Populations are monitored by aerial surveys or incidental to Dall sheep surveys in South-central Alaska. Harvest information is obtained through a mandatory hunt report that is part of a required registration permit. Information collected includes the areas and numbers of days hunted, hunter success, dates of hunts and kills, transport methods, and commercial services used.
In most areas, goat harvest is managed using a weighted point harvest system, where males equal one point and females equal two points. For example, in southern Southeast Alaska, take is managed so that harvest does not exceed six points per 100 goats. Thus, the harvest of males can be twice the harvest of females. This provides more opportunity for hunters and assures a productive and sustainable goat population.
Mountain goats don’t reproduce as early, or have as many offspring, as deer and moose. Although deer and moose have young at two and three years of age, respectively, mountain goats do not give birth until they are four or five years old. And while moose and deer often have twins, twinning is rare for mountain goats. This low productivity means that individual female mountain goats are very important to the overall population. It can take years to replace one harvested female goat.
ADF&G is working to educate hunters about mountain goats, and produced a mountain goat identification guide to help hunters identify male (billy) and female (nanny) goats. The free 48-page guide features dozens of color pictures highlighting the many subtle clues that distinguish nannies from billies.
Finer-scale mountain goat management continues to be necessary in some areas as hunting pressure increases. With the guideline harvest being approached in several areas in the past few years, ADF&G may soon implement a sealing requirement to assure accurate reporting of male and female goats. In some areas hunters are also asked to voluntarily provide their goat horns to Fish and Game office for aging.