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Mountain Goats in the Mist

“Bob, the fog is finally lifting enough for me to get a photo of the sunset on the lake so I’ll be right back.” I said heading out with my camera and grabbing my binoculars at the last second. Decked out in my Croc sandals, I was just going 30 yards to the edge of the ridge to take some stunning photos of the high-alpine lake and the setting sun when I looked below me and spotted something white just as the fog rolled in again. Waiting a few more minutes for a break in the mist, I could see it was a mountain goat grazing away just 150 yards from me! It took no time to scamper back to the tent, grab my spotting scope and boots and roust Bob out of our tent.

High alpine lake campsite.

“He’s a good billy and only 154 yards, plus you have a perfect shot Bob. What do think?” I asked as I scoped out a shooting rest.  “Sounds good. Where do I shoot from?”

We got all set up, but the light was fading fast so Bob had to hang part way over a cliff that was 600 feet to the bottom and I reassured him I would be laying on his legs and the only thing that was going to fall was his stomach as he looked down the cliff. “Take your time and make the first shot count and then keep slinging lead so he doesn’t kick himself off into never-never land.” I said.

Another killer view.

Ka-Boom, Ka-Boom, Ka-Boom, Ka-Boom, four rapid shots exited Bob’s rifle. “Great shooting Bob! Way to go!”  The goat was down for good right above the cliff so I ran down and pulled him back while propping him up for photos the following day.

Bob’s Trophy Mountain Goat Billy

The previous day of fog, rain and wind evaporated from our minds that evening as we dined on freeze-dried dinner, lots of tea and discussed the dramatic change of events on our snowy perch up in God’s country.

The following morning was stunning, but the storm was coming so we hustled off the ridge with our excellent photos and met up with fellow outfitter Jim Phillips who came to take some weight off our backs.

The calm before the storm.

After a hurried descent down to the lake, we called the air taxi, struck camp and then found out the storm had arrived down in Sitka, so we had to set up our tents again as the airplane did launch but had to turn back due to 40+ mph gusts. So close!

Good food, lots of hot drinks and plenty of rain pounding on the tents helped pass the time for the next 36 hours during an early September storm outside Sitka, Alaska.   Congratulations Bob!

Great hunt! Thanks Bob!

Written 9-10-12 aboard the “GLACIER” in Sitka, AK by Kurt Whitehead

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