The saying goes that mountain goat hunting starts, where sheep hunting stops. It is the pinnacle of mountain hunting.
Most hunters would agree that mountain goat hunting is the pinnacle of mountain hunts. Mountain goats survive because of where they live, not necessarily because they are so wily. The saying goes that mountain goat hunting starts, where sheep hunting stops. Our best advice: Get reading to do some climbing!
Some states have relatively good drawing odds for mountain goat hunting, especially when you compare them to species like bighorn sheep.
Mountain goat hunting takes place in the high country.
They are the largest mammals found up there in the thin air, and in my opinion they live in some of the prettiest and most spectacular places on the planet. In most places, goats spend the majority of their time near or above timberline, at elevations of around 8,000 to 13,000 ft. Get in shape if you are planning a mountain goat hunt. It’s not gonna be easy.
We have many mountain goat hunts available ranging from over the counter and conservation tags to controlled hunt permits that you must draw.
If you have questions or would like to go on this trip yourself, justcontact us. Give us a detailed description of what you are looking for, so our hunting consultants can match you with the right hunt. Whatever suits you, we can help you find it.
We’re here to help you book the perfect trip, and our advice doesn’t cost you a thing.
Getting a tag can sometimes be the hardest part.
“Hunting mountain goats has been one of my lifelong goals. I never thought much of pursuing it. That was until Russ Meyer gave me a call.” – Yahsti Perkins | Outdoors International Client
You have to either play the draws or hire a guide in an area with over-the-counter tags.
You have a limited number of places you can hunt mountain goats, and even fewer where you can hunt trophy goats with great coats, so even if you don’t care about getting a trophy class goat you are still faced with playing the lottery in the lower 48, or you’re paying a fairly substantial amount to go on a guided hunt in Canada or Alaska.
Drawing a Goat Tag
So you want to do it yourselfand put in for the draws? First you have to decide if you just want to draw any old tag, or if you want to have a chance at a mature billy, let alone an area that may have trophy goats. Then you have to start researching states to figure out how much its going to cost you to play the draws, what the draw odds are for the different hunts, what the trophy potential is of the different hunts, what is the terrain like in a given area, what logistics will be required if you draw a tag, how far in is the hunt area, and on and on…
These are all things you have to consider for mountain goat hunting, because each and every piece of information and decision you make will determine how long it may take to draw, how much time, effort and money you will expend if you do draw. But, this is just trying to figure out where to apply, it may be years and years before you draw a coveted tag, what then?
Once you draw, get in touch with us.
If you do end up getting lucky enough to draw a mountain goat tag, be sure tocontact us for the best outfitters, but that’s getting harder every year. Luckily, we have over-the-counter tags available in Alaska and Canada with some great guides.
You can make it easier by using our service. Did you know it’s free?
So as you can see either way you go there can be a lot of stress, time, effort and cost that goes into chasing a hunt of lifetime like mountain goat.
If you are looking for true trophy class billies, our hunt in BC is where’ it’s at! And you don’t need to draw a tag.
However, there are a couple of things you can do to make things somewhat easier on yourself. If you are looking to draw a tag and do it yourself, more power to you, but if you’re more inclined to go the guided hunt route, one of the best ways to find great outfitters and take a lot of the stress out of booking a great hunt is to use our consulting service. We spend tens of thousands of dollars and thousands of hours researching outfitters, vetting them, and making sure that when they book you on that hunt of a lifetime it will be just that. Let’s start planning your hunt.
Hiring an outfitter is an option that should be considered…whether you drew a tag or not.
This can be just as overwhelming and nerve wracking as trying to do it on your own. You’re trading out some risks (like logistics, scouting, talking to biologists, etc) for other risks…mainly spending a good amount of your hard earned money to possibly end up on a hunt that doesn’t live up to expectations, or worse yet, that just flat sucks. So instead of having to research hunt units, draw odds, etc, you will need to research outfitters, what kind of animals are they taking, what style of hunts do they provide (horseback, backpack, vessel based). What kind of accommodations (lodge, boat, cabins, tent, spike tent), what time of year do they hunt, what is the total cost of the hunt, what is included, what isn’t included.
