On the day after Valentine’s Day, the Pope and Young Club made a special delivery, not unlike the ones that busy florists had made all over the country barely 24 hours earlier. But this time, the delivery wasn’t a box of chocolates and a dozen red roses shot straight from Cupid’s bow, it was news of yet another bowhunting world record — the second such announcement in the past week following Jeff Melillo's new world record black bear!
After a special panel-measuring session was convened on Saturday, Feb. 15, 2020 at the Club’s Chatfield, Minn. headquarters, Rosey Roseland’s mountain goat — taken on Alaska's Revillagigedo Island on Oct. 3, 2019 — was confirmed as a new bowhunting world record and entered into P&Y’s 32nd recording period running from Jan. 1, 2019 until Dec. 31, 2020.
Scoring 53 2/8 inches, Roseland’s big 49th State mountain goat unseats the previous bowhunting world record, a 53 0/8-inch billy taken on Feb. 16, 2006 by archer Shad Wheeler in Kalum Lake, British Columbia.
With the special panel of official measurers including Steve Ashley and Bucky Ihlenfeld of Wisconsin, retired P&Y executive director and former director of records Glenn Hisey of Minnesota, and current P&Y director of records Eli Randall, the Roseland mountain goat was put against the cold steel of the measurer’s tape and confirmed as the largest ever taken with a bow and arrow.
"Upon viewing this Rocky Mountain Goat, it was evident that this was a special animal," said Randall, in a P&Y news release.
Roseland knew the area he was hunting contained such magnum sized mountain goats, the kind of billies that justified his years of putting in for a difficult to draw bowhunting tag.
"I had been putting in for a limited draw permit for this area (Ketchikan 005) for about 10 years,” said Roseland in the P&Y news release. "The area is known for its big goats and is fairly close to my home, POW Island.”
If the name Rosey Roseland sounds familiar to longtime readers of Bowhunter magazine, it should be. He has been a familiar bowhunting companion of former Bowhunter columnist E. Donnall Thomas, Jr. over the years and has been featured in a number of Thomas’ magazine columns and books.
With this hunt worthy of another Don Thomas story, the securing of the difficult to obtain tag was the first hurdle that Roseland had to overcome. But it was hardly the last.
“I was after a mature billy, so my wife and I scouted the area in July,” said Roseland. “On October 2nd, my friend from Montana, Matt Anderson, and I backpacked into the area. Through the rain and fog, we spotted this goat bedded down and I could see that he had very big bases. Good enough, I decided.”
Given the way that mountain goat horns are scored — four circumference measurements on each horn and the two length of horn measurements are added together — accurate field judging of mountain goat horns is a difficult chore in good alpine weather, even for seasoned hunters. In bad weather, the chore becomes even more difficult.
A veteran traditional bowhunter, Roseland shifted his focus from the size of the goat’s horns to the task at hand of slowly and quietly negotiating the rugged terrain. Eventually, he was within bow range of the goat with large jet-black horns curling back from the thick fur on top of the billy’s blocky head.
“I was concentrating so hard on my stalk and my 20-yard shot that I hardly looked at his horns,” said Roseland. “When we walked up on him, we knew he was big, but not world-record big."
But that’s exactly what the Alaskan billy turned out to be, a new world record in the archery record book.
While Roseland’s big mountain goat will now occupy the No. 1 spot in the P&Y record book, the real winner according to Randall is the ongoing success of wildlife conservation in rugged Alaska and far beyond to the rest of North America.
"World record size animals are a testament to the success of the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation and is a credit to science-based conservation programs across North America,” he said. “Congratulations to Rosey Roseland on harvesting this outstanding Rocky Mountain goat."
It should be noted that what Roseland achieved in tagging his outstanding mountain goat is particularly rare given the large size of the billy’s horns along with the inhospitable and almost vertical habitat that the sure-footed species typically calls home.
In fact, as Thomas opined in his excellent book "Have Bow, Will Travel," mountain goats occupy "...a niche nothing else wanted: high alpine cliffs, where they face no competition for food from other ungulates and minimal threat from predators."
Living in the steep and dangerous terrain that many people call “God’s Country,” taking a big billy with a rifle is an incredible hunting accomplishment in its own right — along with enjoying a mountainside meal of mountain goat tenderloin roasted over an open flame — and one that few hunters will ever experience.
But taking a big billy with a bow and arrow is an extraordinary feat, one that only a select few will ever know. And all of that after gaining a tough to draw tag, accessing the rugged mountains that the goats call home, and closing in tight enough for a close-range archery shot.
Put simply, arrowing a mountain goat — any mountain goat — let alone a world record sized specimen, is likely the toughest bowhunt that an archer can ever dream of.
"Seldom seen in the wild by most Americans, goats are fascinating animals, and I can watch them all day,” noted Thomas in his previously mentioned book. “Good thing bowhunting goats involves a lot of watching."
Maybe so. But after his memorable bowhunt last fall in the Alaskan high country, Thomas’ friend Rosey Roseland can now do a different type of watching.
And that’s seeing his name and the score of his new world record mountain goat now sitting in a lofty perch at the very top of the Pope and Young Club’s record book.
With the world record mark now secured, the Roseland mountain goat will soon be on display at the upcoming P&Y Convention in Virginia running from March 26-29, 2020.
A part of the Bass Pro/Cabela’s Trophy Tower, the mountain goat will also be a part of the largest display of bow-harvested big-game animals ever put together.