Sitka Gear Turkey Tool Belt

I'm Truly Thankful for my Mountain Goat Tag, but Some People Make You Wonder

I quit getting a goat tag, because I got tired of printing one out just to throw it away because I just don't care to shoot one...

I've never really understood why people get so worked up about what others do with thier draw tag. Its not like one person has more or less ownership of the animals. We all put in our money for "conservation." I didn't realize desire to kill one gave us special privileges or more deserving of tags. I also don't agree with having to fork out $100s' dollars just to make sure you are serious about hunting the animals. None of those big 3 tag/drawing sales come close to paying to manage them, so if you want to weed people out, make the tags pay for the management. Say $20,000 upfront for each... if we're going to weed them out, lets do it right, or maybe $1000 non-refundable fee.

On average about 35% of all draw tags in Alaska are not hunted, sheep, bison, goat, bear, etc. What that means is Fish and Game can issues more tags and allow more opportunity in the draw and still achieve the same level of harvest. So those guys that really want a tag have a better chance of drawing.
 
I just wanted to say thank you to everyone for the congratulations and likes when I finally drew a Montana mountain goat tag after putting in for Special Tags out for about 26 years.

In the past (after that twinge of envy) I have always been genuinely happy for fellow Hunt-Talkers who managed to draw a Special Tag. I may have struck out, but at least I knew the person who had drawn the tag would appreciate and treasure it as much as I would and enjoy it for what it really is; a once-in-a-lifetime adventure.

Back in the day, when FWP made you pony up the full cost of the Special Tags ahead of time and then gave you a refund if you didn’t draw, I admit I found it rather inconvenient. Looking back now, I really appreciate the old system. It “culled the herd” so to speak, it weeded out the sick, lame, and lazy so that only true hunters who really wanted the hunt applied for the tags.

Now that the new system is nothing more than a $5 lottery scratch ticket it seems like everybody and his dog just say, “It’s only five bucks. What the hell…I’ll put in for moose, goat and sheep.” Yeah, FWP makes more money apparently, but I suspect a painfully large percentage of these precious tags now end being unappreciated at best to outright wasted at worst.

A few years back, an older guy my wife knew from the workplace had a daughter-in-law who drew one of the three precious moose tags for the district we live in. Knowing how much hunting my wife and I do, the guy from work apparently gave them our phone number.

Not knowing any of this, I answered the phone one night to have a near total stranger ask me where to take his wife out in our area to shoot a moose. This call occurred the night before season opener and, to that point, the entire extent of their "scouting" had been to dial my number.

I guess getting hit by all this out of the blue threw me off balance a bit since, as my wife pointed out later, my initial response was “less than tactful.” I don’t recall my exact words, but it went something like, “Holy bleep! If I had drawn that gosh-darned tag I would have been knocking on the door of every ranch house in the entire country every weekend for the past four months!”

After a minute, I did give them a few places to go where I remembered having frequently seen moose. And at least the tag wasn’t actually wasted. The gal was utterly thrilled and delighted when she got a young immature bull with antlers like ping pong paddles on the most heavily used Block Management Area in the district.

I just have to wonder how many people toss five bucks into the ol’ tag kitty without ever giving a thought to what the actual hunt will involve or require. I once ran into a woman in Livingston who drew a coveted tag for one of the limited bighorn sheep districts. Impressed, I asked how the hunt was. The response: “Oh, it snowed the week we planned to hunt, so we never actually went.”

AAARRRGGGHHH!!!

So, rest assured I’m taking my tag very seriously and intend to squeeze every last drop of enjoyment out of this once-in-a-lifetime hunt. It’s never too early (in fact, it’s probably already too late) to try to get in shape to tackle the Beartooths, so I grabbed our dog Sax and took off early for a good hike today. We got in a good five miles up and down a 1,200 foot ridge. Well, that’s about what I did anyway. Sax is a Viszla not yet a year old and going by his “muzzle velocity” alone I’m thinking he logged more like 50 miles on the same trip.

