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A few months ago Cody Hirt, the founder of Veteran Outdoors, told me he had a problem. A large male Catalina ram has been destroying fences and property. Worse, the big goat had no fear of humans; it regularly attacked people on the property. An aggressive ram, even a small one at 100 lbs., will absolutely ruin your day. So I understood why Cody wanted it gone. What I didn’t really get is why Cody didn’t just kill it himself. Still . . .

He knew that if there was one man that knew how to take care of a goat, that man was me. I told him that whenever he had the opportunity, I’d head out to his place near Blanco, Texas and kill that goat up and good . . .

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Cody has a beautiful little 300 acres ranch. It’s all hills and valleys under high fence for hunting White Tail deer and exotics. There isn’t much cedar brush on it, just a whole lot of oaks and elms. I asked Cody what gun I should bring. He knows I like to make things challenging. There isn’t much challenge shooting game with a scoped rifle at 100 yards and under, but a pistol, a flintlock, a bow? We can make it fun!

Cody told me to bring whatever I wanted; I’d likely just walk up and shoot it. Still, I love hunting. Even if this was more of an execution than a hunt, I wasn’t going to pass up putting a Catalina Ram’s skull on the wall.

The idea of walking around the hills on a chilly morning with a Khyber Pass style AK47, hunting a goat sounded straight Mujahedeen to me. My recently self-made AK47 was already sitting in the truck with three magazines full of surplus 123gr hollow point rounds. What the heck, I had a target and I had a weapon. Let’s not make this any harder than it has to be.

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I met Cody early in the morning. After a quick hello, we hopped in his Polaris and started looking for the goat. I had a conference call at noon, but Cody figured we would have the critter shot and skinned long before then. We caught up on old friends and I finished a cup of coffee as we drove to where the goats usually hang out.

Oddly enough, they weren’t there. No big deal. As I said, this was only 300 acres under high fence, so they can’t really go that far. During our drive we marveled at a pair of Red Tailed Hawks, diving and calling to each other, and the occasional White Tail deer that would peek and startle from the woods here and there. Overall, it was oddly quiet. And no sign of that goat. After the first couple of hours of looking, we began to wonder if there was a hole in the fence somewhere.

Then Cody spotted goats. There were four of them, including an Ibex. There was only one problem – they were all laying down on a hilltop about 200 yards away. So we both hopped out and walked toward them. I expected to just walk to within 50 yards or so before I pulled the trigger. That’s what I was expected … right up until they all got up and ran.

And ran and ran and ran. Like the Road Runner leaving Wylie Coyote in the dust, and I was the coyote.

Cody said, “Well…they know something’s different.” We spent the next couple of hours looking for them again, all on that same 300 acre piece of land. We finally spotted them again, but this time they didn’t see us first. They were head down, eating behind a field of tall grass. We could just make out their outlines and occational horn tips peaking out of the grass.

I grabbed the AK and stalked forward at a pretty brisk pace. I covered about 80 yards, leaving only 30 or 40 yards between the goats and me, before I could finally make out the one goat I was to kill. As they broke through some of the cover, I got a good look at him, and was pretty darn surprised. I assumed this to be some gnarly little goat, without good horns. I was wrong.

He was big, with a gorgeous spread of horns. He was a problem, and that’s why Cody wanted him dead, but he saved him for me instead of killing him on his own because Cody knew I wanted a big Catalina Ram, and this one fit the bill. Much love, brother.

I saw him, and he saw me. He didn’t bolt this time, but they all started walking away. I had to wait until he got clear of the other goats. The second he did, I took my shot, broadside, at no more than 40 yards. I saw him shudder. And I saw him pick up the pace with no discernible effect. I stood and shot again, hoping to drop him in his tracks with a shot to the neck. I saw his hair fly, watched his head snap. And then he REALLY ran. They all did, down a hill and out of sight.

I knelt down and waited for a moment — but just a moment. I was sure he was dead right on the other side of the hill. Cody saw the whole thing and walked up to help me bring the carcass up. But of course, there was no carcass. There was no body, no blood, nothing but the sour smell of old goat in the air. It smelled like disappointment.

