Mountain goats can only be found in the high alpine areas of North America, and are the only genus and species of their kind. They are very good climbers, with specially designed hooves that allow them to travel on extremely steep cliff edges. Mountain goats are white in color, with small curving horns. The average male, called a billy, typically weighs in at around 150 pounds, and females, called nannies, weigh slightly less at around 125 pounds. Their diet is made up of the few grasses and sedges that are able to live in their high-altitude environment, as well as some of the smaller shrubs that thrive at the edge of the tree line. Despite being extremely hardy animals, they cannot withstand heavy hunting pressure due to their low reproduction rates. Nannies typically only have one or two babies, called kids, every season, so hunting harvest rates have decreased significantly in an effort to maintain the population.
Where To Hunt Mountain Goat
Mountain goats can be hunted in the mountainous regions of Alaska, the Rockies, British Columbia, the Yukon, and Canada’s northwest territories. However, unless you have a resident in your immediate family, most areas require that you hunt through an outfitter. Many of the states in the western United States have opportunities for hunting goats as well, but tags are very difficult to draw.
Mountain Goat Hunting Techniques
Mountain goats are arguably the most difficult animal to hunt on the planet. This is not due to their extreme intelligence or high hunting pressure, but is a result of the harsh environment they call home. Goats are frequently found at extremely high altitude, and are comfortable on cliff edges that would require some serious climbing gear for a person to scale. Hunters are also forced to hike great distances from the road to find the animals, and then have to survive the cold and unforgiving nature of high alpine country. However, if you can handle the long days and cold nights, you will be in for the hunt of a lifetime. Goats are frequently very easy to see due to the contrast of their white coloring and the rocky environment they live in. Hunters utilize high powered spotting scopes and binoculars to pick apart areas of the mountain and spot the white animals. When a goat is spotted, hunters will then stalk the animal and attempt to get within shooting range.
When hunting goats, it is extremely important to not only have good shot placement, but also consider what will happen when the goat is hit. Hunting this type of terrain requires a shot that will anchor the animal, as a wounded goat will likely end up falling to his death. Even if you make a perfect shot, an animal on a steep slope may roll and end up either battered beyond belief or land in an area that is too dangerous for you to retrieve it. Because of this, careful consideration is required before making a shot to ensure that this does not happen.
Mountain Goat Tags And Regulations
If you wish to hunt for Mountain Goats in Alaska or Canada and do not have a family member that is a resident, it is required that you hunt with a licensed guide. This is largely due to the dangerous nature of the country that goats live in, as goat hunters freeze or fall to their deaths every year. Although removing the do it yourself option makes the hunt more expensive, the local knowledge and experience you get with an outfitter is invaluable in this type of situation.
Certain states have harvest specific rules. For example, Idaho allows for the harvest of both billies and nannies, as long as a nannie is not accompanied by kids. In Montana, a nannie cannot be killed if she is in a group with one or more kids. In Alaska, harvesting a nannie will make you ineligible to hunt goats in some units for the following five years. Because of these variations, it is important to check your local regulations to ensure you are legal.
Mountain Goat Food Quality
Mountain Goat is considered one of the best tasting meats around. However, older goats can have very tough meat that often requires either grinding or a slow cooking method.