This hunt started when my long-time friend called to tell me the Permit to Accompany had been accepted and that he and I would be goat hunting in the mountains of BC this year. The next several weeks saw me getting my equipment ready, practicing shooting and intensifying my training regime to make sure I was ready.
I arrived in Terrace, British Columbia August 3rd and was more than ready for our planned adventure hunting and salmon fishing. I got off the airplane and went to get my tags and since the regulations state I cannot hunt for 48 hours after buying my tags, we kept ourselves busy salmon fishing and catching up. Since this year had an exceptional snow pack, we were a little concerned about the alpine access, but this thankfully turned out not to be a moot point.
Once the waiting period was over, we headed for the mountains, and hiked in for two days of goat hunting. Goats were scarce but grizzly sign was not! Earlier in the summer a grizzly was seen chasing goats on this mountain so given this story and the sign before our eyes we knew we needed to be extra “bear aware”. We found several goats but they were more than safe from us as they were all set up in the steep crags typical of this area. Given our traditional archery equipment we needed just the right situation for a chance at one of these cragmasters.
After two days, we came down off the mountain and took several days to recover from the hike, and I was again treated to some great salmon fishing.
The next planned hunt location was on a mountain neither of us had been up before. The hike was uneventful until we poked our heads out of the tree line and found we were only 25 yards from a grizzly feeding on grass. We both responded (pepper spray ready) and he thankfully ran the right way! This allowed us to get a few shots with our cameras, the kind of shots you prefer when it comes to grizzlies! Within another 200-300 yards of hiking past the first bear we saw yet another grizzly, this one was a real bruiser but was over 300 yards away digging for picas and napping. We sat and watched this grizzly for a while and enjoyed the mountain vistas, but also discovered I forgot my bow glove down the mountain.
As we hiked the plateau, none of the terrain looked to be goat country, so we kept hiking to the next rise expecting the terrain to change to no avail. We stopped for a break and decided to head down, but there was one more last craggy area to check out. On the hike over to this spot the goat sign started to materialize – tracks, scat, hair, diggings, etc. were everywhere!
As we got to the cliffs I made my way down into a gorge to see what I could see and my friend stayed on top to check out some “goaty” looking terrain further ahead. As I approached a shelf I looked up to see my friend signal he’d spotted a goat. Back up I went to meet up with him and we planned the stalk.
At roughly 30 yards we could see there were three then five goats but managed to spook them. We both attempted shots at the spooked goats but did not connect. I shot as a goat I selected moved behind a clump of shale, and my friend caught his sleeve with his bow string and missed his goat. I thought I had shot low (which I hadn’t) and then over compensated by shooting over the goat’s back. Both my shots felt like I had really good alignment but turned out to be learning opportunities for correct anchoring when shooting at extreme angles.
The goats dispersed and one started to make its way up the crags and back toward us. I picked up and moved closer by means of a little cliff shimmy and inched my way over the edge. Twenty yards away and facing me was a bruiser goat. I stepped forward and came to full draw – the goat turned broadside to look at me and took several steps away. As he turned quartering away, I let the arrow fly and struck him behind the rib cage angling forward. When I saw the arrow hit, my first response was thumbs up to my friend but then a little hesitation. For a second I thought the shot was perhaps a little far back but before he even stepped forward blood started pouring out. It was a good hit!
Note Tim In Upper Left Corner of Photo
After a quick signal, I hurried down below the goat to cut off any exit into no man’s land and my friend followed the trail. The goat went down in less than 50 yards, luckily coming to rest on a shale bench just before no man’s land. I shot the goat with my CheckMate Hunter recurve and bare fingers and used Patriot Missile 45/60’s arrows cut to 30 inches, tipped with 100 grain brass inserts and 220 grain German Kinetics silver flames.
By the time we got the goat caped and deboned and our camp picked up it was around 6pm and I did not feel like staying on the mountain covered in goat blood and stinking like a goat with the two grizzlies seen earlier in the day so off we marched. The trip going down was and usually is many times worse than going up but was worth every drop of sweat. We got back to the truck at twilight, at that time of year and at that latitude approaching 10:30 pm.
After my fourth goat hunt in eight years I was finally able to live out a dream. I’d harvested my first recurve animal, a beautiful BC mountain goat. I’d passed on opportunities to take another species with my recurve but had chosen not to hold out and there is no question it was worth the wait.