"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
After going scouting solo a couple times and not seeing anything, I was getting a bit anxious for season opener. When I got a text from a family friend, Karl, saying that his little brother, Kevin, needed a partner to accompany him on his goat hunt into Tight Lip lake, I was quite excited and jumped all over the opportunity.
We went to a spot to scout a week prior to season opener without seeing anything, but saw lots of promising terrain. The area had promise from the fact that Kevin had been in there in previous years and spotted some goats, but due to harsh weather and the unforgiving, nearly inaccessible terrain, his hunts ended shortly after they began.
As opening day came closer we decided to head up a day early to establish a good camp location with the chance of spotting a billy to shoot opening morning.
It was September 9th. We had our Tim Hortons coffee and muffins and we were off to the trail head. We got to the trail head right at dawn and it was already getting warm out. We threw our packs on and headed out with enough food for 5 days.
As we began to break into the alpine the anticipation and excitement was building. Every white boulder was begging to look like a goat. After not seeing anything from the tree line, we decided to follow a little draw up to a ridge that we had planned on walking and glassing down both sides. It was a nice day, but the fog was coming and going which was a good excuse for little rests. As the day continued the fog blew off and it got warmer.
Not an hour in from walking on the ridge, we came across some beds and some sandy spots which had some tracks in them. We stopped for a quick glass. I looked down and spotted a big sand patch with fresh tracks in them, so we hiked down to investigate. Not knowing much about goat tracks and the size of them I was just excited to see tracks, but when I noticed Kevin was getting excited about the size of the track and my heart began to race.
Knowing we had multiple goats on the ridge and the day was winding down, we decided to sit back, set up camp and glass till dark. We hoped if we spot one that evening it wouldn’t be far in the morning. As it got dark we decided to have a quick bite to eat and go to bed early so we could get up before dawn to see if we could spot any movement on the cliffs around us.
We woke up before first light, had some breakfast, and began to glass. Kevin disappeared over a ledge just out of camp and I later learned that he had spotted a younger billy back towards the truck. At the same time, I spotted a goat walking out onto a sunny bluff not 500 yards away. Kevin was back in view and I waved him over. I was quite confident that it was a billy but wanted a second opinion.
After Kevin told me to shoot it, I offered for him to shoot the goat. I would have been happy just to be a part of the hunt. Kevin said “no it’s your first goat and you spotted it. You shoot it”.
I jumped all over it and we were down the hill and in range before I knew it. There was a big boulder on a ledge that made for a perfect rest. As I was ready to pull the trigger, the wind swirled and the billy got wind and stood up. I pulled the trigger and “poof!”.
Fur went flying everywhere. I had hit him, but he was still crawling for the cliff, so I let another one into him. He collapsed, but not before he got closer enough to the edge and down a little ledge not 2m from a 50m cliff.
We waited for a few minutes then approached the downed billy. We cleaned the goat on the ledge. One person holding it from falling off the cliff, while the other dresses it. Once we had the meat divided up we headed back up for camp..packed up and started to hike out with the gear and goat on our backs.
When we got back to Squamish we were looking at the head more and noticed the horns were eroded at the bases, ear was split and it was missing multiple teeth. After getting it inspected it was aged between 13-15 years old, I have yet to get it officially scored.
After discussing our options with the younger billy that Kevin spotted we decided to stay home for the night and wake up before dawn and hike in in search for the billy Kevin had spotted just before I harvested mine. After reaching the the area in which Kevin spotted the billy we decided to sit for a while and glass. 30 minutes went by and nothing, after contemplating moving on or sticking it out we were just about to leave when we heard rocks tumbling down by us. We then knew it was a matter of time before the goats came down off the cliff that was not reachable with out ropes.
The billy walked out and began climbing down the maze of cliffs and bluffs. Kevin had it in his scope and asked for a double check through the spotting scope and I assured him it was a billy. As the goat walked into a perfect broadside shot at 350 yards he placed a perfect shot and dropped the billy right in its tracks. It then rolled down the hill and stopped not 50 yards from us. We dressed the billy and hiked out to the truck.
After hours of scouting, lots of hard work and certainly some luck we had connected on a old mature billy and a younger meat billy. All in two days. We have already planned our hunt for next year.