After belly crawling to the edge and glassing for several minutes with the hot sun beating down on our backs, it was obvious that the goat had retreated to the cool shade of the rocky ledges he called home, out of sight and safe. The waiting game would begin. With my wife Rose and our oldest son Andrew by our side, I started reflecting on how we had gotten to this point in our life.
When I first met my wife 17 years ago, I quickly learned that not only was she beautiful, smart, and a great mother, but she also loved the outdoors and “hunting” …… JACKPOT! When she was a little girl growing up, Rose’s father Garth would spend a great deal of his time with his daughter in the outdoors teaching her to love and respect the beautiful rugged mountains and vast scenic desert country of our home state of Utah. He taught her to hunt, he taught her to fish, and he taught her to shoot! Garth passed away when Rose was only 19 years old, I never knew him, but I know he looks down on her with a huge smile on his face for the things he taught his little girl and the beautiful woman she has become ….. thanks Dad.
When Rose learned of my obsession with hunting, she too wanted to be included in Utah’s big game and once in a life time draws. Her choices were the bull elk and the beautiful white long haired goats that inhabited the rugged mountains of our home state of Utah.
Two years ago Rose harvested a very nice bull elk with her muzzleloader. She has taken several nice bucks and numerous gobblers. Some of our most memorable hunts have been with my wife, and our family.
Our summer was spent hiking and getting in shape for this strenuous, tough, once in a life time hunt. Her rifle of choice would be the Christensen Arms .257 Weatherby Mag. Like that old Marlin 22 rifle she shot growing up, she was deadly accurate. I knew this girl would be more than ready and prepared for her goat hunt.
Not knowing a lot about the unit that Rose had drawn, I remembered giving Randy Johnson a call. Randy is arguably the best sheep guide in the state and knowing that he lived in Marysville with this Tushar Mountain unit being in his back yard, I knew he would be a great source of information on the area and the goats it held.
Mr. Johnson runs a very successful and respected outfitting business, High Desert Wild Sheep Guides. My respect for him is the utmost. Randy shared his time and information about an area to a non paying hunter who knew very little about this unit and was just trying to put his wife on a respectable billy. Few outfitters would be willing to do what Randy did for us.
I thought back on another call I received from Shane Scott with High Top Outfitters. He was willing to hook me up with one of his young guides who knew the Beaver unit and the goats that roamed its rocky, steep slopes. Cordell Pearson was a young energetic kid that loved spending time in the beautiful, rugged Tushar Mountains. After meeting Cordell a month prior to Rose’s hunt, he took us up to an area that held several good billies. He felt like these goats were trophy class animals because this area seem to have very little hunting pressure and that possibly some of these goats were simply in inaccessible places. After an opening morning attempt on a large billy, that later had to be aborted, the inaccessible statement proved correct.
Not all was lost on that first day. While Rose, Andrew and I were trying to pick our way through the rocky ledges from above, my dad, Gary Rackman and long time friend and hunting buddy, Ray Bridge, had spotted another good billy while glassing from below. Ray felt that not only would this goat be accessible, but that he very likely would be in the same place in the morning.