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Author Topic: Goat Rocks West OIL Journey  (Read 15177 times)

Offline tman24

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Goat Rocks West OIL Journey
« on: October 10, 2021, 09:20:40 PM »
So I was the lucky applicant that was drawn for a Mountain Goat for Goat Rocks West.  I was ecstatic when I found out and then the reality set in.  I have no idea how to even begin to hunt a mountain goat.  I have hunted my whole life on the Olympic Peninsula for deer and Mt. St. Helens monument and Willapa Hills for elk.   I have no issue putting in the work and I'm always up for a challenge.  I started scouring all information about hunting mountain goats and Goat Rocks.  I was also lucky to have jackelope reach our and provide me with invaluable information about his experience hunting mountain goats in goat rocks.  I also read his 34 page thread documenting his hunt on this site. 

First thing was to get all information I could to identify a mature billy and then how do I get in position to kill him in a spot that I can get to him.  Both easier said than done.  I started taking all identification tests that most states offer when that have a mountain goat hunt.   I also watched all videos that I could find on mountain goats.  I also have never stepped foot in Goat Rocks.  I started internet scouting Goat Rocks area also.  I was anxious to get boots on the ground and get up in the mountains and start scouting. 

My plan was to start at Berry Patch and go up to goat lake and glass everything I can get glass on.  My first trip was in late July.  The trailhead is 3 hrs. from my front door and I arrived at 7 am for my day scout trip.  I was shocked at how many vehicles and people were at the trailhead.  I read it was a popular trail, but that blew my mind on the amount of people at Berry Patch.  I found a parking spot and got going up the hill.  My first mistake I realize is I dressed too warmly.  I get a couple miles in and start stripping off everything that I can to get cooler on my hike.  I drop into Jordan Basin and look out over the basin and see a wall of fog.  Kind of disappointing.  I decided to continue up to goat lake.  As i was making my way up,  I would glass the few seconds that fog would roll out and the new fog roll in.  I get to goat lake and see a sea of tents.  Take a lunch and then start my way back to Berry Patch.  On the way back, the valley cleared up and I was able to glass a lot of ground.  No goats seen this day. 

My next trip was in August.  This time i decided to head out from Snowgrass.  I again get to the trailhead early and still in disbelief about how many people are at the trailhead.  My plan is to go to goat lake from this side of the trail.  Weather was good, but couldn't find a goat.  I make it to goat lake and finally find some goats in the little basin at goat lake.  Finally found what I'm looking for.  I only have binos on this trip and realize that I need a my spotting scope in order to get a better idea of what I'm looking at..  I'm almost positive that it was a family group of nannies and kids, but I can't be completely positive.  Another thing that I see that has me concerned, is how do I get to them.  I thought I should be able to get on a ridge, but looking at that plan, I'm not too sure.  On a side note, a lot of the hikers on both of these trips were interested on what I was looking for and were very pleasant to talk to and even offered me different locations of where they have seen goats.  It was great talking to them and they were all polite and a pleasure sharing information.  I decide that I would come back in late September on my next trip and this time be ready for a hunt. 

Late September rolls in and I'm disappointed with my archery elk hunt from a few weeks earlier.  I have my 17 year old son with me and we get to Berry Patch early and I'm surprised that there are only a half dozen vehicles at the trail head.  We start up the trail and didn't run into anyone until we drop into Jordan Basin.  Weather is clear and we can see alot of ground.  We glass, then move and repeat.  We finally see a goat across the basin on a rock face.  It's a lone goat, and we try to hurry to get the spotting scope out to try to identify the goat.  We were not fast enough as the goat went straight up the rock face and then over the ridge.  My son asked how we get to him and I explain our options.  Go down and thru the basin and climb up the other side or go up the valley to the beginning of the ridge and work down the ridge.  We start going up the ridge and realize that we are hours from getting to the last location of the goat.  We decide to continue glassing and see if we can find more goats.  We get up to Hawkeye Point and see a goat above goat lake.  We wanted to get a closer look, so we head to goat lake.  We can see the goat as we go down the trail to goat lake.  We get near goat lake and realize that we cannot see the goat.  We don't have an angle.  We work our way back and see the goat again.  This time we see a couple of other goats with this goat.  I'm guessing some nannies and kids again.  We have ran put of time and head back down the mountain to the truck.  Our feet and backs hunt and both think we packed too heavy for this trip.  We get home late and tell the wife, in order to properly give myself a proper chance at getting a goat, I'm going to have to camp as long as I can in the unit and hopefully the weather holds out. 

