Ep. 56: Rocky Mountain Goat Alliance with Jeff AgostinhoIf you have an interest in mountain hunting, you need to listen to this podcast. Jeff Agostinho is a knowledgeable and passionate hunter as well as the first regional representative with the Rocky Mountain Goat Alliance. Jeff provides insight into what the RMGA does and paints a picture of joys and realities on mountain hunting. Jeff outlines exactly how he prepares for a hunt, how he keeps his pack weight to a minimum and he provides a comprehensive list of every item he brings in his pack.
[00:00:00] Travis Bader: I’m Travis Bader and this is The Silvercore Podcast. Join me as I discuss matters related to hunting, fishing, and outdoor pursuits with the people in businesses that comprise the community. If you’re a new to Silvercore, be sure to check out our website, www.Silvercore.ca where you can learn more about courses, services, and products that we offer as well as how you can join The Silvercore Club, which includes 10 million in north America wide liability insurance, to ensure you are properly covered during your outdoor adventures.
[00:00:44] Today I’m talking wild goats with Jeff Agostinho from the Rocky Mountain Goat Alliance. This group is a grassroots organization dedicated to enhancing and conserving North America’s rocky mountain goats. Jeff, welcome to The Silvercore Podcast.
[00:00:58] Jeff Agostinho: Thanks for having me on Travis.
[00:00:59] Travis Bader: Absolutely. So Rocky Mountain Goat Alliance, can you tell me a little bit about what this organization does and how you became involved with them?
[00:01:09] Jeff Agostinho: So, Rocky Mountain Goat Alliance started out in the states in 2013. It was grassroots organization focused on Rocky Mountain Goats, uh, mainly in Montana where it had originated. And then from there they’ve grown over the years. Uh, the main mission of Rocky Mountain Goat Alliance is to work on habitat, mountain goats and everything to do with mountain goats.
[00:01:31] Travis Bader: Right. So I’ve never actually hunted mountain goats. I’m trying to think if I’ve ever seen a mountain goat in the wild. I know I’ve seen them in the zoos. I spend a fair bit of time out in the mountains, but just not in areas where there are mountain goats. Um, BC houses, what, the largest amount of mountain goats are in North America, like.
[00:01:51] Jeff Agostinho: Yes.
[00:01:52] Travis Bader: 50% or more.
[00:01:53] Jeff Agostinho: Yep. We have about 50% of the total mountain goat population in North America. So there’s a very big amount of mountain goats here and we’re kind of, uh, yeah, we, we have 50% of the population and the most of anywhere kind of else in North America.
[00:02:06] Travis Bader: So what got you involved with this.
[00:02:08] Jeff Agostinho: So I’ve just been . Passionate about conservation over the last three to four years. Uh, I’ve hunted mountain goats, I’ve spent a lot of time in mountain goat country, and I really wanted to bring the Rocky Mountain Goat Alliance up into Canada because there hadn’t been a lot of work previously done here.
[00:02:20] So, uh, last year, the Rocky Mountain Goat Alliance launched their regional representative program, which I immediately signed up for. And then moving into 2021, we started working on a project to do with mountain goats right up here in the Chilliwack area. And Rocky Mountain Goat Alliance jumped on board with that. And it’s the partnership has kind of grown from there and I will be the first or am the first regional representative on for the Rocky Mountain Goat Alliance.
[00:02:43] Travis Bader: Very nice. So, so what, what’s this, what’s going on in Chilliwack?
[00:02:47] Jeff Agostinho: So to June 25th and 26th, we did the first Canadian mountain goat survey. We had about 46 individuals out to do a survey of the Chilliwack River Valley, and then coming in from the south side of the Skagit to count the mountain goats within that area. Uh, working hand in hand with the regional biologist, just to achieve a ground survey count of what we could see in a matter of two days.
[00:03:09] Travis Bader: Gotcha. So you, you’ve got a background in hunting from what I understand, you’ve been hunting from a pretty early age and family background of hunting. Have you been hunting in the mountains very long or?
[00:03:23] Jeff Agostinho: I did my first mountain hunt when I was 20. So what, six years ago I did a fly in my first mountain goat or sorry, first mountain hunting experience was a fly in trip in Northern British Columbia. Um, and then from there it just kind of evolved and I’ve gotten more and more into the mountain hunting aspect and being in these places in more remote areas of British Columbia chasing certain types of items.
[00:03:42] Travis Bader: So that first fly in hunt was that a, uh, that was a caribou hunt, right?
[00:03:46] Jeff Agostinho: Yeah. That was a caribou hunt in, uh, yeah, Northwestern British Columbia. And we were successful on day six I believe, on a caribou, hunting partners took a caribou and that was just a big wake up call for me. I remember getting back after seven days to the lake we’d been dropped off on no skin left on my heels, not having the proper gear, just body completely destroyed. And, uh, but I knew I wanted to get right back out there as soon as possible.
[00:04:11] Travis Bader: You wanted more.
[00:04:12] Jeff Agostinho: Yeah.
[00:04:12] Travis Bader: So I haven’t done any mountain hunting.
[00:04:14] Jeff Agostinho: Not yet.
[00:04:15] Travis Bader: No. But, in another month or so I’ll be flying in and doing my first, uh, fly in caribou hunt.
[00:04:23] Jeff Agostinho: Oh that’s going to be awesome.
[00:04:24] Travis Bader: In a remote northern area, probably not too far from where you were. And I’ll be bringing my 12 year old son with me. So that might be a little bit of a, a, that’s going to be an adventure.
[00:04:34] Jeff Agostinho: Yeah. What’s is he done quite a bit of hunting yet with you or spent time with you in the field or?
[00:04:39] Travis Bader: Uh, in the field? Yes. Hunting. He’s been, uh, hunting for, you got his license when he was 10 years old. He harvested his first, uh, animals last year. And, uh, at this one it’s going to be a, it’s going to be a mountain experience and if he’s able to be successful out there, great. But otherwise he’ll be, he’ll be helping with other things on the, on the group.
[00:05:03] Jeff Agostinho: That’ll be awesome. I’m sure he’ll enjoy it. And you’ll have them hooked from an early age.
[00:05:06] Travis Bader: Oh. You know, I think he was already hooked, but in all of this, I, um, I, you don’t know what you don’t know. Right. And so being the first mountain and you know, looking at different gear, different tents than I’d use when I’m mountaineering. Uh larger tents for, um, all the kit and what we’re looking to do, uh, looking at, uh, uh, of course your bino’s, spotting scopes are very important.
[00:05:34] Uh, I should imagine when you’re, uh, you’re talking about the, the mountain goats, having a very good spotting scope would be just a crucial piece of equipment.
[00:05:44] Jeff Agostinho: Absolutely. Yeah. I think anytime you’re hunting, especially mountain goats, or any mountain species, mountain goats in particular, just because of the identification factor, having that spotting scope is vital to being successful in taking the right animal.
[00:05:56] Travis Bader: So I watched a really good video that you guys put out and it had Steve Rinella narrating it.
[00:06:01] Jeff Agostinho: Yeah.
[00:06:01] Travis Bader: That was pretty cool.
[00:06:02] Jeff Agostinho: Yeah.
[00:06:02] Travis Bader: How, how old is that video?
[00:06:04] Jeff Agostinho: That video I believe is six years old.
[00:06:07] Travis Bader: Okay.
[00:06:07] Jeff Agostinho: Off the top of my head.
[00:06:08] Travis Bader: And it was talking about identifying the gender or sexing mountain goats and how they tell the difference, the difference between a billy and a nanny and cause they, they’re both going to have horns. And it also talked about the impact of making an improper harvest, which I thought was pretty interesting. It says, if I remember correctly, it was, it spanned a five-year period. And it says, if you, uh, if you take a billy, uh, in five years, here’s what the population is going to look like. If you take a nanny and these, these mountain goat populations, they’re not huge.
[00:06:44] Jeff Agostinho: Nope.
[00:06:44] Travis Bader: You take a nanny at essentially. Will cut that population by about 50%.
[00:06:50] Jeff Agostinho: Yeah. That’s, the way that the video shows it. Yeah.
[00:06:52] Travis Bader: Okay.
[00:06:52] Jeff Agostinho: Yeah, just down the line and over that, those amount of years, um, by taking that nanny, the amount of kids that you’re reducing over however many years does have a big effect on a herd.
[00:07:04] Travis Bader: So if you started caribou hunting and then he said, Hey, I want it was the next one, another caribou, or were you into sheep or goats? Well, how did the progression work?
[00:07:14] Jeff Agostinho: It went caribou, caribou, and then actually, no, I did do a goat hunt. After that caribou hunt, I did a Southeastern BC mountain goat hunt. Um, in an area we had never been into. A couple of friends, drew a tag, and we had never, one of my friends had taken a goat, but two of us had never, never even hunted goats.
[00:07:31] Just wanted to go and experience this. So we made a run at it. And we spent four days just trying to break through tree line in different areas. And it was a nightmare, but, um, yeah, it was awesome. We saw a couple of goats, nothing we wanted to take or nothing we could even really get close enough to take.
[00:07:46] Travis Bader: Right.
[00:07:46] Jeff Agostinho: Uh, but a big learning curve just on the country that those mountain goats live in and the kind of areas that they tend to frequent and how hard it is sometimes to access them.
[00:07:53] Travis Bader: No kidding. So for me, if you’re to say Trav, look it, I know you’ve never hunted goats before. Here’s the 101. What would you say is most important? What would you, what would you pack and what would you prepare with like, uh, any research that you do ahead of time?
[00:08:11] Jeff Agostinho: So, I mean, I think the most important thing, just going back to what we were just talking about when you’re planning a mountain goat hunt, the first thing you need to do is watch that Rocky Mount Goat Alliance video on identifying and sexing goats.
[00:08:21] Travis Bader: Right.
[00:08:21] Jeff Agostinho: You need to become comfortable. You need to go on whatever it’s Instagram, the internet, or whatever it may be, and get comfortable with identifying a billy versus a nanny. I think that’s the most important thing that you need to do when preparing for a mountain goat hunt. Above area, above gear above anything else. It’s the identification factor.
[00:08:38] Travis Bader: Well said.
[00:08:38] Jeff Agostinho: Yeah, that’s going to be the first. From there, getting your gear in line. And we’re pretty fortunate here in British Columbia. We can hunt goats from August 1st in some areas right out to February 28th.
[00:08:49] Travis Bader: Right.
[00:08:49] Jeff Agostinho: So it’s kind of going to depend on what you want to do. I’m not going to recommend anyone. Who’s never hunted goats before to go out and try and attempt a late February mountain goat hunt. I’ve been there. It’s not somewhere you want to start. Um, but generally it’s going to be that mid September, early September hunts that guys are preparing for. And it’s generally pretty similar to most mountain hunts that you’re going to want to do, or that most guys are doing in terms of gear. Uh, the one thing to keep in mind is that mountain goats do live in very, very steep terrain.
[00:09:16] So it’s a matter of getting comfortable with being in that kind of country at times as well. And one of the other factors that a lot of people don’t consider when they are hunting mountain goats or planning to hunt mountain goats is whether or not you’re going to be able to, if you do take an animal, retrieve that animal, it’s a lot to think about at the same time.
[00:09:32] Travis Bader: Totally.
[00:09:33] Jeff Agostinho: Yeah. So one of the biggest things in the field is when you’re looking at these goats you’ve identified a billy and you want to take it is can I get to him.
[00:09:41] Travis Bader: Mhmm.
[00:09:41] Jeff Agostinho: And I’ve been in situations where we definitely just could not get to that goat. Like there was no way we could safely retrieve that goat without maybe having a helicopter, or full out climbing gear.
[00:09:50] Travis Bader: Right.
[00:09:51] Jeff Agostinho: It just wasn’t going to happen. So, um, that’s another big factor when you’re hunting these hunting mountain.
[00:09:57] Travis Bader: So we’re talking about identification, not everybody who’s listening to this is going to go online and look at the video and go through it. Anybody who is going to be hunting mountain goats absolutely should be looking at that and doing their own research on identifying the sex of them. What tips would you give to somebody listening to this on how to properly identify and sex these mountain goats?
