My plan was to only eat what I hunted or found while I was out there. Keeping this in mind, I had roused the pigeons out of the hut and taken their eggs for breakfast. Pigeon eggs are delicious with goat meat by the way…. Very creamy. I had about 3 days worth of meat in the cooler as I was eating goat for every meal and with this in mind, I knew I had to start figuring the hunting out. I had one day for scouting and two days for hunting keeping in mind that I was on my own and had to learn about how to hunt these goats on this land.
My cousin had directed me to a water source that he thought the goats were coming to daily and I knew from talking to Jack that the best chance to get a goat would be first thing in the morning or last thing in the evening. I got up before the blood red dawn while the stars were still shining in the sky and began the 3km hike to the water source. I got there just on daylight and scouted around for the best place to observe my prey. There was a light breeze blowing that directed me to a large bush about 10 metres away from the water. From this spot I would be downwind from any goats approaching and it was a good distance for my poundage bow. I settled in to wait.
It wasn’t long before I started to hear the distinct calls of goats echoing through the hillside. I peaked around from behind the bush and saw a mob of about thirty goats almost charging down the slopes in their eagerness to water. In super dry weather, they need to water every day. I knew that the goats would be more skittish coming in and a little more sluggish going out with their bellies full of water. I also was aware that goats are heavy and the two little nannies I had shot with Jack had been hard enough to lug out with help so I was better off trying for a goat before it had watered as it would be lighter for me to process. These thoughts and more were flooding through my head as I waited behind my cover.
Suddenly the smell of billy goat swept in through the air. For those of you who have smelt billy, you will know exactly what I mean and for those of you who haven’t, trust me, once you have smelled it, you can never unsmell it or wonder what it is again. In herds like this, the male goat is continually peeing on himself with urine containing all his juicy male pheromones. It is this rank odor that can be smelled from quite a distance away. My heart began to race as not moments later I heard the sound of hooves on dry dirt. Even though this was just a rekkie trip today, my mind went to the place I needed it to be in for a real hunt. I checked my line of sight and moved slowly into a position I would be able to shoot from. As the goats filtered into the water, they jostled for position paying no attention to me. I looked to their stance, how long they posed for, where my arrow would need to go for a clean kill, how long they drank for once they started and how they moved when they left. All these things I filed away in my mind as I documented where and when I would have taken a shot. As this herd drank their fill and started to move out, I heard the sound of another herd coming in and I slipped away in case my presence startled any of them enough to make them change their behavior. I had seen enough.