They called this goat “The Jerk.” He was living up to his name. Cody and I spent the next hour walking the hillside looking for any sign of that goat and came up empty. We were both sure that we would stumble on its body at any second. It took two solid hits from an AK47 at fairly close range … and then just disappeared.

I cancelled my conference call. We spent the next four hours driving, walking, spotting, and failing to find any of those goats, much less the one that just took two rounds without sneezing.

As far as the AK47 goes, what it lacks in loading and reloading ergonomics, it makes up for in ease of handling and carrying. In the Polaris, I had the stock folded; getting in and out was a breeze. The AK’s light weight and great balance made walking up and down those hills all day a whole lot easier.

It was getting later in the afternoon. We were making plans to come back out the next day to keep looking for it, or for what we thought would be the buzzards picking over the dead body. This was getting frustrating, but Cody is a great man who does amazing things for vets; it always lifts my spirits to spend time with him. There are some people that make you feel better just being around them. Cody is one of them.

We split up. Cody worked down in the valleys while I took the Polaris up on the ridges and hills. Thirty minutes later, driving pretty close to where this all started, I spotted the small herd running about 50 yards ahead. The Jerk was with them, running. He was a couple of body lengths behind everyone else and struggling.

This time, I didn’t even stop the Polaris before the rifle came up and I let the first round go. Body hit, eight inches behind the shoulder. For the first time, he fell to the ground. I stepped out of the Polaris and took a knee, ready for the goat from hell to get up and make a mockery of all rational terminal ballistics. He did, but slowly. This time, I had a more than a second to aim. The round drilled right behind his shoulder. He fell, and didn’t get up again.

He’d just quit breathing when Cody, hearing the shots, yelled to ask if I got him. Finally, yes, I did. The Jerk was even bigger than I thought. Considering what we both were expecting, we sure worked for those horns. Cody and I hauled him into the Polaris and caped him out back at the house.

After my first two shots, even though I saw the rounds hit, I had to question myself when we couldn’t find the animal. I just kept doubting myself, thinking maybe I missed when both Cody and I were sure of what I saw. I didn’t miss. The first round hit about four inches behind the shoulder, with no exit wound. The hide slipped back over the entry wound, with no external bleeding. It was a .310 caliber hole going in, and nothing coming out.

The second shot – the neck shot – happened to land in that two-inch section below the spine and above the lungs. It was the only pass-through wound on the animal. The third was another solid body shot on the opposite side of the first round. But again, no exit. The final round, the shot that kept him down, was in the crease of his shoulder, surely pulverizing his heart. No exit wound.

The neck wound was in fact the least damaging wound. He would have lived with it and it would have likely healed fine. The first round would have killed him, but probably not until a day later. The third round would barely reach a lung. The fourth certainly finished his heart. Only the neck wound passed through, so no blood trail. Long story short, if you’re going to hunt with the AK47, even on thin skinned game at close range, choose a heavier, soft point round. The 123gr HP just shatters way too fast.

While we were skinning The Jerk, Cody’s pet deer, a budding young spike named Clark, came to visit. I’ve seen tame deer before, but never one so tame as to walk up to me and start licking my arm. He followed us around everywhere. It was a real treat to pet and play with a deer like that. Cody says that he even goes hunting with them when they stalk. When deer see Cody and Clark is with him, he says if he’s just still for a minute they all focus on Clark, and ignore him entirely. I’d like to see that.

So it turned out to be a real hunt after all. First, it was a heck of a learning experience. I’ll stick with soft point and ballistic tip rounds for rifles even if I think a light hollow point would do the trick. Second, I won’t take neck shots. Third, high fence hunts can be damn hard. Fourth, all goats are all jerks. And lastly, no hunt is ever as easy as it sounds. One more: any hunt is better than a day at the office.

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44 Responses to Any Day Spent Hunting Beats a Day at the Office

  1. Tom in Oregon had kevlar turkeys and now a bullet proof goat. Has nature had enough and decided to get payback on us meddling humans?

