Setting Expectations for a Mountain Goat Hunt
Mountain goats are a unique animal, creating a special allure for mountain hunters. Their ability to cling to cliff walls and defy gravity make them a special animal to pursue and to harvest. Mountain goats push us to our limits, forcing us to climb and work through some of the most difficult mountain terrain. The challenge is also the attraction.
We understand the obsession. Our guides are goat hunters too, and we feel fortunate to guide clients in this vast and remote country of northern British Columbia.
As you prepare for the adventure of a mountain goat hunt, here are a few things to consider.
The Physical Nature of a Mountain Goat Hunt
We use horses to get up the mountain, and that provides a serious advantage. Otherwise, simply approaching mountain goat country would be incredibly taxing. Once we arrive on horseback into these high basins, hunters should expect to do some serious leg-work. On any mountain goat hunt, strenuous hikes may be required to reach glassing and shooting positions. Subsequently, recovering an animal can take just as much effort.
Spend time training throughout the year. Whenever you can, put on a heavy pack and hike. Or hit the stair-master and focus on building endurance on inclines. Running steps in a stadium will also trail your legs to push uphill. Whether indoors or out, take every opportunity to push yourself further. Write down goals, or work with a hunting partner to keep each other accountable.
Most importantly though, approach your training with excitement, not anxiety. You can hunt and harvest a great billy without being a world class athlete. Working toward a training goal will increase your confidence and comfort level when you face that difficult mountain goat terrain.
Mountain Goat Behavior and Hunting Tactics
Mountain goats may be like nothing else you’ve ever hunted. Not even a true goat (Capra), they are a member of their own genus (Oreamnos). Their place in the ecosystem gives them a different view of predation than other game like moose or caribou. Goats can be very skittish when approached from below, but oddly complacent when approached from above. This creates both challenges and opportunities for the hunter.
For the most part, our hunters should plan on riding horseback from camp before hiking into a good glassing position. After locating goats, planning the approach becomes essential. Finding an approach from above is ideal, and a stalk may take several hours. In some cases, hunters may need to wait for a billy to move into an approachable position. When it all finally comes together, enjoy the excitement of laying your crosshairs on one of these magnificent animals.
After the Shot
In addition to finding a goat that’s in a stalkable location, the goat must also be in a location where recovery is possible. Mountain goats are notoriously tough animals. They will regularly absorb several rounds from a rifle and rarely just drop in their tracks. It’s important to pay attention to what’s below the goat before taking a shot.
Once we recover the goat, we will spend plenty of time taking photos. Then, your guide will remove the hide or cape based on your intentions for taxidermy. The meat will be loaded up along with the cape, and we will return to where the horses have been tied. After a long day of hunting, we will enjoy the scenic horseback ride to camp, where we will be able to enjoy a hot meal and a warm bed.
To learn more about mountain goat hunting with Kawdy Outfitters, please take a look at our goat hunting page. If you have questions, please feel free to contact us. We’d love to help you plan an incredible mountain goat hunting adventure!
Written by Zach Lazzari | Photos by Ryan McSparran
Zach is an outdoor writer, fly fishing guide and hunting enthusiast. Follow Zach at bustedoarlock.com.