Day #4 Mountain Goat Hunting.............
So I hit the high country on Friday in search of a Billy goat. About an hour after daylight, 5 miles and 2700 vertical feet in, I spotted a Billy bedded above the trail that leads to Timpanogos Peak. He was bedded about 100 yards above the trail and I watched as some hikers walked by him and he didn't move. So, I continued along the trail until I was just below him at 90 yards. Because he didn't get up and leave when I came by, it felt strange, so I decided to press on and see what I could find up higher.
I moved another mile up the mountain and spotted 7 more goats in some extremely rough country where there was no chance to get close enough for an archery shot. Untouchable. I glassed back where the lone Billy was and he had moved a couple hundred yards across the steep, ledged side hill and bedded again. I looked him over again and he looked like a good one and he was actually in a huntable spot, and I felt that might be something that could be hard to come by......a Billy in a spot where I actually could have a chance to get close. They love the steep, rugged stuff.
So I decided I'd make a play on the Billy. Yes, I had just walked by him at 90 yards and did nothing because it felt strange. He had just laid there. But now I was thinking, "maybe he let me get within 90 yards, but getting within bow range might be a much greater challenge".
I moved to within a couple hundred yards and then began moving slowly and carefully. He was bedded in the open, but I was able to get a few pine trees between he and I that allowed me to stalk in close. At 50 yards I was in a little ravine, so I took off my pack, got my bow off, and snuck closer.
At 35 yards I could see him through the pine tree and he knew something was up. I was busted I thought and he was going to run at any moment. I held still for a long time, playing the waiting game, but I just knew he was going to run at any moment, like a big buck would. Or any deer.
After 10 minutes or so, he began to put his head down off and on, so I thought maybe he wasn't on to me. I was one step from being able to clear a shot around the pine tree, so when he lowered his head, I stepped forward and got ready for him to hopefully turn broadside for a shot. He didn't though, instead he spotted me while facing directly toward me. Not an ethical shot, so I didn't want to chance it. So I waited, froze solid waiting for him to turn. At that point, I was sure I was busted and he'd soon turn and run. But he didn't, he just starred at me for a long time.
Another 10 minutes passed as I was ready to draw and shoot as he stood at 35 yards watching me. At that point, I still thought I must have been well concealed and that he still wasn't sure what I was.
Then he turned quickly AND LAID BACK DOWN! He knew I was there and laid back down! What?!?! That's not what he was supposed to do.
I said out loud for him to hear me, "ARE YOU --ITTING ME!!" At that moment, I couldn't shoot this animal. I couldn't believe it. What the heck?!?! There he was laying there at 35 yards, kill zone well exposed, but I couldn't shoot him. I did take a couple steps closer to 30 yards, drew my bow and put my 30 yard pin on him, but no way could I shoot. I went from thinking I was a stealthy stalker that snuck to within 35 yards of this Billy to thinking I was a dope for sneaking in on a Billy that was hoping I was coming over to hand feed him some grass. ha ha ha
The next 30 minutes found me moving closer, taking pictures and scratching my head and wondering what am I supposed to do? How can I consider this goat hunt a challenge when this goat lets me stand 30, 20 and then even 10 yards away and isn't scared enough to run? And one moment, he walked up to within 9.8 yards of me. I might have been able to pet him, but I didn't really want to get trampled.
So here I sit now thinking that I may be eating a goat tag. I don't know. Turned off right now. Might they be more wild in another area of the unit....??? Or is this just goat hunting??? I didn't expect them to be as hard to get as a deer, but this goat I'm telling you about would've been easier to shoot than one of the deer mounts I have hanging on my walls!!!