wildness is unpredictable, often with tragic consequences - Fiberglass RV


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Old 10-21-2010, 05:03 PM   #1
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wildness is unpredictable, often with tragic consequences

I post this as a reminder to us all, as folks who like to camp, hike, and enjoy other outdoor recreation, it is always good, and humbling, to remember that wildness is unpredictable. A beloved man here on the Olympic Peninsula died tragically last Saturday when a mountain goat attacked him. It was unprovoked, a known aggressive animal behaving in a bizarre way, not unlike the bear killing earlier this year. Bob was in good health, a skilled hiker, and on a popular, well used trail not far from the Visitor Center at Hurricane Ridge.

I know this post might bring comments about weapons while hiking, would a weapon have saved Bob's life? Maybe. How many people, even those who use/carry guns, take them on a short hike on a trail they've been on many times?

Goat Attack

Everyone here will miss Bob, and hiking that trail will never be the same.

Life is unpredictable, precious, enjoy it, enjoy your loved ones, enjoy Nature, be cautious.


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Old 10-21-2010, 05:19 PM   #2
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Never heard of a Mt Goat attack before. Sounds like a very good man lost his life that day to a weird Goat. Bob's family will never be the same! They probably won't be out hiking again either. Very sad story!
While hiking recently I saw a wolf, and just never gave a thought that it would come near us. I guess we never know!
How would one prepare for that when just hiking on a trail. I have always felt somewhat safe. Thanks for the warning. Sorry that Bob had to loose his life to give us all a warning. One just never knows what will happen.
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Old 10-21-2010, 07:50 PM   #3
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Wow - this is so sad!
I was on that trail just this summer - and the wildlife is definitely one of the draws. Like other posters, I rarely think of the wildlife presenting a danger as long as I'm a fair distance away (well, except for my bear phobia). A reminder to us all . . .
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Old 10-21-2010, 09:34 PM   #4
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Pepper spray could have deflected the attack. I am a gun owner but I do not carry a firearm on hikes unless on private ground. Buck sheep of any kind can be aggresive especially when they are breeding. Don't turn your back. This one had a grunge.
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Old 10-21-2010, 09:46 PM   #5
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Sad story! Here many people carry pepper/bear spray as bears and cougars a common - no need for guns.
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Old 10-22-2010, 01:01 AM   #6
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Very sad, who would think a goat would turn vicious.
My favorite place to camp is at about 7500 ft in the southern portion of the Sierra National Forest. It's only 22 miles from my home and about an 1 1/2 hours on a dirt FS road so I have camped there probably about 25 times in the last 5 years.
Never saw a bear there until the last time up there and I saw 3 in 2 days. The Ranger that works the area says there are now about 50 bears in that general area.
MY opinion, I think it's foolish to hike in the forest anymore without bear spray. It also works on dear, elk and most likely goats.
I have done quit a bit of research on the subject and the opinion of experts is if you use pepper spray designed for use on human attackers you will probably only upset the bear. It doesn't have the range or volume.
The bear spray I bought is in a container about 4 times larger than what I carried when I was a deputy. It has an effective range of about 35 feet and was about $54.00 with a belt holster.
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Old 10-22-2010, 02:24 AM   #7
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I see and hear a bit fear of animals. I had read the goat attack right after it happened. From the news account I doubt there was anything that would have stopped the attack. A goat running straight at you would be very difficult to stop with any handgun, very hard heads.
I certainly feel sorry for the family and friends of the victim.
I see no reason be afraid of another goat attack, this one was killed. Bears are the same way, there's very few attacks. Your biggest risk in playing in the outdoors is getting there. With a little care with food there no reason to worry about bears, cougars, etc. If you should see one of these animals don't run and don't startle them, but simply enjoy watching them. Make a little noise so they know your there and they'll leave.
I've seen bear, coyote, fox, weasel. No cougar or wolf, but would love to see a wolf.
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Old 10-22-2010, 02:57 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Byron Kinnaman View Post
I see and hear a bit fear of animals.
Bryon, I think a lady that lives about 5 miles from me would disagree with you. She spent 3 months in a hospital from an unprovoked bear attack.
She was walking her dog near her home on a dirt road that she had walked for 5 years.
There are very few who spend more time hiking or riding in the forest than I do.
I think you mistake for a heightened respect.
There are bear sightings in my area where bears have never been reported before. The Ranger who works the area I enjoy told me there are more bears now than he has seen in his 24 years working for the FS.
Bears seem to be losing their fear of humans.
In all my years of hiking and riding in the forest I have never felt the need to carry bear spray until this year.
I have no fear of anything in the forest. But I say again, I think it's foolish to hike in the forest without bear spray, at least where I live.
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Old 10-22-2010, 08:54 AM   #9
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Well, I've camped and hiked all over the Rocky Mountain West for the last 40 odd years and the only bear I've ever encountered was being followed by police cars and a helicopter through my Denver neighborhood. But I have no doubt they're out there somewhere. Even deer can kill you if you hit one with a car. In Colorado, there's already been four people die in climbing accidents in Rocky Mountain National Park, a half dozen have drowned in rafting accidents, and there's always a number who hit trees or get swept away by avalanches while skiing. Wilderness is indeed unpredictable and you never know what's going to happen. I try to be careful but I know it's impossible to ever be 100% prepared for every eventuality. Personally, I think it's great to encounter something that's bigger than us and shows us our place in the world. Isn't that some of the appeal?
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Old 10-22-2010, 09:48 AM   #10
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I agree it's about respecting wildness and the unpredictability of animals and other dangers in nature, not about fear. As far as carrying things to protect oneself, maybe a good idea, but not sure it would have saved Bob. This is a well used trail, thousands of people go on it every year, if any of you have been to Hurricane Ridge in the Olympic National Park you likely walked this trail. It was not like they were out in the 'wilderness', it is not a place one would think of taking protection.

