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Discussion Starter #1
Greetings fellow bowhunters.

I'm headed out to South Dakota in a couple of weeks to hunt speed goats for the first time with my Dad and my best buddy.

I'm going to detail some of what we have "learned" in our research in my next post in this thread, to hopefully get some feedback, but my first question is:

Has anyone here hunted for goats in the Grand River National Grasslands in South Dakota?

The area we are focusing on and building maps for is the 50,000 acre portion on the South edge of Shadehill Resevoir. I've spoken with a few locals out there, and they tell me the area is loaded with goats, but any input, experience, rumors, etc. about the area would be greatly appreciated!
 

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OK, now for the details. I'm a serial researcher, and like to have all the info I can find, as well as a well laid plan in place before I head out on a hunt, especially for a species I've never hunted before. Therefore, maybe some of this info might help other newbies, but hopefully some of you goat veterans can pick apart some of what we THINK we have learned. We are always open to new ideas and advice!

Our Goat Hunt:

Location: South Dakota. Grand River National Grasslands near Shadehill Resevoir

Dates: Sept. 16-22

Hunting Methods:

Blinds: My Dad is going to primarily use a blind near water tanks. The severe drought has dried up nearly all of the natural waterholes. This should make hunting over wells/water tanks even more effective. My buddy and I plan to set our blinds the first day while scouting, and then leave them for a few days, in case we don't have luck stalking. That way the goats have a few days to get used to them. My Dad will start off right away in his blind. We are looking at setting them downwind around 20-30 yards from the waterhole, depending on the layout, etc. We've been told to make sure we brush them in the best we can, ESPECIALLY behind the blind. My Dad is going to be using a custom open top blind he built, heavily brushed in. My buddy and I will be using pop up blinds with a small window opening. We'd shoot through the screens, but we decided to go with mechanicals because of the possible long shots we may be taking while stalking. Hopefully the black hole effect doesn't bother them too much? My cousin has taken several goats with his bow. He says that the goats get up ealry and usually graze right away, then head to their favorite watering spot about mid morning. Another piece of advice he gave is that goats will almost always come in, scan the watering hole area for danger, and the first time they drop their mouths in the water they will almost always raise their head quickly and look for danger again. If all is clear then, they will drink. He said drinking doesn't take very long, so don't wait too long. He said you can hear the water gulping down their throats, as they literally suck in large volumes of water very quickly.

Stalking: We are most excited about this. We will be using Mel Dutton Decoys and Lohman Challenge calls. After glassing them, we'll work the valleys and contour to stalk up over a hill, hopefully within 300-400 yards of the herd. We'll especially be looking for herd bucks that have separated themselves a bit from their does. Then we will be following the advice on the Dutton/Lohman tapes that came with our decoys and calls.

The Rut: We've heard a few rumors, including here on AT, that the rut might have went a bit early?? Any truth to that? We picked our dates based on the historical likelihood of it being rut out there. IF the rut is winding down, we may not have as much luck with the decoys and stalking, and may have to revert to plan B and jump in our blinds!

Optics: We'll all be using pretty good binocs. They have good 8x42s and I just bought a new pair of Carson 10x50 XMs. None of us have a good spotting scope. How many of you think it is critical? I may get one before we go, and am leaning towards the Leupold Gold Ring. Seeems a good value for the quality and it is compact. I'll have an ultralight stool and a tripod in my backpack, so I could comfortably sit and scope long distances from some of the high points, if I think it will increase our chances?

Bow Equipment: Less important than any of the above, but I'll be shooting a Ross 331 and will be using Grim reaper Razor Cut mechanicals in 1 3/8". My buddy shoots a Switchback and will be using Rocket Steelhead mechanicals. My Dad shoots a Bear bow and will be using fixed 1" broadheads. We've all been shooting a lot and we got together last weekend... We are all in the wheelhouse, as they say, out to 50 yards. I have extreme confidence in any of us with a 40 yard shot, and 50-60 is doable if the conditions are excellent (little wind).
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
NerdHick said:
Have you checked the area with google maps?
Good question. I actually downloaded 120 high res USGS topo quad images for the area and pieced them together in Photoshop. I then printed a LARGE map of our area on twenty two 8.5 x 14 sheets, spliced and taped them together, and now we have a master camp map that we've been studying and planning with. We highlighted with differnt colors so we can easily see the two-track trails, wells, buttes, etc.

I also bought the Delorme TopoUSA software and am currently printing smaller maps for us to carry and navigate by. I also have a large aerial image of the area I'm piecing together.

Like I said, I'm a bit anal when it comes to my hunting planning. I'd rather have too much info and tools than to just wander into a 50,000 acre area with no plan at all!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Any SD hunters with any helpful info? Thanks!!
 

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I think your dates will be very close to the rut,I have hunted there the last three yrs with a good friend that is a fish and game officer and just talked with it few days ago and he said its was looking good as far as hunting the third and fourth week of sept and thats when I am planing to go.

Jared
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Jacack said:
I think your dates will be very close to the rut,I have hunted there the last three yrs with a good friend that is a fish and game officer and just talked with it few days ago and he said its was looking good as far as hunting the third and fourth week of sept and thats when I am planing to go.

Jared
Jared, thanks for the info... According to a couple of "locals" up there, the rut will vary some, but historically the average peak rut is Sept. 15-25. Hunting anytime before or after that can, of course, be great for stalking with decoys. With waterhole hunting, the rut isn't as important.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
ttt. Just looking for any tips or advice from you goat experts! Thanks!
 

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ascmtn - It sounds like you have planned everything out well. I will be in NE Wyoming the 14th for speed goats myself. Good Luck to all..
 

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Discussion Starter #10
GSLAM95 said:
ascmtn - It sounds like you have planned everything out well. I will be in NE Wyoming the 14th for speed goats myself. Good Luck to all..
Thanks and good luck in Wyoming... Bring back a good report of success, and we'll do the same!
 

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Discussion Starter #11
ttt again... any input on the area would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter #13
teambringit1 said:
ttt for a well prepared hunter.
Thanks BringIt... we are trying to be prepared! Next Friday can't come soon enough...we are "chomping at the bit" to get out there and chase goats!

I caved in and bought a Leupold Gold Ring 15-30 spotting scope and a nice packable tripod... I've been getting advice that it will really come in handy with our stalking.
 

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Check over at the Bowsite in the South Dakota forum. There is lots of goat hunters over there.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
reflex shooter said:
Check over at the Bowsite in the South Dakota forum. There is lots of goat hunters over there.
Thanks Reflex, I'll do just that!
 
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