a doubt, the most physically demanding adventure I have EVER been on!… Cold temperatures, deep snow, and the clincher; GOAT COUNTRY…made this hunt a mental battle from start to finish.

On day nine of the hunt, Thursday morning, we were up at five bells to start our journey after a big old billy we had glassed quite a few times. Allan Bowles, a friend of Brian’s came with us, to help pack. We had a long snowmobile ride down a valley in the dark. Next leg, we hiked down to the valley bottom, where we put chest waders on to cross a river. From there, we strapped on our snow shoes, and climbed for the next eight and a half hours, straight up! We had to keep the pace up, as we had to make it to the goats before dark… steep grades, thick tangled timber, deep snow and avalanche chutes made it one of the tuffest things I’ve ever done.

We made it to the top just in time for a stalk, before dark. We were above where we expected the goats to be, so we could come down on them. When we poked our noses over the cliff, we saw nothing but vacant beds, and the goats had moved… about as disappointing a feeling as a guy can get.

We had taken our packs off to readjust for the climb down, and Brian had walked over a really steep rise, out of sight, trying to locate the goats.

Five minutes later he came running back, motioning frantically for us to come!!! Al and I grabbed the APEX muzzleloader and the camera, and hustled to catch up to him. The ridge Brian disappeared over was ridiculously steep… As I was following behind him, I have to admit that I was scared to death! Ten yards below us was a cliff, straight down for at least a hundred feet!!! As I continued, Brian came back into view, and he was now down the ridge on the edge of the cliff below us! Motioning that he could see the goats below him. Scared out of my tree, I began straight down to him, and peered over… to see the three goats directly below us!!! I handed Brian the camera, and cleaned the snow out of my scope.

Once Brian captured enough footage, I took the shot, leaning over the cliff, aiming straight down at sixty five yards… When the smoke cleared, the Big old billy goat stood motionless for about five seconds… then started to wobble! His legs gave out, and a huge cloud of snow formed, as he rolled down the mountain.

With only minutes before dark, there was no way for us to find our way down to him… So, we had to follow our tracks back the way we came, and go all the way down for the night.
We made it back in to town at 1:00 am, had something to eat and crashed. No question this was the hardest day of hunting I have ever had.

Starting again at dark in the morning, we headed back up to try to find where my goat ended up…

When we broke the timberline, in the general area we expected to find him, ravens flew away, out of a tree… Giving me the rush of disappointment that my prize would be ruined… Not a good feeling after all the effort that had gone into this whole adventure.

Not long after, Brian spotted my goat, piled up under a tree. He was completely covered in snow, other than a couple hooves sticking up! He was untouched by the birds!!! And we were hero’s!!!!

The thought of this hunt just takes my breath away… all the hard work, the spectacular scenery, and most of all, one of the most amazing creatures I have ever pursued.

This billy goat has the most beautiful coat I have ever seen. No wonder they can survive such harsh winters up in the high country. He has horns that are 10 inches a side.

The footage of this hunt will make one of the greatest episodes we have ever produced. It will air in the 2011 airing season, on Wild TV.