My adopted step-child Benny (Pinney) just had finished his first year of dental school in Portland and was on break so he came up to Alaska. Our plan morphed into a three-trip hunt. Benny would serve as my sherpa on a mountain goat hunt.
We headed off for the Alpine during one of the earliest days in August in a typical-Juneau pea soup fog and soaking drizzle. It took us between five and six hours to make it to the alpine, right at dark. We pitched out tiny tent and waited until the next morning, then we waited all of the next day for the fog to lift; visibility was only about 30 yards. We went for one short walk as I knew the area and that I could get us back to camp even in the low/no visibility. Too thick so we went back and waited thru the day and another night.
The following morning the fog started to break and we were ready to locate our first goat(s). We had only been away from camp for 15 minutes when I spotted a lone billy in the rolling alpine which lies above the cliffs of a huge drainage. I took advantage of the remaining fog banks and when one rolled in I slipped below sight at the top of the cliff edge as Benny hung back on a grassy knob.
I timed my next move around another fog bank and slipped out of Benny’s sight, just to the right of where I am sitting in the previous photo. Soon, the goat stood and started feeding and moved towards me. The goat then walked right towards me as I crouched behind and below a rock ledge. Soon I saw white right above me as the goat walked out on the rock right above me and stood and looked down! “No way this close, he’s going to bolt before I can draw” were my thoughts as I had been in similar situations before with the white beasts, just not THIS close.
The billy turned and stepped out onto the rock right in front of me and gazed across the deep chasm, striking the classic mountain goat pose. I did not hesitate and pulled to as full of a draw as I was going to get to in my awkward position. The arrow flickered for its full path of travel for those SEVEN (7) FEET and buried in the billy’s ribcage.
Benny later told me that he saw the billy’s side quiver and he knew that I had scored a hit but he was utterly shocked when I stood up right where the billy had been standing. Benny had not seen me change positions due to the fog between us.
The attached photo shows where I was kneeling at the time of the shot and the goat’s horns are placed where he was standing. Those pretty red things on my feet are my Ruby-Red slippers (AKA Koflach plastic mountaineering boots), that help keep me attached to cliff faces when I do stupid things and go to stupid places while hunting in the cliffs.
This goat tale is not over yet however. The billy ran below me into a chute and then made a last trek across the loose talus in the chute, fell, seemed still, and started to slide. Sliding down the chute soon turned into rolling down the chute as the dead goat gained momentum, and rolling down the chute turned into tumbling head over heals down, down the chute and out of site.
Benny and I carefully descended and soon realized that the goat didn’t get hung up where I hoped he might. Finally after about 1000 foot decent, on the back side of the mountain of course, we found the billy hung up on a small rock that was barely holding him from tumbling another unknown hundreds of feet.
Unbelievably the horns were only scarred and not broken but his lower teeth were all broken and his cape was badly mangled. The billy was 8 ½” with heavy 5 ½” bases, with four growth rings which is a real nice goat for that age.
Benny stabilized the carcass as I did the knife work and we miraculously finished the job without rolling further down the chute although a broken pack strap had Benny headed towards the bottom on a retrieval mission. We got the goat back to the top and laid out the meat to glaze over and fended off the ravens.
A view of six billys and a awesome view taken near the shot site.
The following day Benny earned his keep on the pack out and saved this old man’s poor broken down joints some stress by taking the lion’s share of the load. We made it back down the mountain and into Juneau where Benny played some games with fishes and we awaited our next hunt!
Posts: 2350 | From: Moose Pass, Alaska | Registered: Mar 2003
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