Washington Man Dies After Encounter With Mountain Goat in Olympic National Park

Olympic National Park officials are trying to determine if a 63-year-old Washington man was killed during an encounter with a mountain goat in the park's backcountry.

Park officials said Robert H. Boardman of Port Angeles died Saturday afternoon after sustaining injuries while hiking near the park's Klahhane Ridge.

While the matter remains under investigation, a park release said "early investigations indicate that Boardman’s injuries were sustained after an encounter with a mountain goat."

Park staff were on scene shortly after the initial report and provided emergency medical assistance. The man was was transported by U.S. Coast Guard helicopter to Olympic Medical Center in Port Angeles, where he was pronounced dead.

"Rangers responding to the incident were able to locate the goat, confirm its identity and kill it. The goat will be transported to a veterinary pathologist for full analysis," the release said.

Klahhane Ridge is located near Hurricane Ridge, about 17 miles south of Port Angeles.


I am sure that there is a lot more to this story and I am anxious to hear more details. Having encountered Mountain goats frequently at Glacier NP, I still realize that they're wild animals and should be treated with respect. With the limited information so far, I don't understand the reasoning behind killing the goat. Like I said, there has to be more to this than what is initially being released!

I agree with Ms. Hopkins - any such encounter with a wild animal, on it's own turf, while although unfortunate does NOT deserve to result in the animals' death.
It is man encroaching on the animal, in a protected setting for that animal, and one must realize & accept responsibility as well as the consequences for effectively "tresspassing".
Punishing the animal for protecting what it considers "home" is tantamount to prosecuting a homeowner for protecting his family.

All this summer and fall, before and after many mosey meanders within the Hurricane Ridge environs, Rangers would warn me that there was a Mountain Goat exhibiting aggressive behavior toward visitors in the area.
Just sayin'...

The article Tahoma linked has an easily-missed sidebar on the right about the destruction of the goat. Apparently it had been known to be aggressive for several years but had never attacked anyone before now.

Domestic sheep have a disease called Scrapie, domestic cattle have been infected with bovine spongiform encephalitis, and deer and elk in Wyoming suffer from wasting disease--all very similar, and all causing problems in the brain. Could this unusually aggressive mountain sheep have a form of one of these diseases? If so, should hunters be warned? In humans this sort of disease takes many, from 14 to 40 or so, years to exhibit symptoms, and is devastating. Another form of this possible variant of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease is kuru, from a tribe in New Guinea. A researcher won the Nobel prize in 1976 when he showed kuru was transmissible to chimpanzees. These are prion diseases. Check out Wikipedia for more information.

A 60 year experienced hiker is attacked by a known aggressive mountain goat and Connie and Bill villify him for "tresspassing". He was in the wrong place at the wrong time. This poor man was trying to enjoy nature and he did not provoke the animal.
I am sure Connie and Bill are commenting based on their PHD's in animal behavior and know more than park rangers.
And Bill, you think this man's death is just "unfortunate"? Why don't you speak with his wife, his friends and all of the people he helped in his health care career before you write something so callous.

It's called WILDerness, not MILDerness. And if you walk into the wilderness, you are potentially provoking any number of animals, from bees to bears. They operate on instinct, not logic, or long-term thought processes. My sympathies go out to the family of the deceased, but come on, the goat was doing what the creator intended it to do. Next time I hope they will close the trail if there's a problem or consider relocating the goat to steeper pastures.

Excuse me Anonymous but where did I villify the victim? I merely questioned that there had to be MORE to the limited information made available! Your sarcasm in your PHD comment is pathetic, stick to the facts-of which very little have been released!

My understanding is that the mountain goat was introduced to Olympic National Park during the 1920's; it is not a species that is endemic to the park's ecosystem. As such, I believe that there plans in place for eventual removal of this exotic species from the natural habitat of the Olympics:


I am sure that eventual removal of the mountain goat from the Olympics has been an issue that has been discussed over the past many decades. Therefore, I wonder if the classification of mountain goats in the Olympics as an unwelcomed non-native exotic species influenced the decision to dispatch the goat in question?

I've been closely approached by goats in the Olympics on numerous occasions. They are formidably armed and muscular animals, as well as very fast in rough terrain. I can see why some might label their behavior as 'aggressive', but there is another explanation.

The Olympics are uplifted oceanic crust, so the soils and plants are deficient in sodium. These introduced mountain goats will lick rocks and swallow soil that has been urinated on by humans, even chew the sweaty straps off your unattended pack. I think some of these goats have become habituated to humans as a source of vital nutrients.

Relocation of problem animals would be dangerous, expensive and probably ineffective given their rapid dispersal rates. One can get some idea of the difficulties at the link cited by pkrnger (CH 14).

The live-capture population reduction efforts of the 80's were shut down by Federal Aviation Administration safety concerns over intensive helicopter use. Even if the goats were somehow eliminated from the park, there is considerable goat habitat in the adjacent National Forest. Hunting groups would probably mount a legal challenge to attempts to eliminate them there.

I have to say that the Klahhane Ridge hike and the Hurricane Ridge area is not really "WILDerness" as the human visitors usually out number the critters twenty to one on any summer day.
I meet up with quite a few bears, elk, goats using the trails in our Olympic National Park. I stay a ways away, giving the critter all the time it wants on the trail.
Especially when it makes eye contact..

Bill it is now legal to carry a loaded gun, in the National Parks, to protect ones self from rogue animals and PETA-philes.

My wife and I encountered the same goat over the July 4th weekend in 2007. The Park Service had a sign at the trailhead about "agressive goat on the trail, throw rocks/sticks/yell at him if he attacks". He was indeed very agressive and chasing some hikers. The hikers were just walking on the trail, nothing overly provactive. We thought it was pretty funny at that time, but at the same time a little frightened when he charged. We told the story when we were back and everyone thought we were making it up. It's sad that a man died and it has to end like this.

Nothing like killing something because it was protecting what it thought was it's home. If the animal aggressively went into this gentleman's domain, I can see it. But it didn't. It's just wrong that the animals to blame yet when someone goes in the park and kills an animal they get a slap on the hand. Somethings really wrong with that.

Um, you should "milk it for all its worth"?