In Alaska, thrive in wet coastal habitats. Restricted to mountains, often in steep, rugged terrain. In summer, occupy steep grassy talus slopes, grassy ledges of cliffs, and alpine meadows moving to snow patches on warm days (Hjeljord 1973, Schoen and Kirchoff 1981, Fox et al. 1989). During winter, occur from sea to timberline (ADF&G 1973, Shackleton 1999), in general, mountain goats make use of higher elevations during summer and lower ones in winter (Chapman and Feldhamer 1982). May seek shelter in spruce or hemlock in winter (NatureServe 2007b). Mountain goat winter ranges are characterized by a lack of persistent or melt-crusted snow along cliffs, and steep terrain interspersed with vegetation. Suitable winter ranges may be at lower elevations where snow is less abundant and persistent, or on relatively unforested, steep, mostly south-facing slopes where snow sheds rapidly. Mountain goats use those portions of winter ranges on slopes exceeding 40 degrees (Boyd et al. 1986). At low elevations, particularly near the Pacific Coast, a conifer canopy may benefit wintering mountain goats by intercepting and distributing snow and by providing forage. In contrast, goats wintering on interior ranges, where snowfall is great, tend to avoid dense stands of conifers that accumulate snow (Boyd et al. 1986).
ADF&G. 1973. Alaska’s wildlife and habitat. Anchorage, Alaska. 144 pp. + maps.
Boyd, R. J., A. Y. Cooperrider, P. C. Lent, and J. A. Bailey. 1986. Ungulates. In: A. Y. Cooperrider, R. J. Boyd, and H. R. Stuart, eds. Inventory and monitoring of wildlife habitat. Denver, CO: USDI, BLM, Service Center: 519-564.
Chapman, J. A. and G. A. Feldhamer, eds. 1982. Wild mammals of North America. Baltimore, MD: The Johns Hopkins University Press. 1147 p.
Fox, J. L., C. A. Smith, and J. W. Schoen. 1989. Relation between mountain goats and their habitat in southeast Alaska. General Technical Report PNW-GTR-246. USDA, USFS, Washington, D. C.
Hjeljord, O. 1973. Mountain goat forage and habitat preference in Alaska. Journal of Wildlife Management 37:353-362.
NatureServe. 2007b. NatureServe Explorer: An online encyclopedia of life [web application]. Version 6.2. NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia. Available http://www.natureserve.org/explorer
Schoen, J. W. and M.D. Kirchoff. 1981. Habitat use by mountain goats in southeast Alaska. Final Report Project W-`17-R, ADF&G, Juneau, Alaska.
Shackleton, D. 1999. Hoofed mammals of British Columbia. Royal British Columbia Museum Handbook Volume 3. University of British Columbia Press, Vancouver.