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

Alaska Video: Alaska Is All About the Adventure

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This is what Mission Alaska is all about…. THE ADVENTURE! Created by Premier Frontier Productions this video footage was compiled from adventures across the entire state. For more information check out www.premierfrontierproductions.com. Ever dreamed of exploring this beautiful place? This video gives a great sense of the raw beauty and rugged terrain this state is known for.

Thanks for the great music Noble Firs, “Night Driving” rocks the forests in this video. (From the Album Rockoon)
Special gear thanks to Pretty Fly for a White Guy, Barney’s Sports Chalet, Alpacka Raft, and Campbell Cameras.
Mission Alaska

Spring DIY Grizzly Hunt 2014

alaska, bears, big game hunting

Glassing for grizzlies in spring 2013

Glassing for grizzlies in spring 2013

From a capsized boat in a glacier lake to pack rafting in freezing rivers all the way to having a grizzly bear as your wake up call, my previous grizzly hunts have been anything, but normal (if there is such a thing in Alaska). This time around I don’t expect anything less. I am heading down to the Kenai Peninsula this year where the bears are out in full force. The Alaska Department of Fish and game recently changed the hunting regulations in the Kenai Peninsula to increase hunting opportunities for Grizzly enthusiasts. I will be going to a spot that Mission Alaska founder, Austin Manelick, and myself scouted out throughout the years. We saw a plethora of black bears and a decent amount of grizzly bears on the hillsides as well as in the valley where we set up camp. In fact, this is the same spot we saw the “Disappearing Bear”. A few years ago while on a Mission Alaska assignment, I was filming Austin during a DIY hunt. After hours of arduous labor getting to camp we were instantly rewarded when we spotted a gorgeous black bear at 200 yards feeding right towards us along the outskirts of the wood line. We scrambled to a good position and Austin grabbed his .350 Remington Magnum while I grabbed all the camera gear. 100 yards and closing, Austin was steadying his rifle when the bear fed behind a tree. We could see on both sides of the tree and after waiting for several minutes we didn’t see the bear come out. We went to go investigate and found no sign of the bear. After being outsmarted by this bear we went on to have a very successful hunt harvesting two bears in two weeks and I am hoping to have the same success this year.

Stay tuned to find out how this hunt turns out and follow and subscribe to Mission Alaska!

-Bridger V.

ATTENTION: Alaska DIY hunters, BEARS ARE OUT!  Good luck and safe hunting.  Don’t forget to update your harvest cards at your local store or ADFG office.

Spring Riding & The Denali Dog 140 Sled Race

alaska, bears, Camera, camping, caribou, Field Producer, Go-Pro, grizzly bear charge, guns, hunting, nature, public land, Rifles, shed hunting, Uncategorized, wildlife

 

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With warm weather plaguing much of Alaska this spring, snow machine riding could be considered dismal….. Unless your a powder hound chasing endless fields of untouched snow high in the mountains of Alaska’s back country….(or follow your untracked trail to a secret winter wonderland around the back of the cabin)…  This spring is no different for the writers of Mission AK as we took off on a hunt for fresh untracked snow.

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Riding up the Denali highway we stumbled across one of the coolest and newest dog sled races in Alaska. The Denali Dog 140  race was a last minute brainchild that gathered some of Alaska’s best mushers and set them to compete on the Denali Highway for two days covering 140 miles of Alaska’s vast wilderness. The mushers only had three weeks to prepare themselves and their teams to go head to head in this first annual race across Denali’s rugged landscape. IMG_9889The race consisted of veterans such as Lance Mackey ( Four-time winner of the Yukon Quest & four-time winner of the Iditarod.) and new comers making their first dog racing debut such as Timothy Muto.IMG_9881 Dog racing in Alaska is a lifestyle that requires endurance, dedication, and selflessness which Mission AK contributors (Kalen Kolberg and Austin Manelick) were lucky enough to experience first hand.

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After the mushers got their dogs fed and put to bed we all got to enjoy good conversation and a hot meal at the Alpine Creek Lodge (Race checkpoint and turn around location).

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After only a couple hours of much needed cat napping the mushers had to head out and to continue their race towards the finish line.IMG_9894

The next morning we woke up to a hot breakfast and several cups of coffee (much needed after trying to keep up with the mushers all night). After chatting with the locals on spots to check out we geared up in search of  high mountains packed with fresh pow lines, inevitable putting our sleds to the test.

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What was suppose to be a back country snow machineing trip turned into dog mushing spectacle that we all enjoyed thoroughly, acting as their biggest fans and photographers it was awesome to see these athletes behind the scenes.   It’s not to often you run into Iditarod champions and those inspiring to be the best at one of the most difficult(HARDCORE) sports in the entire world and share a cup of hot coffee at 12am midnight at an authentic Alaska lodge.   After the teams left we headed high into the mountains to finish our mission and find the goods. A 12 mile ride into a deep north facing drainage provided what we were looking for….endless pow.

Mission complete: 150 miles round trip.

 

-Team Mission Alaska

 

 

Huge shout out and big thanks to  Alpine Creek Lodge, check them out for a cool place to base any Alaskan adventure.

 

 

 

 

Why Do You Hunt?