On the way back, about a half a mile from the truck, we had to hunker down in the timber for a few minutes as pea-sized hail came down and then the rain got steadily harder for the rest of the trip. But that’s all part of preparing for the big hunt.

As they say in the Infantry, “If it ain’t raining, we ain’t training!”

I hope to be able to share some photos and a good goat story this fall. And the best of luck next time to everyone who came up dry this go-round.
Cav,

Just curious, I too drew a tag for a goat after many years of trying as well. Mine is 521, how about yourself? I started training for this hunt over 25 years ago. I'll be heading up there this weekend to "bear hunt", but really to start scouting. I too plan on making the most out of this blessed opportunity!
 
Thank you for being grateful for your good fortune. There is something nice about running into another hunter in a limited/coveted tag area and having them be as happy for the opportunity as you are.
 
My best guess to why a guy like that applies for a sheep tag...because everyone else does.
Probably so, and in fairness I kept putting in for a while. I went with a buddy on a sheep hunt, had a grand adventure, helped him pack out a ram, and enjoyed every bit of it. I came away from that with the realization I really wasn't all that interested in killing a sheep. I can have the same adventure chasing elk, mule deer, and chukars. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love the threads on here from the trips involving the big three.

If I ever do a sheep hunt, it'll be in the middle of the Frank, and will be measured in weeks and not days.
 
Wait... wouldn't you want people not to use the tag or hunt hard, thereby improving your chances at an animal by either leaving big guys on the mtn and/or encouraging state agencies to increase tags because of the low harvest rate?

Selfishly I'd love to see 1 in 100 sheep tag holders hunt, and of those only 1% kill a ram.
 
I agree with some others on this, don't worry what anyone else does, or doesn't do with their tags.

People hunt and apply for tags for a variety of reasons. Some have lots of time to spend hunting, some don't. I've known kids that drew tags they didn't even know the old man put them in for. A good friend put his wife in for moose and sheep in Montana and she drew both the first time she applied. Filled both tags, never hunted again after the sheep tag. Some people apply their whole lives, like a good friend of mine that passed away last fall did, and never do draw the tags they desire the most. It has nothing do with deserving a tag, its all just luck of the draw.

I also find it hard to believe that people, and there's a lot of them, worry about filling a sheep tag, goat tag, moose tag right quick so it doesn't interfere with tags like elk and deer they can hunt every single year. Doesn't make sense to me...but whatever.

Honestly, I long ago quit caring if people even hunt at all, and care even less what type of animal they shoot with quality tags, OTC tags, etc. Just doesn't matter at all and frankly, if they shoot a younger, smaller animal or none at all...that's not a bad thing. Nothing wrong with leaving animals alive, in particular the more rare ones.

This. I could care less what happens to all the permits I didn't draw. I am 57 and have drawn 1 moose tag. Just happened to be on a year when I personally couldn't commit a bunch of time to hunt (kids in HS football, work things, etc...). I ended up shooting a smallish 4.5 yo bull but sure did enjoy the time I was out there and a freezer full of damn fine meat. Did I do the tag justice? For me I did. Others might say no but I don't really care.
 
I agree with you on the "new" draw system. It does seem that a lot more people are putting in for tags, and I'm sure that's what FWP wanted because they rake in more revenue that way.

Ive always put in for Moose, sheep, goat, but I admit the one that interests me the most by far is goat, just for the uniqueness of the animal and where you have to go to hunt them - that is real adventure right there. Congratulations on the tag. I'm envious.

And I knew a kid from Anaconda who by the time he was 21 had drawn both a sheep and moose tag. Kind of makes you sick, but he and his family are legit outdoorsmen, so it wasn't squandered. He shot monster of a ram but his moose was actually pretty small. People kidded him - where'd you shoot that whitetail?
 
Oh you need to post pictures for us as you start scouting, when you are hunting, and when the season ends. We need pictures. What good is this site without pictures!! Kootenai Creek in the Bitterroots near St. Mary's peak on my goat hunt. I had an awesome fall!!

