My dad has been hunting since he was 9 years old. Falling nothing short from your typical dedicated hunter. He spent every waking moment prepping for his hunting trips studying and scouting the animals. After a successful hunting trip, our family was thankful for all the hard work that is put into harvesting the animal. I also looked forward to his exhilarating stories at the dinner table. So fascinated by what my dad would share about his hunting trip, I was ready to turn these stories into my own reality. I was ready to be a hunter.
Being a naive new hunter, I naturally asked my dad to help me apply to these controlled hunts. He helped me choose each hunt series. Informing me that over time my likelihood of being selected would increase with the amount of points I accumulated. The only expectation I had was to spend quality time with my dad, absorb new information, have fun, and appreciate the opportunities I get to interact with the beautiful animals and country.
Fast forward to the week of draw results. I admittedly did not pencil this date in my agenda. My friends excitingly announced their tags on social media, reminding me to check. I was at my parents house when I learned my dad drew a deer tag. He reassured me again that if I didn't draw a tag this year I eventually will, because it is unlikely my first year. Scrolling through ODFW app with my dad I starting from the top.” Buck deer NOT selected, premium elk NOT selected, premium buck deer NOT selected, Elk NOT selected, pronghorn antelope NOT selected, premium pronghorn antelope NOT selected...” My dad started to walk away when I got to the last submission application.
“Hey dad I was selected for the Rocky mountain goat tag” I said eagerly. Coming by surprise because I actually drew a tag my first year. Not realizing that by some fluke my name was randomly chosen for THIS once-in-a-lifetime tag.
My dad whipping his head around and responding with “WHAT, you’re kidding right?”
“Uhh... no, take a look yourself” I said
“You realize that is the hardest tag to draw in Oregon? Once-in-a-life time!” the enthusiasm in his voice began to increase.
My family and I celebrated at dinner that night.
The morning of opening day we attempted to stalk two goats we located across from camp. After startling the goats that morning we strategized a different plan of attack. It was only opening day so it was important to sustain their peaceful environment. Rather than disrupting them this early in season we wanted them to naturally cross paths with us.
This second approach, we instead positioned ourselves below elevation to where we last saw the twos goats bedded down. Putting us about 1000 yards away from them, we patiently waited for them. I comfortably positioned myself and the gun on a rock, about 20 yards ahead of my helpful coach, my dad. As we were awaiting for the goats to appear, a lone Billy jumped from a flat area hidden by trees, onto a steep cliff. He perch himself directly in our line of site. At this point he was obvious to the naked eye. Closing the distance between us and him 250 yards. The beauty of the creature in such a close proximity grabbed all my attention. The only thing left was the sound of my heart beat and breath. This distance felt a little uncomfortable for me because the times I practiced shooting the rifle was only approximately 100 yards, not to mention a level surface area. Sadly we lost track of him but we knew he was close.
I was aware of the physiology of my body being affected by adrenaline. So I was sure to repeat to myself “deep breath, be patient, don’t rush, pull the trigger slow, and make sure its a good shot”. Easier said than done right?
Briefly distracted by the scrambled chaos in my brain my dad quietly made a sound behind me “PSSST”.
I looked up cliff and there stood that beautiful albino beast looking directly at me. I was spotted. I gently and swiftly adjusted my 280 Remington Browning A-Bolt toward him. Gazing through my scope, the Billy stood head on. I waited patiently for his next move. It felt like a staring competition for about 4 minutes before his curiosity soon faded. He broke eye contact and gracefully traveled up the cliff presenting broad side. Shortly after traveling a couple yards up the cliff, he stopped. I was sure to take 60 seconds to regroup myself before I committed to pulling the trigger. I noticed a faint tremor when I attempted to steady the cross hairs on the goat. Taking one last deep breath, as I exhaled, I gently squeezed the trigger and sent a 150gr. Nosler Partition bullet towards my target. Time went still.
After the shot I hear my dad yell “SHOOT AGAIN HE’S STILL STANDING”.
I missed. I took another deep breath, and pulled the trigger again. The goat dropped to the ground in one shot and tumbled down the cliff. Thankfully a rock stopped him before falling off the cliff.
Every night prior to this hunting trip, I dreamt vividly about this very moment. Some were dark, fearing that I would leave this trip empty handed and disappointed. Others dreams were driven by the eagerness and excitement of tagging out. This feeling of success exceeded my expectation. The beauty of this animal up close was surreal.
If my story can make any impactful difference in this world, I would like it to be a tool in communicating and connecting with others. To hunt, to care, and to show compassion to animals but to harvest them wisely and respectfully. Sharing this story so everyone can also experience this once-in-a-lifetime tag with me.
You can hear from Alyssa in her own words during her interview on The Big Game Hunting Podcast to learn more about the details of her hunt and how the Nosler Partition performed on that mountain goat!