Goat Hunting Alaska’s Nasties

alaska, big game hunting, Mountain Goat, pack rafting, Winchester

“Nowhere to climb, but he climbs.” I sit and watch in amazement as this nearly bleach white animal climbs up and over a knife ridge that seems nearly impossible for humans. Climbing harness, loads of rope, and skills I do not have would be the only way to bring him home.”

Goat hunting isn't for everyone.
Goats live in arduous terrain.

This seems like a common story amongst hunters who chase after that once in a lifetime Rocky Mountain Goat. These gifted climbers are found sparsely across the western Americas with strong holds in Coastal Canada and Southern Alaska. I’m an Alaska resident and have the opportunity to chase them unguided in my home state, although I have been fortunate enough to join other hunters in British Columbia for a different but equally dangerous goat hunt. These hunts are dangerous, no other way to describe them. On that British Columbia goat hunt, shortly after I left camp, I received a Facebook Message that one of the guides in camp had fatally fallen. A serious wake up call in my life.

This year, I took a new approach to goat hunting, a safer more mature angle. My take on hunting in general is that the whole adventure has to feel safe, be ethical, and make everyone on the hunt feels good at the end wether you harvest or not. This approach has served me well and when applied to my goat hunts this year, I found great success both personally and as a group. My Kestrel knife blade touched 5 goats this year, totaling 25 days in the field. A year of firsts for sure! Firstly my wife connected on a beautiful billy on a river hunt in South Central Alaska on a 7 year old 9.5inch Billy.

Ole One Horn-Ancient Warrior Nanny

An old high school friend and football teammate took his first goat, a 12 Year old Ancient nanny in Prince William Sound from a boat hunt. Two of my friends missed goats on weekend trips there after, cleanly and unscaved the only thing hurt on those brief hunts were egos. One friend even notched his tag as he grazed the long hair off a mature Billy’s back and didn’t feel right after leaving, he did the ethical thing to do. After those adventures I took and filmed my hunting partner Brian on a 6 year old B&C 10.25 Inch Billy goat (his first) from a grueling backpack winter hunt in my sacred secret honey hole. Lastly I took a mature Billy Goat in a different portion of Prince William Sound via permit from Fish and Game for a coveted tag for a mature 6 year old 9.25 inch Billy.

Battle Dogs
Jordan’s First Billy
Thrilled to have both horns!
Tumbles are part of the game. Glad he had both horns!

After this season, I think I’m actually becoming a bit of a mountain goat. Seems I was infatuated with them this year. The meat, regardless of what anyone tells you…..In my opinion is some of the most delectable and delicious wild game meat in the state. Burger, steaks, crock pots, oven cooked, smoked on the Traeger, braised, etc. Just tasty. With a dismal moose season in the books and the majority of seasons closing locally for freezer filling animals like moose and caribou, it was time to shift into goat mode. Weekend warrior status from the end of September until the middle of November provided all sorts of mountain opportunity for these albino whookies.

Billy Walking Towards NO-Man’s Land

Alaska’s goat populations are managed by drawing permits and registration permits, there is no over-the-counter harvest tags. Although you can register for goats online and in person at the ADFG offices. Once you finish the hunt you have to submit your hunt report regardless of successes or failures. This is how the State of Alaska and the conservation of these majestic animals works. Non-residents need a guide for these animals while residents of the state who live here year round can hunt them DIY. Easy enough to get the opportunity to hunt them, the difficult part is to take a mature billy in retrievable non-destructive terrain for both you and the goat. The first step in the battle of the billies is to firstly locate the animals in the permit area, easy enough. I go by the 90%-10% rule of terrain, I look for the gnarliest terrain 90% looks the same. The 10% percent of the gnarly terrain in wind swept country is what I look for.

Gotta Go UP for Goats

Crampons, climbing axes, mountaineering boots, rope, and great glass will help you in goat country. The single most important aspect is confidence in that gear, and little to no fear of heights. You don’t want to misstep in goat terrain. Now once we located these goats the logistcally sound option is to understand if you can go up and come back down in one day, if not more gear and heavier packs are necessary…. Or you can just cowboy up and sleep in all your layers over night. Both options are tough, unless you can get up and down in one day. Well actually all options are tough.

Position is Everything

Possibly the most difficult part of the hunt is determining the sex of the goat. ADF&G provide all sorts of information to help determine the sex of the animal, one of there tips helped me the most. “Patience is key. The longer you watch a goat the better your chances for gathering enough clues to determine its sex. Mountain goats use cliffs as escape cover much like a deer running into thick brush when they are spooked. A hasty decision to shoot may result in wounding or losing an animal because you cannot retrieve it from the bottom of a crevasse.”
http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/index.cfm?adfg=goatidentification.patience

Where's the Billy?

There are many aspects helping you determine the sex between billies and nannies, targeting males versus females is detrimental to the sustainability to goat poplutions. ADFG encourages the take of males because female goats have long gestation period and takes them around 5 years to reach breeding maturity. Taking one nanny ripples across the entire population. That being said, shooting dry nannies is encouraged in places such as Kodiak. Generally speaking nannies live is less difficult terrain, while the billies live in the nasty cliffs that are difficult to hunt. With enough patience goats will move and find them selves generally in retrievable “safer” country. You certainly don’t want to be in a position of not being able to retrieve your hard earned trophy.

