Olympic National Park has witnessed its first loss of human life in its 72 year history at the hands of a mountain goat. Bob Broadman lost his life while trying to protect other hikers, including his wife, from an aggressive mountain goat.
Adult male mountain goats, like the one who killed Bob Broadman, can stand about three feet at the shoulder and way over 300 pounds. Both males and females have a beard like growth on their chins and should not be confused with the big horned sheep which shares the mountain goat’s territory.
Mountain goats are found only in North America but are non-native to the area. They were introduced to the park in the 1920’s before the park was established. Male mountain goats are particularly aggressive during the rutting season from late October through early December. Female mountain goats will aggressively protect their young when they are born in early May.
Bob Broadman was gored in the leg by the charging mountain goat. The mountain goat then stood above Bob Broadman and would not let anyone approach while his victim bled to death. Both male and female mountain goats has sharp black horns that have ring growths each year that can grow up to eight inches in length.
The non native mountain goats have become more aggressive in recent years. Park Rangers had been tracking about eight of the park’s 300 mountain goat population, including the one who fatally gored Bob Broadman. The mountain goats have been following hikers and refusing to move out of the way when approached. Park officials have been trying to change the mountain goat’s behavior by shooting fire crackers and bean bags at the animals to get them to avoid humans.
One theory for the recent change in behavior is the lack of natural minerals and salt in the area. Mountain goats have been known to lick human urine and to lick man-made rails on observation decks for the salt content.
The mountain goat was shot and killed by park authorities and was sent to a lab to try and determine why the animal attacked.
NWCN: Mountain Goats More Aggressive this Time of Year.
Wikipedia: Mountain Goat
Peninsula Daily News: Hiker Died While Warning Others Of Aggressive Mountain Goat