“I’ve got a good feeling about today”, I tell G2 as we are packing to leave for the day. After a summer of scouting for goats in SE BC, and now nearly a week into hunting we seemed no closer to our goal. Being plagued with unseasonably hot weather, in-accessible roads that had been washed out from spring melt and difficult terrain we had passed on a few previous Billy’s that seemed untouchable. I was failing as the licensed Guide and after much agonizing the night before made the decision to leave a drainage where we had seen a great Billy but the access was dismal. Having a hunch it would be easier in an area we visited earlier in the week, we set off for the day, with the premise, “Let’s just go for a look”, and the high probability we’d come up short again.
The first leg was a precarious quad trail into an alpine valley, once off the bike a short struggle through the alders to tree-line made way to a boulder strewn slide. After scrambling for a few hours and watching G2’s optimism disintegrate, I insisted we push on rock by rock to eventually peak over the edge into another basin of goaty splendor.
The view was spectacular and we sat glassing on the ridge for a short period of time, to the far south we spotted a group of 4 goats feeding in an alpine meadow. Turning towards the north as the clouds gave way to sun, we spotted a lone Billy slowly making his way to some grassy patches on the north slope.
Hoping he would continue to make his way towards us we snuck closer on the backside of the ridge, we needed to get a better look and consider some other elements, it was already 5:30 at night and bad weather was coming in. We weren’t prepared to spend a night up there and the conditions could be life threatening if we got caught on the mountain.
The Billy continued closer and we crawled on the ridge towards him, at this point he was still 400 yards away but through the spotting scope the broad-shouldered bulldog shuffle across the scree and distinctive black bases was telling us he was a goat that regardless of archery or rifle hunt had taken a significant amount of effort to find.
Disappointed G2 decided to put down his bow and continue the hunt with the rifle. We continued slowly along the rugged ridge until we were approx 180 yards from the Billy. With the range finder not working at the worst possible time, the first shot was sighted too long and a miss. Telling him to reload as the billy was now on the move Gary took a final shot just as he was reaching the ridge-line. I was sure he managed to lose a horn in the long tumble and proceeded to mutter a string of profanities. Our goat was now at the bottom of a slide in the basin with darkness and ominous rain/snow clouds setting in. Knowing we had to come back the next day for him we quickly left to struggle down the mountain. Halfway down the slide through the alders at the valley bottom we could make out a grizzly. Just what you wanted to deal with in thick scrub at dusk. Loading the gun we continued in a boisterous descent, hoping the whole time it hadn’t ripped the seat off the quad.
The next morning we awoke to a soggy landscape, the heavens unleashed and it poured rain throughout the night. With the trek back into the basin through the pass, the success of the goat was not yet realized. I managed to keep G2 optimistic on the ascend and he lifted my spirits on the descend as the weight of the packs we were carrying was a challenge.
When we arrived at the billy, it was a happy moment to realize he hadn’t lost a horn but they were chipped, he was a beautiful healthy animal that measured at 9 and 3/4″. After pictures the lucky guide got to skin and debone the meat and pack it in our bags. My pack weighted around 55-60 lbs coming out, which was still hell on my knee but G@ took the brunt of it. I also followed up with a tradition of burying the heart of the goat, giving thanks to the animal for the great hunt and a prayer to grow another healthy animal back. It was important to me and I’m very happy G2 dealt with his weak stomach to help me make this happen. Overall it was a great adventure and hunt, surrounded by some of the most spectacular scenery on the planet and I’m so excited to do it again for my sheep hunt this October.