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North Kootenai Lake 13.5 miles from the trailhead!!

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My buddies goat from the Thompson Falls country.
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Small world. 😃 I took the last two pics. That was a fun hunt. Pretty sure the video is floating around here somewhere.
 
Oh you need to post pictures for us as you start scouting, when you are hunting, and when the season ends. We need pictures. What good is this site without pictures!! Kootenai Creek in the Bitterroots near St. Mary's peak on my goat hunt. I had an awesome fall!!

View attachment 140044

North Kootenai Lake 13.5 miles from the trailhead!!

View attachment 140045

My buddies goat from the Thompson Falls country.
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Familiar country. My younger brother drew Kootenai creek goat in 1989. We went for a "scouting" day trip, leaving the trailhead at 5 AM in early September that turned into a successful hunt for a nice billy. Long, long day...spotted a goat from the trail near the heavenly twins. Looked to be a decent goat so we stalked it and my brother killed it. We got ourselves and the goat to the main Kootenai trail about 7:00 PM was well after midnight when we got back to the trailhead. The last 2 hours were in a pretty rough thunderstorm and pouring rain. What a couple unprepared and lucky clowns we were. Wish I would have taken better pictures...we didn't even take a still camera. Our "backpacks" were something else and I lugged an old VHS recorder in there and got the hunt on film at least. Funny stuff...
 
Montana Tag MTlionchaser??? You guys are killing me here. Anything I can do to help let me know.
I appreciate the offer. My unit isn’t local. I have a good buddy that has killed a goat in my unit and he will be along with me on the trip and then another good buddy who is a professional photographer/videographer will be tagging along. I’m gonna soak in this hunt as it is my first goat hunt and it’s been on my all time list. I will update with scouting pics and hopefully kill pics eventually.
 
Congrats on the tag to the OP - and I hope you have a great hunt. I've been involved with 6 different draw tags (that are tough MSG tags). All were great experiences, but mainly because of the folks that I hunted with (or hunted with me).

Enjoy the experience and you'll get what you want out of it.
 
Good luck. When I drew a goat tag it was probably the most enjoyable and difficult hunts I have ever been on. Enjoy it because it will probable be your only chance to hunt a goat in Montana. It is nice to hear of someone that truly appreciates the tag that you have.
 
I agree with some others on this, don't worry what anyone else does, or doesn't do with their tags.

People hunt and apply for tags for a variety of reasons. Some have lots of time to spend hunting, some don't....

Some people apply their whole lives, like a good friend of mine that passed away last fall did, and never do draw the tags they desire the most. It has nothing do with deserving a tag, its all just luck of the draw.
I also agree with what others do or don't do with their tags is their business. If they are over the counter tags.

However, "Some people apply their whole lives ... and never do draw the tags they desire the most...its all just luck of the draw."

If someone buys an OTC tag and doesn't use it, no big deal. Fish & Game gets the revenue for the tag, but there is one less hunter in the woods competing for a limited number of animals.

But if someone draws a limited entry tag and doesn't use it, someone that really desired that tag, and may have been applying for it for many years, is denied that tag.

BuzzH, you and I have posted different opinions on the Unlimited unit 300 sheep area. You have evidently hunted it, you enjoy hunting it, and I think you advocated making it a limited draw unit for 1 or 2 tags for the full season, making it a great hunt for a serious sheep hunter. I too would like to be that lucky tag holder!

So say FWP makes unit 300, south of the Tom Miner Road, a limited draw area with 1 tag. Then some anti-hunting group has their members flood the drawings and year after year their members draw that 1 tag, with no intention of hunting with it. You and every other serious sheep hunter that really wanted to hunt there would then be denied the opportunity to hunt there.
 
I quit getting a goat tag, because I got tired of printing one out just to throw it away because I just don't care to shoot one...

