Mountain Goat Hunting
Mountain Goat Hunting Can Be An Adventure
Mountain goat hunting can be the experience of a lifetime, that is if you're fortunate enough to get a permit. While not quite a threatened species, the Rocky Mountain goat is few enough in numbers to warrant carefully managing the hunting of them. Hunting big game usually requires a great deal of hiking unless you're one of the opportunistic hunters that sits in the car and waits. If the hunt is for mountain goats, the wait would likely be a very long one.
While there are several species of mountain goats in the world, but only one of them, the Rocky Mountain goat, is found in North America, where it is found exclusively in the western states and provinces. Many years ago Rocky The Great Northern Goat was the symbol of the Great Northern Railway, and except for national parks and zoos, was the only mountain goat most people ever saw.
If you see mountain goats in a national park, you may get an idea as to what hunting them can involved as they are often seen meandering along steep cliffs and rocky ledges. The hooves of this goat (actually a member of the antelope family) enable it to move across terrain that to us would seem impossible. They do fall on occasion, but where they go usually takes them out of reach of most predators. In a national park one may get quite close to one, as they've become used to people and are not aggressive. They are not the most intelligent of big game animals, which would seem to make them easy to hunt. Nothing could be farther from the truth.
Hunted In The West - In the United States mountain goat hunting is allowed from Alaska to Oregon, and east to the Dakotas. They are also found in Hawaii. In Canada they are hunted in Alberta, British Columbia, the Yukon, and the Northwest Territories.
First of all, in many areas you may have to wait for several years to get a permit, up to seven years in some places. Should you be fortunate to get one, the next thing to do would be to get into good physical shape, and it would probably be smart to hire a guide if you can find one. The greatest challenge, and the greatest thrill and sense of accomplishment probably belongs to the bow hunter, who would profit by having some mountaineering blood in his veins.
Where It Falls Matters - As far as using a rifle is concerned, what the late Ohio State football coach Woody Hayes had to say about the forward pass comes to mind. He said something to the effect that when you throw a pass several things can happen, and only one of them is good. When hunting mountain goats you're unlikely to get a close shot, although an experienced guide may help make that happen. Still, should you hit and kill the goat, you have to hope it will end up where you can retrieve it, which might involve a good deal of going up and down hills. The goat may decide to drop dead on an inaccessible ledge, or it may drop into a deep canyon. If it falls a thousand feet or so it may resemble road kill when you find it, if you find it.
In other words, mountain goat hunting is a challenge, a challenge a real hunter would die for, and might if not careful when traversing the face of a cliff. As mentioned previously, the mountain goat can walk where predators fear to tread, or at least should not attempt to do so. And that includes humans.