Mountain goat apparently kills hiker in Olympic National Park

Witnesses are saying that a 63-year old hiker was killed by a mountain goat at Klahhane Ridge in Olympic National Park on Saturday. According to reports, Robert H. Boardman of Port Angeles, Washington who was out for a day hike with two friends, had stopped to rest when a mountain goat became aggressive and gored him in the thigh.

Here is an excerpt from an article at the SeattlePI:

The threesome had stopped for lunch at an overlook when a goat appeared and moved toward them, said Jessica Baccus [an off-duty park ranger], who arrived on the scene at about 1:20 p.m. Saturday.

Mountain Goat
File photo of mountain goat at Klahhane Ridge, Olympic National Park

Baccus, also out for a day hike with her husband and their children, saw [Pat] Willits, her longtime friend [hiking with Boardman], coming up the trail.

Willits told Baccus that when the goat had begun behaving aggressively, Boardman had urged her and Chadd to leave the scene.

Then Boardman, an experienced hiker, tried to carefully shoo the ram away.

Willits told Baccus that although Boardman tried also to leave, the goat attacked him, goring him in the thigh.

“Nobody saw what actually happened. They heard Bob yell,” Baccus said.

The goat stayed, standing over Boardman, who lay on the ground bleeding.

Bill Baccus, a park ranger not on duty but familiar with mountain goat behavior, moved forward with a safety blanket and shook it at the goat, he said.

He also pelted it with rocks, and after what seemed like a long time, “it moved away, but it stayed close by,” Jessica Baccus said.

At 1:23 p.m., park rangers called the Coast Guard, while Jessica Baccus began cardiopulmonary resuscitation on Boardman.

At the same time, her husband sought to keep the goat from coming closer again, and kept other hikers away.

After receiving the call, a four-person Coast Guard helicopter crew from Port Angeles that had been headed for Neah Bay turned around, returned to Port Angeles to pick up a litter, and made it to Klahhane Ridge at 1:51 p.m., Lt. Commander Scott Sanborn said.

An emergency medical technician was lowered to administer electric shock in an attempt to revive Boardman.

He had no pulse, Sanborn said, and was lifted into the helicopter. The crew restarted CPR while in the air.

Boardman arrived at Olympic Medical Center in Port Angeles at 2:47 p.m., where further efforts to revive him were unsuccessful, nursing supervisor Pattijo Hoskins said.

About an hour after the attack, rangers were able to locate the ram, which was about 8 or 9 years old.

They identified the animal after seeing blood on it, then shot and killed it.

The mountain goat suspected of killing Mr. Boardman had been known for its aggressive behavior and the park had been monitoring him for several years.

UPDATE @ 10:30 a.m. MT, Oct. 18

The National Park Service’s Morning Report has the official version of the story:

Hiker Robert Boardman, 63, of Port Angeles died on Saturday afternoon after sustaining injuries in an encounter with a mountain goat. The incident remains under investigation. Park staff were on scene shortly after the initial report and provided emergency medical assistance. Boardman was transported by 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 incident occurred on Klahhane Ridge, which is located near Hurricane Ridge, about 17 miles south of Port Angeles. [Submitted by Colin Smith, Chief Ranger]

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Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire.