There are no trails that exist in this alder jungle I find myself in. The only option is to dig in and crawl like a bear. When I hunt Alaska, I make sure to bring a weapon that could drop a bear in its tracks.I prefer a 180 grain (or more) solid bullet that retains weight upon impact. This helps if I happen come face to face with an eminent threat. Coastal black bears share similar habitat to goats in the late season. They focus on berries up high prior to hibernation. Goats just love nasty terrain and focus on wind swept slopes for late season forage. Mountain goats are also known for their ability to absorb bullets and keep on trucking. They have that “You’ll never take me alive!” attitude. If you don’t anchor them with your first shot, the goats have a tendency to do a death plunge into potentially, well, un-retrievable terrain. That’s why I chose the Winchester 350 Legend XPR with Super X 180gr Power Points as my ammunition. One absolutely devastating shot kept my 2019 billy in his bed permanently.
Knowing when to go is critical for a successful adventure. Keeping a watchful eye on weather windows and a flexible schedule increases odds at taking an albino whookie. Making it home in my opinion is a success, but bringing home a goat is the cherry on top. Go when the weather provides the best opportunity. After all, it’s tough to find white goats in fog and snow. Snow pushes billies to more accessible terrain. This isn’t a hard and fast rule, but nasty weather helps. Frozen conditions and steep areas goat inhabit lead to dangerous climbs. Gear is another vital component of the hunt. A self-arrest ice axe and crampons (metal cleats) could potentially save your life and the hunt.
Goats rut in late October and into November. So, mountain goat identification knowledge is essential. Identifying a billy versus a nanny can be tricky as they both sport black horns 1-12 inches in length. The key identifier is the thickness of their horns. The male is said to have a smaller gap between horns, thicker bases (more massive) and a gentle curve. Females have a larger gap between their horns. They are slender and wider horn profile, and a straight horn growth with an tighter hook on the end.
Weapon, weather, and gear are all critical components of a successful mountain goat hunt. The Winchester 350 Legend With Super X Power Points worked like a charm for this adventure. Reliable in both taking a goat and protecting me from potential unplanned bear encounters. The Power Point had quick and massive knockdown power – this billy dropped with a single, clean shot. The Strategic Notching provided consistent and reliable expansion. Windy conditions and higher elevations (lighter air) were no match for this accurate round. I never found the bullet as there was a complete passthrough. A nickel-size cookie cutter knocked all the way through - talk about penetration! The 350 Legend continues to build to build upon the Winchester tradition - the fastest straight-walled casing ever.
To suggest that I am excited about next year is a rather large understatement. Good luck on your big game hunts that remain this fall and winter!