  2. Cody has a beautiful little 300 acres ranch.

    In Texas, it’s a little ranch. In Massachusetts, it’s an entire zip code.

  3. All goats are jerks. Got it. (That was a fun story; I like these hunting writeups.)

    Sheep can be that way, too. Back in the day, my grandpa had a ram named Smut that had a talent for escaping the sheep pasture and loved to butt people. Everybody else hated it, but he loved that belligerent little cuss. Smut’s favorite tactic was to get the women of the house while they were out hanging clothes. He’d lurk in the shrubbery until they bent over to get something out of the laundry basket, and then bam! Right in the derriere, head over heels.

    Basically, if it has horns *and* testicles you probably shouldn’t trust it.

    I can’t remember what happened to old Smut in the end. But Grandpa did like a good cut of grilled mutton and Grandma really, really wanted that ram gone, so I suspect Smut eventually became the M in Grandpa’s MLT sandwich.

    • Sonny, true love is the greatest thing in the world – except for a nice MLT – mutton, lettuce, and tomato sandwich, where the mutton is nice and lean and the tomatoes are ripe. They’re so perky. I love that.

  4. Any day beaten while hunting, should be shot the following day at dawn, at the range. ; P

    + on the neck shots. I don’t want to be the fry guy telling Ray Crock where to get the potatoes, but . . . I knew a few S. African dudes (even ones that had, and have their own safari companies) and they all say [it doesn’t matter how many legs] “aim for the opposite shoulder” if quartering shot, and just inside of either shoulder if frontal. If from the rear, try not to leave an extra hole.

  5. Good advice on the ammo. I just got my first AK a few weeks back and hadn’t decided what to buy for hunting ammo between the SP and the HP. This article answers that question. Thanks!

    • John,

      Yes, use the 150 grain soft points. The velocity is slower which isn’t all that important. The important aspect is that the bullets are heavier and will penetrate much better with modest expansion. When hunting goats, sheep, and deer, you need adequate penetration.

  6. You said you were using surpluss hollow points. If it’s that Russian stuff you refer to then it’s crap. I used some in my sks and had some russian stuff for my mak.

    I kid you not, that mak ammo looked like somebody took standard fmj ball rounds and drill pressed a hole in the dome. Cheap russian ammo is for plinking.

  7. “As far as the AK47 goes, what it lacks in loading and reloading ergonomics…”

    I disagree with that statement, the AK super easy to reload. No down loading mag or loading open bolt, like the AR, no bolt release, like the AR, no forward assist, like the AR.

    Rock the mag in place, charge the bolt, G2G.

    “Long story short, if you’re going to hunt with the AK47, even on thin skinned game at close range, choose a heavier, soft point round.”

    I’ve used Winchester Super X 123gr SP’s on wild piggies and it works well. One thing to beware, I’ve had a mar on the soft point lock up my SKS.

  8. Catalina goats are tough little critters, my older brother, stepfather and I learned that the hard way in New Zealand. I watched lots of them shake off .223 rounds and more than a few take more than one round of .308 or 7mm-08. We learned pretty quickly that if you don’t place your shots well, you’ll either be tracking for a while, or listening to the scream of wounded goat

  9. Good stuff Jon!
    I agree, any day hunting is better than…
    well, pretty much anything.
    That is a great set of horns!
    I’m trying to get a Dall sheep hunt lined up. I’m dying to get back out onto the mountains!

    • +
      Good Write, Good Read. Thank you. : )

      I kept thinking you were going to throw in a Velociraptor Goat and a “clever girl. . .” so, very good on the suspense. : )

    • That’s a great animal, and eat the loins. Incredibly tasty. My son shot one for the record books a couple of years ago, horns as wide as my tail gate. That’s not hyperbole.

  10. While I am always for hunting, I also believe a scoped rifle is much more effective than any Ak-47 at one shot one kill hunting. Call me a fud if you want but a bolt action .243 or .308 with basic rem corelock bullets would have done the job a heck of a lot quicker.
    The ak can do the job but there are better choices. Sorry if I’m raining on the parade.