[00:10:21] Jeff Agostinho: So the there’s two very, in my opinion, big giveaways, the first being the horns. Generally believes are going to be a lot thicker at the bases that are going to carry that weight throughout. And then there’s the curvature. The billy’s tend to have a lot more of a gradual curve to their horns where nannies tend to have the curve at the top. And it almost creates a little bit of a kink, like look at the top of a nanny’s horns.
[00:10:43] Travis Bader: Right.
[00:10:43] Jeff Agostinho: That isn’t ,so it isn’t so gradual. The other big thing that most guys should know or wait for, if you can’t identify them by the horns, is this how they go pee pretty much.
[00:10:55] Travis Bader: Right, okay.
[00:10:55] Jeff Agostinho: Yeah. So a nanny will squat and a billy will stretch. That’s a dead giveaway right there, is which way, how they go when they go to the bathroom.
[00:11:04] Travis Bader: That’s a good one.
[00:11:04] Jeff Agostinho: Yeah.
[00:11:05] Travis Bader: So if you can’t get it to sit there and wait and wait.
[00:11:07] Jeff Agostinho: Exactly.
[00:11:08] Travis Bader: Well, hope they’re well-hydrated.
[00:11:10] Jeff Agostinho: Yeah exactly. And I think with most mountain species, generally three to four hours, you’re seeing them get up at least once to stretch or go to the washroom or do whatever they got to do their business. So if you don’t know, just wait, be patient.
[00:11:23] Travis Bader: So what, what does the, the goat population look like here in British Columbia? Is it pretty healthy?
[00:11:29] Jeff Agostinho: W, our populations currently very healthy for mountain goats. Like I said, we’ve got 50% of the mountain goats and they’re spread out throughout pretty much our entire province. We’ve got goats, like I said, right here in Chilliwack, uh, up in, through Harrison, in Squamish and all the way outside of that, right through region 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, and eight, all old mountain goats. We’ve got them on the coastal inlets on the west end there.
[00:11:54] Travis Bader: Right.
[00:11:54] Jeff Agostinho: The only place that we don’t have mountain goats is on Vancouver island so.
[00:11:59] Travis Bader: Right.
[00:11:59] Jeff Agostinho: Yeah.
[00:12:00] Travis Bader: So what are some of the biggest threats to the goat populations?
[00:12:03] Jeff Agostinho: So we’ve, it’s, it’s an interesting question because we’ve been trying to identify a little bit of it just with Chilliwack and a couple of areas. I think personally, one of the biggest threats that we’re seeing to mountain goats today in a lot of areas is recreational and non-consumptive recreation in terms of hikers, mountain biking, ATV, and all that type of stuff. Um, there’s, there’s a few others. Predation is a bit of a factor. Uh, one of the things you can go on YouTube and see is, uh, eagles trying to knock off kids off cliffs.
[00:12:34] Travis Bader: I’ve seen that. Yeah.
[00:12:35] Jeff Agostinho: So a lot of people don’t believe that until they go and search the video, but it’s a real thing. And it’s a real threat to, you know, kids or goats on some of those steep spots. Um, but I think recreation in certain areas is a big threat and potentially disease. I know that there has been a little bit of disease identified outside of BC I believe it was, a few years back, in mountain goats. Um, it hasn’t come up big yet as a threat, but it could down the road become something that we definitely need to start paying attention to.
[00:13:05] Travis Bader: So non-consumptive users, that’s looking like one of the, the larger threats to the, the mountain goats.
[00:13:11] Jeff Agostinho: Yes, exactly. It’s not something most people would think about, but.
[00:13:15] Travis Bader: No.
[00:13:15] Jeff Agostinho: Um, how many people are hiking into the Alpine all the time or doing that kind of stuff, or, I mean, there’s a lot of areas where you can snowmobile or you can take an ATV or you can drive a vehicle right up into the Alpine. We’ve got lots areas here in British Columbia where you can take a 4×4 vehicle. And there’s certain groups that go up into these Alpine areas that do have mountain goats and having these roads and everything in them definitely doesn’t have any sort of positive effect on them.
[00:13:36] Travis Bader: Right. So it’s just stressing them out or?
[00:13:38] Jeff Agostinho: Exactly.
[00:13:40] Travis Bader: Pushing them further?
[00:13:40] Jeff Agostinho: Pushing them further or pushing them into certain areas. I don’t know if it causes any, w we don’t know yet if it causes any sort of, um, issue with breeding and, uh, that aspect of it, it may or may not, that pressure. Um, but yeah, it’s caused them to go into certain areas that they’re not normally in. And we saw that in the Chilliwack area, when people are hiking the top peaks and people are snowmobiling in the Alpine and their winter range and all that as well.
[00:14:06] Travis Bader: Do you ever find there’s much uh, mountain goat, human conflict.
[00:14:13] Jeff Agostinho: So there’s there definitely, really can be. I mean, we’ve seen, I believe it was in, uh, down in Washington, there was a situation where a person was actually gored by a mountain goat.
[00:14:24] Travis Bader: Wow.
[00:14:25] Jeff Agostinho: Yeah. So I mean, that’s, that’s a pretty extreme example. Um, but it, it did happen. And in BC right now, they’re doing some work. Uh, Laura Balex I don’t know if you’ve heard of her before. She’s doing some work in cathedral, um, down in region eight there where they’re kind of looking into that in terms of the human goat conflict and what that, uh, what that does to the mountain goats, because there definitely is a big factor of that.
[00:14:53] I know, I heard a mention of, um, the goats were attracted to, like they were using human urine to attract goats. They were coming right into it for I guess I would assume it was for the salt.
[00:15:05] Travis Bader: I’ve heard that.
[00:15:05] Jeff Agostinho: Yeah. So when you think about that, that’s pretty crazy. There’s provincial parks in there, there’s rec sites and mountain goats are coming in there. It’s, it’s definitely an cause some pressure, puts some pressure on them with that and that’s direct human goat conflict right there.
[00:15:17] Travis Bader: Interesting.
[00:15:18] Jeff Agostinho: I do think people tend to want to dry and get too close and maybe try and take pictures with their phones, which puts a bit of pressure on the mountain goats and tends to push them into areas maybe they’re not so comfortable in being in. Especially when you’re talking, a lot of people are doing hikes at this time of year when kids are pretty fresh, they’re just getting their legs under them.
[00:15:34] Travis Bader: Right.
[00:15:35] Jeff Agostinho: So if you put pressure on or herd of goats that contains 2, 3, 4 kids, and all of a sudden they’re moving off into a steeper area or a cliff band or something like that, those kids might not have all their footing and feet under them. There’s a chance that one of them could take a fall and they won’t survive that. Yeah.
[00:15:52] Travis Bader: You know, when I, when I take a look at, uh, Alberta, there’s no goat hunting this year.
[00:15:58] Jeff Agostinho: Yeah. So that’s been an interesting one that we’ve kind of been discussing over the last month. And Darren Epp has been big on that and he’s trying to get some answers on what it is. And we’ve got a few, we’ve got some communication with the local biologist, um, on what’s causing it. And generally, uh, for a populate for us, sustainable harvest, you need 50 goats within an area.
[00:16:23] That’s generally the average. And that’s the, what the biologist is kind of stated to Darren and those numbers have been on the decline. And one of the big things, again, going back to identifying the right goat to take, uh, was an over harvest of nannies a little while back before Alberta brought in the mandatory course before you do your goat hunt.
[00:16:42] Travis Bader: Right.
[00:16:43] Jeff Agostinho: So, BC doesn’t have that currently where you have to take some sort of mandatory course or education program.
[00:16:48] Travis Bader: I should think it should be coming.
[00:16:49] Jeff Agostinho: Yeah. Hopefully.
[00:16:50] Travis Bader: Yes.
[00:16:51] Jeff Agostinho: But Alberta has now brought that in, but prior to that, there was high levels of nannie harvest in Alberta, which obviously has caused that effect on the herds, um, down through there as well as the recreational pressure. And they’re investigating as to what else could be causing the numbers to be on the decline.
[00:17:07] Travis Bader: So when you say 50 goats in an area, how big of an area are we talking about?
[00:17:14] Jeff Agostinho: From what I understand every area’s totally different. It depends on the range, depends on multiple different factors. What the carrying capacity could be within a specific range. So it’s, it’s hard to say, you know, it’s 20 kilometres, square kilometres with 30 square kilometres. Every area is totally different.
[00:17:28] Travis Bader: Right makes sense.
[00:17:29] Jeff Agostinho: Yeah. So it’s hard to identify an exact size.
[00:17:35] Travis Bader: When you go out on your hunts, how much time are you typically dedicating.
[00:17:40] Jeff Agostinho: Every hunt’s a little bit different. I did a mountain goat hunt in 2019 where we dedicated four days and we got it done on day one. But we were going into an area where I had a decent amount of information and I was able to go online and kind of pick out the spots I figured goats would be living in.
[00:17:56] And the day before season, we found two billy’s and we took the billy on opening day. So, but generally it’s going to depend on how far I’m going at, where I’m going, but I’d like to say seven to 10 days is the ideal amount of time when we’ve done our winter hunts, we planned for eight to nine, just because of travel and getting into these valleys can also be pretty difficult.
[00:18:14] So that got account a day on either end of that, at least. So if we’re doing nine days, it gets a seven days to hunt. Once we’re actually into the valley or wherever we’re going. But generally that seven to 10 day period is what we like to be in.
[00:18:27] Travis Bader: Yeah, it makes sense.
[00:18:28] Jeff Agostinho: Yeah.
[00:18:28] Travis Bader: So we kind of glossed over one of the pieces of information that I think a lot of people listening to this would really want to know, and that would be kit. What kind of kit would you recommend that somebody start looking at if they wanted to get into mountain hunting?
[00:18:46] Jeff Agostinho: Yeah, that’s, that’s definitely something that, uh, a lot of people ask and they’re always kind of wondering is what kind of gear to do and, you know, it can, it can be very overwhelming once you start looking at the market, the hunting market and looking into the industry and what to kind of start with right. Um, the first thing that anybody, I always talk to people about, and the first question that I like to answer is boots. I think your boot selection is huge. A lot of guys tend to want to just kind of walk to the Cabela’s or to the Bass Pro where they’re carrying kind of their regular boots and think that that’s going to be good enough.
[00:19:18] If you’re getting into mountain hunting, especially with goat hunting, you’re going to want, I know personally, I like having a stiff mountaineering boot cause you’re in some of those conditions, but having a good boot and uh, you know, it, it depends on your budget, but uh, like I like Scarpa’s personally I wear.
[00:19:33] Travis Bader: They’re nice yes.
[00:19:34] Jeff Agostinho: Yeah, exactly. Super stiff, a lot of support. Uh, and synthetic, I like having a synthetic boot personally. Um, there’s some good leather boots too, depending on kind of personal preference, but picking a good boot that fits you well, you’ve spent some time in and it’s going to be capable in those situations. The, the general boot that you would buy at Cabela’s or whatever, like that is probably not going to cut it.
[00:19:57] And those kinds of mountain hunting conditions, uh, based on my personal experience,. My first ever mountain hunting trip, I wore a pair of Irish setter elk trackers that were not cut for carrying a pack. Yeah. Like they, you know, great boots for when I’m hanging out with my duck blind or something. I want to stay warm.
[00:20:13] Travis Bader: Right.
[00:20:14] Jeff Agostinho: But on a mountain hunt when you’ve got 75, 80, 90 pounds in your pack, they just do not cut it and they destroyed my feet. Maybe they work for some guys, but not for me. So when I talk to guys, definitely going to be wanting to look at a lot of those Italian made boots, I recommend, uh, let’s see.
[00:20:29] Travis Bader: Sportiva.
[00:20:30] Jeff Agostinho: La Sportiva, Scarpa’s.
[00:20:32] Travis Bader: Meindl.
[00:20:32] Jeff Agostinho: Meindl’s, I’ve had a pair of Meindl’s personally. A lot of guys are really liking the Crispi’s.
[00:20:37] Travis Bader: Okay.
