About the book:
To purchase a copy of 'I Dream in Camo' visit http://www.keepingitincamo.net/
About the author:
Mike Okray has lived in central Wisconsin all his life. As a young boy, the Wisconsin River was his Huckleberry Finn adventure land – full of bullheads and carp. He hunted for ducks in the stink marshes of his backyard and took the occasional prized grouse that somehow flew into the line of his .410 shotgun.
At a young age, his father taught him the fine art of shooting a gun, and it wasn’t long before he began participating in the fall weekend traps shoots held in the area. When he was 17, his father bought him his first real “trapshooting” gun, and he began shooting in a few registered shoots around the state.
In college, Mike formed the first trapshooting team in the history of Lakeland College, and took the team to the 1973 nationals in Lynn Creek, Missouri. He was then invited to participate in the 1973 USA International Championship. In 1974, he won the Wisconsin State Class AA International Clay Championships. He also had a tryout for the 1976 Olympic Games. He formed an international hunting agency called Hunts West Inc. in 1983, which took him on hunting expeditions and adventures around the world. Mike continues to hunt on a non-professional basis to this day.
Author Mike Okray shares a chapter from his humorous new book 'I Dream in Camo'.
Chapter 3: Getting High on Goats
You don’t hear a lot of stories about hunting for mountain goats. Probably because goats aren’t real high (pun intended) on most hunter’s list. Another reason is that most guys who do finally fit a goat hunt into their schedules and get one, don’t get them full mounted. They either don’t want to spend the money it cost or they don’t have the room to display the mount. Let’ face it, a shoulder mount of even a good “Billy” is not real impressive in between your 6x6 Elk and your double shovel caribou. Lots of times it’s last on your list of animals a guy “just has to have!”
That is unless you’re a guy like me! You see, I figured if I waited too long in life, I’d be getting too old to tackle those steep hills that my trophy would be living on and then my dream of nearly killing myself at six thousand feet would be over.
When looking into getting information for your goat hunt, it’s probably best not to know too much. If the typical hunter knew exactly what he was getting into, he probably would not go. There is no way around it; it’s a ball busting hunt, no matter how you look at it.
You’ll always be going up, just a little higher.
When I finally got the nerve, I made sure my will was updated and headed over to British Columbia. Again, it was one of those remote places that usually take 3 days just to get into camp. I flew from my home in Wisconsin to Minneapolis, then on to Spokane where
I would stay overnight. The next day I would fly into base camp where I would spend the night, before my guide would fly us into the tent camp where we would actually start to hunt. All this flying has given me plenty of chances to lose my lunch, so that was another thing to look forward to before the hunt would even start.
Once we got into hunting camp, I met another hunter who was in camp for a day already.
He filled me in on what to expect and that really got my heart pumpin’. No, it wasn’t the fact that we could actually see two nice “Billys” right from camp; it was the fact that the hunter said it was almost impossible to get at the goats we saw because of their inaccessibility. The hunter told me he was gong to give up on the ones we say from camp and go with his guide to another mountain and try his luck there. I figured, hey, I’ve been on tough hunts before, this can’t be that bad. At least it didn’t look that bad from where I was standing! Oh how wrong you can be “camo brain.”
My guide and I started out early the next morning heading toward the two goats who didn’t seem to be moving all that much since we saw them the evening before. The first couple of hours weren’t that bad at all. We occasionally would lose sight of our quarry as we zigzagged throughthe hills and valleys constantly gaining altitude. About half way up, things started to take a change for the worse. I swear if my guide would take his boots off, there would be hoofs instead of toes! That guy could go places I don’t think the goats themselves traveled. It was getting touch keeping up with the guy now and I didn’t dare lose sight of him for fear of getting lost myself. My heart was working in overdrive now and it had nothing to do with the strain of my gun and 30 pound backpack. There were a number of times when I would “hit the wall” (pun intended). We had to climb straight up in so me spots which was a little unnerving, but I had no choice but o keep going or lose sight of where my guide was headed. If I lost him, I would know where to step next! I finally yelled to him to hold up a minute to catch my breath. We sat together on a small flat spot overlooking an absolutely gorgeous valley, when just then a “Billy” shows up not more than 50 yards right below us. I couldn’t believe it! There was this beautiful goat right in front of us. What do you think I said? “No, looks too small – 8 inches – but I think we can do better.” No way, he looked good enough to me, especially at such a short distance, and the goat never knew we were there. He continued moving slowly away grazing as he went. A little later, the goat stopped again and at this point he was about 200 yards away.
It was at this point my guide lost his spotting scope on the goat and gave him a long look.
He said, “You know I think I misjudged him earlier, I’ll be he’ll go ten inches or more.”
What? He actually GREW in the last ten minutes? “I think you should just take him,” the guide whispered. Geez, I had an easy shot at 50 yards, but he wasn’t big enough; now he’s 200 yards away and I’ve got to lob one in there. So I bolt one into the chamber and put the crosshairs on his shoulder. As the gun sounded, the Billy jumped and took off.
“Missed,” the guided yelled who was watching through his spotting scope. I bolted another one in the chamber. Now he was running uphill! I led him about three feet and pulled the trigger. The goat vanished from our sight and I wasn’t sure I made contact or if the goat just dropped out of sight! We quickly scrambled over to the spot where we last saw him and found him piled up in big, white ball.
Things couldn’t have turned out better. I got a great trophy on the first day of the hunt. I got to see an unbelievably beautiful part of the world and I wouldn’t have to find out if I would have the stamina to put a death march in the mountains for another nine days. Now to just find that elevator we came up here on…