Nature Notes

Vol. IX February, 1931 No. 2


The interesting method and actions of a band of eleven Mountain goats were observed by District Ranger Carl Tice, as the band climbed a steep and narrow ledge to the top of Mount Wow a few days ago.

There were eight adults and three kids. The leader of the band had learned, either by the "trial and error method" or by instinct that only one method of ascent would succeed. He walked up to the very steep incline, stopped and stood as if thinking what he should do next. Then he backed up a few steps, made a rush up the ledge and succeeded in reaching the top.

The kids were next in line but seemed reluctant to make the attempt. Three adults then came up and nosed the kids around gently, but still they refused to go up. Then apparently to instill confidence in the young ones these three went ahead. Each backed up a short distance, took a running start, gained the top and turned to peer back down the incline. This demonstration failed to overcome the fear or obstinacy which held the kids back. Two remaining adults then went on up to the hesitating kids and began butting them, not too gently, but they had their own ideas and would not be forced. They only crouched close to the ground and edged back down. The two adults then went disgustedly by and following the established custom, made the top.

Only two adults now remained below. One went by the kids and made no effort to persuade them. The rear guard, an old veteran of the hills, came up and began butting the kids about with a determination to get them all up ahead of him. They only crouched more closely to the ground and backed away. Finally by dint of persuasion two of thee kids advanced to the starting place, backed up and rushed on up to the top. This left one kid still hanging back because of fear or the traditional goat nature. Old Billy had now reached the limit of his patience so he butted it, pushed it and even got, his horns under and lifted it clear of the ground. The kid only held his own and flattened himself on the ground. Billy, feeling that his duty as rear guard had been performed, faithfully, now gave up, went on up to the top, and with the rest of the band passed from view.

The remaining kid seeing he had been left alone and probably feeling somewhat disgraced now pulled himself together. He walked up to the take-off, followed the example of those gone ahead and reached the top in a hurry, to disappear in pursuit of the rest of the band.

Preston P. Macy
Ass't. Chief Ranger.

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