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  1. #1
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    2011 Mountain Goat hunt in pictures.

    After 33 years of applying for moose, sheep, and goat, I finally drew one of them. I got a Mountain Goat tag for the Bitterroot Wilderness in the Kootenai Creek drainage. I was the only tag holder for that zone of which the west side of the Bitterroot valley is split into several zones in that district.

    I started scouting in July as soon as the snow melted enough so I could get back in the canyon. I also started contacting wardens, biologists, and other folks to give me some insights. My son went scouting with me a few times, and each time we went further and further up the drainage glassing as we went.

    I never saw a single goat until I was heading into the North Kootenai Lake on a trip. I was about 3 miles in and saw what I think was a goat across the draw from me and laying in the timber. I could not tell with binoculars if it was a goat or not. Season was not open yet, and this was just a scouting trip. I still had 10 more miles to go to get to the lake to set up camp so I didn't want to take the time to drop my pack and dig my spotting scope out. It's 13 miles by GPS from the trailhead to the lake. I got back to the lake and never saw anything on the way in. I glassed as I went in any likely loooking places. Got back and set up camp at the north lake and began glassing right away. Never saw any goats. Checked out the lake and places to come back and camp in a month at the first of October. Had plans to come back on horse with two friends. The next morning I was not feeling very well and after looking and glassing until noon I decided to head back out. I was going to stay one more full day, but I was throwing up and had some bug of some kind. I hit the trail with a 60 pound pack at noon and made it back to the truck at 9:30 PM. It was a long day and I felt miserable the whole trip out. It still was fun and was amazing to see the beauty back there.

    Kootenai Creek








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  2. #2
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    Camp at the lake.


    North Kootenai Lake


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  3. #3
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    Rough Country


    Looking east towards the Bitterroot valley. About 11 miles from here to the truck!


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  4. #4
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    October Camp at Kootenai lake. Early October 2011. Still snow from a previous storm and more was coming. Oh my!


    My buddy Jeff relaxing while I'm cooking steaks on the fire. You thought he was tired. He and I rode about 9 miles and walked for 4 miles giving the horses a break. One small rodeo on the way in. Jeff got thrown in some rocks and almost stepped on by the horses.


    We went in on Monday, and this picture is on Wednesday when the weather finally broke and we decided the smart thing was to head out. It looked like it was only going to be a short break in the weather and then it was just going to hammer us. Monday evening it started to snow, blow, and then rain. It did this all night. Thank goodness it never got colder because we would have had feet of snow. The rain kept it so it only got about 4 inches deep, but it was so wet it sloshed and water squirted up when you walked.


    All day Tuesday it continued. Only were able to come out to take care of the horses. You could only see 100 yards max at times, and even that was iffy. Not conditions to be climbing up these cliffs in even if you could see.
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  5. #5
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    I had walking pneumonia and had missed two weeks of work prior to this trip, but there was no way I was not going to miss this! It was hard to get three guys with time off together to do this, and I had applied for 33 years to draw the tag.


    This was only about 5 miles from the lakes on our way out, but the weather had completely changed down low. Looking back to the west towards where we had camped, it still looked miserable. It was snowing and blowing, and cold.
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  6. #6
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    I had walking pneumonia and had missed two weeks of work prior to this trip, but there was no way I was not going to miss this! It was hard to get three guys with time off together to do this, and I had applied for 33 years to draw the tag.


    This was only about 5 miles from the lakes on our way out, but the weather had completely changed down low. Looking back to the west towards where we had camped, it still looked miserable. It was snowing and blowing, and cold.
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  7. #7
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    Little out of sequence, but these are thimble-berries on one of my scouting trips. Man they are good. Like a raspberry on steroids! Full of vitamin C also. The Huckleberries were just getting ripe at the lake in September, that's how much of a difference the climate is back there.


    I was blessed with a couple of days hunting (locked in the darn tent) with my buddies, but I still had a great time. Now it's back to business. This is one of the camps I stayed at roughly 3 miles in, then I would hunt from here.


    This fall was very wet up there and it rained and snowed on me a lot. I felt like a wet mop most of the time. It made it hard to glass and see as lots of days I was only able to see 100 yards or so at the most.


    This is about 4.3 miles in and was my favorite spot to camp to hunt from. I had water about 1/4 mile away, and it was flat and soft where I had my tent. I could hunt back towards the lakes as far as I wanted from here and it made it feasible. There were lots of good cliffs and slopes to glass in both directions.
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  8. #8
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    Here is near 4.3 mile camp. My pack weighed 36 pounds with my rifle in the scabbard on the pack. I had it in my hands at this moment. There was a lady who made it back this far all by herself so I asked her to take a picture of me. I carried 36 pounds every day up and down these slopes.


    Good ridge above this camp. I spotted my second and only confirmed goat of all of these months hunting up this ridge. I only saw a flash of white running through the timber and had jumped it working my way to the top of the ridge on the north side of the drainage.




    Climbing up the ridge to the top on the north. It was steep to say the least, but did kind of taper off for a while once I made this really bad portion.
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  9. #9
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  10. #10
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    Drowned rat.




    Finally, hunting with someone again. Got one of the guys from the first trip to go with. Said you feel like climbing, and he agreed! We started out of the bottom and worked our way to the top on the north side only a couple miles from the trailhead. It looked goaty to me! Hoped we didn't get cliffed out.


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