2023 Colorado Mountain Goat

D-Mac

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 29, 2017
Messages
132
Location
Loveland, Colorado
Well, my 2023 Colorado Mountain Goat hunt has come to a conclusion. This was an amazing hunt that I had been looking forward to for years.

I began with several scouting trips this summer. Just trying to spend as much time as I could in the unit to both understand where the goats live and how they live there. Also, to find some potential campsites and the best access points. I drew Unit 10 which has a HUGE hiker presence, which ended up being good and bad.

Honestly, of the probably 50+ hiking folks I spoke to and actually admitted to hunting goats, only one had anything negative to say and it was a half hearted attempt at that. I was surprised by the neutral and in most cases positive responses. Hiker’s provided information and wishes of good luck. I was honestly shocked and encouraged by their responses.

Anyways, I started the actual hunting timeframe by arriving the day before the season. My plan was to secured my campsite and hike in and glass for goats. The particular drainage was one I had scouted over the summer and I had seen some goats. I knew most hikers didn’t go past about halfway up the drainage so I should have some semblance of solitude towards the head of it.

I love the Colorado high country. It’s simply gorgeous. I worked my way back into the drainage taking my time and stopping frequently to glass the sides for goats. I should mention that I drew a Nanny tag for this hunt and really wanted to find a dry Nanny, or at least a group of Nanny’s and kids. I stopped and talked to people fishing the high lakes as I passed them. I figured they would be more agreeable to hunters. They mentioned they had seen goats that morning, but not since around 8am. It was around noon at this time, I settled into a little rise at the back of the drainage that afforded a good view.

Almost immediately I picked up goats bedded down in the rocks. I love how they seem to just own the cliffs they are in. They look so intimidating as they survey the valley below them. I pretty quickly ascertained they were Billys. At least a strong suspicion. I watched them for a several hours and after them standing turning and bedding back down I was certain they were Billys. That’s ok, they were awesome to watch and hey I was in goats at least. I watched them until right at dark but nothing else emerged from anywhere. It seemed as though it was only the Billys in that drainage at least for that day. I hiked back out feeling good and optimistic about the week ahead!686E6939-F5F6-4D0C-ADAA-FF84B1F93A06.jpegCDC367DB-0D49-4565-965B-93A5A9C5578C.jpeg9D7E04EA-11CA-40F5-923E-011B26F05456.jpeg13996880-BFE3-4AF1-A174-4E5F4787BABD.jpegC35C78D4-B171-472B-AF98-7518F15BF0EE.jpegB505D7B9-36A4-4DD6-BB98-3D898EEEFB91.jpeg
 
Opening morning of the hunt had me driving an access road and running into an individual who also had a Nanny tag. I stopped and we chatted for a little while, deconflicted plans for that day. I would go along the south ridge of the drainage while he hunted the north. We would be several miles from each other this way.

I made my way through the woods and at the first vantage point I had I could see a Nanny and a kid munching their way along a grassy slope just above tree line. I was very encouraged to find goats and a Nanny at that. I had in my mind that I would find a Nanny without a kid or at least a group of Nanny’s and Kids.

I continued to work my way up the ridge and eventually came to a spot adjacent to were those two had been. I set up shop there with my spotter waiting for them to work back into view or others to appear. I eventually found a few bucks and began to see some other goats.

I should mention, I did not bring my rifle of this day. I simply didn’t want it to be over on the first day. E6AA7CE6-B56F-471C-B640-3FA5B9FAF1F2.jpeg045D91A0-074E-4D77-A4ED-16D216834706.jpeg

I eventually found several groups of goats, nanny’s with kids, and immature Billy. And most interesting to me was two nanny’s and one kid.
2796F701-6D04-4687-8F6A-611376DC1943.jpeg

I stayed up high until around 6 pm and then made my way back down to camp. Along the way I saw this red fox.
C68BD56B-7D6C-402E-A186-B8540B50DE25.jpeg


I decided the next day I would bring my rifle and try to refind the two nanny’s I had seen that day.
 
Wow, I actually managed to guess where you were hunting off "most hikers only get halfway" ! I was up there about a month ago, but went farther than most 😉. I have been putting in for this same unit, so look forward to the rest of the story.

View attachment 291553
It's a great hike, love how the crowds thin out as you keep going
 
Wednesday, I was up and hiking much earlier, I wanted to be at 13k glassing as early as I could. I made my glassing point at 8 am. It was much windier this morning and I spent most of it hunkered down behind a little rock wall another kind person had built. I reinforced it a little and cooked some breakfast and had some coffee.
FDC1D1BC-4D3A-4C67-8D7D-16CF2344FE44.jpeg

There were significantly less goats out today than in the previous day. I didn’t even see any until after 11 am. That’s when I started seeing nanny’s and kids. I just enjoyed watching them feeling unhurried or pressured.

Around 3 pm I had watched a nanny and kid bed down about 500 yards away. On a steep slope, but nestled in some larger rocks with some good sized ledges around them. This is when the two hunters I had spoken to the previous day appeared.

We chatted for a little while, they caught their breath from the hike. I pointed out the goats I had bedded and we hemmed and hawed about if it was a viable location to shoot one. They were kind to give me the first right of refusal on the goats. We spotted another group of three goats about 1k feet above us.

It was the two nanny’s and kid from the day before. They were very slowly feeding down towards the other two that were napping. I figured I would close the distance to the bedded ones, and the others would keep feeding that way.

