A mountain goat patroling the Olympic National Park trail. (Diane Urbani de la Paz/AP, Peninsula Daily News)The U.S. Forest Service has reopened a popular trail in the Olympic National Forest but not before it had to deploy Paintball guns in a war for dominance against several unruly mountain goats.
The Associated Press reports that Forest Service employee Kurt Aluzas was tasked with "teaching" the goats to avoid humans after the animals got a little too comfortable approaching humans on the trail.
"We just stand firm, stand up and face them. That's all you need to do," Aluzas told KING-TV.
In fact, the trail leading up Mount Ellinor had to be closed in July after a reported 20 mountain goats were said to be approaching humans in an assertive manner. And it wasn't by chance, either. The Forest Service blames the aggressive behavior on humans, who fed the goats or let them lick their hands and gear for salt.
KING-TV says Aluzas shot paintballs at the goats, sprayed them with repellent and even yelled at them to clear the trails. Hikers should also yell at the goats and stand their ground, if they run into a mountain goat, Aluzas said.
And lest you think the mountain goat warnings are an exaggeration, the Oregonian reported in 2010 that a 63-year-old hiker was gorged to death on an Olympic National Trail by a 370-pound mountain goat.