[00:20:37] Jeff Agostinho: A lot of guys swear by them, Hanwag’s, those kinds of boots are the ones you’re going to want to be looking at and trying them on. And one of the things that I’ve always said to people was try on as many different as you can. Um, look for somewhere where you can, if you’re ordering online or you’re in an area where you don’t have that ton of selection, you can’t go to the store and pick up these boots.
[00:20:55] You don’t have a MEC or an Atmosphere or something like that. Find an online site where you can return and order multiple different pairs of boots. Try them all on, and then returns the ones that don’t work, like.
[00:21:07] Travis Bader: What’s your thought on boot break in?
[00:21:10] Jeff Agostinho: I think it’s pretty boot dependent. So my Meindl’s for example, I spent a lot of time trying to break those boots in, a lot of time. My Scarpa’s, I stepped into them and they work.
[00:21:20] Travis Bader: Right.
[00:21:21] Jeff Agostinho: I think it’s very dependent on your foot and it’s very dependent on the boot. Uh, the Crispi’s have this guarantee I believe, that there’s no break in period. And everyone I’ve talked to has, uh, never had to have a break and paired with their Crispi’s.
[00:21:34] They’ve stepped into them and they were hiking and they’ve never had an issue. So, you know, maybe there’s something there, but for me, Scarpa’s, I’d never had a break in period with mine. They’ve been great and I’ve been using them for almost three years now.
[00:21:44] Travis Bader: You know, talking to other people. And there’s the growing consensus of, if you have to break your boots in, get another pair of boots.
[00:21:51] Jeff Agostinho: Yeah.
[00:21:51] Travis Bader: Either fit the in-soul fit, fit it so that you, your heel is in the middle cup, in the pocket of the back properly, and things are laced up properly. And if you can’t, through all of that, finding another pair of boots.
[00:22:03] Jeff Agostinho: Yeah. That’s interesting. I’ve never heard that, but.
[00:22:05] Travis Bader: Yeah.
[00:22:06] Jeff Agostinho: Good point.
[00:22:07] Travis Bader: You know, and it’s, I started adopting that school of thought in my boot selection. And like you, I had a pair of Meindl’s and there was a long break in period to get those things where I wanted. And they were heavy. I don’t know if it was just the ones that I had, but they were Alpine boot, rather heavy compared to some of the synthetics. And, uh, but you know, I guess what, and one thing I find with the boots, some people say, oh, you got to get Meindl, or you got to get Scarpa. Yeah, maybe for you, maybe it works great with your feet, but.
[00:22:33] Jeff Agostinho: Super personal.
[00:22:34] Travis Bader: Totally.
[00:22:35] Jeff Agostinho: Yeah. Super personal. Um, and then even with boots is, know your application. I think for me with like the winter goat hunts, like we talked about, that is something that I have to take into account. So I wanted something that was going to be fully compatible for a crampon. Right. So know your application, know where you’re going to be using them.
[00:22:52] And if you need those types of things, making sure you’re looking for the right pair of boots for that. I was with a friend this past weekend, who’s doing his first ever winter goat hunt ordered a new pair of boots. And I went and looked at them and you can make crampons work for them, but they’re not the most ideal, like a full step in boot for crampons is what you’re going to want.
[00:23:07] Like, so just know your application and where are you going to be using them and kind of go from there and select from there, that’s going to narrow you down. Moving forward from that is going to be, we’ll go into packs. Packs again, I find are super personal. I’ve ran a few different packs. Um, and again, try them all on, try on as many different packs as you can.
[00:23:25] The market, you know, there’s Kuiu, Kifaru, Mystery Ranch, uh, Stone Glacier, um, Eberlestock, uh, I mean, how many different pack brands on there? There’s tons, try on as many different packs as you possibly can because it’s going to be as personal as boots. Make sure you get fitted for them right. Either, whether you’re searching the online YouTube videos, because every brand has a fitting video that you can watch, or you are with someone who’s fitting it for you.
[00:23:52] Just make sure you’re putting that on right, before you’re 50 pounds on it, and see how it fits your back because not every pack is going to work for every single person. And if anyone ever tells you that, they’re probably lying to you because everyone’s back is totally different. Everyone’s ability to carry weight a certain way is totally different. I’ve I’ve seen, I’ve found, make sure you find the one that’s right for you. Um.
[00:24:14] Travis Bader: What are you running right now for a pack?
[00:24:15] Jeff Agostinho: Right now I’m running, I just stopped, I was running a Kuiu before, um, and I wanted to try something new. So I’m currently running a Kifaru.
[00:24:21] Travis Bader: Okay.
[00:24:22] Jeff Agostinho: So I just made that switch. Um, the, both are good packs. Kuiu’s a lighter pack. Kifaru’s a bit of a heavier pack. Built a little bit, it’s a little bit of a, it’s built a little bit to be a tougher pack, a bit heavier. Um, but putting weight in it’s been great. Um, I personally like to run a bigger pack. So guys are like, oh, do you run two packs? Cause you have a day pack and you’re like expedition pack.
[00:24:43] And I’m like, nope, I’ve always chosen packs that I’m able to cinch down pretty tight so that if I want to use them for a day trip, I can. And then if I want to blow them up and use them for a full 10 day trip, I can do that as well. So I’m not limited in that sense uh.
[00:24:57] Travis Bader: So what size are you running right now?
[00:24:59] Jeff Agostinho: So the Kifaru right now, I have it set up to run up to 9,000 cubic inches.
[00:25:03] Travis Bader: That’s a good size pack.
[00:25:04] Jeff Agostinho: Yeah. So the one thing to remember with your pack is just because you have that space, don’t always try and fill it.
[00:25:10] Travis Bader: Right. Yeah.
[00:25:11] Jeff Agostinho: So personally I have enough experience and I’ve done enough that I know what I need and what I don’t need, so I can cut out certain things. And I feel comfortable with having that extra space where I’ve talked to a lot of guys that build a pack like that that’s that big, or even a 7,500 or an 8,000 cubic inch pack. And they’re trying to do what they can to fill it. And I’m like, okay, now put it on your back and see how that feels.
[00:25:31] Travis Bader: Right.
[00:25:31] Jeff Agostinho: Right.
[00:25:31] Travis Bader: Don’t forget, you’re going to be packing some meat out, hopefully at some point too.
[00:25:34] Jeff Agostinho: Exactly. When you get up to 120, 130 pound pack, I’ve done it a few times now. It’s like, it doesn’t matter what kind of pack. It’s going to suck. It’s just going to suck. So, you know, don’t add extra stuff you don’t need just because you have that extra space. It’s, in the long run, it’s not going to help you. So that’s packs, again, super personal.
[00:25:54] Um, moving into clothing again, there’s a lot of different options, whether you want to stay in gear from in the hunting space or there’s lots of brands outside of the hunting space that are going to cut it too. It’s going to depend on budget. The one thing that I recommend everybody has is your rain gear. If you’re hunting in British Columbia, whatever type of mountain hunt you do have rain gear in your back pack. Like I don’t care if it’s August 1st, I don’t care if it’s September 1st, I just, you need to have rain gear in my opinion. Um, because that can end a trip pretty quick when you get a freak storm.
[00:26:26] Travis Bader: Are you going to waterproof, breathable or full, full waterproof? Even Gore-Tex or?
[00:26:31] Jeff Agostinho: Yeah, so I, I personally run Kuiu, that there, they work with a little bit different, um, materials, but it’s a level of breathability. But I think one thing with rain gear that you need to remember is if rain gear is breathable, there’s an element of water that can also get in, has always been my opinion. Um, and I could, I’m not a super material or gear freak, but, um, yeah, I mean the best rain gear is stuff that generally isn’t that breathable.
[00:26:58] You start talking about Helly Hansen rubber stuff, it’s the best rain gear and it’s not breathable at all. So you want that kind of in-between generally when it starts raining as a hunter, you’re trying to get out of it anyways. It’s not like you’re thriving in it, some guys do, and to each their own. Um, but I think it’s a matter of finding something that is a bit breathable is relatively lightweight. Cause you’re going to be backpacking. Uh, and you know, you stay dry in for the most part.
[00:27:19] Um, I think if you’re, you know, I’ve got friends that are horseback guides and all that type of stuff, when you’re beaten your rain gear every single day, riding horses, breaking through bush, eventually certain things are gonna soak through. Um, but it’s finding stuff that’s going to hold up the longest. I think so, um, yeah with that being said, I’ve had, like I said, I run the Kuiu gear and I’ve had no problem with it.
[00:27:40] Moving in from that, uh, is your insulation. I am a big fan of down insulation. Uh, one of my friends said it to me last year and it was really good way to think about it when it came to rain gear and you’re in your down gear is in an emergency situation, it’s your sleeping bag and your tent. You know, you get caught up on the side of the mountain and you have your down puffy, your down pants, your rain pants and your rain jacket, you know, it’s not going to be comfortable, but you’re going to survive because you have that all on you. If you can’t get to your tent at night.
[00:28:07] So it’s definitely something to think about and something that I’d tell everybody have some down in your pack when you’re doing any of these backpack hunts, because storms coming quick, or even just sitting down and glassing. Like a lot of guys don’t sit down in glass because they don’t have the ability to get comfortable and do it, whether it’s, you know, putting on their down to stay out of a wind or to block that from the wind or just to stay warm, they just, they don’t think about that.
[00:28:29] And then all of a sudden they’re trying to cover ground and they’re trying to warm themselves up by hiking more. And we’re walking right past country that there’s animals in because they didn’t have the proper gear to allow them to do what they needed to do.
[00:28:39] Travis Bader: Good point.
[00:28:39] Jeff Agostinho: Yeah. So down rain gear and then your base layers, and everyone’s going to be totally different. For me, um, I’m all merino. If I’m doing any sort of extended trip, we’re in the mountains, we all smell like, there’s just.
[00:28:51] Travis Bader: Sure.
[00:28:51] Jeff Agostinho: There’s no way around it right? So like all my base is socks, always merino. That’s my go-to some guys like synthetics and to each their own, but that’s just how I’ve always been, uh, is going full merino.
[00:29:01] Travis Bader: You’ve a favourite brand for socks?
[00:29:04] Jeff Agostinho: Uh Smartwool.
[00:29:05] Travis Bader: You like Smartwool eh?
[00:29:06] Jeff Agostinho: Yeah. Yeah, I run Smartwool uh, depending on the time of year I’ll run Smartwool, like they have the heavy over the calf ones. Those are my go-to for like late season winter stuff. I’ve always got those on.
[00:29:15] Travis Bader: I might have to check them out. I’ve always been Darn Tough and I just love Darn Tough.
[00:29:19] Jeff Agostinho: Yeah. I’ve, I’ve heard a lot of good things. I’ve just, I’ve never had an issue with my Smartwool socks.
[00:29:23] Travis Bader: So why change?
[00:29:24] Jeff Agostinho: Why change.
[00:29:25] Travis Bader: Yeah.
[00:29:25] Jeff Agostinho: Yeah. That’s just my, my opinion. I have a Smartwool 200 Merino top that I wear, like when I’m exercising here or going for runs in the winter, I just, I love that thing. It’s super comfortable, super warm. It’s uh, it’s been, yeah. Uh, moving on from that, like, that’s going to be your clothing part um.
[00:29:44] Travis Bader: How many, how many pairs of socks would you be taken for, let’s say a seven day hunt?
[00:29:48] Jeff Agostinho: Two.
[00:29:49] Travis Bader: Two?
[00:29:49] Jeff Agostinho: Yeah, that’s it.
[00:29:50] Travis Bader: Okay.
[00:29:51] Jeff Agostinho: Yeah, that’s all I take and I I’ll take two, and I mean, like I said, one of the things that you need to be comfortable with is the fact that you’re going to smell. Like to a degree, your stuff is going to get sweated up. Don’t add a bunch of extra weight. Don’t take seven pairs of socks for seven days. Cause it’s, you’re just adding unnecessary weight. Take those merino, wash them out in a creek, do what you can to keep them as clean as possible. Um, this past year on my goat hunt, I took two pairs of socks for nine days and they were constantly like, just cause everything was so wet.
