Study: Mountain goat populations (MT, WA)

Montana's rugged Madison range
Photo Credit: Rocky Mountain Goat Alliance

This year, the Rocky Mountain Goat Alliance (RMGA) is conducting summer projects on mountain ranges throughout the West. There are two upcoming projects, both of which will use volunteers to investigate the well-being of mountain goat populations. One is in Montana and the other is in Washington

Montana – Madison Mountain Range Summer Survey

When: August 9-10th
What: Weekend backpack survey
Where: HD-326

Two teams will be needed to survey from the west and east side of HD-326. This hunting district has been experiencing harvest success rates on mountain goats that are well below the state average. This study may help determine if this hunting district is on a large population decline. If this is true, hunters may see reduced hunting opportunities until the population can rebound. Hopefully the inaccessible and remote terrain that is presented to hunters in the Madison range explains why the harvest success rates are below average and will not point to a bigger problem like a declining mountain goat population. 

Washington alpine lakes
Alpine lakes in Washington
Photo Credit: Rocky Mountain Goat Alliance

Washington – Alpine Lakes Wilderness Summer Project

When: August 15-17th
What: Weekend overnight survey
Where: GMU 249 and 335

The RMGA hopes to document mountain goat populations during their search in GMUs 249 and 335. This study would provide baseline date to create a more efficient helicopter survey at a later date. The state requires the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife to conduct an aerial survey on any proposed district before the district can be opened up for hunting. The terrain in these GMUs is very rugged, which is why a ground survey will be effective before an aerial survey is conducted. The ground survey crew will pinpoint areas that need to be checked out from the air. This on-the-ground effort will reduce helicopter costs and result in a more thorough and successful count once they do start an aerial survey. The data collected from this survey could help open up hunting in the two districts at a later date.

If you are interested in joining RMGA in their volunteer projects, please visit their volunteer signup page. The success of these projects and the future of mountain goat hunting opportunities depends on your participation.


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