Animal encounters are remarkable & can be very special. Though I live in the woods I've seen bear only a few times, coyotes more often in the past (I miss them), large bucks within feet of me, and an unusually large bobcat who took a swipe at a pet dog and stared me down. Two years ago I had a cougar cross the path on our own property less than 100 feet in front of me, I had no alternative but to walk down the path, not knowing where it went, thinking it was behind a tree. The brush around me too dense to go through, I had to keep walking to get to our house. It was a life changing experience, and yes there was fear. To not fear cougars is foolish. In our area cougars are seen more and more, two were killed this year for killing livestock.

I have my own 'theories' about the so called encroachments of animals........who are the encroachers? They were here first! The family property where I live is large enough, surrounded by logged timberland, to be an oasis in an ever increasingly developed area, yet the encounters I've had are relatively few over 3 decades.

But this attack was not about encroachment. Park Ranchers knew there were unusually aggressive goats in the area. In bear areas, if a bear becomes overly familiar with people it usually gets relocated, I don't know why they wouldn't have done that with the goats, especially since they are not 'native' to the area and dozens have been relocated in the past to reduce the population and reduce environmental damage. This ram confronted people before, a friend encountered it while walking there with young grandchildren!

Hindsight is easy. Foresight might be helpful. Insight is knowing that we aren't always able to be 'in charge' of the circumstances of our lives, especially when it comes to Nature.

