Oct 24, 2010 at 7:52 am #1264720
Matthew PerryBPL Member
@bigfoot2Locale: Hammock-NOT Tarptent!
I thought it was a joke:
First Bears, then sharks, now….GOATS????????
BFOct 24, 2010 at 9:12 am #1657451
Dale WambaughBPL Member
@dwambaughLocale: Pacific Northwest
A 300 pound territorial animal with sharp horns can be dangerous. There are hundreds of people injured by deer every year. They aren't pets!
The irony is that the goats aren't native to the Olympics. They do get aggressive during rut and sometimes challenge people, but an actual goring is rare. The victim bled to death from a thigh injury— must have hit the femoral artery. The rangers hunted down the goat and killed it and a necropsy was done to see if there was some physiological cause.
See bobboardman.com for info on the victim. He was quite a guy — very active in the community.Oct 24, 2010 at 10:49 am #1657472
eric chanBPL Member
bahhh ….bears are so much cuter … especially when ya feed em ;)
the outdoors is a dangerous place … for animals just carry a bit of bearspray and avoid getting too closeOct 24, 2010 at 11:39 pm #1657697
@pittsburghLocale: Bay Area
This is just extremely tragic. I checked out the website and read the articles…seems like this gentleman was a really quality, fun, loving person. Seemed to milk life…as it should be. My heart goes out to his family and friends….Oct 25, 2010 at 8:29 am #1657773
Hiking MaltoBPL Member
Great, now I have to worry about bears, snakes, cougars AND Mountain goats. I think I will just stay in the city where it's safer.Oct 25, 2010 at 11:28 am #1657834
It's a pretty sad story, so any jokes seem is poor taste to me.Oct 25, 2010 at 12:11 pm #1657848Oct 25, 2010 at 2:18 pm #1657891
rOg wBPL Member
deletedOct 25, 2010 at 2:58 pm #1657902
Travis LeannaBPL Member
I was in Glacier this summer and got really close to some goats. There were a bunch of tourists over Logan Pass clamoring to get as close as possible to a goat and her kid. At one point I was standing on the trail and the pair came and walked right next to me, giving me the evil eye as they passed.
I'll be sure to keep a bit more distance next time.
While we were there, a ranger told us that the goats in the park (at least around Logan Pass) congregate near human-populated areas because they have learned that humans=less natural predators.Oct 25, 2010 at 4:26 pm #1657925
My deepest condolences to the victim's family and friends. This event is truly shocking to me.
In GNP, goats don't have much fear of humans, and they absolutely love to lick antifreeze off the pavement. Apparently it isn't a poison to them, or at least they can metabolize it somehow without much harm. They also love human urine, so I've had them hang around my campsites, hoping for a freebie. At the same Lake Ellen Wilson campsite (July '06), I was adopted by a mom and her two kids. They followed me around wherever I went, tripped over the tent guy lines all night, and then politely escorted me up to Gunsight Pass before turning back (it was apparently the border of their territory). Also, during my stay at the Sperry Chalet on the way to L. Ellen Wilson, there were maybe 15-20 goats in residence. They would lounge in the shade by the deck chairs, or wander around amongst the buildings, unafraid of people. In fact, they likely are actually attracted to us, or perhaps extremely curious about us. They won't quite let you touch them, but they like to hang out 10-20 feet away, in your company. So I found the sad news from Washington rather confusing—an aggressive goat that wasn't white in color. Could it have been of a different goat breed? I'm also wondering if it might relate to a form of competition among sexes–a male goat killed the male hiker, right? Was the previous poster's lady confronted by a female goat (maybe the same one that befriended me…)? I suppose that we'll never know.Oct 25, 2010 at 4:39 pm #1657927
@b-g-2-2Locale: Silicon Valley
"I suppose that we'll never know."
The deceased goat isn't talking.
–B.G.–Oct 25, 2010 at 4:41 pm #1657928
rOg wBPL Member
deletedOct 25, 2010 at 4:56 pm #1657932
Eric LundquistBPL Member
@cobbermanLocale: Northern Colorado
So what would one recommend as the solution to a disgruntled goat?
Black Bears – Make yourself big, shout, and stand your ground if charged
Mountain Lion – Make yourself big (gather up the kiddos fast)
Mountain Goat – ???Oct 25, 2010 at 5:14 pm #1657939
Greg MihalikBPL Member
From the article referenced above –
"Three people spread out along a slope, shouting and pelting the animal with rocks,… The goat, distracted by the reflective light of a hiker's silver space blanket, finally backed away after about 15 minutes."
Cautious, slow, group intimidation seems to the the suggestion in this case. "Buddy Up" and look big will be my approach. If alone…look big and start backpedaling.