I learned from jackelope's thread that weather is a concern.  I start watching the weather and see that we may have an opportunity on Saturday the 9th of October for a day trip.  We decide to go up the Lily Basin trail to look at the opposite ridge  of the solo goat we saw and to check out Johnson mountain, Heart Lake and try to make it to Hawkeye Point. We get to the trailhead and we're the only vehicle at the site.  We make our way up the trail and I'm impressed on the trail volunteers that remove the trees out of the trail and keep it maintained.  They do an awesome job.  We catch glimpses of Packwood Lake on the way up but also see fog up the trail ahead of us.  I pray that it clears when we get up there, but it wasn't happening.  We get glimpses of the area but not long enough to pick out a goat.  There is a skiff of snow in the whole upper area and creek crossings are frozen.  Disappointment sets in again as we come back down.   Bright side is there is a lot of the season left and I have time to get back into the area.  My unknowns and questions I have so far.  Does weather move goats down?  Do they get as far down as to Snowgrass Flats or Heart Lake?  Is there a way to know if fog is in the area?  Are there other areas in Goat Rocks, west of the PCT that I should focus on? I'm debating on weather to start packing micro spikes, crampons or snow shoes. Do I pack one, two or all three of the items? 

I appreciate your time reading my story and plan on updating this tread as I continue on my journey. 

Offline elkrack

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Re: Goat Rocks West OIL Journey
« Reply #1 on: October 10, 2021, 09:50:33 PM »
If your still looking for areas to explore look at the ridgeline between Hawkeye point Johnson peak. A lot of goats on that ridgeline :tup:
life's tough its tougher if your stupid (john wayne)

If you ain’t first your last☝🏻

Offline jackelope

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Re: Goat Rocks West OIL Journey
« Reply #2 on: October 10, 2021, 09:56:07 PM »
Happy to help if you want. PM me.
:fire.:

" In today's instant gratification society, more and more pressure revolves around success and the measurement of one's prowess as a hunter by inches on a score chart or field photos produced on social media. Don't fall into the trap. Hunting is-and always will be- about the hunt, the adventure, the views, and time spent with close friends and family. " Ryan Hatfield

My posts, opinions and statements do not represent those of this forum

Offline Skyvalhunter

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Re: Goat Rocks West OIL Journey
« Reply #3 on: October 11, 2021, 06:02:24 AM »
Good luck on the hunt
The only man who never makes a mistake, is the man who never does anything!!
The further one goes into the wilderness, the greater the attraction of its lonely freedom.

Offline jowings22

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Re: Goat Rocks West OIL Journey
« Reply #4 on: October 11, 2021, 07:28:53 AM »
Good luck on the hunt! Thanks for taking us along!

Offline jackelope

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Goat Rocks West OIL Journey
« Reply #5 on: October 11, 2021, 08:35:20 AM »
I'll answer what I can from what I learned. That's all the mountain goat experience I have.

I ended up in Jordan Basin the weekend of 10/14. There was 2.5-3' of snow on the ground up there. It sucked. The goats were still there.  I was worried about being able to see them, but learned quickly that they're almost a pale yellow color against the snow background. Once you see one, you learn they're not too hard to pick out.
Also, they'll dig out the snow to get to the vegetation and eat. Once we found those spots, there was almost always a goat nearby. I think the goats will eventually move down once the big snow hits, but not right away like deer. I think they'll go into the trees where the snow is not as deep.

I'm 99% sure there are goats at Heart Lake. Not sure about Snowgrass Flat.

I don't know about knowing if there is going to be fog. I would almost say to plan on there always being some degree of fog this time of year.