Glad he fell where he did...
Glad He Fell Where He Did….

My wifes goat did the standard death jump, when she shot him in favorable terrain he decided to do one final leap for all of goat-kind. He rolled almost 1,000 feet and came to a stop, remarkable he had both horns still on his head. She wanted a should mount, the taxidermist said that would be difficult because of the “shave” marks on his muzzle. Well that only meant one thing to me, be the husband I am……I decided to go and get her a new cape for her half-shoulder mount while reducing freezer space in our home. I would tan her hide and make a rug for our new childs bedrooms, go and harvest my personal goat (since all my buddies wanted to mount theirs), and put my cape on her horns. Seemed like a win win, other than all the weekends I was spending away from home. With my “excuses” in hand, I was off for the final goat hunt of 2018.

Early Winter Nights… Lower Elevation Goats. Nuggets of Knowledge.

My hunting partner and super cub pilot Brian said he would help me with my last goat hunt of the season since I had helped everyone else get theirs including his B&C giant. We made a plan after a few hour conversation with the Palmer Fish and Game Office Biologist and took off. We knew the routine and it wasn’t long before we were sweating, huffing and puffing, and marching up a mountain. Finding the flattest spot we could out of the wind, we settled in for a cold night. Waking up the next morning we glassed the knife ridge and made a game plan for the stock. The 50mph gust nearly blew us off the mountain literally, with the gusts in our favor the goats couldn’t hear us coming. Cresting the ridge we spotted a lone billy marching hard up mountain toward the 90% of unforgivable terrain. 10 minutes later we spotted another billy hunkered down with his group of Nannies.

Where's the Billy?
Whiteout Whookies

He was mature, beautiful, and everything I wanted and more. Self filming this adventure added one more layer of complexity to the journey, I set the camera up on the tripod and readied for the shot. Getting into position with the windy conditions I knew a 400 yard shot was out of the question. We waited for the group of goats to meander towards us on the knife ridge. After a cold seemingly endless wait the target billy crested on the favorable side of the bowl with gentle retrievable country, the first shot had to anchor him or him could have done a perilous death jump to un-safe terrain. The first quartering to broke his shoulder and from the angle went through his spine dropping him instantly. He fell sliding down in the perfect position for pictures and a safe recovery. Patience was the key and I was rewarded, a happy hunter with a picture perfect end to an unforgettable goat season.

My Billy
Freezer Full, Wall Space Smaller, Back Still Sore
Loading the “Hawg”
Kodiak Goat
Ryan’s First Goat

Winchester’s Expedition Big Game & EXBGLR

alaska, alaska hunting expedition, Blacktail Deer, caribou, Deer Hunting, grizzly brown bear, Hunting Alaska, moose, Mountain Goat, pack rafting, Winchester

“One Round. One Rifle. One Alaska Hunting Season.” I set out with Winchester’s 300WSM XPR and Expedition Big Game Long Range across Alaska over the 2017-2018 hunting season. Moose, Sheep, Mountain Goat, Blacktail Deer, Black Bear, and Caribou all fall to this lethal combination. Alaska tested, Alaska tough. Here’s a link to my review on Winchester’s Expedition Big Game and EXBGLR ammunition. ->READ MORE

Expedition Big Game Long Range Put to the Test in Alaska

https://winchester.com/Blog/2019/05/Expedition-Big-Game-Long-Range-Put-to-the-Test-in-Alaska

Moose Hunting Report 2013

alaska, alaska hunting expedition, antler, antler hunting, archery hunting, arrows, big game hunting, bow and arrows, Camera, DIY hunting, extreme hunting, Go-Pro, hunting, Hunting Culture, meat, moose, pack rafting, public land, Rifles, shed hunting, Survival, The next generation, traditional archery, Uncategorized, unguided hunting, wildlife

Year of the moose… It seems like this year bull moose were abundant in many parts of the state.  Sorry it has taken so long to make a new post, however team Mission Alaska has been out making new content for our readers to enjoy.   The Mission Alaska adventure was, again, one for the ages.   Here are a few pictures to tide you over until the stories accompanying these pictures are tapped out and made whole.

Feeling mooseeee.

Bridgers harvest 2013 MOOSE Bridgers moose 2 and the BOSS TANK 20130925-173558.jpg20130925-173410.jpg 20130925-173350.jpgHere are a few of the brutes that fell to the Mission Alaska team this year.   Be prepared for a few of the stories, lots of work indeed.

Cheers to the beautiful bull moose who roam these lands year round.  We as hunters thank you.

Mission: Alaska Pack Raft Marathon

hog hunting, horse back hunting, hunting, Hunting Culture, Hunting with Camera, pack rafting, public land, Survival, Ultimate Survival Alaska, unguided hunting, Whitetail hunting, wildlife

Mission: Bike to the head waters of the “Marathon River” and Pack raft back to the vehicle.

