Pack goat killed by cougar


New member
Jun 21, 2001
Rural Wa. State/ Ellisras South Africa
Well I guess there are two kinds of Alpine goat packers. Those who have had a goat killed by a lion and those who will. I
never thought it would happen to
me but I lost a goat on Saturday night. I thought he somehow got out of the pasture and did not come back. As you know goats
never leave the herd for long without coming
home. I walked the perimiter of the
pasture and saw nothing, however I continued a more detailed search when it became obvious he was not coming

I knew in my heart what had happend I just did not want to accept it. There is no way a single goat vanishes
without a trace on his own. If a lion did it there would be some evidence someplace.

This past 5 days my daughter and I spent packed into the Alpine Lakes wilderness trout fishing some of the first open water of the summer. We covered about 25 miles and
used four of my six goats to pack all our gear. Two were left home and my wife was home as well. The two that were left behind were
each 16 months old. They were 1/2 brothers, one is pure oberhasli, and the other one half tonnenburg, half ober. He was big
and was able to pack and climb as good as I hoped for at his age. He was only about 100+ pounds, normal at this age
is about 80lbs so I figured he would have a great future with me ending up well over 200 pounds full grown at
4 years. He was also the goat that vanished.

When I came home ( my wife)was in tears not knowing what had happend to him, it was also her favorite "boy" in the
herd. I took a slow walk around the pasture
fence and changed my "mindset" from looking for a goat or a place he could escape to looking for Lion activity. I saw
a section of fence bent but nothing significant, it was easily fixed.
Then I walked down to the creek which is seasonal and of course dry right now. While looking at the flora there I
noticed some of it laid down as if something had laid
on the grass and plants there. Not significant but strange.

I took a few steps up the creek bed and saw that the various plants were laid down. The part that peaked my
interest was that it was laid down in the direction against
the typical flow of the water. I stopped here and just studied the situation for a moment. The area is very dark even
during the day. There is a cliff which is part of the
mountain going straight up about 60 feet and the trees are all very large cedar and fir. The ground here is always cool
and damp as it never gets any sun. You would
actually benifit from a flash light in this creek bed during the day if you were looking for something. Because of this
there are very few plants. Mostly various mosses, sallal
and ferns. With tons of dried brush and branches tangled into the tree roots where the high waterline mark is at when
the creek is full flowing.

About 60 yards up this creek following the insignificant sign I came to some nettles (a thorny vine)which were also
pushed away going against the natural flow of the creek. There
I noticed a few strands of hair on the thorns, I froze to study the earth and look for hoof prints...... nothing. I made
my way over the thorns and saw a tuft of two tone
brown hair. My stomach sunk, it was the same color as the goat and no hoof tracks in the dirt. I saw a spot where
the few plants in the area were all pressed down in
about a 5 foot circle. I skirted that spot and went about another 30 yards and saw the dirt badly disturbed and lots
of goat hair in a small pile of sticks which were
scratched up from around the area.

Now I'm sure what I'm up against but continue to follow the track. I did not go far before I saw a clear set of lion
tracks in the dirt. Another few steps and up against
the cliff wall I see a big pile of debris. It is so dark and damp in this spot I really am straining to see in the low light(
yet it is a hot and sunny day of 80 deg and it is about 2PM). I looked at it carefully while pulling it apart and there is
the blaze orange collar still on his neck. All the internal organs were
eaten and much of the inner thighs were gone. I took the collar and covered the remains back up. I did a bit of a
quick look around and saw several good places I can sit
and wait for his return tonight. If I cannnot remove this lion I could be out of the goat business. I live on the edge of
an enormous wilderness area which is completely
roadless. The road in front of the house is a main busy road. This makes the use of hounds difficult but as a last
resort I will get a permit from F&W to use dogs.

I'll let you know what happens as time goes by. In retracing the events it appears he was killed in the Barn and
dragged to the fence. then the lion must have jumpped the 5 foot fence with the 100 plus pound goat in his mouth.
The other 16 month old will not go into the barn now either!

My daughter and I have packed 18 overnights since I came home from Africa this year, about 180 miles total packing.
Not nearly as much as last season at this time but we have such great goats now that the plans for our summer were
really coming
together for several extended trips in August, and during bear season. This episode really deflated me and without a
solution to this I'm in serious trouble keeping my goats safe.

I'll let you know what happens, I have a couple tricks up my sleave to solve this yet. Just hope I get him before he
gets another one of my "boys"jj
JJ-What ever happened to chasing them down on foot? :D Sorry about the loss of the goat, but thats what happens when you move into lions territory. As people move farther and farther out in the country this is gonna happen. I thought they banned the use of dogs there anyway? Probably the game dept can still catch the problem ones is that correct? Good luck getting the lion, I hope you get him before he eats ya out of goat and home!!!:D:D:D bcat
I learned something this morning: I also didn't know that goats could pack loads.