I worked to about 175 yards from the sleeping pair, it was MUCH steeper than it looked from further away, I was pretty certain I was not going to attempt a shot. I kept my eye on the ridge line that the others were feeding down. All of the sudden while I was checking it I saw a white face staring back at me from 150 yards.

It was the two nanny’s and a kid. They had fed down all the way. I shifted my body over a little and had a decent rest. I was laying prone, although it was more like resting in a lean and digging my toes in so I would slide all the way to the bottom. After what felt like a long stare down the larger Nanny finally turned broadside.

She moved over about 5 feet at the shot and stood facing me. I expected her to go down, I expected to be able to see some blood on all that white, but I couldn’t see anything or any reaction. I quickly chambered another round and held in her chest. I was worried she would simply run off or end up falling to some unknown, unretrievable location.

At the shot she dropped, I could see her slide behind some rocks about 10 feet from where she was standing then she was out of sight. She never slid back into view. So I figured she was either dead or bedded down dying. The other goats with her moved off, but kept looking back that direction.

The two sleeping ones got up at the shot but only moved about 30 yards and started feeding. The other hunter made his way into a position and was able to take that Nanny as well! In about 30 minutes of time we both had filled our tags! His did end up sliding about 150-200 yards down before she came to a rest, but he said it didn’t end up damaging her from what he could tell.660B4243-53E2-4B0A-A56E-936B63547315.jpeg

I ended up tying mine off to a rock in order to work on her and I still ended up sliding a lot! Turns out I had hit her with both shots, they are just tough critters!B36B10F4-7106-458A-ACA4-65C443CC66DC.jpeg46ED9BC0-0E21-4035-9E2C-DBB7CBC93E1B.jpeg

CPW measured her at 8” on the right, 714/16s on the left and thought she was 5.5 years old.

It was an amazing hunt, in an amazing location! I got her at 13,400 feet and after packing her out I was pretty useless the next day. Didn’t make it back to camp until almost 11pm. But I must say for all those who said goat was not worth eating. Boy was that information incorrect.

While it would be fair to say it is a tad tougher, the flavor has been great! Tastes like a doe deer. We cooked up a tenderloin the next morning with some pancakes and it was a perfect meal!907A1C3B-73B5-4F52-B9B6-72545168F87B.jpeg
 
Wednesday, I was up and hiking much earlier, I wanted to be at 13k glassing as early as I could. I made my glassing point at 8 am. It was much windier this morning and I spent most of it hunkered down behind a little rock wall another kind person had built. I reinforced it a little and cooked some breakfast and had some coffee.
View attachment 292673

There were significantly less goats out today than in the previous day. I didn’t even see any until after 11 am. That’s when I started seeing nanny’s and kids. I just enjoyed watching them feeling unhurried or pressured.

Around 3 pm I had watched a nanny and kid bed down about 500 yards away. On a steep slope, but nestled in some larger rocks with some good sized ledges around them. This is when the two hunters I had spoken to the previous day appeared.

We chatted for a little while, they caught their breath from the hike. I pointed out the goats I had bedded and we hemmed and hawed about if it was a viable location to shoot one. They were kind to give me the first right of refusal on the goats. We spotted another group of three goats about 1k feet above us.

It was the two nanny’s and kid from the day before. They were very slowly feeding down towards the other two that were napping. I figured I would close the distance to the bedded ones, and the others would keep feeding that way.

I worked to about 175 yards from the sleeping pair, it was MUCH steeper than it looked from further away, I was pretty certain I was not going to attempt a shot. I kept my eye on the ridge line that the others were feeding down. All of the sudden while I was checking it I saw a white face staring back at me from 150 yards.

It was the two nanny’s and a kid. They had fed down all the way. I shifted my body over a little and had a decent rest. I was laying prone, although it was more like resting in a lean and digging my toes in so I would slide all the way to the bottom. After what felt like a long stare down the larger Nanny finally turned broadside.

She moved over about 5 feet at the shot and stood facing me. I expected her to go down, I expected to be able to see some blood on all that white, but I couldn’t see anything or any reaction. I quickly chambered another round and held in her chest. I was worried she would simply run off or end up falling to some unknown, unretrievable location.

At the shot she dropped, I could see her slide behind some rocks about 10 feet from where she was standing then she was out of sight. She never slid back into view. So I figured she was either dead or bedded down dying. The other goats with her moved off, but kept looking back that direction.

The two sleeping ones got up at the shot but only moved about 30 yards and started feeding. The other hunter made his way into a position and was able to take that Nanny as well! In about 30 minutes of time we both had filled our tags! His did end up sliding about 150-200 yards down before she came to a rest, but he said it didn’t end up damaging her from what he could tell.View attachment 292676

I ended up tying mine off to a rock in order to work on her and I still ended up sliding a lot! Turns out I had hit her with both shots, they are just tough critters!View attachment 292677View attachment 292679

CPW measured her at 8” on the right, 714/16s on the left and thought she was 5.5 years old.

It was an amazing hunt, in an amazing location! I got her at 13,400 feet and after packing her out I was pretty useless the next day. Didn’t make it back to camp until almost 11pm. But I must say for all those who said goat was not worth eating. Boy was that information incorrect.

While it would be fair to say it is a tad tougher, the flavor has been great! Tastes like a doe deer. We cooked up a tenderloin the next morning with some pancakes and it was a perfect meal!View attachment 292678
Awesome write up and hunt. And I agree, I thought my nanny was very tasty!
 
Awesome congratulations, thanks for sharing. What are you going to do for a mount ?
 

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