[00:30:18] And even like, you take your boots off at night and just condensation, everything’s building up in your boots. So you put your socks on and it gets, or your, you put your boots and your socks get wet. So what I was doing is I would, um, I take my socks, I’d switch them every day. I had Platypus soft bottles that I would boil water and I put the portable soft bottles inside my socks, which then I’d put inside. I always, for the winter hunts take a pair of synthetic booties, like just to have all my feet at night.
[00:30:44] Travis Bader: Yep.
[00:30:45] Jeff Agostinho: I’d put the socks in the boiled water inside those. And then I’d put those at the bottom of my synthetic sleeping bag and it would dry everything right out, because the part of my sleeping bag was always wet. So that heat from inside mixed with the synthetic properties would consistently dry out my socks. So I’d always have a pair of dry socks, first thing in the morning. Cause I mean, that’s just a mental thing right. Having wet socks is always tough.
[00:31:05] Travis Bader: Totally.
[00:31:06] Jeff Agostinho: Yeah. So just making sure that, but yeah, two socks is always my go-to and like I said, wash them out in a creek or do something like that if you need to, just to keep them clean.
[00:31:13] Travis Bader: One set of rain gear, pants, one pair?
[00:31:16] Jeff Agostinho: Yeah. Always one pair of pants, soft shell pant. Um, just whatever I like having something that’s a four way stretch and has hip vents. Those are two of the key features for me. Uh, and then a gaiter too. Make sure you, I think taken a gaiter is super, super underrated, but I think everyone who’s mountain hunting should have a gaiter.
[00:31:34] Travis Bader: Totally.
[00:31:34] Jeff Agostinho: With them. Uh, my first hunt, I didn’t take one and I regret it a big time or take a pair and regretted it big time. Um, but yeah, over the calf gaiter synthetic, or sorry, pair of soft shell pants with a hip vent, uh, and four-way stretch. That’s pretty key to me. And then um, if you want, everyone’s totally different in terms of how your body runs. I, my legs tend to run pretty warm, so I don’t always take a pair of long Johns, but if you are looking for something that has a side zip, that you can just unzip it on the side and pop it right off that way, you don’t need to take your boots off to get your, uh, long johns off.
[00:32:08] Travis Bader: Right.
[00:32:08] Jeff Agostinho: Which is kinda nice. Um, moving on. So we hit that base layers yeah, merino socks, merino we got that.
[00:32:17] Travis Bader: One shirt, base layer of merino wool?
[00:32:19] Jeff Agostinho: Always, yeah. Just one shirt.
[00:32:20] Travis Bader: Yep.
[00:32:21] Jeff Agostinho: Yeah. I’ve, there’s been times where I’ve smelt myself and thought maybe I should bring a different shirt, but I just, I’m usually with the guys and we all smell so, it is what it is right. Um, if you’re a good enough hunter, you know how to play your wind and how to do that all for the most part too so, um, yeah. Controlling your odour’s important, but you’re never going to get away from it when you’re doing these long backpacking trips in my opinion.
[00:32:43] Um, your sleep system is pretty important. Uh, making sure you have a good pad. Like, whether, there’s a lot of different options these days, something I like to use the Therm-A-Rest I used a NeoAir this year and that was, uh, that was really nice.
[00:32:57] Um, but there’s tons of different options out there having a good pad know when, where you’re going and making sure that it has the right insulate installation value for that country, whether it’s you don’t need anything or, you know, I think some of them are right up to around seven now at our scale.
[00:33:13] So making sure you go there. And then sleeping bag, there’s a lot of debate on sleeping bags. I personally am a synthetic fan just because it has the ability to dry me out at night. It does weigh a little bit more. It doesn’t cost me a thousand dollars for a sleeping bag. Yeah. Um, and then down is like, if it gets wet or anything like that, I know there’s the new treat a down that’s supposed to be pretty good. I just, personally, I don’t take the risk. I like having a synthetic bag.
[00:33:36] Travis Bader: What do you mean dry you out at night?
[00:33:38] Jeff Agostinho: So when you use a synthetic, it has. So synthetic materials have the ability to, um, use like the heat from your body and pull that moisture out. Like, so out of your gear, um, there’s a lot of good videos if you search on YouTube, that kind of show it and how it works. Um, but something like a merino doesn’t have that ability to, uh, push that moisture off and to dry out as well as synthetic does. So when you’re using that synthetic sleeping bag, the properties within the material, um, pull that moisture from you and then kind of push them out from there. If that kinda makes sense.
[00:34:15] Travis Bader: I get what you’re saying. What, uh, what make are you, you running right now?
[00:34:19] Jeff Agostinho: For a sleeping bag?
[00:34:20] Travis Bader: Yeah.
[00:34:20] Jeff Agostinho: I run a Marmot Elite Trestles.
[00:34:22] Travis Bader: Okay.
[00:34:22] Jeff Agostinho: I’ve had, I think I got three of them right now, different, uh, different temperature ratings. Uh, and I’ve been running them for three years and I love them. They’re like a $200, $250 bag and I just beat them, abuse them. And then if I got to replace them, it’s not like it’s a thousand dollars like a down.
[00:34:37] Travis Bader: You’re not crying.
[00:34:38] Jeff Agostinho: Yeah so.
[00:34:39] Travis Bader: It’s a little heavier, it takes up a bit more room.
[00:34:41] Jeff Agostinho: It takes up a little bit more room for sure. But that’s part of having a little bit of that bigger pack too, and being comfortable with that little bit of whether it’s a pound extra or half a pound extra.
[00:34:49] Travis Bader: Right.
[00:34:50] Jeff Agostinho: Just having that little bit of extra weight, I’m comfortable with it, I’m okay with it. I know what I’m getting myself into. Um, so I’m good with that. Um, then your tent, your tent is a big one, making sure that, uh, you’re picking the right tent for the trip. Um, a lot of guys tend to buy tents that are cheaper and maybe don’t cut it when these wind storms hit or anything, or if they get some snow or it’s just not built for it.
[00:35:15] So making sure to pick your tent right. If you’re doing some of the late season stuff and you’re going in the winter, you’re definitely to want to have some sort of four season tent. A lot of guys are switching over to running teepees now, which if those work then great. I haven’t personally used them, but, uh, making sure you’re picking the right tent for the trip. I think there’s a lot of different brands, even within the hunting space.
[00:35:36] Hilleberg, Kuiu makes a tent. A lot of guys tend to run like the MSRs too. They all make pretty good products and it’s not a place that I’d want to skimp on price just because, um, yeah, you’re, you’re living in that thing for seven to 10 days or whatever it is right.
[00:35:51] Travis Bader: Right.
[00:35:51] Jeff Agostinho: And so, and a good tent is going to last you a long time, as long as you take care of it. So, uh, that’s the sleep system and, and then moving on from there, electronics is something I always have on my list. You know, your Garmin, portable battery pack, some charging cords, your headlamp. Some guys like to run two headlamps, uh, to each their own, making sure that personally, one thing I’ve found, and I learned this from someone who had a lot more experience. Was I always take a small flashlight and the headlamp hat run on the same batteries so that they’re super interchangeable and they’re both also can be recharged.
[00:36:23] So you have the option of those extra batteries or to recharge them. So that you’re always covered. The last thing you want to be is on the side of a mountain and all of a sudden your headlamp runs out of battery and you can’t just switch another battery into it cause it’s only rechargeable and you’re charging packs back down at the tent.
[00:36:37] Travis Bader: Right.
[00:36:37] Jeff Agostinho: So making sure you have that option. Uh, you’re kill kit. Having the right game bags, everyone likes to run different game bags. There’s a lot on the market. I personally like to go with synthetic game bags now. Uh, I clean them out after every time I use them and they’re fully reasonable. You spend a hundred bucks to get them at first, but it’s better than guys who want to pack cheesecloth or something. Cause I’ve seen all sorts of different things. Just my personal opinion.
[00:36:59] Synthetic game bags are the way to go and there’s lots of them on the market now and they’re all great. They all do the trick and they’re going to keep bugs off of it. And they’re going to keep the meat clean and you hang them up right and they’re going to help dry out that meat too. Um, then I mean a good knife. A couple of knives, I like to run a couple knives. I like to have a fixed blade, a light fixed blade and then I think everyone has a Havalon for the most part.
[00:37:21] Travis Bader: Right.
[00:37:21] Jeff Agostinho: That’s I think a Havalon is it should be an every mountain hunters pack personally, um, super light interchangeable blades and they can do a whole lot. So that’s super nice. Uh, your cooking gear. Uh, so your fuel cans, you gonna want those, like the regular fuel cans and then depending on what kind of stove system you want to go with, everyone’s totally different. Um, I personally liked, I just run a MSR, uh, like the pocket rocket, I believe it’s called.
[00:37:48] Um, and then, uh, ran a Reactor 2. Super good systems, they all work. Just making sure you have something that’s gonna be able to boil your water and then you’re gonna want to look at if you are going in the winter or whatever. Um, making sure something that regulates is probably pretty important too. I know I ran a, just a pocket rocket on the trip last year and I had a bunch of issues with it so, luckily one of my friends had a better stove. But, uh, yeah, just having a good fuel system and good stove is going to be pretty important because we all need to eat while we’re out there.
[00:38:17] Travis Bader: So the issues were just, at altitude, it wasn’t uh.
[00:38:20] Jeff Agostinho: Temperature.
[00:38:21] Travis Bader: Okay.
[00:38:22] Jeff Agostinho: Part of the temperature, just, I don’t know what it was. It wasn’t made to yeah, definitely was not made for being used in the winter. Um, but uh, a lot of the guys like to have something that has some sort of shield too, that is going to protect from the wind.
[00:38:33] Travis Bader: Right.
[00:38:34] Jeff Agostinho: Just cause that’ll affect you boil time and all that type of stuff too.
[00:38:37] Travis Bader: So you thinkin’, um, you going, uh, the butane canisters?
[00:38:42] Jeff Agostinho: Yep, yeah.
[00:38:43] Travis Bader: Over top of, uh, gas?
[00:38:45] Jeff Agostinho: Yeah. Yeah, I always go butane. Yeah, exactly. I’ve never ran anything else, I’ve never had the need to. I know guys have talked about using stoves that are interchangeable and stuff as well. I know there’s some of those available on the market. I think it might be called a WhisperLite from MSR has one.
[00:38:58] Travis Bader: Yeah.
[00:38:59] Jeff Agostinho: But yeah, I’ve always just ran butane and I’ve never had an issue to date and hopefully I don’t ever have an issue with it.
[00:39:05] Travis Bader: Okay. How many canisters are you taking up?
[00:39:07] Jeff Agostinho: Depends on the trip. So I, will generally will run one of the bigger, I believe it’s 450, I want to say.
[00:39:15] Travis Bader: Okay.
[00:39:15] Jeff Agostinho: Um, I’ll take one, one of those, if I’m just going to be me for like seven days and an area where I’m not going to be boiling a lot of water for the winter hunts, I double that up and take a little but of extra, tends to last. But, uh, it all depends. I ,even if you’re just doing a small weekend trip, even some of those, I don’t remember the exact size, but the smaller butane, just like the red, smaller butane bottles, that’ll get you through the week or a weekend if you’re not sitting there boiling all day long, right.
[00:39:41] Travis Bader: Right.
[00:39:41] Jeff Agostinho: You know, be conscientious of what you have for fuel and be conscientious, a few what you have for water. Um, some guys tend to get a little crazy, but I mean, for me, I know I personally like, we’ll get into food after, but uh, I like to have a miso soup midday. So I’ll boil up some, a little bit of water so I know I’m going to have to take a little bit extra fuel for that extra meal that I want to boil midday.
[00:39:59] Travis Bader: Right.
[00:39:59] Jeff Agostinho: But you know, it’s all like personal and what makes you comfortable with being out there. Um, optics is a big one if we want to touch on that.
[00:40:08] Travis Bader: Sure.