Don’t forget to check with the Outfitters Association to see whether or not they have any violations (if they even disclose that information), how do you reserve your hunt, what happens if you have to cancel, and on and on. So now you have a hunt booked, well now it is time to prepare, just like above, physical, gear, travel, etc.
The guides and outfitters we work with are the best in the business. Our goat hunts range from $9,500 – $13,500 depending on area and season. It is also possible to combo your hunt by adding a black bear, caribou, moose, brown bear or grizzly bear.
Contact us for more information about our mountain goat hunts.
A successful mountain goat hunt will not only result in an incredible trophy for a hunter’s wall at home, but also will cause most hunters to catch “sheep fever.”
The country these animals inhabit is something to behold, and spending time there is addicting once you conquer it for the first time. SO DON’T WAIT for years to save up for that sheep hunt or think a mountain hunt need be planned for years, NOW IS THE TIME. Tags are over the counter, the hunt can be with any weapon and very ARCHERY friendly, and spots remain this year. A mountain goat hunt makes for an incredible first time mountain hunt and is the perfect “training ground” for sheep hunting. mountain goat hunts are only 25-30% the price of a sheep hunt and often more difficult.
In 2011 Troy M. Sheldon of Alexandria, KY bagged the new B&C world record mountain goat in the Stikine River area of British Columbia.
A North American sheep hunt is at the top of many hunters’ buck lists. And there is no doubt that sheep hunts are tough, physically demanding hunts. But it is often said that mountain goats look down on sheep. If a mountain hunt is on your bucket list, you do not need “sheep money” or years of pre-planning to go.
Get ready, not only for some amazing mountain goat hunting, but also some breathtaking scenery! Once a billy is spotted, you will need to decide if it’s a shooter or not before you make the climb (hopefully one time) to do your stalk. Sometimes you will spike out on the mountain with the goats until your trophy is taken…so field judging is a big deal.
How to Field Judge Mountain Goats
Field judging mountain goats is one of the more challenging in the hunting world.
For one thing, both males and females have horns, and it is somewhat difficult to discern between the two. In fact, many wildlife departments allow the taking of nannies. They encourage hunters to avoid nannies and in many cases require an orientation course on sex identification, yet nannies are still mistakenly taken.
Determine the Sex
The key to making this determination and evaluating a goat lies in mass of both horns and body.
A mature billy will have a hump on his back or shoulder and will appear “thicker” than a nanny. The horns of a billy will curl over their entire length. Nannie horns will commonly rise straight up, only curling back on the upper 1/3 or 1/4 of the horn.
When estimating horn length we must take into consideration two factors. the horn will curve backward. Long winter coats can hide horn growth at the bases near the skull.
The curvature of the horn can short-change the true length of horns in field observations. It’s a good idea to try and visualize the horns as straight. If the apparent horn length is visualized as straightened-out, and it reaches the distance from the nostrils to the bottom of the eye, you are looking at a horn length of probably at least eight, but not over nine inches. If the same comparison yields an apparent length equivalent to the distance from the nostrils to the ear hole, you are unquestionably looking at a records-class billy. Providing his horn tips are not broken and he appears to have a thick base on each horn.
Another useful gauge is the apparent length of the horns compared to the visible length of the ear. For trophy quality, one normally must look for a horn that appears to be two and one-half times the visible length of the ear.
Look at the Bases
When viewed straight on the bases will appear to nearly touch on a big billy. On a nanny or lesser billy white will be definitively visible. *Billy’s have two large black glands directly behind the horns which can be mistaken for extraordinary mass. Nannies do not have this gland.
All but ten entries coming from northern coastal locations.
A look to the records reveals that the best bases and ultimately the best scoring goats come from the Pacific Coast range, or the west slope of the Rockies. Reviewing the top 100 records-book goats of all-time, you will find the base circumferences range from 6 to 6-6/8″. The other locations showing up in the top 100 include; Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Utah, Montana, Colorado, and Nevada. The remaining 90 entries are all from coastal Alaska and British Columbia.