Pretty bold lion going into your barn like that. Pretty big one, too, seeing as he jumped a 5 ft. fence while holding your goat.

I hope you get him, JJ, or like you said: You and your goats could be in for some big trouble.
Ron is a long time well respected Goat packer. I do not know him personally but I know of him from the goat packing forum website. He has so many photo's at photopoint it would not do any good for me to add mine here. His show what goats do and are capable of. There are only two shortcomings when packing with goats. Lions which are unknown to attack while on the trail or while camping overnight, they have only been known to attack in a pasture or barns to my knowledge. The other is Uninary calculi or "stones" which prevent them from urinating. This is subject to opinion but it seems that when a goat is castrated it's urethera does not fully mature and is easily blocked. A very good diet with little to no grain will prevent the formation of stones. I have had 13 goats over the last 6 years and have had one die from this. I bought the goat as an adult and it only lived for me 2 months before it died. I found out later the owner had him on a lot of grain in the winter.

I consider 45 pounds a fully loaded goat on average but have two that will pack 65 pounds on moderate trails. Those same two will pack 50 pounds anyplace I can go, leaving the horses and llamas well behind! We usually pack two goats per person and can live very comfortable for a week this way. I even bring along a small colmen cooler with frozen food and ice! They are nearly silent, do not need to be led, fed, or watered on the trail, and they bond to you at least as good if not better then your best dog. I can honestly say I will not pack in my life again with a backpack!jj

There is quite a bit more information regarding this lion attack on the goat. I will write up the end of this when I get a chance. It was a very exciting conclusion!jj
i gotta get me a goat!!! i'm just not sure where i would keep it. a few weeks ago i went backpacking in the wilderness here locally and my pack weighed something like 40#! the area was great but then weight killed me!! i had sorta abandoned the idea of hunting my bear in that area because of the remoteness but if i figure out where i could keep a goat i'd go back to hunt mulies, shoot i'd got go back just to do a thru hike! just not with 40# on MY back.
what do you do for weather. the summer here brings afternoon showers in the mountains, do you put a tarp over the goats? and IF your goat is taken in the middle onf the night or runns away do you just leave what you can't carry? seems like that would be the only thing to do. where do you buy the packs?
this is a good topic!!

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ 11 July 2001 13:09: Message edited by: californiacoyotes ]</font>
JJ, is that where you shot those two big bears, up in the alpine lakes area. My cousin has shot a couple dandys in skagit county. look at my page and youll see some bears.
You cannot have one goat you must have two or more. They will not do well pastured alone. They will need about and acre per 2-3 goats. I have had 13 on 7.5 acres but they ate everything in about one year. I am down to 5 goats now four unmatched packing machines and one yearling runt. I am also looking for 2 experienced packers myself.

There are lots of different tack ideas and manufacturers for goats do a web search. There is a guy named George Bogdan owner of owyhee pack goats near boise Idaho. His Aluminum saddles and big heavy duty zippered bags are the best on the market. I have two sets of wood saddles and bags I will sell you cheap if you prefer wood. I will not use anything but the aluminum again. I have tried them all and pack about 500 miles each summer and fall. Those by George are far and away the most superior bags you will ever find.

Buy Alpines, Oberhaslies, or tog crosses for best results with the least work. Other breeds may work well once you figure out what is going on but Alpines and Oberhaslies are the best all around and easiest to use from my experience. I have saanens and they are as strong as can be but are not as easy going.

They can be transported in a mini pickup and will jump into my Toyota with a 2.5" lift no problem. I just tie them to side rails. camping with them in the rain is not a problem unless near freezing. I just put up a high line 50 feet between trees and snap their leads to it with knots in the highline which prevent them from tangling with each other when their leads slide back and forth.

They will try to get into the tent with you if you do not high line them. They will also start crying when they cannot see you in the tent. They do get used to it after a few trips though.

As far as lion problems on the trail, that is unknown. I have never heard of a single attack on goats in the mountians when highlined near a camp. The camp spooks the lions out of the area I think? If you were to lose a goat on the trial you will have to pack your gear out I guess? That's up to you. with two goats 1/2 loaded you could pack it all back out with no trouble between you and another goat. We always have our goats 1/2 loaded during hunting season going in so they can be fully loaded going out with meat. I also use 5 gallon buckets with sealed lids to cache my surlpus gear. Like colmen fuel, ammo, pots and pans, rain fly, tent, etc.

