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

A Lower 48er’s View of Alaska

alaska, alaska hunting expedition, artic slope, bears, big game hunting, camping, DIY hunting, extreme hunting, guns, hunting, Hunting Culture, Hunting with Camera, National Geographic, nature, public land, Rifles, Survival, The next generation, Ultimate Survival Alaska, unguided hunting, Videographer, wildlife

After graduating with Austin from Penn State, It was our mission to gain experience in the outdoors, test ourselves as young men, and do the trip of our dreams. We wanted to do a low budget, non-guided hunt, using different means of transportation; through-out the state of Alaska for the “Alaskan Big 5”, Caribou, Dall Sheep, Mountain Goat, Moose, and Bear. The Mission Alaska Expedition was an amazing adventure, and one that Austin, Jordan Auggie, Sarah, Natalie, Bryan, and I will never forget.

As the lower “48’er” of the crew if was definitely a trip where I was out of my element. As I watch National Geographic’s ‘Ultimate Survival Alaska’, it brings me back to that expedition. The TV cameras make it look a lot easier than it is. They cannot adequately describe the tussocks, wetness, trench-rot, or blisters that come with successfully filming back-country travel. I wanted to share some thoughts on traveling the remote terrain as a real outsider, a non-Alaskan.

It was definitely like nothing I had encountered in the lower 48. It looks a lot like Kansas or North Dakota, but the wetness and endless tundra of the Alaskan arctic, make it like walking on a 3-5 foot wet sponge layer. Tussocks are hard plant root clumps that make the ground very unstable and a nightmare on your knees and ankles.

IMG_0111

Endless amounts of “tussocks”.

I will never forget how foreign the environment felt. After leaving our pick-up truck, we might might as well been walking on another planet. We only had to go 5 miles, but it felt like 20!

IMG_0119

A hard earned 5 miles out to the hunting area.

As I have been watching ‘Ultimate Survivor Alaska’ on National Geographic, I have been captivated by the scenery of the show and the crew’s ability to capture those images in the remote wilds of Alaska. I have filmed in Alaska and can assure you that the Alaska terrain is the enemy of any electronic device. The wet and the cold can make it very difficult to keep the cameras rolling, SD cards filled, and batteries charged. My hat is off to the Nat Geo production crew for capturing the raw and wild beauty of Alaska.

Cameras dont like working in clouds.

While Alaska can afford some beautiful weather with amazing views, definitely be prepared for cold and wet weather anytime of the year. Do not cheap yourself on gear! While you can sometimes get away with it in the lower 48, bad gear will ruin your trip and can endanger your life in Alaska. Make sure to check the Gear and Apparel page to see Mission Alaska’s gear tips, reviews, and suggestions.

DSC00071

A foggy August Alaskan view.

DSC00073

Looking for sheep in ever-changing weather.

There are all sorts of terrain in Alaska and a trip suited for everyone. Not far outside of the metro areas of Anchorage or the Mat-su Valley are tons of foot accessible areas. You dont always need planes and helicopters in Alaska to experience a real adventure. A lot people come to Alaska and take to bush planes to get out to remote areas. This can leave those areas crowded and areas that are hard to hike to, but not as far out as the planes go, open to anyone who wants to work for it. I had a mission to further test myself and went on a solo black bear hunt. What a great challenge and feeling of accomplishment.

IMG_0182

Solo black bear harvest

The Mission Alaska Expedition was for sure the hardest thing I have ever done and the trip taught me a lot about myself, life, and Alaska. I encourage more Americans in the lower 48 to go and experience the last american frontier. It is still very real and alive today. Read ‘John and Joe’s Philly to AK Adventure’. Just like Nat Geo’s ‘Ultimate Survivor Alaska’ shows, for those who want it, adventure lies waiting around every corner.

IMG_0141

Whats Your Mission?

-Jon Dykes

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

Mission Alaska presents Austin Manelick Mountain Goat youtube video

Uncategorized

Here is the recent webisode D_A_PRO, LLC made from Mission Alaska’s Mountain goat hunt this past fall 2011. Click the link below to watch the 4 minute video.  There is a wilderness emergency on this hunt and is a must see.  Hopefully Austin can get himself together to harvest a monster goat with muzzleloader equipment.

YOUTUBE VIDEO

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

Mission Alaska: You can help

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, kudu, 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

If you have been reading missionak or following at all, then you would know that MA is all about the next generation and spreading the word on how “cool” the outdoors is.  I have been talking with every person I know personally and contacting all of the youth I have met over my lifetime of friendships, in attempt to spread the good word of the outdoors.

Men enjoying the culture of the great outdoors.

I want to thank all of the readers and followers of Missionak, since summer of 2011 MA has grown greatly and viewer numbers are through the roof!  I want to thank you again for following and reading my personal message to the woodsmen in all us.  If you have or feel like you want to be more involved on missionak.com, please feel free to do so, in fact please help me!

If you have any pictures, videos, stories, anything that you feel appropriate for missionak.com, please email me at austinmanelick@gmail.com

Once again, I would love for anyone to send me interesting photos they have found on trail cameras, taken on hunts, taken on fishing trips, taken on antler shed hunting trips.  Tell me a story, it doesnt have to be a trophy buck that you have taken I would be just as happy with a picture of a readers first deer harvest of a doe than of a monster 10pt buck.

I want to connect with my readers, help me!

-AM

SEND ME PICTURES AND STORIES!!!

Contact

austinmanelick@gmail.com

Man cave: 303-838-7869