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Old 10-22-2010, 10:39 AM   #11
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I don't see it as an unprovoked attack. Like most wild animals, he was just doing what wild animals do. Protect what they believe to be their domain from other competition (as they view it). Humans have always seemed to be a bit naive about animal behavior and we often attempt to apply "human logic" to animals. This is dangerous thinking. And it does make a very good arguement for carrying a self-defense weapon. Heck, I don't even go to the corner store without throwing a gun in my pocket. And to those who advocate "bear spray", well, good luck with that one when that goat is charging you at 40 miles per hour. Let me know how that works out for you. The more we encroach on wildlife domains, the more "cornered" these poor critters become. It reminds me of the joke about the lady that called the sheriff to report a bear in her back yard. The sheriff said that it was interesting, since he just got a call from the bear who said that somebody built a house in his front yard.
Not making light of this tragedy, but come on people, these are wild animals, and they are in their "front yards". We are the intruders out there.
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Old 10-22-2010, 10:51 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg Finke View Post
I don't see it as an unprovoked attack. Like most wild animals, he was just doing what wild animals do. Protect what they believe to be their domain from other competition (as they view it). Humans have always seemed to be a bit naive about animal behavior and we often attempt to apply "human logic" to animals. This is dangerous thinking. And it does make a very good arguement for carrying a self-defense weapon. Heck, I don't even go to the corner store without throwing a gun in my pocket. And to those who advocate "bear spray", well, good luck with that one when that goat is charging you at 40 miles per hour. Let me know how that works out for you. The more we encroach on wildlife domains, the more "cornered" these poor critters become. It reminds me of the joke about the lady that called the sheriff to report a bear in her back yard. The sheriff said that it was interesting, since he just got a call from the bear who said that somebody built a house in his front yard.
Not making light of this tragedy, but come on people, these are wild animals, and they are in their "front yards". We are the intruders out there.
I agree and I also think that if I got to use Bear Spray I am in deep trouble.
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Old 10-22-2010, 12:44 PM   #13
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Greg, I agree, we are intruding in their habitat and should be respectful. By your logic those that get attacked are just asking for the attack.
You arm yourself to go the the corner store and yet you make light of a proven bear repellent.
I have been a shooter and hunter all my life. I had a long career in Law Enforcement and am a very good shot even under stress conditions. I own and am well qualified with hand guns of several different calibers.
To advise anyone to arm him or herself with a firearm as bear protection is ill advised. IF you are lucky enough to hit a charging bear in your frightened state you probably won't kill it. I can guarantee you will piss it off even more and make it more aggressive.
We are in their front yard Greg and should be prepared if ANY wild animal should object. I still prefer my Bear Spray over any of my large caliber handguns.
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Old 10-22-2010, 01:14 PM   #14
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How misfortunate and sad! Penney H is so right when she wrote, "Life is unpredictable, precious, enjoy it, enjoy your loved ones, enjoy Nature, be cautious." So often it is a matter of being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

My first thought, they were there during the "Rut Season" as a possible reason for the attack.

Carrying Bear Spray sounds like the best idea offered so far (IMHO), and perhaps a portable boat air horn to blast sound to scare off an animal.

Seems his major mistake was to "challenge" the animal by trying to scare it off ("tried to carefully shoo the ram away"). Something anyone of us might do. Very sad event.

I am not sure from the report about when the Warnings were issued, before or after this attack. "Some 300 mountain goats live in Olympic National Park. Warnings about their aggressiveness have been issued, but Maynes said she knows of no other incident like the one that occurred Saturday." They used "have been", not "had been"? But we see warning posted so often, do we really take them seriously enough.
[Edited Post: Seems they were there before: "the park had focused on educating trail users about the aggressive ram by posting warnings at trailheads and providing flyers at park buildings. The signs will remain, Maynes said, since it's possible that other goats have shown aggressive behavior. The park recommends staying 100 feet from all wildlife." I had not read the "Stuff" on the right side of the report.]

Knowing how to improvise is important, like the off duty park ranger who was "familiar with mountain goat behavior, moved forward with a safety blanket and shook it at the goat.....pelted it with rocks, and after what seemed like a long time, 'it moved away, but it stayed close by'..." We need to have some contingency plans when we get out into nature, just in case. Major one is to stay away from the animals and to make noise to let them know people are about. Seems this animal had gotten used to people and had no fear of them. {"Maynes said the park had tried hazing the ram -- by shooting it with bean bags, throwing rocks and other means to induce it to be frightened of people -- but stopped short of any plans to kill it. 'We had no reports of any kind of incidents escalating above the point that would warrant [killing the ram],' Maynes said. An animal would be killed, she said, if it had made "physical contact' with someone. Rangers shot and killed the ram, which was about eight or nine years old, about an hour after Saturday's attack. They identified the animal after seeing blood on it, Maynes said."}

Who would have thought of a Mt. Goat attacking, but deer and elk have done so, why not a goat. But then again, I would be very leery of a domestic ram on someones farm. A wild Mt. Goat should make one much more leery. They are all strong, powerful animals and during the rut, they go a little "nuts".

We are in their habitat and should not only be respectful, but very careful when dealing with them. However, we must appear more frightening to them than they are to us. In this encounter, maybe he was too respectful when he "tried to carefully shoo the ram away". Such a sad ending for all.
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