I had the great opportunity to hunt with a good friend of mine yesterday on his once in a lifetime mt goat tag in the high Uintas of Utah and what a great time it was. The morning started off at 5 a.m. with a three hour drive back into some of the most remote area of Utah's high country. The road was paved with boulders and was not well traveled but it put us about 1 mile away from goat country where it ended. From a beautiful mountain meadow at just over 10,200 feet, we were able to glass a barren, rock strewn peak one mile away where there were 12 goats feeding on the lichen fields. We knew from previous scouting trips that there were 3 billys in the herd and one was a dandy so we decided to get a little closer to size him up. I took the big green monster along just in case the billy was there and we could find a place to dump him from.
The plan was to find a clearing somewhere around 1000 yards to set up and take a shot without spooking the goats or letting them know we were there. Also, my friend is 60 years old and his son and I wanted to spare him a grueling hike to the top of the mountain if we could shoot him from below. But as we kept hiking closer and closer to the bottom of the mountain, the trees kept getting thicker and thicker and we lost sight of the goats. Before we knew it, we were half way up the mountain and still no clearing to take a shot from. So we went slow and took lots of breaks so the hunter (Gary) could catch his breath. After about 3 hours, we were starting to clear out above the tree line and still no sign of the goats. So Mike (the son) and I left Gary for a moment and he went left to the top and I went right to the top to see if the goats were still around. Well, I went about 300 more yards and came around the very last boulder scree field and dang near stumbled right into the middle of the herd! Luckily, their butts were to me and they didn't see me. I carefully backed down and away then raced down to find Mike and Gary.
We quickly got big green chambered up and got the video camera out and started making our way over to the goats. Just as we were coming into the edge of the herd, a big billy poked his head up over a rock and froze us in our tracks at about 100 yards distance. We had a stare down for about 5 minutes with all three of us in mid-stride trying not to get busted. My gun started getting really heavy being held out beside my pack frame with one hand! Finally, the billy looked back at his nannies and we all dropped to our bellies behind some rocks to get out of sight.
While ducked out of view, we got the video camera rolling and the gun bi-pod out and prepared for a close encounter. Mike barely poked his head up to take a better look at the billy through his binos and quietly screamed, That's a huge billy right there, I think he's the one!". Then he ranged him at 97 yards while the billy stood there trying to figure out what we were.
Gary got to his knees and quietly lowered my scope over the billy's back and fired. Nothing happened. The billy was still standing and Gary was handing me the gun to rack another shell into the chamber. I quickly got it ready and handed it back to him and he fired again. What I saw next will be burned in my memory the rest of my life. The most shocking, gory, r-rated kill I have ever witnessed on a big game animal. My 225 grain Accubond slammed into the chest/neck area of that billy with 5125 ft/lbs of energy at our 11,300 foot elevation and absolutely opened him up like a bomb! White fur went flying an honest 30 yards in every direction along with a blood mist cloud I could see with my naked eye! The poor billy never knew what hit him. It also blew his whole body back off his rock and down the slope behind him.
Some of you might remember me saying just days ago that the 300 grain SMK caused more damage to my cow moose than any other bullet I had seen. Well, this goat just topped it by a mile. There was a 12" diameter hole through the billy's neck and chest and his plumbing in there was gone! No neck meat left whatsoever. Jugular, windpipe, arteries, gone. Nada. Zero. Whatever amount of blood the goat had in his body before the shot was reduced by probably half after the shot.
Backslaps and high fives all around but how are we going to fix that cape we wondered as we skinned him and put the meat into our packs. I apologized to my buddies about my rifle. I thought we were going to kill a goat at long range not at 97 yards! I shoulda brought my 6mm br instead if I had known that. But they were glad the billy was down and that he didn't suffer.
After a long haul back to the truck and a brief hail storm, we taped out the billy. 50" books and he went 49.5"! What a stud. He will most likely be the biggest billy taken off this unit this year. What a great stalk, shot, and hunt. Days just don't get any better than this. I wish it lasted longer.
Here are the pics. I have omitted any pics that show location because there are still two guys in this hunting crew who will someday draw this tag and there is one other billy in there in the same category as this one and he might just make up that extra 1/2" and book!