Her First Mountain Goat Harvest

I grew up in a family that loves to hunt and fish. As a little girl I enjoyed going on hunts with my Nana and helping my Grandpa skin his animals. Although I grew up with hunting around me, I never hunted.

My life in the hunting world started in 2005 when I met my husband, Kyle. After hiking with him and harvesting my first whitetail deer, I knew hunting would be a big part of my life.

The Journey to Harvest a Goat

I have always thought mountain goats were beautiful. As a child my Grandpa’s shoulder mount fascinated me. I drew my first tag in 2008; I was not prepared physically or with proper gear. As the years went by I was able to upgrade my gear and get a pack that fit my small frame. After having two kids I started hiking a lot, hitting the gym and cleaning up my diet. I decided to give it another try. In spring 2012 I put in a limited entry for a mountain goat and pulled a tag for the fall season.

woman hunting mountainsThe day started out like any other day hunting, rise early before the sun peeks above the mountains, gear up and load the packs. Kyle and I had been out on several trips since September trying to get myself a goat, but it was now the end of November and my last day to tag one of these amazing animals. We pulled up to a spot we could glass for goats from. The area they were in started as timber then changed to slate and boulders, to intimidating rock cliff faces. Once the sun hit the mountains the goats started waking up and moving off their beds. We geared up and started our hike up the mountain in over a foot of snow.

When we got above the timber we stopped to glass. The goats had moved lower in the cliffs and were watching us break the tree line. We headed up the left side of the face in hopes of getting to a vantage point. I fought through thick thorn brush and alders that towered above my head, their branches pulling on my rifle and pack. As we were climbing the cliffs we hit a dilemma, I was too short to reach the next bench. Feeling frustrated, we climbed down and went back to the front. Kyle was ahead of me and decided to drop the packs and eat; he then started signaling me to hurry over.

When I reached him I looked up, three goats were watching us from their ledge.

Kyle confirmed that the goats were in an accessible area and they were 200 yards from us. So I grabbed my rifle, dropped my pack and used it for a rest. I settled in with my rifle, lined up on the goat I wanted and squeezed the trigger, my goat dropped on the spot.

Female Goat Hunter

We grabbed the packs and went up the right side of the cliffs where I ended up stuck on a ledge half way up, so Kyle continued up.

While I waited, I was fortunate to have a young billy come up the same game trail we did on his way over to the other goats.

hunting billy goat

He came within ten feet of me and hung out for about fifteen minutes – he had no clue I was there.

hunting mountain goat

Shortly after the billy continued up, Kyle joined me on the ledge and we made our way back down the mountain. It was an amazing hunt, my most memorable, and I got myself a magnificent goat.

Want to Hunt your own Mountain Goat?

If you are looking to take on this challenge, there are some things you should consider.

  • A good pair of boots is very important. Stiff boots with good ankle support and a decent shank will help you with side hilling and climbing and save your ankles.
  • A pack that can handle weight and fits properly will save your back and shoulders. It will make the trip up and down the mountain more enjoyable and comfortable.
  • Be sure to pack layers and that your gear will wick moisture and keep you dry. You will sweat heading up the mountain and once you are done climbing you are susceptible to chills.
  • Mountain goat hunting is very physically demanding. You need to have good muscle strength and endurance to hunt from start to finish. Training at high altitudes beforehand will help tremendously when you are on your hunt, it can help reduce vertigo, cramping and other conditions.
  • Before heading out you should get used to hiking in steep terrain because some of the areas you will get into can be anywhere from 45-90 degree angles.
  • It would be a smart idea to pack a SPOT or a device like it because most areas will not have cell phone coverage.
  • Always hunt with a partner, a partner can help in a number ways: packing out an animal, emergencies, tough situations, and be a major supporter when you are feeling mentally defeated and needing extra motivation.

It’s also important to remember that mountain goat hunting is extremely dangerous. Your safety should be the first priority.

If a goat is in an area you feel you can not get into or out of safely, try waiting for it to move and enjoy watching it or try a different spot in hopes of getting a better situation.