[00:40:08] Jeff Agostinho: Yeah. Um, so for mountain hunting, I prefer a 10×42. Some guys run 12 power and some guys run 8. I’ve always found that 10 is kind of that perfect in between. My hands aren’t the steadiest, so running a 12 power I find a little bit of shake in it. Uh, one of the big things a lot of guys do and I’ve started doing it too, is find a system where you can run your, uh, binoculars on your tripod. So whatever sort of attachment is that you need, get that attachment and just put your binoculars on that tripod for any extended period of glassing.
[00:40:40] And you’re going to find a ton more game. There’s no shake, you’re super comfortable at super steady. It’s, it’s pretty impressive. I didn’t believe it until I tried it. All these guys were saying, oh, you gotta do this, you gotta do this, it helps. But how much can it help? I just put my elbows on my knees and glass and right. But I tried it and yeah, it’s pretty unbelievable.
[00:40:57] Travis Bader: You bothering with the spotting scope as well?
[00:40:59] Jeff Agostinho: Oh yeah. My spotting scope does not leave my pack. So I personally just bit the bullet right away, I went to a Swarovski, uh, 65 mm, 25 to 60 power, um, spotting scope that I hope will last me for the rest of my life. Uh, there, I mean, Swarovski is the top in the market.
[00:41:15] Travis Bader: Right.
[00:41:15] Jeff Agostinho: Uh, but having, I think up to 60 power’s pretty important, uh, as long as it’s good glass, because if it’s not great glass, having that 60 powers.
[00:41:24] Travis Bader: Means nothing.
[00:41:24] Jeff Agostinho: Not going to, yeah, exactly, not going to mean a whole lot to you and any type of mountain hunts, especially because whether your sheep hunting, your goat hunting or your caribou hunting, you gotta identify, you know, if your hunting area where it’s a five-point bull or with elk, if its a six point bull having that good glass is going to, you know, could very well make the difference on you being successful or not being successful.
[00:41:42] So making sure that you got that, uh, moving on from there, uh, just miscellaneous stuff that I like to have. For all these types of hunts, is always electrical tape. That’s a big one that I’ve just found is pretty nice to have. And what I do is I just take my electrical tape, I learned this from a friend, and I tape it around one of the legs of my tripod, just so it’s not loose.
[00:41:59] Travis Bader: Okay.
[00:42:00] Jeff Agostinho: So I’ll tape it around there and then I can always just unroll it off of there and use it for whatever I need. Um, fire cubes are nice to have. A lot of people and myself included tend to take a floss.
[00:42:12] Travis Bader: Sure.
[00:42:13] Jeff Agostinho: Yeah. Just having floss just because there’s nothing worse than having something stuck in your teeth and bothering you. And that’ll just throw off your mental a little bit too. So just having that, and then the other thing that floss works good for too is if you do take an animal and you’re trying to get some pictures and you can’t get them off, shut, just take a little bit of floss and tie it around there, it holds a shot.
[00:42:29] Travis Bader: A good tip.
[00:42:30] Jeff Agostinho: Yeah. You’re a toothpaste, your toothbrush, I like to take those mini travel toothbrushes. The ones at first was to fold into each other or folding within itself. And I only take the one half that’s actually the toothbrush part just to cut on the weight. And then medical kid, of course. Uh, and those are the main things that I always have.
[00:42:48] Travis Bader: What do you throw in your med med kit?
[00:42:50] Jeff Agostinho: Uh, nothing too crazy. I like.
[00:42:53] Travis Bader: More blister care?
[00:42:54] Jeff Agostinho: A little bit of blister care. Um, I’ve learned to not ever, uh, I mean everyone’s different, but I’ve just kind of used gauze for the most part and taped it up for now and then I pull it off. I’ve found with like anything like a lot of the blister medics and stuff, it’ll just pull any of that scabbing or anything that starts to heal right off. And then you’ve just opened up the wound again. So I’ve tried to avoid that and I’ve just kind of put gauze on there and then I tape it up for the most part and let her breathe whenever I got a little bit of time to, and I’ve had success, I’m sure some guys will have different opinions on that, but it’s to each their own and whatever guys are comfortable with.
[00:43:32] Uh, moving into food. Food’s a big one. That you can gain and lose weight in, in terms of, you know, how heavy your pack is going to be. And the one thing with food and talking to a lot of guys that have my same level experience or more experiences, if you want to get light food, it’s going to be, you know, the more you’re spending, let’s just kind of the only way.
[00:43:55] Um, I think it’s important for guys to identify how much food they need in a day. Don’t listen to forums, don’t go and read all these things online. Know what you need in a day, cause everyone’s totally different. You know, 150 pound guy in a 250 pound guy are gonna need certain amounts of food and they’re not going to be the same. It’s just, it’s not. So know how many calories you need, uh, figure that out first and then figure out where you want to get those calories from.
[00:44:19] Personally, I like having a good breakfast in the morning and a good meal at night, and then just snacking during the day. And that’s what I’ve always had success with. I only need about 26 to 2,800 calories a day when I’m in the mountains, which is less than a lot of people. Some guys need 3,500 or 4,000 calories. I just, I don’t need that to survive. And I’ve also found that one of the things to take into consideration too, is not all of your days are going to be high output days.
[00:44:41] So you’re not always going to need all of those calories. You’re going to have days where you’re just sitting in glass and you don’t need as much food. So there’s a lot of times when I have a lot of food that’s left over for days where I have those high output days and need a little bit extra.
[00:44:53] Travis Bader: Are you, uh, hiking in freshie? Or are you freeze dried or dehydrated?
[00:44:57] Jeff Agostinho: Yeah, I’m, I’m, uh, all freeze dried. I’ve been, um, using Peak Refuel.
[00:45:01] Travis Bader: Okay.
[00:45:01] Jeff Agostinho: For the last while. Uh, probably last year. And I’ve been really impressed with all their stuff. Mountain House is always good, you can buy it off the shelf. There’s a lot of different options that a lot of that are coming up, but, um, I use Peak Refuel for the most part.
[00:45:13] And then I try to get a lot of my calories from as much fat food, like fat-based foods as I can. So I’ve switched over to bars, like uh, good fat bars. Um, I’m really big fan of, uh, Honey Stingers, if guys have never had Honey Stingers, definitely give them a shot. Uh, like I said before, I always like having Lipton or not, Lipton, uh miso soup.
[00:45:34] It’s just a pick me up in the middle of the day, boil some water and you get a little bit of extra salt in there. And then I’ll take an ounce of olive oil and add that in there too for a couple extra calories so.
[00:45:43] Travis Bader: Smart.
[00:45:43] Jeff Agostinho: Yeah, I store that in a cup and I drink it and a couple of buddies have looked at me like, are you actually eating miso soup on top of a mountain? And I’m like, yeah, it helps me feel better. What’s it to ya.
[00:45:53] Travis Bader: Mental mindset. It’s it’s huge.
[00:45:54] Jeff Agostinho: Yeah, exactly. Um, beef jerky, something that I always take, just packing a little beef jerky, and it’s part of the mental thing. Just something good that I enjoy eating day in and day out because you remember you’re eating the same thing every single day for the most part so, beef jerky is just something I can eat every single day and have no problem. Same with trail mix, I like having trail mix so.
[00:46:11] Travis Bader: Right.
[00:46:11] Jeff Agostinho: That’s always a good one to have a Moon Cheese is one that not a lot of guys have heard of it. If you go to MEC, you can get it. It’s like a dehydrated cheese.
[00:46:19] Travis Bader: Okay.
[00:46:19] Jeff Agostinho: You either love it or you hate it so, yeah. Yeah. It’s definitely worth trying to a lot of calories in it and it’s pretty light. I don’t mind it, but some guys can’t stand it and other guys love it. So they’ll live off of it.
[00:46:31] Travis Bader: Moon Cheese.
[00:46:31] Jeff Agostinho: Yeah. Moon Cheese. It’s a dehydrated cheese, there’s different brands for it, but that’s just the one that I’ve been using just cause it’s nice and easy. And you just go to MEC and pick it up. Like I had a lot of guys swear by Clif Bars. I can’t get, I cannot eat a Clif Bar.
[00:46:44] Travis Bader: Yeah, they’re not my favorite.
[00:46:45] Jeff Agostinho: Yeah. They’re just, I’m like, I’m not going to take this because I feel like I need whatever’s in it. There’s way better ways to figure out a way to get it.
[00:46:53] Travis Bader: They just remind me of Homer Simpson eaten the compressed apple cores in the he’s doing his little mountain adventure.
[00:46:59] Jeff Agostinho: Yeah, definitely big there guys, like, um, then good on ya.
[00:47:03] Travis Bader: Fair enough.
[00:47:03] Jeff Agostinho: But for me, that’s definitely not a, it’s definitely not where I want to get some of the calories from. Um, and the other one that’s been really nice is, it’s called Justin’s Almond Butter. And it’s like, almost like a Nutella, just a packet of Nutella. I’ll just eat that like kind of after breakfast or something. And lots of calories comes from fats and it’s all good for you. So that’s kind of where my food is and what my go-to is.
[00:47:26] And then the only other thing is, I mean, everyone’s different on their rifle and what they like to use. Um, the one thing with a rifle is you don’t want to be carrying around a 12 pound rifle in the mountain, ideally, most guys don’t. Um, so the other thing, I am personally right now building a rifle because I wanted something that fits for what I want and having a 24 to 26 inch barrel I found was very, very annoying because it caught everything up and.
[00:47:54] Travis Bader: Right.
[00:47:54] Jeff Agostinho: Above my head. So I just built a rifle that had a 20 inch, or that has a 20 inch barrel because it sits below my head. It’s not going to be catching anything a little bit more compact, but.
[00:48:04] Travis Bader: What kind of action you building it on?
[00:48:06] Jeff Agostinho: Defiance, anTi.
[00:48:08] Travis Bader: Nice.
[00:48:08] Jeff Agostinho: So the new defines anti with a carbon barrel and Gunwerk stock so.
[00:48:13] Travis Bader: Wow, going all out on this one.
[00:48:14] Jeff Agostinho: Yeah. I feel like it’s my rifle. That’s going to be my full mountain hunting rifle and, uh, built it in a totally new caliber that a lot of people have kind of been, uh, excited about. It’s not a totally new caliber, it’s actually an older calibre, but, but it’s become popular again. Um, and it’s seems to perform well with a short barrel so
[00:48:30] Travis Bader: What’s it chambered in?
[00:48:31] Jeff Agostinho: 7 SAUM.
[00:48:33] Travis Bader: Nice.
[00:48:33] Jeff Agostinho: Yeah. So it’ll be a, it’s not chambered yet. It’s going to the gunsmith tomorrow, but I’m excited to see how it turns out and get shooting and get a load worked up for it. And that’ll be my mountain rifle. And it’s my kind of, you know, a lot of guys, oh, there’s no one rifle to do it all. And I’m like, yeah, you’re right. There’s not one rifle to do all, but I’m comfortable with what I just put together that any mountain game in BC I’d be comfortable with that so
[00:48:55] Travis Bader: What’s it uh, well, I guess once it’s all put together, you’ll know, but w what are you hoping to weigh in at?
[00:49:01] Jeff Agostinho: It’s going to be just shy of eight pounds. So it will be, I did quick math yesterday. It’s seven, seven quickly on the math that I did. I’m not a ultra light guy. Like I don’t believe in a six pound rifle. Cause I believe you lose shoot-ability in a six pound rifle. You tend to get a lot of whip, bit more recoil. I just don’t enjoy it.
[00:49:17] That seven and a half to eight and a half pound range is kind of what I thought was my, or I personally believe is perfect for a mountain rifle. And some guys will listen to this and think, oh no, it’s way too heavy, but to each their own. I just shoot-ability, packability, are both things that I consider and I mean, shoot-ability is a big, big, big factor that you got to take into effect or take into.
[00:49:38] Travis Bader: Huge.
[00:49:38] Jeff Agostinho: Account. So yeah, if you can pack a rifle around, but can’t shoot it, what good is it?
[00:49:43] Travis Bader: Exactly.
[00:49:43] Jeff Agostinho: Yeah. It’s not every time that it’s one shot, one kill. So, you know, I take that into account. And, uh, I think that’s, most of all the gear that I’m taking.
[00:49:53] Travis Bader: Little lighter or a striker, what’re you using?
