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Man slugs black bear, rescues goat - The Taos News: News

Man slugs black bear, rescues goat

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Posted: Friday, July 2, 2010 12:00 am

Bears beware: If you don’t keep your guard up, Henry Ostrander will lay you out. If he were alive, that’s what a 300- pound black bear in Rayado might have said after 66-year-old Ostrander unloaded a left hook to his snout early Wednesday (June 30).

The victim of the attack, a gentle old goat named Esmerelda, is expected to survive, but the bear was dead, shot three times by the ranch manager of Philmont Scout Ranch.

“I was sound asleep in my long nightshirt when I heard our goat scream,” said Ostrander, a historian at the Kit Carson Museum and a resident Valle Escondido. “The bear had the goat on the ground and, before I knew it, I’d hit it in the nose.”

Apparently stunned, the bear scurried up a tree while Ostrander and camp director Lee Price carried the wounded goat inside.

“By the time we got back out, the bear had left the yard but found a trash can,” Ostrander said. “He sat there munching until ranch manager Bob Rickleff arrived.”

Ostrander said he was “still vibrating” more than four hours after the confrontation: “It’s strange to feel that intense release of adrenaline. I felt it as a medic in the Navy, but it’s funny how that kicks in for you.”

Never a boxer, Ostrander taught human anatomy and physiology at Río Grande High School before signing on at Philmont as a historian at Kit Carson’s former ranch.

“If I’d been awake, I’d of been the one to climb the tree,” he said.

This article ran in the July 1 edition of The Taos News.


© 2015 The Taos News. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Welcome to the discussion.


  • Taoseno posted at 7:37 am on Thu, Jul 15, 2010.

    Taoseno Posts: 1

    Esmeralda died this morning... the staff at the Kit Carson museum is devastated since they have been nursing her hoping she would make it. Little children for the last few days had been coming to pray over the goat. She had become a symbol to the whole Philmont Scout Ranch. She was a beloved pet...not ranch stock.

  • tomas posted at 12:45 am on Wed, Jul 14, 2010.

    tomas Posts: 14

    Humans have been living and building homes in "bear habitat" for tens if not hundreds of thousands of years. Our habitats are essentially the same. Bears are omnivores and opportunists, as we are, and their constant hunt for food will put them in conflict with humans on a regular basis. Our pets, livestock, gardens, orchards and garbage will always be seen by bears as sources of food, even if we're careful to take precautions. Unfortunately, since we're both protective of our space and loved ones, violence will happen from time to time.

  • concerned citizen posted at 4:30 am on Tue, Jul 13, 2010.

    concerned citizen Posts: 76

    nagocm: your argument is childish and simplistice and deserves no response.

  • nagocm posted at 10:16 am on Mon, Jul 12, 2010.

    nagocm Posts: 0

    Well, concerned citizen, it seem to me that all of Taos was once wilderness, whether that be at the foothills or in the middle of the plaza. So "pathetic argument?" I think you are wrong there. So I am wondering when you will sell your house so the "bears" can have their home back?

  • dbanas posted at 8:38 am on Mon, Jul 12, 2010.

    dbanas Posts: 0

    If you don't like the risk of living with Bears and other wild animals I think you should consider moving to some Big City. Then all you would have to worry about are all the Human Wild Animals.

  • concerned citizen posted at 8:24 am on Mon, Jul 12, 2010.

    concerned citizen Posts: 76

    nagocm: I live in town, not in the foothills or a canyon, so don't use that pathetic argument with me.

  • schnauzergirl posted at 3:45 am on Mon, Jul 12, 2010.

    schnauzergirl Posts: 0

    concerned citizen wrote on Jul 6, 2010 9:13 PM:" "It could have been a child"??? That's the trump card people always use when it comes to slaughtering wildlife, be it wolves in Southern New Mexico or Grizzlies in Yellowstone.-----------------------------You can't compare this to the animals in Yellowstone. This is a Boy Scout Ranch (Philmont Scout Ranch). There will be children all over the place and who said the bear came for the trash, looks like he came for the goat and settled for the trash after he was denied.

  • nagocm posted at 11:56 am on Fri, Jul 9, 2010.

    nagocm Posts: 0

    Well, concerned citizen, I am wondering when you are going to abandoned your home so that bears can have theirs back, since you think to accuse everyone but yourself for taking their land.

  • Taoseno posted at 2:46 am on Thu, Jul 8, 2010.

    Taoseno Posts: 1

    The rest of the story....Philmont is totally bear proof. Every staffer and camper is instructed in bear etiquette. My husband reacted out of a sound sleep. It could have been a child...apparently, a scout had gotten up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom, seen the big red box and opened it out of curiosity leaving it open. Another camper had been attacked within the hour (and the bear escaped). That bear apparently attacked another scout yesterday biting it in the head and lacerating his hand. That bear was finally killed yesterday.So, attacked a sleeping camper one week, escaped, and attacked another sleeping scout yesterday. The goat was in the enclosed courtyard, and the bear came within a few feet of the staff sleeping quarters. The bear ate a chicken, then menaced 4 burros. The burros ganged up on the bear and chased it away. THEN the bear sat down to munch on some garbage. By the way, bears climb fences and also break into cars and cabins. You can do everything right and still be a victim of a bear attack. Check out the bear bite on the corner of my freezer in my mudroom...

  • concerned citizen posted at 4:13 pm on Tue, Jul 6, 2010.

    concerned citizen Posts: 76

    "It could have been a child"??? That's the trump card people always use when it comes to slaughtering wildlife, be it wolves in Southern New Mexico or Grizzlies in Yellowstone. Yeah Reyfer, and that bear was a danger at least partly because of the garbage can that wasn't bear proofed. If bear attacks are on the rise it's only because people keep building houses on what has been bear habitat for many thousands of years. Shooting animals in these cases iis rarely ever necessary. Maybe the goat should have been properly penned as well.

  • taosmama posted at 1:34 pm on Tue, Jul 6, 2010.

    taosmama Posts: 11

    My husband and I really enjoyed this story! What a great headline this would have made for Jay Leno

  • Reyfer posted at 10:19 am on Tue, Jul 6, 2010.

    Reyfer Posts: 0

    Actually, bear attacks are on the rise on a national level. This man is a hero for standing up for his goat. This could have happened mid day and it could have been a child. We all need to be aware that bears are a danger to anyone who crosses their paths. This bear already had the taste of blood and would have been very very dangerous if he had been released to the wild. He might have come back to the area and done much more damage. Good job Henry for saving your goat!

  • Rio_Diablo posted at 6:21 pm on Sat, Jul 3, 2010.

    Rio_Diablo Posts: 0

    Now????? Let get this straight? Man slugs bear...Goat then rescued safe and sound. Bear then munches on garbage. Soooooo then....Why was the bear murdered. Look people....We choose to live in their neighborhoods...They didn't ask us to move in. So then why do we feel the need to murder the inoccent in their own homes.

  • concerned citizen posted at 8:22 am on Fri, Jul 2, 2010.

    concerned citizen Posts: 76

    Too bad the trash can wasn't properly bear proofed, or the bear probably wouldn't have been in the area and would still be alive.