A Mountain Goat Kinda’ Night

And I Lived To Tell About It…

 

Sometimes in life it is much better to be lucky than good, and that applies to big game hunts too. I was lucky enough to draw a Colorado Mountain goat tag in 2015, and that’s plenty enough to celebrate. I was lucky in the hunt too, in many more ways than one.

And I did get my billy. And I did live to tell about it.

I made the shot with very little legal shooting light remaining in the long, end of summer day. The good news is that my hunting partner was prescient enough to snap a photograph just after we found him. My camera had decided to quit working, and I would have probably forgotten anyway had it not. I was much too preoccupied with trying to stay upright.

The not so good news is that this is the only photo taken before it was caped and quartered and stowed in our packs.

Don’t get me wrong. I am quite grateful to have it.  After all, it is not an easy task to take any kind of photo while balancing upon the slick rocks of an extreme slope in a cold and driving rain. That was the easy part too, compared with the dangerous, almost death-defying hike back down to our spike camp.

We had not planned to be caught on the face of a mountain such as this, far above timberline in the deep black night. Extreme hunts can call for extreme measures, and a mountain goat is nothing if not an extreme animal. Still, I would not recommend such a predicament to anyone, except perhaps another goat hunter. Only another goat or sheep hunter would understand the beauty of it all.

It was, however, the perfect ending to a grueling and treacherous adventure. Adventure and grand pursuit before breakfast I say, or in this case, a long overdue dinner. It was a mountain goat hunt, after all, and I got all that I could have bargained for, and more. I would not have had it any other way.

I don’t mind saying that I could not have pulled this hunt off without my friends and brothers from another mother. You know who you are, and I owe you big. Very, Very big…

May you draw a tag soon – so I can return the favor, God, and screaming leg muscles willing! And for all of my friends that I have not yet met still waiting for a tag, please let us know when you do.

We can’t wait to hear about your encounters with the peaks and your mountain goat success. With luck, you will get the job done much earlier in the day!

 

Photo of a Rocky Mountain Goat taken just after dark, on a hunt in the Snowmass-Maroon Bells Wilderness of Colorado with a .30-378 Weatherby Magnum.
It Was A Dark, White Mountain Goat Night. Michael Patrick McCarty With A Hard-Won Wilderness Prize. Photo by Rocky Tschappat

 

A Hunter Poses with the cape of a Rocky Mountain Goat, taken on a self-guided mountain goat hunt with a .30-378 Weatherby Magnum in the Maroon-Bells Wilderness of Colorado's Game Management Unit 12
When Night Turns Into Day. I Took This Billy On The Cliffs Just Above The Snowfields in the Background.

 

A hunter prepares to backpack a heavy load of goat and gear, on a self guided goat hunt in the Maroon-Bells Wilderness in GMU 12 of Colorado
No Complaints Here. Just 4 More Miles To Go!

 

By Michael Patrick McCarty

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