Mountain goats live in the highest, most spectacular country available in Southern Alaska, coastal British Columbia, Yukon Territory, southwestern Alberta, and isolated parts of Washington, Oregon, Montana, Idaho, Utah, Nevada and Colorado. Goats are usually found at or above timberline. But in winter along coastal Alaska and B.C., snow can push them down almost to the beaches; in these regions they winter in the trees.
Early August hunting seasons find goats as high as they can climb, often above 10,000 feet. Their hair is also Marine Corps - short. As the season progresses, the animals come lower and their hair grows longer, reaching its most luxurious state in late October and early November. (Goats shed parts of their winter coats in summer.)
Summertime foods include grasses and forbs - explaining goats’ liking of meadows - and in the winter, browse plants like willow and aspen become staples.
While both nannies and billys are usually legal (because they look so much alike), game managers strongly encourage taking only mature billies. Billies have heavier horn bases (though not always longer horns) and horns that curve back more than nannies; also, a billy’s belly fur may be stained or discolored.
In terms of trophy quality, any billy with horns exceeding 9 inches in length and bases of at least 51/2 inches around is a good goat. An exceptional billy’s horns will be closer to 10 inches in length and 6 inches at the base and will carry the weight all the way through. The difference between a good goat and an average one is often less than an inch of horn length and a half - inch of base diameter.
Billies are also larger and blockier of body, and at times they have a more yellowish coat than the whiter females. Billies tend to live higher on the mountain than nannies and kids too. Mature goats stand between 36 to 42 inches at the shoulder and are between 48 to 70 inches in length. A nanny might weigh anywhere from 100 to 200 pounds, while a mature billy might go from 200 pounds to as much as 350.
All goats, young or old, male or female, are incredibly adept at negotiating steep, rocky terrain - even cliffs.