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People hunt for many different reasons, some for the meat, some for the antlers or horns, and some for the pure benefit of challenging themselves.  Rifle, muzzleloader, bow, spear, if it’s legal don’t discourage the method.  We all enjoy the sport, tradition, and culture of hunting in different ways by different methods.   For whatever reason you are hunting, please do it safe, responsibly, and ethically and ensure our culture of being stewards of the land as sportsmen sticks around for generations to come.

I personally hunt, as always, to fill my families freezer and eat the most healthy organic meat known to man.  I also hunt for the adventure, its a great way to personally challenge myself.  Harvesting a big bull moose will provide our family with many meals, the true value is not placed on the antlers but the several hundred pounds of red meat for the dinner table.  Don’t get me wrong, a big bull moose looks great on the shed but you definitely cannot eat their antlers.

Cheers to a good hunting season this year.

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-Mission Alaska

Dreaming of big bulls and hunting season.

Photos courtesy MA of Google Images.

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Alaska Hunting: Wildman Lake Lodge  The “Rose Bull” 81 inches wide.

http://www.wildalaskahunting.com/view.php?area=&id=59

 

Guess Where.

alaska, alaska hunting expedition, archery hunting, arrows, bow and arrows, Camera, DIY hunting, Field Producer, Go-Pro, Hunting with Camera, National Geographic, public land, Survival, traditional archery, Ultimate Survival Alaska, Videographer

Guess where this shot was taken….Ill give you a hint, it was during the filming of Ultimate Survival Alaska.

Rob and Austin

Rob and Austin

The picture is of Robert Seamen a shooter/producer and I.  Rob is one of the hardest working individuals I have ever met in my life.  This guy was very talented with his camera to say the least, he managed to keep rolling footage in the wet and inhospitable Alaskan weather.

Dall sheep hunting in Alaska

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This is a classic Alaskan adventure, hunting for the elusive Dall Sheep in rugged terrain. Totally rocking kuiu gear during this dream come true hunt. Several nice rams taken in this video.

Mountain Goat Kills Hiker

alaska, alaska hunting expedition, hunting, Uncategorized

I found this article while researching Alaska Mountain Goat hunting.  In my findings, I have learned never to mess around with a Mountain Goat.  A mountain goat almost took my life in 2011 while I was hunting South Central Alaska.  I almost completely severed a finger from rock shale while stalking the goats, however managed to connect with a beautiful goat.  Check out my youtube video and compare the dangers of my  Mountain Goat hunting video veersus this article.

Austin with tenderized mountain goat and injured finger

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sD4CObfmhtI

I was lucky enough to have my Thompson Center Muzzleloader with me in order to take care of my goat, the hiker in this article wasn’t as lucky.

Outdoor Life Writers

Robert Boardman, 63, was hiking with his wife and friend in Olympic National Park on Monday when he was attacked and killed by a mountain goat. The trio was hiking up a popular switchback trail and decided to stop for lunch when the goat approached them and started acting aggressively.

Boardman tried to scare the goat off, but instead of running away, it charged him goring him badly in the leg. More hikers came to try to help Boardman, but the goat stood over the man’s body and wouldn’t let any other hikers come to his aid.

An hour after the attack, rescuers finally arrived at the scene but Boardman died from his injuries. Park officials eventually shot and killed the goat.

Apparently, that specific goat had show aggressive tendencies in the past. “It has shown aggressive behavior, however, nothing led us to believe it was appropriate to take the next level of removal,” park spokeswoman Barb Maynes told the Associated press. “This is highly unusual. There’s no record of anything similar in this park. It’s a tragedy. We are taking it extremely seriously and doing our best to learn as much as we can.”

The goat is being examined by scientists to see if it had any diseases that could have caused it to act so aggressively.

 
Find more information on this article at:

http://www.outdoorlife.com/blogs/newshound/2010/10/mountain-goat-kills-hiker

D_A_PRO LLC Production Highlights- presents Mission Alaska

Africa, Africa Big Five, Africa big game hunting, African Hunting, alaska, alaska hunting expedition, archery hunting, arrows, artic slope, bear charge, bear maul, bears, big game hunting, bow and arrows, bow fishing, camping, caribou, coyote, coyote attack, DIY hunting, extreme hunting, fishing, grizzly bear, grizzly bear charge, grizzly brown bear, guns, hog hunting, hunting, Hunting Culture, Hunting India, India, India Culture, meat, moose, nature, Pennsylvania hunting, Pike fishing, public land, Rifles, salmon fishing, small game, Small game hunting, snow shoe hare, texas whitetail, The next generation, traditional archery, trout, Trout fishing, Uncategorized, unguided hunting, Whitetail hunting, wildlife

DA PRO owner Austin Manelick pictured with Major League Baseball MVP Texan Ranger Josh Hamilton and family.

DA PRO owner Austin Manelick pictured with Major League Baseball MVP Texan Ranger Josh Hamilton and family.

D_A_ PRO LLC  is a full service media marketing provider, specializing in filming of remote and extreme shoot locations.   DA PRO’s, enlist a full staff of professional videographers willing and ready to shoot HD footage in the hardest most unforgiving terrain possible.   State of the art High Definition filming and audio recording equipment travels with each member of our globally experienced team of videographers.  D_A_ PRO, LLC is the next generation of video production, bringing revolutionary visions to the television industry.

PRODUCTION HIGHLIGHT VIDEO PRESENTS MISSION ALASKA

Follow this YOUTUBE link to watch the production highlight video a sample from the D_A_PRO LLC  Library.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=72hU5wKa72s

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