I've never really understood why people get so worked up about what others do with thier draw tag. Its not like one person has more or less ownership of the animals. We all put in our money for "conservation." I didn't realize desire to kill one gave us special privileges or more deserving of tags. I also don't agree with having to fork out $100s' dollars just to make sure you are serious about hunting the animals. None of those big 3 tag/drawing sales come close to paying to manage them, so if you want to weed people out, make the tags pay for the management. Say $20,000 upfront for each... if we're going to weed them out, lets do it right, or maybe $1000 non-refundable fee.

On average about 35% of all draw tags in Alaska are not hunted, sheep, bison, goat, bear, etc. What that means is Fish and Game can issues more tags and allow more opportunity in the draw and still achieve the same level of harvest. So those guys that really want a tag have a better chance of drawing.
IMO if you're not going to use a special draw tag, DON'T APPLY FOR IT! Having a tag doesn't give you ownership in an animal UNTIL you kill it. Having a tag DOES give you the opportunity to go in the field and hunt that animal. If you draw a tag with no intention of hunting that animal, you are denying other hunters that opportunity to hunt those animals.

If you just want to contribute to conservation, you can always make a donation to your state game department, or simply buy a general tag.

As for having a $1,000 non-refundable drawing fee or $20,000 up front to draw, you are just making hunting a "rich man's game" by eleminating many young and lower to modest income hunters.
 
I also agree with what others do or don't do with their tags is their business. If they are over the counter tags.

However, "Some people apply their whole lives ... and never do draw the tags they desire the most...its all just luck of the draw."

If someone buys an OTC tag and doesn't use it, no big deal. Fish & Game gets the revenue for the tag, but there is one less hunter in the woods competing for a limited number of animals.

But if someone draws a limited entry tag and doesn't use it, someone that really desired that tag, and may have been applying for it for many years, is denied that tag.

BuzzH, you and I have posted different opinions on the Unlimited unit 300 sheep area. You have evidently hunted it, you enjoy hunting it, and I think you advocated making it a limited draw unit for 1 or 2 tags for the full season, making it a great hunt for a serious sheep hunter. I too would like to be that lucky tag holder!

So say FWP makes unit 300, south of the Tom Miner Road, a limited draw area with 1 tag. Then some anti-hunting group has their members flood the drawings and year after year their members draw that 1 tag, with no intention of hunting with it. You and every other serious sheep hunter that really wanted to hunt there would then be denied the opportunity to hunt there.

So, you asked the question, and I can tell you, you aren't going to like the answer...but you asked.

Lets get a couple things straight from the start.

1. Hunters don't have the market cornered on wanting wildlife to thrive, enjoying wildlife, etc.
2. Wildlife is held in trust for ALL citizens of the State its found in, with a couple/few exceptions waterfowl, Endangered Species, and anadromous fish (those are federally controlled but still collaboratively managed with the states).

With that out of the way, I have ZERO problem with an antihunter putting in for a tag, drawing it, and pitching it the garbage, mounting it under glass, or lighting it on fire. They have as much right to apply as you, me, or anyone else. My thought would be that any anti that is passionate enough to learn the application process, front the money, purchase the tag, I have no ax to grind with them. In fact, probably have a bit more respect for them, then some dude that hires an application service to put them in for a tag recommended by the application service. I'm not real impressed with hunting stories that start out with, "_____(fill in the blank) application service applied me for this great tag they recommended..." To be perfectly honest, I'd have more respect for an ant-hunter saying, "I sat down with the regulation book and figured out how to apply for_____(fill in the blank tag), fronted my money, paid my fees, to save the ______(animal)." That doesn't strike me as an odd thing to do anymore than it should strike an anti-hunter to learn that we draw tags to kill wildlife. Just simply 2 philosophies on how we view wildlife.