[00:49:56] Jeff Agostinho: Uh, I usually pack a lighter and then a small striker, just a, one of those, like they’re called the ferro rod. Yeah. It just takes a small ferro rod. Um, and then some of the fire cubes actually have, uh, it’s kind of like a ferro rod too, that comes with them when you buy the pack of fire cubes. They’re nice to have, they’re like under an ounce and just throw them in wherever.
[00:50:13] Travis Bader: So lightweight.
[00:50:14] Jeff Agostinho: Yeah. So it’s nice to have those kinds of things and have a bunch of different options. Definitely don’t want to rely on just having one lighter. Some guys like waterproof matches. I used to carry em, I don’t carry them so much anymore, just cause I have the ferro rod, the lighter and that other little piece, so I’ve been okay without it. Um, but matches are good to have. And then, uh, some guys I used to carry up like an emergency candle, I don’t know why. Just like a level of comfort.
[00:50:37] Travis Bader: Yeah, like a little tealight right?
[00:50:39] Jeff Agostinho: Yeah. I’d carry that sometimes. I haven’t been using it as much in the last couple of years, but uh, they’re they’re, they are kind of nice to have and just kind of throw in the tent and that kind of stuff. Um, I, I always take a, I’m drawing a blank again, a sponge with me. I learned this on a, from a film. When you’re out there, you’re spending a lot of nights, your tent tends to build up all that condensation, so just having that sponge.
[00:51:03] Travis Bader: Good point.
[00:51:03] Jeff Agostinho: And, yeah cleaning off that, uh, condensation, that’s built up on the top of the tent so that you don’t get up and get soaked.
[00:51:08] Travis Bader: Yeah, disgusting but good point.
[00:51:10] Jeff Agostinho: Yeah.
[00:51:10] Travis Bader: Yeah.
[00:51:10] Jeff Agostinho: Exactly. Good to have. Uh, I’m just trying to think if there’s any, those are the main things that, uh, I like to have a little titanium cup is always nice to have for, you know, if you wanna have some drinks, if you want to take a little bit of whiskey or whatever, mix that in, it’s always nice to kind of have on the mountain for a little bit of a pick me up, especially for those long, long days or when you’re not having any success. And you’re sitting there at night and you just need something to help you feel a little better. That’s always an option too.
[00:51:34] Um, but yeah, those are, those are the main things that I’m taking. A lot of guys, like I’m taking different type packets for mixing into their water, whether it’s like a Wilderness Athlete packet or just something to get their electrolytes and everything back in. So it’s good to have to.
[00:51:49] Travis Bader: You do those?
[00:51:50] Jeff Agostinho: Uh, I do. Yeah. I just started last year taking some of the Wilderness Athlete packs with me.
[00:51:54] Travis Bader: Okay.
[00:51:54] Jeff Agostinho: And they have a nice, it’s nice to have a little bit of flavour in the water too.
[00:51:57] Travis Bader: Yeah.
[00:51:57] Jeff Agostinho: And I mean, I can’t say I feel like a hundred times better because I took, you know, packer electrolytes, but it definitely does help in the long run. Um, yeah. That’s most of my kit there trying to think if there’s anything else that’s specialized to mountain hunting, but I mean, that covers it for the most part. And everyone’s going to have a variation of something like that right. So everyone’s going to have their opinion, but I think the most important thing is just build your own opinion on what works for you.
[00:52:24] Travis Bader: Right, go there, try it.
[00:52:26] Jeff Agostinho: Exactly. You know, there’s only one way to figure out if it’s going to be for you, it’s by trying it, uh, having a, actually another thing is a lot of guys like to have a SOL tarp, just a glass under and stuff. I always keep a lightweight one in my pack pack, uh, covers you from the rain or even from the sun, if it’s hot day, right. You just set that up and you get out of the sun and just to another added level of comfort for sure.
[00:52:46] Travis Bader: What size SOL tarp are you takin?
[00:52:47] Jeff Agostinho: Uh, mine’s an 8×10,. It’s the Kifaru Sheep Target. Believe it’s 8×10 and super lightweight. It’s just under a pound, I believe, uh, fits anywhere in the pack. And it’s super easy to pull out, hanging out with your, uh, your hiking poles. Oh, hiking poles.
[00:53:03] Travis Bader: There you go.
[00:53:03] Jeff Agostinho: Yeah. Didn’t even think about that one.
[00:53:04] Travis Bader: See that’s what I usually wrap my tape around.
[00:53:06] Jeff Agostinho: Yeah. A lot of guys do that too. Uh, but I think, I don’t know how many guys I’ve talked to, like you take hiking poles? I’m like, yeah I take hiking poles.
[00:53:13] Travis Bader: Totally. You’ve got a 120 pound pack you’re talking about, it’d be kind of nice with hiking poles.
[00:53:17] Jeff Agostinho: Yeah, exactly. So I think hiking poles everyone should have, unless you’re not, I mean, some guys aren’t gonna like it, but they’re super nice to have. And uh, yeah that’s everything for the most part I think.
[00:53:26] Travis Bader: Carbon fiber or aluminum?
[00:53:27] Jeff Agostinho: I use aluminum.
[00:53:28] Travis Bader: Yeah.
[00:53:29] Jeff Agostinho: I’ve just had the same ones for six years and they haven’t failed me yet. So why change?
[00:53:32] Travis Bader: Fair enough.
[00:53:33] Jeff Agostinho: That’s kind of been my approach on it. I’m sure I’ll switch out, but I look at the price of carbon poles and I’m like, yeah.
[00:53:37] Travis Bader: So expensive!
[00:53:37] Jeff Agostinho: Yeah, I’m like my aluminum poles have done just fine for six years. I’m sure they will uh, until they break out, keep running though.
[00:53:44] Travis Bader: I think you covered everything there. And then of course, if you’re in the winter side, you’re looking at crampons possibly and.
[00:53:49] Jeff Agostinho: Yeah. Oh definitely. Crampons, climbing ropes. And I mean, other hunts, you might need a climbing rope too, but again, only if you’re comfortable with it and you have the right training and or you have someone with who’s comfortable in using it.
[00:54:00] Travis Bader: What size rope you’re taking?
[00:54:01] Jeff Agostinho: Uh, the one I took last year was about 200 feet with 9.8 mil dynamic. Um, and we only really needed it for like, we would tie it up to kind of lower ourselves down onto the goat and then to tie up the goat a little bit, just to support a while we were cleaning it. Um, so we didn’t need it for anything, like at no point did I ever have to put my harness on luckily, but, uh, the other rope was good.
[00:54:24] I mean, it’s an extra seven pounds. You got to carry in your, right in your backpack, which kind of sucks. But you know, it could be worth it in the end. Um, yeah and I mean, for those winter hunts, crampons, ice ax. Ice ax is a big one, I took a bad spill and luckily had my ice. They wouldn’t have been anything where I have got seriously hurt cause I hit some pretty good powder after, but digging my ice ax into the ice was a good way to slow my, slow my fall down a little bit, or my slide.
[00:54:49] Travis Bader: It’s a pretty thorough list.
[00:54:51] Jeff Agostinho: Yeah. I, I mean, you spend a lot of time out there. You just kind of start to learn what works for you and what doesn’t work for you. And like I said, everyone’s totally different. And you know, everyone likes to, I’m a Kuiu guy or I’m a Sitka guy, or I’m a Kifaru guy, or I’m a FirstLite guy and there’s a lot of the back and forth banter. But at the end of the day, it’s all going to get you on the mountains. And a lot of guys don’t buy any of that stuff and they go to MEC and they buy whatever’s there, or.
[00:55:11] Travis Bader: Right.
[00:55:11] Jeff Agostinho: Atmosphere, right. Or Arc’Teryx, like it’s all good gear, right. It’s all made for being on the mountains. And if it’s good enough for guys who are mountaineering, I’m sure it’s good enough for guys we’re hunting.
[00:55:20] Travis Bader: Yeah. Good point. Good point.
[00:55:22] Jeff Agostinho: Yeah.
[00:55:23] Travis Bader: So winter hunt, you’re talking about doing a goat hunt in the winter.
[00:55:28] Jeff Agostinho: Yeah.
[00:55:30] Travis Bader: Can you, like first off, what prompted this insanity?
[00:55:36] Jeff Agostinho: Good question. That’s a very good question. A couple of years ago, the guys at the Journal Mountain Hunting did a winter goat hunt that they recorded. They put it out. Uh, I watched it and I said, I got to do one of these, like just the challenge and all of that is it, it’s insane. And to watch that video really opened my eyes to kind of some of the possibilities that we had here in British Columbia. So right after that, we, I started talking to some friends who I knew might be interested and they had already had a trip planned for the following year.
[00:56:06] So they went and did that and they sent me all the pictures from that trip and it just like got the blood boiling even more. And I’m like, okay we definitely need to do this planned one for 2020, which I was lucky enough to have the the tag for. And we went up February around the 20th of 2020, and we walked in and I was fortunate enough to get into a spot where we found a billy pretty much on day one.
[00:56:30] Um, and we were able to take that billy on day one, but that wasn’t the end of it. The, the toughest part of that hunt was trying to access the area we got into. It was about six hours to get into a spot where we could start glassing goats. We were just fortunate enough to get on to a good billy right away. But from there is where a lot of the adventure started.
[00:56:48] Once that billy had hit the ground, we kind of, I underestimated how difficult it was going to be to get into a couple of spots. And this comes into identifying where these goats are going to die and we did, and we knew that at any point we could get into, in some areas, we’re going to be a little bit more difficult than others. We tried making a play to get up to him cause it was already pretty late that night. It was about 5:30 and you don’t have a ton of light in February.
[00:57:13] Travis Bader: Right.
[00:57:14] Jeff Agostinho: 5, 5:30 and we tried getting up with headlamps and we just couldn’t do it. It just wasn’t safe. So we had to back out, spend the night down at the bottom and then make the play again in the morning it took us, I believe, 13 hours of climbing going up, getting rocked out back and back down, going up, getting bluffed out again, just working our way around until we finally got to the goat and we’re able to start working on him.
[00:57:35] And I think from the time we left the tents to the time we recovered the goat, we were able to cape him out and I caped ’em out for like a life size. So that took quite a bit of time. Um, and then get him back down. I think it was 16 or 17 hours, like a 16, 17 hour just retrieval alone. And we had some great weather on that trip.
[00:57:55] And we kind of came out talking about, you know, this isn’t too bad, this winter goat thing planned our 2021 trip. So this year we went again at the same time of the year. I didn’t have a tag this year. Both of my friends, Lorne Trousdell, Mark Trousdell did. And we had high expectations. We just, the year before we’d done a three day.
[00:58:15] Travis Bader: Get it day one right?
[00:58:15] Jeff Agostinho: Yeah. We did a three-day goat hunt. We saw lots of goats. Yeah. But, uh, the boys wanted to try a totally new area, pretty foreign to us for the most part, we had a little bit of information from others, people. So we got up, uh, we kind of did the drive in one day, got up there and we hiked in later into the evening, we did about three hours to get in with a plan of doing a bit more relocating the next day and get further back into the valley, did a little bit of, um, Google earth on the phones.
[00:58:42] We had saved kind of the maps in the area and figured we were in a decent area that night where we could set camp and still be able to hunt for a couple of days. We got rained on, snowed on that night. Woke up the next morning had no visibility. We spent four days without moving more than 150 yards from our tent, just because we had zero visibility.
[00:59:00] There was no point in moving further down because we couldn’t see anything, we didn’t know what was going to happen. Avalanche conditions were pretty high throughout the entire trip, just with the amount of rain that was coming down. Um, I remember at one point, I think it was day two or day three, we’re sitting there and we had, we set it up pretty good.
[00:59:18] We took two, two man tents, and then we took a, a shelter and we set the shelter up above and in between the two tents, just so that, uh, we had a bit of a hangout area and we kind of dug it out. And the three of us could kind of sit huddled in there and just hang out and talk and listen to our podcast or read a book.
