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.