Man Punches Bear in the Face To Rescue Goat

A 66-year-old New Mexico man scares off a bear at the Philmont Scout Ranch

At BACKPACKER, we hear a lot of weird bear stories (there was the time a bear sneezed in Executive Editor Dennis Lewon's tentmate's face, for instance). Still, every now and then we'll come across a doozy, like this one: A 66-year-old historian heard his beloved goat Esmerelda screaming at the Philmont Scout Ranch on June 30. So he did what anyone would do—he ran out in his nightshirt and punched the 300-pound bear in the face.

“I was sound asleep in my long nightshirt when I heard our goat scream,” said Henry 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.”

Things got worse for the wayward bruin. He ran off and climbed a tree, but when Ostrander returned with the ranch manager, the bear was munching on trash from a garbage bin. He deemed it a danger and shot it three times. The goat, however, is expected to survive.

While punching a 300-pound bear in the nose is usually not a good idea, it got results. And the historian can pretty much count on being the greatest story in the pantheon of scouting lore for years to come.

—Ted Alvarez

Taos News via the (hahaha) Goat

Image Credit: Alan Vernon