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B&C World's Record - Rocky Mountain Goat

World's Record Rocky Mountain Goat

In 2011, in British Columbia, Canada, Heidi Gutfrucht guided Troy M. Sheldon to this World's Record Rocky Mountain goat.

My longtime hunting friend, Carey Renner, and I have a bucket list of hunts we want to complete before we can no longer go after big game. We take turns picking out the species to pursue, and in 2011 it was my choice. I suggested the Rocky Mountain goat (Oreamnos americanus) because it’s one of North America's most challenging animals. With Carey onboard, we did our research, finally choosing guide Heidi Gutfrucht of Northwest Ranching and Outfitting in British Columbia, Canada, to lead us. To ensure the mountain goat’s hide would have maximum length and fullness, we booked a late-season hunt to begin October 1. 


As I prepared for the expedition, I scoured the Internet to determine what I might expect. Several articles provided guidance on what I had to look forward to, how to physically prepare for the journey, and what should be carried in my backpack. It soon became clear that I should have put more effort into physical preparation, and a bit less on what I deemed necessary to be packed (except for the mole skin and duct tape which, when combined, are the most effective resources for hotspots and blisters!).

We arrived at our destination, Telegraph Creek, by way of connecting flights from Vancouver, Smithers, and Dease Lake. Heidi met us at the landing strip and after a quick lunch we were on our way up the Stikine River to start the backpack trip into our base camp. About four hours into our climb, we reached the halfway point up the mountain. Being a free market advocate, I told Heidi that I had about $1,000 in my pocket for anyone who would rent me a mule or packhorse. She seemed to find that incredibly funny.

Since this was a two-hunter/one-guide trip, Carey and I agreed to swap first-shot rights each day. After six days of walking up and down the mountains, and seeing a fair amount of nannies with kids—but no accessible billies—Carey and I started to doubt our bucket pick. When we stopped for a quick lunch at a large ravine Carey dug two quarters out of his pocket. He gave me one and took the other, saying we needed to change our luck. We made wishes and pitched those quarters down the 4,000-foot ravine. Throughout the day we did see some nice billies, but again they were inaccessible. When we returned to base camp, and as we enjoyed a freeze-dried beef stroganoff, Carey said he felt the following day would be a good one. 

The next morning, October 8, we were up and out of the spike camp at sunlight trying to reach a ridge about three hours away. Heidi had seen some good goat activity there the day before. This day was overcast, with a light rain, and about 40 degrees. When we neared the ridge we crawled the last few yards to glass the other side. Immediately, we saw a very nice billy eating on a plateau among the trees. We glassed him for about 20 minutes, trying to get a good view through the thicket. Finally, he stepped into a clearing and we confirmed that he was, indeed, a nice goat. Before he was concealed again by the thicket, Heidi did a quick laser range showing him 319 yards away, across a 100-yard drop-off, with a five-to seven mile per hour crosswind to deal with. 

It was my turn to shoot. Carey was on the left side of me, and Heidi was on my right. We waited for what seemed to be an eternity for the billy to show himself again (it actually turned out to be only about 20 minutes). Finally, he stepped out between two trees and gave me about a two-foot window through which to shoot. I whispered to Carey, asking what he thought about the shot. He said it was risky, but if I was comfortable, to go ahead. Not a lot of help. I turned to Heidi and she said about the same thing. I took a moment and said, if it was God’s will, please let my bullet fly true. I pulled the trigger, and the billy collapsed. After about a 45-minute hike, we found the goat in a small depression. We dressed him out and started our trip back down the mountain around 1:30 p.m. Later that evening at base camp, Heidi called Carey and me over to where she was fleshing the hide. She told us the billy might be a record. Little did we know just how right her prediction would be!

After the required drying period, the “Half-Buck Billy” officially scored 35-7/8 points for Safari Club International, and 57 points for the Boone and Crockett Club, which made it the pending world record for both organizations. At that score, it exceeded the Boone and Crockett Club’s previous world’s record (two-way tie) by 2/8 of an inch. 

On April 11, 2012, the Boone and Crockett Club assembled a Special Judges Panel in Minneapolis, Minnesota, with veteran Boone and Crockett official measurer Paul D. Webster as its chairman. Its goal was to verify the score and status of my billy. Other panel members included Glenn E. Hisey, Kevin Hisey, Larry Streiff and Pete Carlson, all highly experienced official measurers. Special Judges Panels are assembled anytime a potential new world’s record is accepted. 

I almost missed my appointment with the Special Judges Panel because of a last-minute business meeting I couldn’t miss. So my wife, Deb, delivered the horns to the panel for me. I was told that my billy was scored twice by two teams of two judges each. All differences in scoring were resolved by all four judges with Webster supervising. 

In less than an hour, the Special Judges Panel verified my trophy’s score. When Deb picked it up, Webster said he couldn’t tell her the score because that was the responsibility of Buck Buckner, chairman of B&C’s Records Committee. However, he hinted that the horns measured slightly better than the entry score. I was elated when I heard the news, but the suspense on hearing the final ruling was killing me.

Webster reported the Panel’s findings to Buckner, who called two days later and told me that my billy was accepted as the new world’s record at 57-4/8 points. I was ecstatic with this score and couldn’t wait to tell Heidi and Deb. Not only is my billy a B&C world’s record, but it shattered the old world’s records by an incredible 6/8 of an inch. That may not sound like much, but it is a significant amount when considering goats. It could be a long time before someone takes a better billy. —By Troy Sheldon



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