When you get a shot at a mountain goat, hit them well!
Wounded mountain goats are known to take a ‘suicide leap’ off the nearest cliff. And there will be plenty of cliffs… Then you’re in for some serious fun and possibly a broken horn or two. That really sucks, so wait for a good kill shot in reasonable terrain.
So you either drew a tag, or booked a hunt. Now what?
Now you have to worry about physical preparation. People call goats the poor man’s sheep hunt, and for good reason. I have hunted sheep and mountain goats, and I can honestly say that they are both incredibly demanding. However, goats definitely take the cake for living in rougher terrain.
Preparation is key!
When hunting goats there is no such thing as being in too good of shape. You are probably going to spend hours pouring over topo-maps, google earth, talking to wildlife biologists, game wardens, past hunters, reading hunt reports, figuring out logistics, scouting, figuring out what gear and equipment you need, researching gear and equipment, purchasing gear and equipment, finding out you have too much gear and equipment, etc, etc.
This can be overwhelming to a lot of people, especially if you are not an experienced back country/mountain hunter. Don’t get me wrong, I think anyone who is focused and committed can successfully go mountain goat hunting. However, most people who don’t live and hunt this type of terrain on a regular basis, and just don’t realize how much preparation goes into this type of hunting.
Suggested Gear List for a Mountain Hunt
Remember, a mountain hunt is typically a backpack-style. You’ll be on the move, spiking out, and you’ll want to go light, and use synthetic or wool clothing ONLY. Do not take cotton! If you stick to this gear list, you’ll have everything you need on your hunt. If you’re on a guided hunt, your outfitter will provide a Satellite phone, or an Inreach for emergencies, and a first aid kit. Also, food, stove, fuel, water filters and tents will be provided on a guided hunt.
You may have other items on this list that you want to bring. Please bring anything you think you may need but remember the highest luxury on a mountain hunt is light weight. Keeping your pack light for day trips or hikes to spike camps will make your hunt much easier and more enjoyable than any heavy luxury item you may desire. If you show up with a very heavy load, your guide will likely have a culling session with you and your gear.
Any items that are not needed in spike camps may be left at a base camp.
Duct Tape: 1 – 10 feet of Duct tape VERY IMPORTANT!! Apply Duct tape (regular duct tape, not gorilla tape or other thicker brands) to any “hot spot” or sore area; directly to your skin, BEFORE you get blisters. This is a proven method, far superior to moleskin or other blister remedies. Blisters can ruin your hunt, DO NOT wait for a convenient location to stop, do it as soon as you feel anything uncomfortable.
Hunting License, Permit Paperwork, and Locking Tag (if needed)
Taxidermist shipping tags
Toiletries: medication, toothbrush, small toothpaste, sunscreen, sunglasses etc.
Cash for Tips
A tip is a reward for a job well done. It is considered customary in the guiding industry as it is in the restaurant industry. Please tip on the effort of your guide, not necessarily the quality of your trophy. A tip of 10% is standard for a good job, slightly less for a satisfactory job. If you feel your guide has done a very poor job, do not tip them, and discuss it with your outfitter. Please feel free to openly discuss tipping with your guide. Most guides use the best equipment they can afford at their income level. Cash is generally preferred but if you want to use an item (rifle, binoculars, clothing etc) as a tip or portion of a tip please discuss it with your guide first.
(Set a self imposed yardage limit based upon your shooting ability that you are confident you can hit an 8” circle 99% of the time in hunting conditions. Share this limit with your guide, stick to that limit. You can almost always get closer with some effort. There are many variables in mountain hunting; wind, shot angle, and animal movements make long range shooting extremely unpredictable. If you arrive with a limit of 800 yards and have less than 5 years of service with Spec Ops or a sniper team, your guide will impose a realistic limit for you (likely around 400 yards) Make every possible effort for clean, first shot kill. Long range shooting classes are highly recommended but do not make up for thousands of rounds of real world practice required to shoot extreme distances.)