    • I like JWT’s hunting stories. However I hate reading about tracking a wounded animal, especially if the situation could have been avoided with proper ammo and equipment.

      As a deer hunter, I prefer to see an animal go down fast. Thus I default to my 30-06 bolt gun in order to maximize the chances of a quick kill.

      To JWT’s credit he does at least recognize the lessons learned.

      • I took several deer and a couple of pigs with a Savage 110 in .30-06 this weekend. Used it to shoot through one pig and into the one behind it, killing them both.
        Everyone prefers a clean, quick kill and we all aim for that. But there is such a thing as removing the challenge from the hunt and that is a shame as well.
        The 7.62×39 ballistics are on par with the venerable 30-30. The problem in this case wasn’t weapon or caliber, but bullet choice and my own less than perfect shot placement.

        • MD, throughout the year, I often end up putting about 1,000lbs of game in the freezer. And it’s rare that I’m eating last year’s game. In the last week alone, I’ve taken 6 deer, 4 pigs, and that goat.

  11. Awesome. Canned hunt on a high fence ranch for people that just want to shoot animals. And a bad shot. You should be proud dude.

    • Sir, I’ve hunted a bit, private land, public land, high fence and low fence and no fence.
      I’ve had wide open public land hunts where I took my bag limit within hours of starting. And I’ve had high fence hunts that took days of spot and stalk just too come up empty.
      There are a whole lot of variables in any hunt, and many of them are the challenges you put on yourself.

      • A whole lot of variables to any hunt. True that. When I was hunting in Georgia this fall, even hunting over feeders, I didn’t see any more deer than this weekend in Pennsylvania. In eight solid days of hunting I was happy to get two does in GA, it wasn’t that they weren’t there, just that the weather conditions had put the rut and their movement off. Then in two days this weekend, I bagged a nice nine point in PA at mid day, because he was following a doe, Also a lot more hunting pressure during the two week rifle season up here.

        • Last year I hunted over soybean fields in a high fenced 400 acre ranch stocked full of deer. The land owner told us all to expect to get a shot at least one 140+ class buck and two doe. I had, in fact, done exactly that the previous year. This time, five hunters went at it for 3 days straight. No one saw even a single deer.

    • Different strokes… I dont hunt much, but would like to do more – and I am open minded and interested about the many different ways to hunt- bow, airgun, AK/ARs, etc in addition to more traditional bolt guns.

      I expect there are many more lurkers here, like me, who feel the same and my guess is that includes a lot of younger gun owners who started as COD kids, and/or bought AKs for the less expensive ammo, who might be enticed out to the woods, if they could just get a lesson-learned about how-to’s from someone with more experience, like JWT who is not afraid to share.

      Not all of us had adults to show us the ropes and in some parts of the country, like SoCal, its even harder to find others, as the “old school” hunters retire or move away.

  12. This misconception that hollow points work in a rifle is an unfortunate one. Decades of people thinking in a handgun primary mentality is to blame, I think. Use soft points in a rifle, hollow points in a handgun, if the goal is expansion. If the goal is basically the immediate explosion of the round, use hollow points in a rifle.

  13. There’s a reason hunters use expanding ammo. In fact, in my state it’s illegal not to for the very reason you experienced.

  14. I’m not against it, I personally don’t give 2 s**ts if someone does it. That being said, the word “hunt” implies a lack of certainty. When we hunt without a fence there is no certainty as to whether the animal is present. In this situation whether it took an hour or 10 days there was a certainty that this animal was somewhere within that 300 acres. I should probably keep my opinions to myself on this matter because I hold hunting in an almost religious regard, and impose extremely stringent guidelines on it for myself, but I also only “hunt” wild animals. I will not call it hunting later today when I put down two of my Boer goats in preparation of christmas dinner, and I damn sure will not put their heads on my wall. Well written piece though ,and good luck in your future endeavors, I certainly enjoy most of your articles.

  15. Great write up ! I was going to say in Missouri I hunt with a mini 30 and the bullets I trust are federals fusion and hornadys sst ,the deer I killed this past year met a fusion ,passed through w a two inch exit wound.

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