B.C’s goat population, though not studied heavily, is estimated at approximately 50’000 animals—half of the world population. The remaining goats in North America are spread out across the western United States, Alaska, Yukon Territory, and the Northwest Territories. If the mountains of British Columbia are the kingdom of the mountain goat, then surely the Coast Range is their stronghold.
And yet, here we find ourselves. Under stars, older than the dirt beneath our feet. Surrounded by mountains that took shape before the first of our kind came into existence. Huddled around a campfire, as our aforementioned kin once did. Glued to a f–king screen.
In recent years, the trends in our industry have increasingly focused on getting hunters into the backcountry. Public land access concerns are a focal point in conservation conversations throughout North America, and hunting companies are continually pushing to provide lighter, more breathable, and durable equipment for the backcountry. More and more, our closets and gear rooms are filled with Gore-Tex, carbon fiber, treated down, and ultralight sil-nylon materials. Hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars are invested on the best products to keep you in the field longer and during increasingly inclement weather.
It is with near certainty that your great northern adventures will introduce you to a state of being wet, cold, and miserable. As we travel down the path towards becoming savvy outdoorsmen and women, we generally progress through an evolutionary process of dealing with this state. In their infancy, people often are not experienced enough to avoid getting wet – and thus cold and miserable.
There’s a spectrum of approaches when it comes to achieving your goals. One end of the spectrum is defined by deliberate practice so you continually improve until the goal can no longer avoid you. The other end involves banging your head against a wall. These two goal posts can be labeled Persistence and Insanity – there’s often a very hazy line separating them.
Spring in Alaska is as any season throughout Alaska…wet. The extended forecast always calls for precipitation. Two of my bear hunts this spring were in areas known for their “big ole’ fat rain” forecasts and …
If there is a more commonly debated and frequently agonized category of equipment in the realm of mountain hunting I don’t know what it is. In every pre-trip planning process, I feel like my partners and I almost always hold off asking the question as long as we can, perhaps out of some sort of embarrassment or fear of being perceived as ignorant or incompetent. We always get there eventually though because making a poor footwear choice is far worse than being thought of as an idiot or inexperienced.
When it comes to improving your hunting skill-set, I’ve found that there is no better offseason practice then bow hunting predators. To me, it was obvious that it builds confidence in your shot, your ability to read sign, and play the wind. One thing I never counted on was that it would improve my success with other species and how I called to them.
Mountain hunting is hardly a new pursuit. The Indigenous peoples of British Columbia, the Yukon, and Alaska have well-documented accounts of hunting mountain goats and other game long before Gore-Tex and ultralight gear came into the picture.