Mike and I crawled to the rock outcropping, peeked over, and were practically blinded by the white flank of a bedded mountain goat. Then two more. All billies.
“What’dya think?” I asked. Mike, a tall, lean mountain guide who I’d teamed up with for this hunt, confirmed my thoughts.
“Just what we’ve been looking for,” he replied. He continued studying the goats through his binocular. “Could probably get a double. But shoot them where they are and they’ll fall off that cliff.”
Our two hunters, Chad and Frank, stood just below us, panting from the long hike and climb, but watching eagerly for any sign that we’d hit pay dirt.
As Chad’s guide, I shouldered the responsibility of field judging a mature animal and assisting him in hunting it safely. Mike’s job was to do the same for his client, Frank. We’d all joined forces to stalk these billies together.
“Guys, we’ve got billies. Three of them. Bedded,” I explained after we’d crawled back.
“Problem is,” Mike continued, “shoot them where they lay and they might jump or roll into the abyss. Busted horns. Ripped hides and pummeled meat. Be a lot of work and probably dangerous pulling them out of there, too.”