I packed micro-spikes but never used them. The 14th weekend when I was up there I would have paid hundreds of dollars to have snowshoes, but I'm not sure about the weight penalty of carrying them, especially when it's cold and you have to carry extra gear. I would pack micro-spikes and trekking poles. Honestly in my opinion, if you're up there when you need snowshoes, you maybe shouldn't be in the places that the goats live.

There are a lot of spots on the west side of the unit where you'll find goats, but the biggest concentrations of goats are in the areas you're already in as I recall.

Judging by the weather forecast, it's going to get ugly up there this week. Pray for a warm spell. I killed mine 10/28/17. It was 65 degrees and there was almost no snow up there 2 weeks after I was sure my hunt was over and I was going to eat my tag.
« Last Edit: October 11, 2021, 08:45:46 AM by jackelope »
:fire.:

" In today's instant gratification society, more and more pressure revolves around success and the measurement of one's prowess as a hunter by inches on a score chart or field photos produced on social media. Don't fall into the trap. Hunting is-and always will be- about the hunt, the adventure, the views, and time spent with close friends and family. " Ryan Hatfield

My posts, opinions and statements do not represent those of this forum

Offline jackelope

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Re: Goat Rocks West OIL Journey
« Reply #6 on: October 11, 2021, 08:43:04 AM »
10/14 weekend



10/28 weekend.

:fire.:

" In today's instant gratification society, more and more pressure revolves around success and the measurement of one's prowess as a hunter by inches on a score chart or field photos produced on social media. Don't fall into the trap. Hunting is-and always will be- about the hunt, the adventure, the views, and time spent with close friends and family. " Ryan Hatfield

My posts, opinions and statements do not represent those of this forum

Offline jackelope

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Re: Goat Rocks West OIL Journey
« Reply #7 on: October 11, 2021, 08:45:22 AM »
:fire.:

" In today's instant gratification society, more and more pressure revolves around success and the measurement of one's prowess as a hunter by inches on a score chart or field photos produced on social media. Don't fall into the trap. Hunting is-and always will be- about the hunt, the adventure, the views, and time spent with close friends and family. " Ryan Hatfield

My posts, opinions and statements do not represent those of this forum

Offline jackelope

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Re: Goat Rocks West OIL Journey
« Reply #8 on: October 11, 2021, 08:52:10 AM »
PS...the easiest way to get to the other side of Jordan Basin is to walk to the head of the basin and then across and back down the other side. It's probably a 2-3 hour trip, but way easier than dropping down into the trees and back up the other side.
:fire.:

" In today's instant gratification society, more and more pressure revolves around success and the measurement of one's prowess as a hunter by inches on a score chart or field photos produced on social media. Don't fall into the trap. Hunting is-and always will be- about the hunt, the adventure, the views, and time spent with close friends and family. " Ryan Hatfield

My posts, opinions and statements do not represent those of this forum

Offline hunterednate

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Re: Goat Rocks West OIL Journey
« Reply #9 on: October 11, 2021, 09:22:54 AM »
Thanks for posting this. Rooting for you!

Offline whacker1

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Re: Goat Rocks West OIL Journey
« Reply #10 on: October 11, 2021, 10:17:44 AM »
tagging along

Offline Jpmiller

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Re: Goat Rocks West OIL Journey
« Reply #11 on: October 11, 2021, 10:20:15 AM »
I don't have any advice but can offer my well wishes and my jealousy. Good luck up there!

Offline Big6bull

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Re: Goat Rocks West OIL Journey
« Reply #12 on: October 11, 2021, 10:38:39 AM »
Keep at it, this is a good time to get one before worse weather and nice hair length :tup: :tup:
Good luck

Offline X-Force

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Re: Goat Rocks West OIL Journey
« Reply #13 on: October 11, 2021, 11:14:12 AM »
Cool thread.

Goat country is awesome
People get offended at nothing at all. So, speak your mind and be unapologetic.

Offline Skinnyguts

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Re: Goat Rocks West OIL Journey
« Reply #14 on: October 11, 2021, 01:21:57 PM »
PM sent

 


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