After 33 years of applying for moose, sheep, and goat, I finally drew one of them. I got a Mountain Goat tag for the Bitterroot Wilderness in the Kootenai Creek drainage. I was the only tag holder for that zone of which the west side of the Bitterroot valley is split into several zones in that district.

I started scouting in July as soon as the snow melted enough so I could get back in the canyon. I also started contacting wardens, biologists, and other folks to give me some insights. My son went scouting with me a few times, and each time we went further and further up the drainage glassing as we went.

I never saw a single goat until I was heading into the North Kootenai Lake on a trip. I was about 3 miles in and saw what I think was a goat across the draw from me and laying in the timber. I could not tell with binoculars if it was a goat or not. Season was not open yet, and this was just a scouting trip. I still had 10 more miles to go to get to the lake to set up camp so I didn't want to take the time to drop my pack and dig my spotting scope out. It's 13 miles by GPS from the trailhead to the lake. I got back to the lake and never saw anything on the way in. I glassed as I went in any likely loooking places. Got back and set up camp at the north lake and began glassing right away. Never saw any goats. Checked out the lake and places to come back and camp in a month at the first of October. Had plans to come back on horse with two friends. The next morning I was not feeling very well and after looking and glassing until noon I decided to head back out. I was going to stay one more full day, but I was throwing up and had some bug of some kind. I hit the trail with a 60 pound pack at noon and made it back to the truck at 9:30 PM. It was a long day and I felt miserable the whole trip out. It still was fun and was amazing to see the beauty back there.

Kootenai Creek

More to follow.