“Xtreme” Repelling Retrieval of Billy Goat, Shot with Mathews Z7 Xtreme
My name is Cole Kramer and 10 months out of the year I spend my life guiding & hunting in Alaska. My 5th Mountain Goat hunt would take place on Kodiak Island in Alaska. I was able to make a 45 yard shot with my Mathews Z7 Xtreme, expiring the Billy Goat quickly. Unfortunately though, the billy had made his way out onto a ledge that I simply could not get to. After several attempts & night falling I made a call to a fellow guide and friend to get his thoughts. My friend Jason Bunch is a member of the U.S. Coast Guard and is an expert in any sort of rescue mission. Jason was so stoked for me that I had shot my 5th mountain goat with a bow!! And although I was extremely ecstatic as well, I was also very stressed on how we’d retrieve the goat. Jason suggested a repealing retrieval. It seemed a little extreme; however, I knew it was our only option if I’d want to recover my goat. While on the phone, I overheard Jason yelling to see if anyone was interested in the Rescue Unit to help get this goat off a ledge… and with seconds we had a team of volunteers ready to take action! It was Thanksgiving Eve and I couldn’t believe the support from strangers willing to help recover my goat!
So at 5 AM the next morning, we trudged back up the snow covered mountain in tow. The team would consist of Jason Bunch, Rob Emley & Jason McGrath. It was a beautiful Thanksgiving Day; one that I’ll certainly never forget. We made it to the goat and assessed the situation. We decided to repel the 70 feet to the ledge to retrieve my goat. The whole time I was worried about taking these guys from their families on Thanksgiving but they were so happy to be there to help. Everyone wanted to repel to the ledge but there was only room for two of us. Jason McGrath being the most experienced rope handler would repel first then i would follow.
The repel went smooth & I was so excited to finally put my hands on the Billy! There was no room to dress and properly take care of the Billy on the small ledge. So after a few pictures I shoved the goat off & 4 seconds of hang –time later, the goat landed in a huge snow drift below with no damage! McGrath & I carefully made our way off the ledge. Two of the guys had to return to their families for Thanksgiving dinner. I couldn’t thank the Emley & McGrath enough for their gracious service. Bunch was able to get an extension from his extremely understanding wife and stayed… refusing to leave until the job was done. We pack out the goat out and within hours we were enjoying Thanksgiving with our families. I truly had a lot to be thankful for and one heck of an adventure to remember to say the least.
The thing that truly amazes me, is that we have people out there so eager to help.. Two of the guys I had never met before that day but yet they never questioned helping out a person in need on a holiday. Maybe it’s in their nature as Coast Guard Rescue, or maybe it’s the bond all hunters share, but either way I’m very thankful to have amazing people out there to help others in a time of need.
“Nothing better than getting home from a long winter of traveling & the taxidermist has a surprise waiting…! Can’t tell you how amazing it feels to see this ol guy again… People ask why we hunters mount animals… I do it because I feel that it truly respects this beautiful animal! Every time I see this I will be reminded of that amazing hunt Thanksgiving day (the effort it took to crawl within bow range, freezing cold, watching from above, waiting to draw for my shot at 26 yards while this ten year old warrior dominated the young goats trying to get to his nannies..) Everything went to use.. The meat, hide & horns.. The only thing left behind was a few bones & those serve as chew toys for my dog.” Cole Kramer