The spectacular view from atop the jagged, silver cliffs of the Greenwood Valley Ranch was spine tingling and breathtaking to say the least. The colorful winter beauty of the eternal Texas Hill country went on forever and titillated the eyeballs, spirit and soul. They don’t call it the Hill Country for nothing and it is truly one of the great wild ground eye candy visions of the world.
Though we could have – and were prepared to – gaze upon the expansive spectacle for an elongated period in hopes of taking it all in for all it was worth, our plans were instantly interrupted when SpiritWild VidCamDude Kris Helms excitedly exclaimed, “Ibex!”
Bill, Mike and I spun around to see a mob of wild Ibex mountain goats scurrying away from our lookout position, quickly disappearing into the thick pucker brush hinterlands of the rocky pinnacle behind us.
Instantly Kris and I bailed out of the pickup, vidcam in hand as we hustled up, over and through the rocky outcropping to get the stiff north wind in our favor. Maybe, just maybe, we could take advantage of the howling wind to cover our sneaky rock scrambling stalk to get within 10mm handgun range of these highly desirable, ultra-elusive stinky ghosts of the highlands.
Ready or not, here we goat!
My bone on bone shattered knees made it borderline impossible to walk very far – much less gallop – after a herd of wild mountain critters in this dangerous terrain. But when the hunt is on and the fresh stink of Ibex fills my nostrils, all bets are off and the chase is on.
Kris is a young, athletic and experienced hunter himself, so I never had to say a word to him as I maneuvered gazelle-like amongst the jagged rockscape dodging thick juniper and cedar tangles in a desperate scramble to get ahead and above the departing herd of twenty or so Ibex.
Bone on bone knee wrecks? Funny, I didn’t feel a thing as red hot predator adrenalin pumped wildly through my system. Meniscus? I don’t need no damn meniscus!
As we rounded a huge cedar clump there they were, forty to fifty yards down slope, goating about, nibbling, grooming and being Ibex without a care in the world, clueless that a gungho goat killer lurked well within Glock 10mm handgun range in full Weaver stance, cocked, locked, Glocked and ready to rock doc!
I whispered to Kris over my shoulder, HD digital recorder rolling, that I would shoot the biggest black-silver billy when it turned broadside. At that instant, a fine golden brown billy stepped into view, fully broadside. I said “brown one” as I settled my Trijicon front sight square on the big boy’s shoulder and let my sub-conscience daily training take over, muscle memory completing the second nature trigger squeeze. The Ted Nugent 180 grain 10mm load erupted, the Glock bucked slightly, and the big red billy leaped and kicked like a mule as the hot lead projectile of death slammed through both shoulders, blowing him off his feet.
The entire mob jumped, leaped and darted momentarily, which now exposed the giant black and silver alpha male. With Kris’s vidcam dead on the trophy Ibex, my second shot in less than two seconds went off with another Barnes bullet punching the big boy hard through the ribcage.
Now the herd had had enough and they stampeded maniacally almost straight at us, darting past at under fifteen yards.
Instantly, the big red-brown billy was now stumbling over a pile of boulders at twenty-five yards and the Glock spoke again, knocking the gorgeous animal down for the count right there.
Barely out of recoil from this shot, we stepped lively to our right to see the big black-silver stud trying desperately to stand and walk. That’s when my next round pummeled him right behind the shoulder, pushing him forward where he crashed into an upturned root system to die in the ultimate photo-op position, never to move again.
Good grief! Are we having wild goat fun yet or what? My and Kris’s big, wild gawking eyeballs met and we knuckled slammed each other with a hearty “YOWZA!” We then commenced the joyous ritual of game recovery, continuing to film the whole glorious thrill for what will surely be one the greatest Ted Nugent Spirit of the Wild TV shows ever on Outdoor Channel.
The whole insanity was a magical moment in time for this old handgun hunter. The timing was nothing short of miraculous. Right time, right place, right wind, right terrain, right sun, right cover, right gun, right ammo, right VidCamDude, right boots, right luck, right attitude, right spirit!
These ultra-wary mountain critters are rarely if ever seen on this enormous 18,000 acre ranch. The original owners had imported these stunning Persian Ibex way back in the 1940s, and over these many years, they had crossbred with wild Spanish goats to create a very special big game species.
To say we were ridiculously fortunate to see them is an understatement, but to actually be able to successfully stalk and handgun kill the two biggest and best old billys in the mob was truly phenomenal.
To pull off this shootemup miracle on video to air and celebrate for tens of millions of Spirit of the Wild viewers is proof positive that a lifetime of training and dedication to handgunning can and will pay off when the chips are down. I got you goat right here!