You can only do that once you find the spot you want to make a near permanenet camp by preseason stockpiling of gear. Then at the end of the season pack it all out or store it good for the next season right where your at. jj
Thanks for the complement. I have hunted with mine for years. Lately I don't camp much with them. I do use them to pack in for hunting but the summer camp trips are getting hard to do because of time.
Hunting with goats is amazing. I use them like day packs. I put everything I need for a "day pack" on the goats and then some. For lunch I might have grilled ham and cheese sandwiches with HOT soup! Plus I have enough gear to stay the night if I have to.
After I get a animal they pack meat with no training at all for the blood. I have had as much as 75 pounds on mine. For short down hill pack jobs I will pack my goats heavier than normal. Like I said, I will put on 75 pounds for packing meat out down hill.
One time a friend of mine was hunting with me. We found a herd of elk that had two spikes in the middle of it and no cover at all. The area we were hunting was open only to spikes. We each grabbed a goat by the collar and hunched over to there level. WE then walked and cow called right up to the spikes and killed both at 75 yards. I shot mine in the head and my budy shot his in the hart. Both were laying side by side.
Well, looks Like I will get a dog to watch over the goats. Everyone has their own opinions regarding what is the best breed for this but my only experience with dogs in big game hounds.

I am thinking about getting a Blue tick hound pup to leave in the pasture with the goats. I have had walkers, plotts, blue ticks, and Black and tans. Either personally used or owned when I was doing bear damage control.

I liked the walkers and Blue ticks the best and several were crosses. One thing for sure if a big game hound gets a whiff of a lion the howling will begin and not stop till it's dead or out of the area.

I'm not sure how a hound will interact with the goats? I hope because I'm getting it as a 12 week old pup he will hang out with them and "bond" I hope. Anyway I'll have a hound alarm in the pasture in a week or so.jj
your better off at getting a guard dog like a pyraness like what they use with sheep alot, get a pup and bond it to the goats. Hounds are hunting dogs, get a guard dog thats breed to do what your wanting.
JJ-Gato is right . If you have ever been around hounds you should know that you cant just leave them loose to run. Because a hound dog will run if you dont keep em tied up. A Great pyranese or something of that nature will do you the best job. Dont know about your wilderness in Washington either but it is illegal to store anything in the WIlderness Areas in Wyoming. Pack it in and pack it out. You might check on your local laws there reguarding the subject. Let us know because I think its probably a National Policy, in any NAtional FOrest or Wilderness area. Wouldnt want any new goat packers to get a ticket from a little bad advise. At any rate before things are "STASHED" in the wooods, it would be a good thing to check with the local forest service on that one. Hound dogs are good for one thing. CHASING THINGS.......They are not good guard dogs if left to run loose. bcat
I may have to email privately the rest of the story. It is not well suited to a public forum.

As far as breeds go, Hmmmmm they are like rifles to me you have to like what you own or it's no good to you. I really don't like dogs. Well except for hounds. I like big game hounds. The pasture is escape proof with the hot wire and the style of fence. Goats are escape artists and they do not, cannot get out. I have also used "invisible fence" with the goats and no longer use it for them as the hot wire is better. The Invisible fence that uses the 6500 volt shock collar will take the legs out from under the dog if he tries to leave. I have seen it buckle my neighbors 200 pound bull mastiff.

This allows the dog to run all over the pasture and not leave. Furthermore hounds are Cool dogs, those big guard dogs are boring and have no further value beyond guarding the goats. I can get Lion hound permits for damage control so having the bluetick gives me that option as well.

Anyone who has hunted lions with any level of experience knows all you need is one good dog to tree any lion. You do not need a pack of hounds as you do with a bear or a bobcat. Lions go up real quick and easy. We have done it in WA, OR, Id, and Mt. The last two hounds I sold when I got out of the hound business to a man in Utah used them both to hunt lions and took dozens with only my one or two dogs. They were kept free roaming on the pasture when I had them and never escaped in over ten years.

I appreciate your advice on the "guard dog" but they are boring and worthless out side of guarding. Blueticks, walkers, and plott's rule for big game and should work fine to alert me to the Lions coming into the pasture. Plus they are so good natured around the house and with kids and other animals. Except maybe some plotts they just like to chase and bite everything even each other!jj
No, no, no.....

You opened the door, JJ.

Whether suited for public forum or not: We wanna hear (as Paul Harvey would say) the 'Rest of the story'.

So come-on: Lets hear it!
bcat - In short: Washington (Seattle) voters banned hound hunting, but the Legislature has approved removal with hounds in certain cases.
With permits from F&G you can hunt damage areas for bear & cougar.
Most major tree farms also continue to hound hunt to protect their crops from bears.
Yooper-Probably one of those SSS deals.....:D He may not want to post it on the net. Cant blame him. bcat
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