Mountain Goat Sex Identification
The Mountain goats are a great game for those seeking adventures in extreme lands gaining more enthusiasts year after year.
This might put pressure on the goats' population and even endanger the species. To avoid such an undesirable situation and make mountain goat hunting sustainable for future generations, hunters are encouraged to shoot only adult billies, even when in some states like Alaska are allowed to harvest goats of both sexes.
The aim is to keep as many female goats as possible to keep the herd population stable year after year, so it's extremely important to learn how to differentiate male from female goats in the field, a task not so simple, especially considering you need to assess goats sex from the distance, using optic aids.
Perhaps the first attribute is body size; at least it's easier to differentiate kids and yearling goats from adults, but when it's about to make a difference between an adult female and a 2 years old billy, things get a little bit more complicated and it's necessary to use other characteristics, especially because in some herds an adult nanny may be the biggest animal of the group.
Here is when you need to see the fine detail and look for horns. Horns length is a good indicator of goat sex and age, but once again, looking from the distance, it's not an easy estimation to do in the field.
A one-year-old goat of either sex has around half the total horn length of an adult. Younger goats have only horn buttons and regarding adults, things get a little bit complicated since you need to find adult goats, which means horns longer than 6 inches.
But you are not close enough to make a precise measure; so how to do it? Well, the easiest way is to compare the horn length with the ear length.
An average adult goat has a 6 inches ear, so you should harvest only those animals whose horns length is at least one and a half ear, so every goat with horns longer than their ears will be 2 years or older.
But you still don't know the sex! To do so, it's mandatory a more detailed examination of the horn rather than using just the size, and here it's where experience counts since you need to see a lot of adult female and male goats horns to spot subtle differences from the distance.
Things get even harder if you are seeing a single specimen, without any other one near there to compare with.
Overall, billys' horns tend to be thicker than nannies´ from the base to the top; in addition males´ horns have a greater basal diameter and its curvature is even and smooth along all the horn length while females horns tend to be more curved on their tips while the basal segment is straight.
The last and perhaps more reliable characteristic is the horn's base size. Comparing horns implantation with eyes width, mature billies have a horn base wider than their eyes width while females' horns bases are equal or smaller than eyes width.
The problem here is that you need to look from the front and there are many chances the goat spots your position, but with practice, you will learn how to conceal your optics good enough to allow a clear spot without being detected.