Mountain goats are both grazing and browsing animals, depending on the particular habitat and season of the year. Both billies (males) and nannies (females) have horns. Billies are about 40 percent larger than nannies and average 260 and 180 lbs (118 and 82 kg), respectively. An adult goat may lose 50 lbs (23 kg) on its meager winter diet and gain the weight back during the lush summer months. The dressed weight of a 250-lb (113-kg) goat is about 150 lbs (68 kg); about 85 lbs (39 kg) of this is usable meat.
Mountain goats rely on the security of their cliffy territory for protection. Approaching within shooting range is not difficult if the hunter is able to negotiate the terrain. When possible, it is usually best to approach from above as goats are more alert to possible danger from below. They normally summer in high alpine meadows where they graze on grasses, herbs, and low-growing shrubs. Most goats migrate from alpine summer ranges to winter ranges located at or below tree line. However, some may remain on windswept ridges throughout the year. As winter advances and the more succulent plant species die back, a goat’s feeding habits shift to browsing. Hemlock is an important winter diet item but largely out of necessity; feeding habits in winter are mainly a matter of availability.
Hunting Tips - The Hunt & Trophy
Mountain goats have traditionally been hunted for their meat and hides by Alaska natives for thousands of years. In more recent times, the mountain goat has also been recognized as a highly sought after trophy animal.
Billies and nannies look similar. It is legal to shoot nannies; however, wildlife managers encourage hunters to target billies instead and tools have been created to help hunters to tell the difference.
Body size can be used to sort kids, yearlings, and adults. Kids are easily recognized by their small size, weighing only about 35 lbs. and standing 20'' at the front shoulder. Yearlings weigh about 60-70 lbs. and stand about 27'' at the shoulder. Once an animal is older than two years they are extremely hard to discern from other adults.
It is extremely difficult to estimate a goat's horn length in the field. One tool a person can use to compare the length of a goat's horn to the length of the ear. Generally an adult goat's ear is about six inches long. So, an ear length and one half should equal a 9-10" horn length. Goat's two years old and older will have horn lengths longer than their total ear length.
Since horn length is essentially indistinguishable from a distance, other horn characteristics can be used to distinguish the two sexes.
* Billies: Larger horn Base, Horn base is wider than eye width
* Nannies: Smaller horn base, wider space between horns
Most seasoned goat hunters agree that horn characteristics are an excellent way to tell the difference between nannies and billies, but all hunters agree that getting close to the animal is key to confirm ones observations
Once a billy is identified, most seasoned goat hunters will wait until the goat is away from any dangerous terrain in which the animal might hang up or fall after the shot. Goats are creatures of habit and if a hunter is patient to observe a goats feeding habits they will find out that goats generally come off of the cliffs to feed early in the morning and late in the afternoon. By not rushing your shot, a hunter has an increased chance of taking a large billy, which sometimes have a reputation of appearing when you least expect them. CLICK HERE for more information on identifying mountain goats.
Hunting Tips - Shot placement
Before a hunter takes a shot, it is his or her responsibility to be sure they can make a clean and accurate shot, so use a weapon you can shoot accurately.
Heart & Double Lung Shot
Alaskan game animals will quickly die when both lungs and/or heart are hit by a bullet or arrow. The best shot placement is when the animal is broadside to the hunter or slightly facing away. A heart-lung shot from either position will likely puncture both lungs.
Hunting Tips - Where
The range of the mountain goat (Oreamnos americanus) is restricted to the steep and broken mountain ranges of northwestern North America, from Idaho and Washington to Southcentral Alaska. Mountain goats also occur in Southeast Alaska, where their range extends north and west along the coastal mountains to Cook Inlet. In Southcentral Alaska, goats are found in the Chugach and Wrangell Mountains, and a few occur in the Talkeetna Mountains. Goats have been introduced to Kodiak Island as well as to Southeast Alaska’s Revillagigedo and Baranof Islands.
Refer back to Alaska Hunting for the map of hunting units. Each unit will give specific information about the area, bag limits and more.
Unit 1 - Juneau (Southeast Mainland) -includes Ketchikan, Juneau, Douglas,
Skagway & Haines
Unit 4 - Admiralty / Baranof / Chichagof islands - includes Sitka and part of Tongass
Unit 5 - Yakutat - includes Tongass National Forest, Wrangell/St. Elias National Park
& Glacier Bay
unit 6 - Cordova-Valdez - includes Whittier, Chenega Bay, Katalla, Tatitlek, Chugach
National Forest and Prince William Sound
Unit 7 - Seward - includes Moose Pass, Cooper landing, Hope, the Russian River &
Resurrection Bay along with Kenai Fjords national Park and Chugach
Unit 8 - Kodiak Island / Shelikof - includes Afognak & Trinity Islands
Unit 11 - Wrangell Mountian - Chitina River (Fairbanks Area)
Unit 14 - Matanuska - Susitna Valley south & east of Matanuska River - includes
Anchorage, Wasilla, Palmer, Moose Creek, the Knik Arm, Willow, Montana,
Talkeetna and Goose Bay State Game Refuge
Unit 15 - Kenai Peninsula - includes Kenai, Homer, Anchor Poiunt, Soldotna, Kasilof,
Port Graham, Kenai National Wildlife Refuge and the Kenai Fjords
Hunting Tips - Summery
This is not a substitute for the Alaska Hunting Regulations. For more complete infomation read the regulations and the permit hunt supplements. They are available at Alaska Department of Fish & Game offices and establishments that sell hunting licenses and tags. Always Check the Alaska Hunting & Trapping Emergency Orders before planning to hunt an area or species as restrictions may apply. CLICK HERE - For more information on hunting the Mountain Goat Click Here - For information on permits for Drawing hunts, Regrestration hunts, or General Season hunts
* Bows, Firearms, Cartridge, and Ammunition for Hunting Alaska:
The rifle you bring hunting should be one with which you are comfortable. many hunters have been convinced that a .300, .338, .375, or .416 magnum is needed for personal protection and to take large Alaska game. This is simply not true.
1.Rifle/handgun: State regulations require that rifles and handguns must fire a 200-grain or larger bullet, which retains at least 2000 foot-pounds of energy at 100 yards. A .30-06 with a 220-grain bullet is about the minimal weapon that meets this specification. Please do not bring your favorite firearm and expect to use it if it does not meet the above criteria.
2.Muzzleloader: Muzzle-loading rifles must be .54 caliber or larger, or at least .45 caliber with a 250-grain or larger elongated slug. Further, for safety reasons, those hunting with muzzleloaders must also have within easy reach a smokeless powder rifle meeting the centerfire rifle requirements listed above.
3.Bow: Longbows, recurve bows, or compound bows are permitted, but they must have a peak draw weight of 50 pounds or more. Arrows must be at least 20 inches in overall length, and tipped with unbarbed, fixed or replaceable-blade type broadheads. Arrow and broadhead together must weigh at least 300 grains total weight. As with hunters using muzzleloaders, ADF&G strongly recommends that bowhunters have a rifle close at hand.
* If you are planning on packing out moose meat, caribou meat, or a brown bear hide weighing hundreds of pounds, you can carry a 9- to 11-pound rifle including scope. A rifle of this weight in .300 or .338 magnum can be mastered with a lot of practice.
SUMMERY: You can’t go wrong with a stainless steel bolt-action rifle chambered for a standard cartridge that you are comfortable with and can shoot accurately, loaded with a high quality bullet.