That's why I don't care if a person draws a top quality tag and hunts it how they see fit. Take it as serious or as casually as they want, or choose to not hunt it at all...not my pig, not my farm. You hunt for your reasons, and I'll hunt, (or not) for mine. If I choose to only hunt a quality tag for one day, not at all, or every day of the season, its none of your concern or business. I spent nearly half of a 60 day sheep season passing on many rams this last fall that were as good, maybe even better, than the one I shot late in the season. I know, for a fact, that a majority of the tag holders would have shot several rams that my friend and I saw and passed the first few days of the season. I knew I was taking a risk of eating tag soup every time I walked away from another ram, some wouldn't have walked away from any ram (fine too). But, what I got from that hunt was much, much more than a ram...and leaving without one wouldn't have meant that I would starve, and the very last thing I would have cared about was what some random numb-nut would think if I did, or didn't kill one. I'm glad I got what I feel is a good ram, but more happy with the 26 days that I hunted and the time I got to spend there, on my own, and hunting with 2 good friends. Stories and experiences that are mine...and mine alone.

Not every game animal on planet earth needs to be on someone's wall or end up as a turd floating in the local waste water treatment plant.

Lots of people value wildlife for a variety of reasons, including just enjoying the fact the wildlife exist or just watching them or photographing them. I personally think if we aren't providing an ecosystem where a certain percentage of wildlife that we hunt, cant live a full life and die of old age, we're miserably failing our wildlife, and ultimately ourselves.

My 2 cents...
 
So, you asked the question, and I can tell you, you aren't going to like the answer...but you asked.

Lets get a couple things straight from the start.

1. Hunters don't have the market cornered on wanting wildlife to thrive, enjoying wildlife, etc.
2. Wildlife is held in trust for ALL citizens...

With that out of the way, I have ZERO problem with an antihunter putting in for a tag, drawing it, and pitching it the garbage...

That's why I don't care if a person draws a top quality tag and hunts it how they see fit...

Not every game animal on planet earth needs to be on someone's wall or end up as a turd floating in the local waste water treatment plant.

Lots of people value wildlife for a variety of reasons...

My 2 cents...
"So, you asked the question, and I can tell you, you aren't going to like the answer...but you asked."
I don't see a question in my post that you quoted, but you're right, I don't agree with your reply.

"Lets get a couple things straight from the start."

"1. Hunters don't have the market cornered on wanting wildlife to thrive, enjoying wildlife, etc." No, they don't.
"2. Wildlife is held in trust for ALL citizens of the State its found in, with a couple/few exceptions waterfowl, Endangered Species, and anadromous fish (those are federally controlled but still collaboratively managed with the states)." Yes, wildlife is held in trust for all citizens. There have also been abuses to the Endangered Species Act and with anadromous fish, but those are outside of this discussion.

"With that out of the way, I have ZERO problem with an antihunter putting in for a tag, drawing it, and pitching it the garbage, mounting it under glass, or lighting it on fire. They have as much right to apply as you, me, or anyone else. My thought would be that any anti that is passionate enough to learn the application process, front the money, purchase the tag, I have no ax to grind with them. In fact, probably have a bit more respect for them, then some dude that hires an application service to put them in for a tag recommended by the application service. I'm not real impressed with hunting stories that start out with, "_____(fill in the blank) application service applied me for this great tag they recommended..." To be perfectly honest, I'd have more respect for an ant-hunter saying, "I sat down with the regulation book and figured out how to apply for_____(fill in the blank tag), fronted my money, paid my fees, to save the ______(animal)." That doesn't strike me as an odd thing to do anymore than it should strike an anti-hunter to learn that we draw tags to kill wildlife. Just simply 2 philosophies on how we view wildlife."
Ok, here's where I disagree. IMO an anti-hunter that applies for and draws a limited tag is just another form of hunter harrassment. The ONLY reason that anti-hunter applied for that limited tag was to prevent a legal hunter from getting it. Hunting licenses and special tags exist for the sole purpose of allowing the holder of that license or tag to legally hunt the species of animal listed on that license or tag, and to legally possess that animal if the hunter kills one. YOU DO NOT NEED A LICENSE OR TAG to view or photograph wild animals.

I have never used an application service to apply for special tags, but I have no problem with someone who does any more than I have a problem with someone using a financial planner to invest their money. You are simply paying someone to help you reach your goal.