Just got back from an epic Alaskan mountain biking pack rafting adventure in the Copper River Basin. The bike ride in was a full marathon in distance which is 26 miles. That meant fellow adventurer Brigder, my dogs Pickle, Crixus, and I had a beautiful 26+ mile class 3 river to pack raft to get back to our vehicle. This adventure was part hunting, part training/exercise, part recon, and a whole lot of fun. The pack rafting part of the adventure was definitely the highlight, and if you ask Bridger if he got wet he will be sure to tell you that we both took a few “tall drinks”. The dogs were awesome companions on the trip, and handled the rafting part of the adventure like total bosses. We were looking for potential brown and or black bear to harvest along the way, however that was wishful thinking. We ended up seeing a very large bull moose that just began growing his antlers, we also saw a sow grizzly bear with a lone cub. We didn’t find any animals to take down the river with us, other than Pickle and Crixus. It is always so humbling to be in nature and experience everything mother earth has to offer. One step in nature and a close encounter with a grizzly bear really tells humans exactly where they sit on that food chain. More pictures and videos to come shortly, make sure to tune back in to Missionak for weekly updates. Click the subscribe button on MissionAK’s home page to receive free email updates for any new blog post updates. If you haven’t already liked MissionAK on Facebook and twitter check us out!

Can’t wait for the next Mission…What’s yours?

Mission Complete

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Ultimate Survival Alaska found on Field and Stream

alaska, alaska hunting expedition, artic slope, National Geographic, pack rafting, public land, salmon fishing, Survival, Ultimate Survival Alaska, Videographer, wildlife

Found this interesting article featuring Ultimate Survival Alaska in Field and Stream magazine.  I have been a long time subscriber of the magazine and have always dreamed of making the pages of Field and Stream representing Alaska’s outdoorsmen.  Found this interesting article on one of my favorite websites www.fieldandstream.com, it talks about our need to find food for survival.   I will touch more on the expedition food menu later, for the moment, enjoy the article!

http://www.fieldandstream.com/articles/survival/survival-food/2013/05/ultimate-survival-alaska-explorers-sponsored-post

THANKS FIELD AND STREAM!

“Ultimate Survival Alaska” Explorers (Sponsored Post)

Uploaded on May 06, 2013
Austin in Field and Stream

Ultimate Survival Alaska Explorers hunt and gather for calories The food possibilities in wild Alaska are plentiful if you know how to work for your meal.

The guys on the National Geographic Channel’s Ultimate Survival Alaska really do have to work for it—without fancy fishing poles or advanced gear. The extreme survivalists only have the tools in their packs and whatever they find in the wilderness.

“At some fundamental level, we’re not normal, well-adjusted, modern civilized human beings,” says Willi Prittie, one of the eight explorers. “We’re all throwbacks. Because modern life is not enough of a test for us.”

A 220-pound man needs approximately 2,400 calories every day just to perform basic functions like breathing and metabolizing food. Now imagine that same man is steering a handmade raft through Yukon River rapids and scaling mountain passes. His calorie intake must increase. With strenuous activity, a man needs 3,600 calories to maintain his weight and keep thriving.

The small sacks of beans and rice the explorers carry aren’t enough.

The 10-leg expedition in the brutal and dangerous Alaska terrain includes 200 miles down the Yukon River 50 miles in the Brooks Mountain Range at heights near 9,000 feet. This is no weekend hunting trip with the guys. This is finding the fuel to survive.

Alaska’s wild buffet includes:

Fish: Alaska is known for its salmon, as well as rainbow and steelhead trout, Northern pike, halibut and arctic grayling. On a particularly strenuous day, the Ultimate Survival explorers were overjoyed to land a half-pound of grayling with makeshift fishing poles. Another team constructs a dip net with a branch frame and discarded net.

Plants: Berries and edible plants are plentiful in Alaska. There are raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, and lingonberries north in the tundra.

Game meat: It takes a lot of energy to hunt big game like caribou and bear. The explorers are more likely to hunt rabbit, squirrel, birds and foxes.

When the explorers are desperate for calories, it’s hard to envy their rough outdoor experience. It can even lead them to harvest berries in bear scat and devour frogs.

“It’s amazing what will get you excited when you’re hungry,” admits one contestant.

There are moments of mercy like when native Alaskans invite them into a smokehouse to taste delicious cured salmon. But that’s the side of Alaska the show highlights—the beauty and humanity amid the extreme wild. Delicious wild bounty is just within an adventurer’s reach.

For more information check out:

http://www.fieldandstream.com/articles/survival/survival-food/2013/05/ultimate-survival-alaska-explorers-sponsored-post

Pack Rafting Alaska

alaska, pack rafting

Its spring time in Alaska and its the perfect time to get out and enjoy the last snow before it completely melts away.  This is a pack rafting video of a small cliff drop into the Matanuska River near Palmer Alaska, what a great way to spend a Sunday.

Spring time in Alaska 2013

pack rafting, Uncategorized

My mission over the past week has been to float the thawing Knik River near Palmer Alaska. It’s spring time here in Alaska and despite the recent snow we are having, break-up has started.

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