"In North America there is one large animal that belongs almost entirely to the realm of towering rock and unmelting snow. Pressing hard against the upper limit of life's possibilities, it exists higher and steeper throughout the year than any other big beast on the continent. It is possibly the best and most complete mountaineer that ever existed on any continent. Oreamnos americanus is its scientific name. Its common name is mountain goat." -Douglas H. Chadwick
The Crazy mountains of Montana have been called the “Crown Jewel” of mountain goat hunting opportunities in the lower 48. With 85 permits available in the island mountain range in 2014, 50 permits in 2015, and 55 in 2016, this area is home to more opportunity for sportsman and women than several other western states combined. With an estimated population of 350-400 animals, many people have wondered what the reasoning for issuing so many permits has been.
In the late 1950’s and into the early 1960’s the range boasted similar goat numbers to what we have today. The population suffered a massive collapse that closed the area to hunting for 30 years until 1991. The die-off has been shrouded in mystery but mainly attributed to starvation. In an effort to avoid another massive loss of the area’s goats, liberal hunting has been implemented to stabilize the population.
On August 5th and 6th of 2017, RMGA will host its 3rd annual Crazy Mountains volunteer project to assist Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks in a kid recruitment survey of the Crazy Mountains. The project will kick off with a 6:00pm Friday night BBQ where regional biologist, Karen Loveless, will distribute survey materials and delegate search areas to different teams. The 6:00pm Friday night BBQ will be held at Stone Glacier’s headquarters. We will be targeting five different drainages with the objective of documenting as many kid goats as possible. Our search areas include Campfire Lake, Sunlight Lake, Sweetgrass Creek, Rock Creek, and Big Timber Creek.
Search teams are encouraged to begin at first light on Saturday, August 5th, documenting goat sightings as they hike to their backcountry campsites. Surveying will continue until dusk, when all volunteers will camp at their designated locations. The search will continue on Sunday morning before volunteers hike out that afternoon. Survey folders will be collected that afternoon or will need to be dropped off the following Monday.
We need your help! If you would like to join us in the mountains for a two-day, one-night, backpacking survey, please contact RMGA President, Pete Muennich at Peter@goatalliance.org or (406)551-5104. All able-hikers welcome! Please come prepared with proper backcountry camping gear including good boots, water filtration systems, food, optics, GPS and cameras if you have them. Help us spread the word and share this project with anyone and everyone who may able to assist