Most people know to steer clear of carnivorous creatures such as bears and mountain lions while hiking in the American wilderness, but it can be strange and shocking to hear reports of seemingly non-threatening herbivores attacking and killing people.
Sadly, this is exactly what happened in Olympic National Park in Washington State, where a man was fatally gored by an aggressive mountain goat last weekend. The man, his wife and a friend had taken a break from their hike for lunch when the male mountain goat approached and started acting aggressively. The man urged his wife and their friend on while he stayed back to fend off the goat. No one knows exactly what happened next, just that the goat apparently charged the man and gored him in the thigh with its sharp horns, causing the man to bleed to death before rescuers could save him.
It's a reminder that when we enter wilderness areas we always need be on the alert for potentially dangerous wildlife and to never, ever approach a wild animal in an attempt to feed it, pet it, or even to try to scare it away. The National Park Service warns hikers to always stay at least 100 feet away from any wild animal they encounter, and in the case of aggressive mountain goats (which have been reported in Olympic National Park, where they are a problematic non-native species) to throw rocks from a distance to scare them away rather than approach closely.
Our condolences go out to the family of the victim, Robert Boardman.