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I tried to post this Sunday, but it said it needed to be approved by a moderator. It still hasn't shown up so I'm going to try to post it again. It is also picture heavy so it needs to be posted in multiple posts so we will see if this works.
Back from my first real scouting trip on my goat tag.
Main goal was to cover ground and get a feel for the different parts of the unit and I succeeded in that. Still a little worried as I didn't see many goats where everyone tells me where they will be during hunting season, but I did find some when I went up higher where there was still some snow.
Got stuck in about an hour long Bisonjam driving through Lamar Valley getting over to the unit from where I was staying in Montana.
Glassed a lot of cliffs. The first evening I saw a nanny and kid at about 50 yards on my side of the canyon and that was it. The next morning I saw a lone goat about 2 miles down the canyon about smack dab in the middle of the cliff.
Click the link for the full sized picture - http://padens.com/v-web/gallery/albu..._west_pano.jpg
Ran the Morrison Jeep trail later that morning and afternoon from the top side and saw about 30 head of elk up on top, but no goats. Some really pretty country though. This is the drainage that ends up in Deep Lake.
Full size pano - http://padens.com/v-web/gallery/albu...inage_pano.jpg
It looked pretty rough to try to drop down into from the top. There is a trail that goes up to it from the bottom that will be an option later in my hunt if we aren't seeing anything in the other spots.
I was told this was a cellular antenna, but there is no power coming to it and those don't look like any solar panels I've ever seen. Not sure what it is but it is up in the middle of nowhere.
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On one of the cliffs I was looking at there was a box on a shelf. Another perplexing thing to me. Not sure how you would get to the box without full blown repelling gear. The cliff goes another 300 - 400 feet down under the box too. There was some type of box inside on the upper right corner as well but I couldn't get a good enough picture to show it.
After abandoning all the spots I had been told to check out, I just drove the Beartooth Highway stopping on all the pull outs and glassing for goats. Found this group of 9 nannies. I thought I counted 10 when I was watching them, but all the pictures just have 9 goats in them. These were about 1/2 mile away.
There was a lone goat hanging out about 2 miles away on this cliff right in the center of the picture where the reddish rock is, but he got up and started moving when I was taking pictures. He's (I think it was a billy) the bright white spot moving into the pines about 1/3rd of the way to the left of the screen in this picture.
I tried using a fancy digiscoping setup I bought a few years ago but gave up on it and was just free handing taking pictures with my iPhone through the scope. I'm either going to rig up a cheap adapter with a measuring cup for my iPhone or break down and buy one of the PhoneScope setups off camofire.
This picture has both of the above pictures in it. The nannies were on the closest ridge that runs perpendicular in this picture, the lone goat was on the next ridge that runs parallel in this picture. The mountains in the background are in Montana.
Over the course of 2 1/2 days I saw more elk than goats by a wide margin. Took this picture through my binoculars of some elk sunning themselves on a sand bar on the river.
Almost ran over this band of bighorn ewes running to the Morrison Jeep Trail switchbacks on the last day of scouting. There were a few more higher up the canyon, but no rams that I could see.
Pictures never do hills justice, but this is looking up the switchbacks of the Morrison Jeep Trail going up to the Dillworth Bench. I think there are 21 switchbacks to get to the bench.
This is about 3/4 of the way up looking back down the switchbacks.
This is at the top looking down the last switchback.
I had been warned to bring a spare tire and thankfully at least had a compressor and some plugs. Ended up with a cut in the rear tire of one of the ATVs that took 5 plugs to fill. Somehow it ended up holding until we got back out thankfully!
This is up on the bench looking to the west.
Another shot looking west.
Full size pano - http://padens.com/v-web/gallery/albu..._east_pano.jpg
My definition of what is steep and what isn't has been completely turned on it's head. Grades that I would have never even considered previously are now places where I'm telling myself, "that looks like a good spot if I needed to get up or down that area". I'm also going to try to contact some mountaineering type folks to inquire about recovery options if I end up with a goat down in a spot that is not retrievable for me. Every time I looked over an area I kept asking myself, could I pull the trigger on a goat if it was there? What about there?
Overall I felt like it was a successful trip. Met one local that gave me some really good information that matched up with what one of the guys I had talked to that had the tag a couple years ago told me. Covered a lot of ground and feel like I know my way around the unit a little bit at least. Was somewhat disappointed that I didn't see more goats and any big billies or anything, but from what I've been told they will probably not be in the same spot in 2 months anyway.
This is definitely a different type of hunting than anything I've done before. I swing back and forth between thinking it should be a slam dunk to thinking that there is no way I'm going to fill my tag. Still hoping that with 9 days to hunt that I'll be able to find a nice mature billy in a spot that I can shoot it and recover it.
Still would welcome any suggestions or input.
Awesome. Thanks for sharing. Looks like some rough areas, but I'm sure what should be an awesome time.
Looks like I have full posting privileges now thanks to ScottR!
This is pretty much a copy and paste from my post on HuntTalk but thought I would share it here as well.
Some input there indicated that the box on the cliff may have been a hack box for peregrine falcons when they were being introduced under the ESA. Also someone pointed out that the antenna is really a passive reflector, not really an antenna. They bounce the RF beam off it to get around corners when line-of-sight isn't possible.
Still pretty pumped about the hunt. Still a little worried about what to do if I find a goat during hunting season on one of those cliffs!
Thanks to HayHay98 who gave me some really good information on the unit!
Very cool man, thanks for sharing!!!
"I love my country, I love my guns, I love my family, I love the way it is now, and anybody that tries to change it has to come through me, that should be all of our attitudes, cause this is America!!"
- Charlie Daniels
"Most democrats in WY are not like other democrats (they actually like babies, guns, and the constitution)"
- AT Hiker
Awesome pics! That's some great country up there. Those bisonjam's can be worse than rush hour in a big city. hahaha