In 2015 I was fortunate enough to hunt the tough terrain of British Columbia, Canada. My objective was to harvest a Canadian Moose and a Rocky Mountain Elk on my first visit. I was successful on both animals. Though I spent most of my time in 2015 hunting moose and elk I became intrigued with the many other native animals in Canada. After falling in love with the Canadian country and its inhabitants, I travelled back to BC in September of 2017.
Top two on my list, Mountain Goat and Grizzly Bear, followed by Mountain Caribou and Black Bear. My father and I headed from Portland to Vancouver BC for an overnight lay over. We left the next morning heading further North to Fort Nelson. After landing in Fort Nelson we took a 2-hour drive up to Toad River where our outfitters main lodge is located. We had just enough daylight to check our rifles for accuracy, eat dinner and try to get some rest. The next morning, after a quick breakfast we were headed out on horseback for a 7-hour ride. My father and I trailed in with 16 horses led by two guides and two wranglers to assist the guides.
Around hour 6 of our trail in to where we would set up camp I noticed a bear moving across the dried up river bed at a pretty fast pace. I caught up to my guide and pointed out the bear and the chase was on. I hopped off my horse following my guide Joe and started running to find a vantage point to get a clean shot on this Grizzly Bear. I found a dead tree to lean against and let 2 shots go. First was high and the second was behind him. I knew I missed due to the adrenaline rush and my heart sank into my stomach. I missed the perfect opportunity.
After all of the excitement we got back on our horses and made it the last hour to camp. We set up a few wall tents, had dinner and went to bed after a long day. The next morning we woke up to 45°F clear skies and the sun coming up over the mountains around us. We gathered the horses and went our separate ways. Joe and I rode up the riverbeds looking for Mountain Goats at the tops of the big country that surrounded us. Within the first hour we found a goat that was about 600 yards up a mountain. We tied up our horses to get a better look.
We glassed the goat up for a good hour and decided the goat was a nice one. My motivation to get up this mountain was 100% there because it was only day one of horseback hunting. After a few days saddle legs kick in and it becomes a lot harder to get up and down the mountains for those not used to riding horses. Taking all extra weight out of our packs we started up the mountain. I thought I was in shape for this hunt but this mountain taught me otherwise. It took us about 2 hours hiking through loose shale and drainages to relocate the goat we were going after. Joe was about 20 yards in front of me and standing 6’5” it was a little easier for him to see up the mountain. Joe sunk down into a squat and caught my attention. I quietly moved up to his spot to get eyes on the Mountain Goat. Now 250 yards away Joe and I had to work our way across the drainage to the under side of the goat. Cresting a knob I set my rifle on top of my pack. Joe ranged the goat at 253. I turned the safety off and let one fly. Perfect shot right through the shoulder and the goat dropped in its tracks.
Luckily the goat didn’t tumble down the hill and break its horns or ruin the cape and meat. I hiked those last 253 yards ten times faster than the first 350 yards knowing I had a goat down. Man what a thrill to get my hands on that beautiful animal.
This is when the hard work began. Skinning, quartering and getting that goat down the mountain was extremely more challenging than getting up the mountain to harvest the goat. Joe and I slid half way down the mountain on our backsides because of the loose shale. Three hours later we made it back to the horses. After about an hour of riding we were back at camp with a goat in our packs. First day of our 14 day BC hunt was one I’ll never forget.