But more than anything else, I am now better informed, and will be far more cautious.Oct 25, 2010 at 5:18 pm #1657941
A mountain goat is not a predator so he would likely not pursue you if you had an escape route? I'd do whatever necessary to avoid being gored, and then get the hail out of there.Oct 25, 2010 at 6:12 pm #1657961
Seems like people here are always advocating against bear spray in every situation except grizzly country…i say its applicable here.Oct 25, 2010 at 7:17 pm #1657996
Rog, thanks for your post. 20 goats, with a huge alpha male? Had he, or other goats, checked you out earlier, before your wife went off into the bushes? Did any of them gather around you two and show curiosity from a close distance? Was there any interaction earlier that might have promoted familiarity/animosity? So I guess we just keep the pepper spray handy, right? And maybe a knife, and then wish we had a 9mm Glock?Oct 26, 2010 at 8:41 am #1658122
@rosierabbitLocale: Pacific Northwest
I got permission from Mike Collins, an experienced, accomplished, and level-headed climber in the Pacific Northwest, to re-print his comment below that he had posted on NorthwestHikers.net. He researched his information before posting it:
"Lets start with some background information. The term mountain goats is a misnomer. Mountain goats are not goats anymore than mountain lions are lions. They are the only representative member in North America of their taxonomic tribe of Rupicaprini which contains five species globally. They are distant relatives of goats but have enough anatomic and behavioral differences to not be classified together.
This preface is important because one should not interact with mountain goats as one would treat a barnyard goat. Aggressive behavior occurs with this species. The recent death by goring showed behavior that is an extreme extension of normal male rutting behavior. The male goat will use its horns in a sweeping attack at the ventral surface and rump of a competitor. The horns can be quite sharp and by adding an additional layer of keratin each year they become thicker as the goat ages. This life-threatening interaction does not go unnoticed by the gene pool of the males. Mountain goats have developed by genetic selection of survivors what are called dermal shields (thick skin) over their rump. One study measured the dermal shield of a nine yr old male mountain goat to be 25 mm thick. That is just shy of 1" thickness to skin! No fat, just dermis. The First Nations were aware of this and prior to the introduction of firearms would use elk, who have with convergent evolution also developed dermal shields, and mountain goat hide from these thickened areas as breast armor into what was the Kevlar of pre-Columbian America. But fights amoung males are actually rare and accounted for only 1.9% of the 4265 aggressive behaviors observed during one study.
Striking out at an opponent is the end point in the spectrum of aggressive behavior in goats. Because actual violence involves risk to both parties goats will also communicate aggression with other signs. They will present their threat to the other party (be it a goat or you) through broadside orientation with size enhancement by arching the back. They may also exhibit horn threats where they display aggressive movement of the horns or rush threats where they charge in a quick movement at an antagonist. A lower form of aggression which seems to have been displayed during the tragedy is called orientation threat. This is where the goat simply walks toward the opponent. Low pitched grunts are often associated wtih aggressive behavior and listen for that as well. It can get confusing though because as I have pointed out in a previous post goats may follow you solely in pursuit of your urine with no aggression intended.
It is important to realize that in the goat's mind we often are the opponent. What the goat involved in the recent tragedy undoubtedly sensed is that when people showed up the females he was hoping to mate with walked away. Through association this makes the hiker out for a nice day in the sun an opponent. At this time of the year rutting is forefront on the male goats mind. Rutting involves male-to-male competition. One male will force other males away from the area adjacent to females. The male will actually spend much less time on eating and concentrate on establishing and maintaining favorable territory for females to enter for copulation reasons. With mountain goat females copulation is the beginning and end of their sexual behavior. They do not spend a minute of their day with sexual behavior. It is all about the billy. They will not be receptive unless in estrus and will defend themselves using their horns if approached outside of estrus.
But aggressive behavior is not just a billy goat occurence. Compared to other ungulates mountain goat females display the highest intraspecific aggression of any species. One study showed an average of 3.4 aggressive behaviors/hr. In the wild this is at the top of the charts. Oddly the presence of a kid does not affect the aggressive behavior of females. This suggests that aggressiveness did not evolve as a behavior to defend offspring. Last spring I came upon two different nannies and kids and in both instances the kid remained close to its mother. I walked around them granting them use of the trail and did not notice any aggressive behavior.
So what does one do when meeting a goat? As meeting them is often on a trail I grant them full use of the trail and get off. Submissive behaviors(what you want to do) in goat body language include the following: Avoid the opponent by both walking and staring away from it. If charged one should quickly move away from the antagonist. Running away is an option as the goat has behavior that has evolved allowing dismissal of its opponent. I would not use trekking poles as in the goat mind that would be interpreted as aggression and will be met head on.
When hiking in goat areas you might have noticed what seem like dust wallows in the ground. Males will dig rutting pits where they urinate and paw dirt over their undersides and hindquarters. Like gang tags on fences it means you are in a contested area. Be on alert because trouble might be brewing. You have a short fuse on a long Y chromosome which perhaps will be in your face shortly. Hopefully with a little knowledge another tragedy can be avoided."Oct 26, 2010 at 9:27 am #1658137
Thanks for a great post, Kathleen.Oct 26, 2010 at 10:14 am #1658155
What should you do if you're attacked by a mountain goat?Oct 28, 2010 at 12:43 pm #1658987
@umnakLocale: Southeast Alaska
Timothy Egan has a column about this at
http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/10/27/goat-vs-man/?hpNov 4, 2010 at 6:29 pm #1661242
@resignedLocale: Subtropical Wetlands in SE Sunbelt
Truly sad. My heart goes out to the Boardman family.
After almost being killed by a bee, nothing surprises me anymore.
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