[00:59:35] But yeah, we spent uh, day two, we’re sitting there, uh, having dinner I think, and it was raining. And all of a sudden, you just kind of heard a little bit of a crack and some start to slide and this avalanche broke off across the valley. I think it was about 400 yards down valley and it was insane, like just the crashing boom. You could hear the trees snapping off and we went and checked it out the next day and the snow had came right off and built up right at the bottom of this big avalanche shoot.
[01:00:03] And you’re just thinking like, wow, like, you know, when you set your camp, you pick a spot that you’re not in any sort of real avy shoot, but you know, if guys don’t know what they’re looking for, someone doesn’t know where they should or shouldn’t camp could get really dangerous really quick.
[01:00:17] Travis Bader: Totally.
[01:00:17] Jeff Agostinho: So yeah, it was, I hadn’t had any real big avalanches around me ever before that, but that one going off was kind of eyeopening for sure. But yeah. So the next couple of days, again, we just kind of spent it at the tent. Um, day four I remember sitting, going to sit up and my hips were just shot from laying down so much sitting and laying down so much. I’m like, I just, I can’t do this. And you’re wet the entire time, it’s coastal conditions in February. You’re on a ton of snow and then it’s raining on you the whole time too.
[01:00:46] So, remember looking at the weather and tell him one of the guys I’m like, should we just pull out? Like we haven’t seen any goats in the time we’ve actually been able to glass kind of the faces in the mountains, around us, the conditions aren’t looking like they’re going to get any better. Like, I don’t, I don’t know what we should do. Um, my friend Lorne, he just does not give up. Like he has no quit in him, like, if we’re there for eight days, we’re there for eight days and it doesn’t matter unless we cut a tag, we’re not coming out.
[01:01:10] Travis Bader: Good for him.
[01:01:11] Jeff Agostinho: So I’m like, okay, we’re in it for the long haul. You guys came with me and packed out my goat. I’m here to help too. So day five, we finally caught a little bit of break in the weather and we went about 9k down valley that day and did some glass and then got into an area that looked a little bit like it had a little bit more potential. But at this point, all of our gear was so soaked and so wet, we hadn’t brought our camp with us. We just kind of got down valley as quick as possible. And when you’re going through that much snow and a lot of the snow softened up and you’re still in snow shoes, but it’s hard to break through sometimes and just get down.
[01:01:40] Travis Bader: Oh yeah.
[01:01:40] Jeff Agostinho: Valleys. It’s it’s a bit of a nightmare. So we packed it back out and on the way back store, another storm rolled in. And I remember hitting the creek at one point and looking at the guys and it just hammered down snow on us. And they took a picture, uh, where we’re just covered, like within a couple minutes of stopping, we’re just all white covered, trying to fill our water bottles on this creek. And I’m like, mad, what are we doing here? Like this is, it makes no sense.
[01:02:05] Travis Bader: Sounds like a survival exercise.
[01:02:06] Jeff Agostinho: A little bit, in a way yeah. Um, we got back to camp and then the next day the weather broke for us again. We were able to do some more glass in and we’ve got down the valley and day six I think it was, we finally saw our first goats. We, uh, saw three billies and, um, in a spot where we knew we could access them. And we weren’t sure if we were going to make a play at them, it was kind of getting late in the day and, uh, just couldn’t make it happen that day. But we made a decision that we’re going to come back the next day, a day that I had said, if we don’t see any goats were taken off, like this is getting.
[01:02:38] But anyway, so we did, we came back in that day and we made a play up the mountain. And again, just kind of like the year before you kind of underestimate how much time it’s going to take you to get up some of these spots and climb up through, and you’re using an ice ax and you got your crampons on, and you’re switching between crampons and snow shoes, depending on kind of what the conditions you’re in.
[01:02:55] But yeah, we made a play up to these goats were, thinking we might be able to get a good look at them and just couldn’t once we got up there, just couldn’t find what we were looking for. And, you know, you always kind of under judged the stuff you might be in and.
[01:03:08] Travis Bader: Right.
[01:03:09] Jeff Agostinho: Came out that, came back down that night and we’re kind of hiking back towards camp and we’re all pretty defeated and no success. And I remember looking at the guys and we’re just kinda like, I think I said to them, I’m like, I could really use a pizza tonight. Cause we’re like, I think it was day seven, it might’ve even been eight. And they kind of all, were they looked at each other and they looked at me and we kind of decided, all right, well, let’s just pack up camp and head out tonight.
[01:03:33] And at this point it’s like 9:30, 10 o’clock at night. And we still got two hours to get back towards our camp. And then two to three hours depending to hoof out and you’re doing a goat hunt in the winter, you’re taking a ton of gear. Like our packs, none of our packs were under 75 pounds. So it’s just get back to camp that night, pack it all up. And we start doing this hike out at night and it’s, I believe it was a full moon cause I remember like my headlight died and I was still was lit with a full moon behind me.
[01:04:01] And just like, the whole time again, questioning that type two fun attitude. Like, why am I doing it? Why do we do this? Why did I come here? Why did I just took a week off work to come and do this? Like just super frustrated. And you kinda get back to the truck that night and you sit down at the truck and you know, we always just have a hangout or have a drink or have a little bit normal food that we left in the truck and kind of sat back, relax and talked about it. Get out of there, start driving in the middle of the night and find somewhere you can get a motel for the night. We’re able to get pizza that night.
[01:04:32] Travis Bader: Nice.
[01:04:34] Jeff Agostinho: Take a shower and then, you know, you’re kind of sitting there and it’s like, I dunno, it was like two, three in the morning or something and we’re looking at each other and we’re like, yeah, that sucked. But we’ll probably be here again next year just doing it again. It’s that type two thing. Cause you know, we’re suckers for pain I guess. But um.
[01:04:47] Travis Bader: You know, it’s a feeling of accomplishment when it’s done.
[01:04:50] Jeff Agostinho: Yeah, exactly. And that’s just like, there’s no success. We had, you know, we didn’t take a goat this year, but we’ll definitely be back there again to do it again and try and take a goat.
[01:04:59] Travis Bader: Still the feeling of accomplishment as a team, going out there and, and at least doing that, you know, I always, I always have a difficult time when I make the harvest of the animal the ultimate goal.
[01:05:10] Jeff Agostinho: Exactly.
[01:05:11] Travis Bader: And when, when, if that is my ultimate goal, then I’m either going to be happy or not.
[01:05:17] Jeff Agostinho: Yeah.
[01:05:17] Travis Bader: And I I’ve always made it a very big point, particularly with, with my kids as well at the, uh, the journey is the, the adventure, the journey is the point of it and.
[01:05:29] Jeff Agostinho: Definitely.
[01:05:30] Travis Bader: If you’re successful or not on the harvest that that’s just icing on the cake.
[01:05:35] Jeff Agostinho: Absolutely. Yeah, definitely. And you know, when you’re doing those kinds of trips, especially these winter goat hunts, like you’re, you’re definitely doing it for the adventure. You’re not going out there just.
[01:05:44] Travis Bader: Right.
[01:05:45] Jeff Agostinho: For the reason that you want to harvest them. Like you’re going out there for the challenge, the adventure, the memory, all of that right. So, and you get some pretty cool pictures along the way, I’ll tell ya that.
[01:05:53] Travis Bader: Oh, totally.
[01:05:54] Jeff Agostinho: Yeah.
[01:05:54] Travis Bader: So 2022 doing it again?
[01:05:57] Jeff Agostinho: I’m going to take a year off this year, I think from 2022, although just this past weekend, I kind of, might’ve got roped into one. I don’t know. We’ll kind of see. Um, the guys are planning one already, so we’ll see what happens. I might end up swinging into it and doing it. Well, we’ll see, I told them I’d be sending them text messages from Mexico drinking a pina colada, but that may not happen. We’ll see.
[01:06:20] Travis Bader: I love it.
[01:06:20] Jeff Agostinho: Yeah.
[01:06:21] Travis Bader: So if people wanted to learn more about what the Goat Alliance does, you guys have a website?
[01:06:27] Jeff Agostinho: Yeah.
[01:06:27] Travis Bader: Um, obviously that’s a pretty good place to check it out.
[01:06:30] Jeff Agostinho: Yep.
[01:06:31] Travis Bader: Um, do they have any, would you be a local contact on there?
[01:06:36] Jeff Agostinho: Yes, exactly. So that, that’s the whole point of this new regional representative program is that everyone in all these respective different areas is going to have someone or a point of contact for the Goat Alliance. And I’ll be one of two, that’ll be in British Columbia. And more than likely, I’ll be kind of handling the west side of the province.
[01:06:52] And hopefully someone will be on the east side of the province, or however, we’re going to decide to divide that up, but we’ll sort that out, but yeah, I can be that point of contact. There’s also the social media channel, like the Instagram Goat Alliance. That’s a, that’s a big one and a really good one to check out in the website, GoatAlliance.org. That’s obviously where guys can go and sign up and get signed up for a membership or do whatever they want to do. And there’s tons of great information. There’s blog posts on there. There’s all sorts of different things on there.
[01:07:16] Travis Bader: So, what other things that people need to know about what the Goat Alliance does? And if they really want to get involved with this, what would they be expecting to do?
[01:07:24] Jeff Agostinho: So, one of the big aspects of the Goat Alliance is citizen science and the idea of citizen science and doing citizen science. Uh, the surveys are a really big one and there’s been tons of surveys done by the Goat Alliance down in the states and people love going out to them, but that’s a really big way to get involved. Obviously membership’s a big one too, because no organization works without the dollars and we can’t help different people in different places without putting money on the ground, as well. As nice it has to have boots on the ground, those dollars help a lot as well.
[01:07:52] Travis Bader: Huge.
[01:07:52] Jeff Agostinho: Yeah, exactly. So signing up for a membership on there and then reaching out to, even on the social media page or whether that, or reaching out directly to me to talk about upcoming, any upcoming projects or anything like that, there’s always something going on that people can get involved in or talk to us about. Or if they’ve got ideas, if they’ve seen something come up outdoor, or they were doing a mountain goat hunt and they noticed something that seemed a little odd, shoot us a message. Let’s talk about it and see if there’s something that Goat Alliance can do there.
[01:08:19] Travis Bader: So I’m going to put links up both on the YouTube page. They’re going to have them in the podcast and we’ll do a little blog post as well with all of that information in there. So anyone who’s listening to this, just check out the website, check out the, uh, you’ll see it right here, right there on your podcast. All of that information will be right there for you.
[01:08:36] Jeff Agostinho: Yeah. Awesome.
[01:08:37] Travis Bader: Is there anything else that we should be talking about? Some people say. Why would I want to do that? It sounds like an awful lot of work for a small bit of meat.
[01:08:46] Jeff Agostinho: Yeah. Well, I mean, I think there’s a lot to, uh, the adventure when it comes to goat hunting is one of the biggest things, in my opinion, uh, watching these animals who live in some of the craziest craziest places that you could imagine, you’re just trying to figure out how they’re even walking on some of these bluffs.
[01:09:00] Travis Bader: Right.
[01:09:00] Jeff Agostinho: Just watching it is amazing. Um, so just accessing it and seeing it is, is super cool. And then the ability to, again, it comes up again is take the right animal, taking that right out and finding that right billy, I believe is definitely part of the allure as well. Um, you want to take an old mature animal, you don’t want to be taken a two year old animal or whatever, but chasing and taking the right billy and making sure you’re not taking a nannie, I think adds to that challenge. And for me, it. I love the challenge. Like, I, I don’t want to go out and take something and just come home every time I go hunting right.
[01:09:37] Travis Bader: Right.
[01:09:38] Jeff Agostinho: So, um.
[01:09:39] Travis Bader: That’d be called shopping.
[01:09:40] Jeff Agostinho: Exactly. Right. And I think that’s part of why the group of people that I hunt with and stuff now started doing these winter hunts is just that added element of the challenge. And we’re going in on four to six feet of snow sometimes underneath us and camping in just below avalanche shoots. And this year we had avalanches popping off around us and it just adds to everything it adds to the experience. It adds to why we’re out there, the stories, the memories, it’s just, it’s awesome.