"That's why I don't care if a person draws a top quality tag and hunts it how they see fit. Take it as serious or as casually as they want, or choose to not hunt it at all...not my pig, not my farm. You hunt for your reasons, and I'll hunt, (or not) for mine. If I choose to only hunt a quality tag for one day, not at all, or every day of the season, its none of your concern or business. I spent nearly half of a 60 day sheep season passing on many rams this last fall that were as good, maybe even better, than the one I shot late in the season. I know, for a fact, that a majority of the tag holders would have shot several rams that my friend and I saw and passed the first few days of the season. I knew I was taking a risk of eating tag soup every time I walked away from another ram, some wouldn't have walked away from any ram (fine too). But, what I got from that hunt was much, much more than a ram...and leaving without one wouldn't have meant that I would starve, and the very last thing I would have cared about was what some random numb-nut would think if I did, or didn't kill one. I'm glad I got what I feel is a good ram, but more happy with the 26 days that I hunted and the time I got to spend there, on my own, and hunting with 2 good friends. Stories and experiences that are mine...and mine alone."
I agree 100% that if you draw a tag it's entirely your decision how hard or how long you hunt with it. BUT if you buy a limited tag fully knowing that you will not hunt with it, you are being very selfish in denying that tag from a real hunter. We are all on this planet for only a limited time, and we have an even more limited time that we are able hunt. The odds of drawing a tag in some of Montana's top sheep units are less than 1 in 300. So if someone applies for a limited tag only to prevent a hunter from getting that tag, and that person is drawn and buys that tag he is essentially taking that tag away from me or some other hunter and that IS of my concern or business.

Last year I hunted moose in Newfoundland. Newfoundland residents have to draw a moose tag. Outfitters are allocated so many tags for their clients, and I bought one of them. I hunted hard for 5 1/2 days (there is no hunting on Sundays) and I passed easy shots on 3 bulls, because I wanted larger antlers. My guide had not drawn a moose tag that year. He had commented that those young bulls would make good eating. Had I killed a moose I would have donated most of the meat to my guide, so at the end of the week I felt a little guilty for not shooting one of those bulls and giving my guide his winter's supply of meat.


"Not every game animal on planet earth needs to be on someone's wall or end up as a turd floating in the local waste water treatment plant."
Having a license or tag only allows you to hunt an animal. It doesn't guarantee that an animal will be killed. Although I buy an elk tag every year, I can't eat that much meat every year, so I only shoot an elk every few years. A few years ago I had a 5x5 bull on the hill behind my house. I still had plenty of elk meat in my freezer, so I just enjoyed watching him. A couple of days later he was lying on the side of I-90 a mile and a half from my house. Magpies fed on him for a day or two before the highway department hauled him to the county landfill. An almost total waste of a magnificent animal.

"Lots of people value wildlife for a variety of reasons, including just enjoying the fact the wildlife exist or just watching them or photographing them. I personally think if we aren't providing an ecosystem where a certain percentage of wildlife that we hunt, cant live a full life and die of old age, we're miserably failing our wildlife, and ultimately ourselves."
I see and enjoy watching wildlife almost every day. I've had wildlife art on my walls since I was a kid. Other than my taxidermy and family photos, I have more sheep art on the walls of my house that any other animals. I used to make a couple of trips to Yellowstone NP every year just to watch and photograph the bighorn sheep there. Everyone is free to do that, and you don't have to take special tag away from a hunter to do it.

Our discussion began with hunting sheep in Montana's Unlimited Bighorn Sheep Unit 300. The southern boundary of that unit is the YNP boundary. The sheep there are free to cross that imaginary line and some die there every year of natural causes or predators. I don't see any problems with the way Montana FWP are managing the sheep. The problems are in managing the people. My 2 cents...BB
 
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My dad's friend picked up his first goat tag for the Beartooths as well. I'm very happy for him. He's 73 but has a string of horses, is a Vietnam vet, and is tough as nails.
Good for him! What district did he draw? I got 514 this year and I'm curious to find out who the other tag holder is.
 

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