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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I knew I was in trouble when I saw the email my buddy and I had drawn out of state muzzleloader mule deer tags on one of the meanest ranges in the lower 48 (it wasn’t even our first choice! But lucky draw it was). I have some history with this range and the excitement and dread were about 50/50. Getting older sucks and I am not the hiker I once was, throw in some back issues in the spring and the stress level was creeping up. Everything on this range is thousands of feet of elevation--want to get water, it's only 1100' drop, want to hunt another canyon, it's only 800' and two miles over the next hill and all above 9500' elevation--A real challenge! I stuck with my training regime and felt I was going to be ready by September--but not 70 lbs ruck ready, more like 45lbs ruck ready so I had to devise a solution.


Lucky for me I have a vast network of buddies who are 'different ducks' and one great friend happens to be the owner of some fine pack goats! He also happens to be a chukar hunter like myself and knows how to hike. With some convincing he was on board. We trained up the goats over the summer and they were as ready as they were going to be. Being the elevation gains and bushwhacking we kept their packs to 20-25 lbs of gear each and even rotated one empty to help with the loads. All in all we were 3 guys and 6 goats. My hunting partner who also had a tag is a bad a$$ athlete and I never have to worry about him being in shape.

We made one scouting water haul a month before the hunt and then it was go time. It took about all day to get to camp, and we truly pushed ourselves and the goats to the limit, but we made it to camp. My other buddy with the tag had gone up a couple days earlier to scout before the hunt but was not seeing the numbers of deer expected nor any good bucks. We had a full moon working against us and the heat, but we stuck to it. Once the hunt started we kept at it but found no shooter bucks in our base camp area. We glassed up one possible buck far off but decided to check another area and do a night a few miles from camp.


After setting up our tent I started glassing and wouldn’t ya know it I spotted a large body deer and what I figured was a 4 point frame under the shade of some pines across the canyon. It was on and I had to hurry my way across the mountain to have a chance at him. I took off and left my friend back to glass. If the buck took off, he would signal me with a yellow container we had. I hit the back side of the mountain and made my way up to a saddle near the buck. I edged over slowly and looked 1,600 yards across at my buddy—no signal—buck was still there. I crept through some boulders then noticed an antler below me moving. It was a smaller buck out feeding below. I ranged the smaller buck at 110 yards below then I belly crawled onto a flat boulder to give me some shooting visibility over the sage brush. I then see a large 4 point antler coming into view behind the other deer and know it’s my buck. In this state the muzzleloaders are open sights only and with practice I’m good to 200 yards+ so I’m ready. I bear down on the good buck and place the cross hairs on his lungs and bang! He kicks, I see red pour from his side as he covers 100 yards and then tips over. I perfect double lung shot.



I make my way to him and am quite surprised to find he is a 4X3—still a great deer for me. My buddy makes his way down to me to help with the haul out, it was only 900’ straight up to the trail through some cliffs—no biggie! We stashed the meat in some trees and went back to spike camp. Next morning back to base camp to get goats and my other friend then it’s load up time and away we go to climb a mountain then head to the truck through boulder fields and nastiness —another long long day! What a great time had with two great friends and great goats! I could go on about the goats—they are super interesting animals—very friendly and they can’t kill ya like a horse. They are the only pack animals that could have made this trip. So another adventure in the books—I don’t think I will be putting in for deer on this range again but I will revisit it in the future. I have a future date with a certain feathered creature that keeps eluding me in these cliffs! It’s a magically painful place!

Plant Cloud Sky Mountain Bedrock
Sky Cloud Plant Military camouflage Hunting


Cloud Sky Plant Working animal Mountain
Cloud Sky Plant Bedrock Mountain
 

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Sounds like you had a great hunt! And great looking buck. I've always been curious about pack goats and what using them would be like.
 

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Awesome hunt, buck and story. Thanks for sharing.
 

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Sounds like a great adventure. Congrats.

How hard was it to get the paperwork and health certificates to cross state lines with the goats?
CO has been a real pain at times with horses. A friend of mine has goats and they would be fun to take instead of the horses.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
How hard was it to get the paperwork and health certificates to cross state lines with the goats?
CO has been a real pain at times with horses. A friend of mine has goats and they would be fun to take instead of the horses.
Gotta have a CVI and a statement from vet saying they don't have Scrapie or come from a Scrapie herd and also saying the goats will be returning or origin and are for 'show'. Breed registry tattoo is ok. Since they are not for market they are exempt from a couple other tests you would otherwise have to do. Not to bad.
 
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