[01:10:06] And then when you do take one of these goat, like I’ve, I’ve only personally taken one. I’ve been on a few now where we were successful, but I’ve personally taken one and it was the end of February and walking up to it. And in some parts I got 12 inches of hair and they’re like massive animals, like 250 to 300 pound animal. It’s so cool. And they live in the, yeah. Going back to the country, like they just live in the most awesome places on some of those sketchy rock bluffs. And yeah.
[01:10:35] Travis Bader: Are you loving it when you’re out there and you’re slogging through the snow or are you loving it in retrospect, when you think back about the hunt?
[01:10:42] Jeff Agostinho: It’s definitely type two fun.
[01:10:44] Travis Bader: Yes.
[01:10:44] Jeff Agostinho: 100%. It is type two fun.
[01:10:46] Travis Bader: Yeah.
[01:10:47] Jeff Agostinho: There’s been many times when I’m out there and I questioned my sanity and question why we’re even out there in these kinds of conditions and you come back and you sit back for six months and you’re like, yeah, yeah. I can’t wait to get out there and do it again.
[01:10:57] Travis Bader: I I’ve heard it described like the, uh, the rollercoaster. Hey, you’re fun on the rollercoaster, but you don’t look back and say, man, that roller coaster ride share was great. Whereas something like this, where you’re pushing yourself and your well outside of your comfort zone, and you sometimes might hate yourself during the process.
[01:11:16] Jeff Agostinho: Yeah.
[01:11:17] Travis Bader: But you look back on that and it’s just ingrained in your mind as a positive memory that you’ll always remember. Type two fun. I like that.
[01:11:25] Jeff Agostinho: So a lot of people refer to it and I mean, it’s a perfect way to talk about it. Like in the moment you’re questioning why you’re there and then you get back and you look back on it and you remember why you’re there and you can’t wait to do it again.
[01:11:36] Travis Bader: So I’m going to have to, uh, get my rearing gear and, uh, start planning a goat hunt.
[01:11:43] Jeff Agostinho: Yeah, definitely. And like I said, living in British Columbia. We have so much opportunity in so many different areas, whether you want to put in through our draw system or just do an over the counter tag. And there’s so many different types of country you can go into. There’s so many different levels of access that you can go into when it comes to hunting these goats, that the options are kind of endless.
[01:12:04] And we’re so fortunate for that. Uh, we can do combination hunts with other species. A lot of guys tend to go on sheep hunts, and then they pack a goat tag as well, uh, or caribou hunts. And, you know, the goats are kind of up above ya.
[01:12:16] Travis Bader: Right.
[01:12:16] Jeff Agostinho: Yeah. There’s a lot of that. Even when you go into Eastern BC, you can do an elk hunt and you could be holding a goat tag in your pocket if you’ve got to draw and you’re elk tag or your elk hunt can switch into a goat hunt pretty quick. Like, it’s just so awesome to have a species that’s so all over our province and we have so much access to being able to hunt them. And I think a lot of guys tend to overlook that. And then once you do your first goat hunt, you’re kind of hooked on it.
[01:12:40] You’re like, why did I never do this before? Why did I never think about doing this before everyone’s hung up on hunting elk and chasing a bugle or chasing full curl rams, right? Where you don’t think so much about goats because they have these eight to 10 inch horns and, you know, they don’t maybe show as well, but when you get into the actual venture and you do the actual trip, it’s, I’d say there’s a lot more adventure and there’s a lot more interesting moments on a goat hunt than anything else.
[01:13:06] Travis Bader: No kidding. So if you’re looking at optimal goat area, what would you be looking for?
[01:13:13] Jeff Agostinho: It’s tough to say. So I’m going to it’ll depend on what part of the province I’m going to be in. So generally, if you look at coastal British Columbia, it’s tends to be steep, very steep, very timbered areas. And I found that a lot of the goats tend to live right around treeline or in these rock bluffs that tend to be right around trees. Just, they have a lot of escape routes. Look for something that has a ton of escape routes.
[01:13:34] When you look up in, towards Northern British Columbia, a lot of these goats like to live in grassy bowls or just above those grassy bowls where a rock faces up above, uh, somewhere that again, they have that escape terrain and that escape terrain is a big thing to look for because it’s a way for them to get away from predators as well. They’re going to want that level of safety, right? A goat can get up a rock face. Grizzly bear probably can’t or a Wolf probably can’t.
[01:13:59] So identifying scape trends, identifying those go-to areas. Um, and depending on what the conditions are like, you know, like a lot of species, south facing generally, uh, depending on that time of year, you’re going to want to be focusing on, um, not always. And that another thing that we’ve seen with goats too, is, uh, depending on the temperatures and what the conditions are like, if it’s hot out, they’re going to try to find some snow. Anywhere there’s a glacier snow, they’re going to want to live on that. Cause it’s cool right?
[01:14:26] Travis Bader: Right.
[01:14:27] Jeff Agostinho: So if you’re hunting that Northern BC where it can be 30 plus degrees at the start of August, and you might have a goat tag, maybe try and identify where the glaciers are, where you’re going to be able to find some snow cause you might find some goats in there as well.
[01:14:37] Travis Bader: That’s a good point.
[01:14:38] Jeff Agostinho: Yeah.
[01:14:38] Travis Bader: A best time of day?
[01:14:40] Jeff Agostinho: Uh, I found with goats, you can kind of, they, they tend to bed mid day, a lot, like any other animal and they tend to move in the mornings, in the evenings, but they’re white. Like, unless you’re hunting them in the winter, generally you’re looking for a white on a rock face. So I found that goats are probably the easiest animal to pick out when you’re doing some glassing.
[01:15:00] Travis Bader: Right.
[01:15:01] Jeff Agostinho: Um, but again, it’s still important to have good glass when you’re out there and making sure that, uh, especially with the spotter and you’re able to identify and judge them and do it.
[01:15:11] Travis Bader: Do you ever solo hunt these?
[01:15:13] I’ve never solo hunted
[01:15:14] Jeff Agostinho: goats no, that’s not something I would personally want to do. I mean, a lot of guys do it and all the power to them, but I’ve just found myself in some situations when I was goat, when I’ve been goat hunting, that I would not want to be there by myself. We’ve been roped up. We, when we do our winter hunts, we carry, um, small packable harnesses and usually about 200 feet of climbing rope. Obviously make sure you got someone on the trip that knows knotting and knows how to climb and.
[01:15:41] Travis Bader: Right.
[01:15:41] Jeff Agostinho: Has experienced with that. Um, cause you don’t want to get into a situation where you think you’re more comfortable than you actually should be and put yourself into a bad situation of course. But yeah, definitely not something I don’t think I’d want to do solo, maybe go out and scope for them solo, but I wouldn’t actually get right into the nasty by myself.
[01:16:00] Travis Bader: Right.
[01:16:00] Jeff Agostinho: But to each their own of guys, you know, there’s guys that don’t have a lot more mountaineering and backpacking and climbing experience than I might have that are comfortable with that. Um, I know there’s some guys in the province that do it by themselves and they don’t go anywhere without having a helmet on just in case like just having that safety aspect of it right.
[01:16:17] Travis Bader: That’s smart.
[01:16:17] Jeff Agostinho: And I think it’s important that anyone, when we’re going out and chasing these animals have a certain way to keep in contact or keeping communication with people on the outside when you don’t have cell reception, just in case something like that does happen right.
[01:16:29] Travis Bader: Right. Like a little inReach or a spot, or are you even bother with, uh, sat phones anymore?
[01:16:36] Jeff Agostinho: I haven’t seen a sat phone since that first fly in hunt action I did six years ago.
[01:16:40] Travis Bader: I’ve I’ve never had great success with sat phones.
[01:16:42] Jeff Agostinho: No, they’re, they’re cut pretty in and out and pretty limited on how much you can actually use them, but.
[01:16:47] Travis Bader: And they’re heavier.
[01:16:48] Jeff Agostinho: Yeah, they are. But yeah, they definitely are. I’ve just had good success with an inReach and I think that’s probably the best way to go or one of the better ways to go for sure. Yeah. So even like going back to the Rocky Mountain Goat Alliance and just funding and stuff, I had to pull out a note just to see a couple of the things here, but like collar projects, relocation projects, uh, research, and then aerial surveys, which are, you know, I didn’t think about that at first because RMG just funded an aerial survey here in Chilliwack.
[01:17:16] Um, those are just some of the places like I know someone will ask, where does the dollars go? Where does the money go, those have been some of the biggest projects so far, is putting those things together. And like for example, collars, collars are not cheap, but they provide a ton of data to RMG, to the local biologists, all of that. So when we’re able to provide funding for collars, that’s huge. Biologist’a appreciate that as well.
[01:17:37] Travis Bader: So can people get involved with a collaring project?
[01:17:41] Jeff Agostinho: That’s going to depend, I think on the area that you’re in and the biologist I know here with British Columbia, generally with a project like that, they’re going to want to have more of like the government employees on with that, especially I think when it comes to goats, but that, that may change because RMG is pretty new into BC and we’re still trying to build those relationships.
[01:18:01] We’re working on building those relationships with these biologists and maybe down the road, that is something that we can get more people involved in is putting some collars on goats and doing some studies that way. And I think it’d be pretty awesome to have people be able to volunteer for that but.
[01:18:14] Travis Bader: No kidding.
[01:18:15] Jeff Agostinho: Yeah, maybe one day that that will be a reality. One of the first projects that mountain goat or RMG ever did was a, a volunteer survey in the Montana. Um, now they’ve done them in Montana, South Dakota, Washington, Utah, Idaho, Colorado. And then this year, obviously in British Columbia this past year, did the first ever winter survey.
[01:18:35] Travis Bader: Okay.
[01:18:35] Jeff Agostinho: That they had done. Uh, I heard that the weather conditions weren’t ideal for that. And I think it’s a bit of a learning curve for doing that. In any time you want to go into the mountains at that time of the year, you’re going to.
[01:18:44] Travis Bader: Right.
[01:18:44] Jeff Agostinho: There’s going to be some hiccups and you’re going to run into some issues. It’s just the reality of what it is, but it’s pretty cool to be doing a winter survey. Like just getting guys into the mountains at that time of the year is awesome.
[01:18:54] Travis Bader: Is fun.
[01:18:55] Jeff Agostinho: It’s fun. And it’s hard to do, like, not a lot of guys want to sign up to be in the mountains in February or March or when there’s six feet of snow down right.
[01:19:03] Travis Bader: Right.
[01:19:03] Jeff Agostinho: And it was kind of the same for Chilliwack here. We, it was 43 degrees at one point when we were out there, like it was, it was cooking. I had, I was kind of traveling around and going to visit as many guys as I could. And I felt bad for some of the guys that were doing those big climbs because it was pretty nasty. I know guys were starting at two o’clock in the morning just to try and avoid the heat so.
[01:19:22] Travis Bader: Wow.
[01:19:23] Jeff Agostinho: Yeah.
[01:19:24] Travis Bader: Now you’ve got your own Instagram page as well.
[01:19:27] Jeff Agostinho: Yeah.
[01:19:27] Travis Bader: Did you want to plug that?
[01:19:29] Jeff Agostinho: Uh, sure it’s just my name. Jeff Agostinho yeah, that’s just, uh, yeah where I’m at is Jeff Agostinho.
[01:19:35] Travis Bader: Would that be a good way for people to check you out and kind of see some of the hunts you’re doing and see what you’re up to?
[01:19:41] Jeff Agostinho: Oh yeah, definitely. People can check it out on there. I try and post as many pictures as I can. And just recap in the hunts or posting pictures of our hunts. Yeah, there’s lots on there. And if guys have any questions like RMGA related or whatever related, just feel free to shoot me a message on there. I might not always be the fastest to respond, but I’ll definitely get back to you and try and get you as many answers as possible.
[01:20:01] Travis Bader: Oh, Jeff that’s fantastic.
[01:20:02] Jeff Agostinho: Yeah.
[01:20:03] Travis Bader: Thank you very much for being here on The Silvercore Podcast. I really appreciate you taking the time.
[01:20:08] Jeff Agostinho: Thanks for having me and having us come on to talk about Goat Alliance. I really appreciate that.
[01:20:17] Travis Bader: I love it.
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