Mountain Goat Identification

Harvest of Males Pays Off

For most people, determining the sex of mountain goats in the field is a difficult task. Although it is legal for hunters to harvest a goat of either sex, the taking of nannies with kids is prohibited and the harvest of females is discouraged. ADF&G urges hunters to target adult males for the following reasons:

  • Females are late to breed having their first kid between 4 and 6 years old. Young mountain goats experience high mortality.
  • Females may not reproduce every year.
  • If you kill a female, you also take away offspring she would have produced to replace the animals that die from hunting and all other causes.
  • Loss of too many females may cause the mountain goat population to decline to a level that allows very little or no hunting opportunity.

If hunters take the time to select males instead of females, more goats will be available for future harvest. In fact, by the end of a seven year period a small group of goats could double in size if females are not killed and the winter weather is moderate. The chart below illustrates the benefits of harvesting males and passing up females.

Mountain goat

Management Guidelines

Management of mountain goats is closely monitored. The following general guidelines are used to help determine appropriate harvest levels. A point system is used where a harvested billy = 1 point, and a harvested nanny = 2 points. In some hunting units, a total number of harvest points is established allowing roughly 6 harvest points per 100 goats. For example, in an area with an estimated population of 100 goats, no more than 6 billies (6 pts) or 3 nannies (6 pts), or any combination of points not exceeding 6 per 100 goats may be harvested. If a hunter harvests a nanny, it disproportionately reduces the harvest opportunity for another hunter. This system helps ensure a sustainable population of mountain goats and also provides greater hunting opportunities for everyone.