2018 GOAT HUNT By Gerald Puckett
In the spring of 2018 I decided I wanted to go Mountain Goat Hunting. I’ve done my research and decided on Southeast Alaska Guiding, Hans Baertle. I was concerned about my age. At 59 maybe I had waited too long. I contacted Hans and booked my hunt.
I’m a logger and considered myself to be in good shape. Hans asked me how much I weighed and my height. At first that time I was 210 lb at 5’10. Hans told me I’m a little on the heavy side. So, it was diet time. I lost 20 lb in 5 months. I practiced shooting every week out to 500 yards. I worked out seven days a week. When October came I thought I am ready...
First day of the hunt we took the boat and glassed the mountains for billies. No snow early, so the goats were up high. Looking up the mountains I thought to myself I had not trained nearly enough. I had my doubts of ever reaching the top.
We had spotted some billies about 4000 feet. So the next morning after a great breakfast we sat out in the boat. We started climbing at 7 am, my guide Lucas and Hans’s wife Nataliya with her camera. About 1 hour in I asked if anyone ever quit. They told me I’ll be fine and to set my own pace. If not for their gentle coaching I would have quit. 6 hours later we were 700 yards from the top. In my mind I was done ready to go back down. They kept telling me just couple more yards. We made 339 yards then I knew I could not go on. Lucas went ahead in a few minutes returned and told me he had spotted a goat over the next crest. It was another 400 yards. So with more coaching we pushed on. A few feet from the crest he told me to load my rifle. I thought this is really going to happen. We peeked over the crest... there he was 310 yards looking right at us. I settled down on my pack. Lucas was still coaching, telling me to take my time and get comfortable. My first shot was good. Then two more for good measure. The goat was down it was late in the day. So Lucas and Nataliya went ahead to work up the goat. I would have showed them down and I needed the rest for the climb down. It took 7 hours up but only 4 to get down sliding on my bottom as much as I could. The little boat was a beautiful sight at the bottom.
I cannot express my gratitude enough to Hans and his crew for the way they kept urging me on. If you want to go goat hunting go with Southeast Alaska Guiding, Hans and his crew will make every effort to fill your goat tag.
Sincerely, Gerald Puckett