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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Everything but the Goat

I went on a mountain goat hunt over the weekend with Gregg R and John S. We got dropped off in a boat at the head of a bay near where I had a permit for a mountain goat (you need a permit to hunt a goat and they are only good for certain areas). And from there we hunted for goats and walked the 20 or so miles back to town. We got back on Monday after hiking all day in the rain, but I never got to post on it due to a HUGE storm that knocked out Kodiak's internet on Monday night. Good thing we got home on Monday before it got REALLY bad.

Anyway, we looked all over for goats and only saw what looked like 2 huge, gnarly old billies. Huge, gnarly old billies are practically inedible, and so we came home goatless. When we had given up on the real goats we did shoot a spike deer and we called him our goat. Spike the Mountain Goat. And so we came home somewhat successful - we plan on turning the deer into 'goat' sausage.

As regards the goats, usually the area we were in is crawling with goats but not now. We covered almost half of the permit area and did not find the herd. We think that they have moved out of their summer range and down into the ravines where they spend the winter. And this makes sense because it is getting pretty nasty up high. Lots of snow and cold.

While we were up there we saw a lot of sows and cubs getting ready to hibernate for the winter. They go where the snow gets deep early in the winter so that there is enough snow to dig a den into. We noted that they were digging up lupine roots to eat before their long winter nap. We ran into 2 sow and cub groups at close range in the whiteout and fog. And both times the sow ran over to check us out. The first one charged us when she got close (protective momma) and we had a really hairy moment. I thought I was going to take one for the team and was prepping myself for a world of hurt, but she came to a screeching half at 12 yards with dirt and snow flying and then ran away. After that we were all a little bearanoid and every big rock became a bear ready to charge.

Anyway, more to come on our 'goat' hunt in a later post.

Photos: Note the Xtra Tuffs in all the photos - boot of choice for all of us. I even have a pair of crampons that fit my Xtra Tuffs. Top - Hiking up in the new snow at around 3000 feet elevation. The sun did come out for a brief spectacular moment and revealed bear and not goat tracks everywhere. Second - John at the top of some cliffs that impeded our progress. Eventually we made it down to the creek you can barely see at the bottom, but that's a story for another post. Third - Gregg and John checking out a big bowl for goats. Hundreds of ptarmigan which sometimes look huge and a lot like goats, but no real goats. Fourth, Hiking up the ridge and away from the bay on the first day. Fifth, a snow tunnel under last year's snow.


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