One of the things I like most about mountain goats is their ability to eat and sleep on cliff faces that would be nearly impossible for a human to climb without technical equipment and expertise. The challenge in hunting them isn’t finding them; instead, the challenge lies in trying to get up to them, and then finessing yourself into a situation where you can take a shot without the animal getting destroyed by falling a few hundred feet into some inaccessible crack in the mountain. Pursuing them takes a lot of dedication. And having the right gear helps things go smoothly—or at least not as rough as they could be.
On my Montana mountain goat hunt in MeatEater Season 10, it wasn’t just the nasty topography we had to contend with. It also snowed on us a lot and temperatures dipped to sub-zero. I spent that week wearing First Lite’s new Catalyst Foundry Pant. It was a good choice. They’re bomb-proof, with comfortable knee-pads for kneeling on frozen ground and the big-ass side zippers that let you air out and cool off when you’re storming up a steep slope. In my view, the First Lite’s entire Foundry Line makes up the best collection of hunting pants on the planet. Period.
Another key to hiking big hills in cold weather is having a way to retain your body heat when it’s time to sit tight and do some glassing from an exposed position out in the wind and cold. For this purpose, I really dig my Chamberlin Down Jacket. The 800-fill down pretty much refuses to let you get cold. It’s also a hell of a way to start or end a frigid day around camp. Zip into that sucker while you shovel down some Peak Refuel biscuits and gravy and you’re cozier than being on your own couch.
The biologist Douglas Chadwick wrote a highly informative book about mountain goat biology called “The Beast The Color of Winter.” It’s a fitting title and resonates especially well after you’ve tried to glass for mountain goats in the middle of a snowstorm. On my hunt, I ran a pair of Vortex Razor UHDs in 10x42. They’re clear, light, and durable enough for years of abuse in the high country. I kept mine handy, while still protected from getting the lenses packed full of snow, inside an FHF Bino Harness Pro-M.
And then, of course, comes the shooting. For this hunt, I chose a Weatherby Mark V Accumark. It’s fairly lightweight that’s comfortable to carry for the long haul, but it’s got enough heft that you can bed it against a backpack for a solid shooting rest. If you watch the show, you’ll see that I whiffed my first opportunity. That was user error, not an equipment failure. In fact, I made a few mistakes on that shot that resulted in me sending a round through the wool on its back. No such mistakes were made on my next opportunity. A tad over 300 yards and the round was in the boiler room. Click here to read more about the guns we used in Season 10.