Adam Pulley, aka alp75 here at MonsterMuleys.com, had himself a great goat hunt.
Adam writes, "Well, I am the kind of guy that when it comes to hiking I would rather go short and steep than long and drawn out. So instead of taking the 8 mile hike up the trail into middle basin, we parked at the highline trailhead and went straight over the top of the ridge into the basin.
I have hiked this ridge a half dozen times this year while scouting and when I got to the top I saw something I haven't seen once. All of the goats were down low in some great terrain to shoot a goat.
There was one group of ten on a higher shelf about a half mile away (and down 1000ft) and another four on a lower shelf about 3/4 of a mile away.
We hurried down the steep slope quickly to get a closer look at the first group of goats. We closed the distance to a couple hundred yards and found mostly nannies and kids with one or two younger billies in the group.
We decided to move on to group #2. When we got to within a couple hundred yards of this group we found nothing that got me excited. While sitting there wondering what to do I began to glass the hill sides. About another 1/2 mile further down the basin I notice another group of goats making there way towards us and still low in the rocks just above the lake. So once again we moved to get a closer view.
Once within about 500 yards we got set up and began watching them. We found mostly nannies and a few kids in this group of 13 goats. But two were billies and one I felt was a shooter. I started ranging and found the goats to be around 450 yards out, but they were working towards us. About 350 yards out was a cliff band that they could either go above or below. If they went below they would come right to us. If the went above, we would lose sight of them and have to circle back around for a shot.
I got my bipods set up and put my pack under the butt to get a nice steady shot and waited. At this point I was unsure weather I was going to take the shot or not. It was so early in the hunt and very early in the 3 days we had planned to hunt the basin. Plus I knew there is a bigger goat somewhere in the area, although I have only seen him once in the dozens of times spent scouting.
Well he was about to walk up behind the cliff band and out of sight and I let him have it. He was 358 yards out and the shot hit him perfect. He staggered, walked downhill about 30 yards and dropped and was done. It was 10 am the first day in. By 2 PM we had him caped, quartered and camp set up. We relaxed, waited out a nasty rain/hail storm and got a good nights rest.
The next day, we packed up our packs and dumped all of the food we brought to last us the 3 days we were going to be in there and realized just how heavy those packs still were!
Needless to say, it was a miserable hike out with packs over 80 lbs each. But I do want to give a HUGE, HUGE thanks to my good friend Aaron who after having some bad luck getting the flu for the last four days of his elk hunt, still made the hike in with me and helped me every bit of the way. Then when all was said and done he packed out and incredibly heavy pack up and over a steep ridge back to the truck. THANKS AARON!
With all said and done I am very pleased. He is not the brute I had seen previously, but he was a good goat and in a great area for a shot. I threw a tape on him and he measured 47 4/8". After putting a tape on him I am sure the bigger billy in the area could go over 50"."