A Thanksgiving of a lifetime
Not too many people like to stray from their families during Thanksgiving. It’s a special holiday celebrated with great food, great people while taking in the American tradition of watching football.
But Jesse Place wanted to forgo the turkey and football to participate in another sport in at a location he may never get the chance to experience ever again.
Place headed up to Alaska to go on a guided Mountain Goat hunt with Hans Baertle fromSoutheast Alaska Guiding. Place, who works in law enforcement, said he tries to do as much hunting as he can in the lower 48, including trips to Colorado and Montana, but has never been to Alaska.
“I always wanted to go to Alaska, and so I guess I’d hit two birds with one stone,” he said.
Instead of hitting two birds with one stone, Place took down a massive Alaskan mountain goat with one bullet.
Place and Hans started tracking the 9-year old mountain goat Thanksgiving morning from their boat anchored on the coast of Alaska. From there, the two headed on to the mountain to try and track him down. Just walking up to get a better look at the Billy was an adventure on its own, basically climbing a mountain while chasing down their prize.
“It took us two to three hours to hike up to the spot, and it wasn’t an easy walk,” said Place, who resides in Minnesota. “We walked through the trees, a ravine, and one spot there was a tree that was knocked down in to the ravine, it was really pretty.”
This Billy was on a hunt of its own, too, trying to chase down a Nanny and her Kid.
When Place and Hans finally found a spot to post up for the shot, they were were basically looking on to another mountain to where the goats were. Place said he basically had to shoot at a point when the goat walked out, which is exactly what happened.
“It was definitely a challenge to get up there and we had to hope for the best, but it really worked out well for us,” Place recalled. “They had a group of [goats] up there and we couldn’t see him at all. And then, a small one came out, then mom came out, and he followed her down.
Place poses with his Mountain Goat during a Thanksgiving 2012 hunt.
“It was a nice opportunity to see them in action. We watched them for a long time before we took the animal because there was only a small window of opportunity where the animal had to be in order to take the shot, so we just watched the animal. Then to finally have it to come into that window was pretty good experience.”
The goat was huge. A big bodied male with mature horns. Place said he was in the middle of getting some work done on the hide back home, and when it’s finally complete, he’ll have some stories to tell. Fortunately for Place, though, he won’t have to say much about his 2012 Thanksgiving. Coming along with Hans during these Alaskan guided hunts is his wife, who takes along her video camera along for documentation. When Place came back to Minnesota to share his adventure, all he had to do was pop in the video.
“It’s much easier doing that than trying to explain what I experienced,” Place said.
It might be the first and last video of Place on a hunt though. This was his first ever guided hunt and he thinks it will probably be his last based on the incredible hunt, hospitality Hans offers, and wildlife only found in Alaska.
“I don’t want to go on another one because I don’t know if it could be topped.”