It is Monday afternoon and with a good 4 hours of daylight left, no chance of rain or getting the vehicle stuck on this part of the previously sodden property I just have to contend with opening the first two gates, driving the Pathfinder through to my parking spot..
The day before I had enjoyed re-checking the zero of the Schultz and Larsen sporter and Minox 3-9×40 with my favourite 140gn load. Needing only confirmation, I put down a three shot group at 50 yards, then it printed a couple of inches high at 100 – good enough for what I had in mind.
I began the uphill walk,cresting the first rise behind some cover to avoid being spotted by any goats which may be concealed from my view. Checking the wind direction again, I am mindful that the goat’s senses of smell and eyesight are excellent; I then began to glass the surrounding high country.
Soon I spotted a mob of goats feeding up higher but I hoped that the stiff breeze up top might entice them to come down down from their high vantage point into a spot in a sheltered lee lower down.
Countouring around the first hill I was making my way up higher, while every now and then using the cover of a tree or heavy brush to have a look at what the goats were up to with the binoculars – this kept me aware of their position relative to mine as well as letting me know they hadn’t spotted me.
I could only see two young billies and few nannies and their young. I’d closed the distance to around 600 yards and decided to spend the next 15 minutes glassing, regaining my breath and taking in some water.
Soon enough I spotted some other goats bedded in the scrub and then, as if from nowhere a set of long horns materialised out of some thick scrub, my target was now obvious.
With no sign of the goats moving down any lower, I planned my final stalk; it takes a good 25 minutes to stealthily move to a spot around 125 yards from the long horned goat.
Keeping myself from being spotted or scented by the other goats nearby presented a particular challenge, as they had positioned themselves carefully using the wind, terrain and high vantage point to keep watch for danger.
I set the scope on 9-power and chambered a round with hardly a sound, thanks to the beautifully smooth action of the Schultz and Larsen. The climbing and resultant stalk had taken it out of me a bit so I welcomed the added steadiness that the Bogpod afforded. Now, from my concealed position the shot is directed to the centre forward part of the goat’s shoulder as it stands feeding side on and at the squeeze of the trigger, the goat is hit hard and down instantly – there is no need for a second shot.
On closer inspection the billy’s horns are very long but not so thick, but he’s still a top trophy and he provided a fantastic memorable hunt.
Lessons from hunting goats
If a hunter is to regularly go after trophy billies, there are a few pointers that will assist him to more regular success:
- Maintain a good standard of aerobic fitness so you can cope with the inevitable extreme climbing and descending that comes when pursuing goats.
- Use good optics to glass often when stalking a mob so you can determine if a big billy or the right meat animal has come into view. Good affordable brands include Leupold, Sightron, Nikon and high-end Bushnell. I use Minox 10×42’s and they do very well.
- If you can get yourself into position early above or at the very least on the same level as the mob, consistent with a favourable wind, you will have more chance of spotting a cagey billy off to one side of the mob in partial concealment.
- Once above the mob, if they are undisturbed, take time to observe them. On the odd occasion, I have shot at a lesser goat in a mob only to have a bigger trophy billy suddenly materialise over a ridge and on the move and consequently harder to secure and stalk again.
Certainly, hunting goats in the mountains is a great pursuit for the young and not so young, fit and adventurous, providing good experiences and nice memories.
This article was first published in Sporting Shooter, April 2011.