It is that time of year again. The bears are waking up from a long winter’s nap, looking for 5 Star Dining. Hopefully, they aren’t looking for a goat on our front porch…
I am going to tell you a true story about 3 goats that visit our mountain home to seek refuge from a bear! I couldn’t make this story up if I tried. Here’s the crazy encounter I call, The Goat, The Bear and The Frazzled Mountain Woman:
Friday evening at 5 O’clock I headed home from work. As I approached the driveway, I was greeted by a doe, two fawns, three wild turkeys and my husband was on waiting for me on my deck. After a long work week, it felt good to be Home Sweet MOUNTAIN Home! Seeing wildlife in our yard is pretty much an everyday occurrence, although we have had our share of unusual occurrences…
Last year, I was standing in the kitchen talking to David, when I noticed a shadow fly over the deck. At first I brushed it off thinking it was just a bird flying over. But the shadow kept catching my eye and finally I stopped our conversation and had to go out on the deck to find out what was causing these shadows. I was afraid because of the size of the shadows that we might be under attach by a flock of buzzards.
When I walked outside I looked up and did not see anything, but when I looked up on the roof there were about 20 white pigeons on our roof. We have no idea where these pigeons came from. All we know is they were on our roof and looking for a bit of rest and a snack. Each pigeon had a band around its foot. The only thing we could figure is that they were some homing or racing pigeons. We threw a wiffle ball at them to try to get them to fly away. We didn’t want pigeons pooping on our new roof. Eventually all of them flew away, but I don’t know who was more entertained, David and I or the Pigeons. They seemed pretty amused watching us throw the ball at them, especially when we missed.
Yesterday, we had another unusual occurrence. David and I had to make a run to BJ’s Wholesale for some household items we were running low on. When we went outside, I noticed that my poor Forsythia bushes and hasta had been eaten back to stubs. There were also droppings all over the front flag stones and along the border. I also noticed that the rug in front of the front door had been moved away from the font door. I even asked David if he moved the rug. He didn’t think so, but could have done it when came outside not noticing it.
We automatically blamed it on the deer. The deer have eaten everything I have ever tried to plant in the yard. That is until the last month or two. I have had David urinating around my plants every once in a while to keep the deer away. (Yes, I know that is gross, but living in the middle of the woods, on the side of a mountain, you do what you have to do to grow things you love to look at.) The deer can sense the human presence and stays away long after it soaks into the ground.
We left for the store hating on the deer. Especially for crapping at our front door. I mean it’s bad enough that ate up the plants, but they had to crap too?!?… After a few hours, we returned home with a car load of groceries and the needed items from BJ’s. I backed the car up to the front door to save us some steps to the house. We had just about gotten all the items out of the car. I was in the house, when David looked up and saw a goat heading down the driveway. He couldn’t believe what he was seeing and just as he was questioning it to himself another goat and then another were all coming down our driveway towards him. He yells inside at me, “You won’t believe what’s coming down our driveway.” I grabbed a peak outside the door, then raced back inside to get my camera.
It’s as if the goats knew we had just gotten groceries and wanted to know if we had bought them some to. We then realized that it wasn’t a deer that had eaten up the plants in the flower border. It was 3 goats!
We were a bit flabbergasted by the sight of the goats. They acted as if they would go in the house if I would have opened the door for them. Our HOA does not allow livestock. The community is not zoned for it. It’s not like we could go knocking door to door to find out who they belonged to. If someone did own the goats, they couldn’t or probably wouldn’t admit it if they did. We happened to see our neighbor (the HOA president) drive by while trying to figure out why the goats were in our yard. We flagged him down to let him know. He suggested we call animal control to have them removed. We had no choice, they were eating everything in sight and bumping into David’s truck with their horns.
It took only a few seconds for me to pull up the local animal control number on my smart phone. I called them and they dispatched someone up to the house to get the goats. While we awaited the arrival of animal control David and I stayed outside with the goats. We wanted to make sure that they stayed in sight and I guarded them against eating anymore of my poor plants. David even gave them a bucket of water. We figured they were thirsty, since water is scarce up here as far as standing water goes.
Animal control arrived about 30 minutes after the call was placed. The lady deputy was very nice and seemed quite concerned about the goats. The two females needed to be milked. Their milk bags were swollen and nearly touching the ground. She mentioned there were reports of some missing goats nearby.
It was not an easy task getting corralling the goats and putting them into the animal control truck. We chased the goats around the front yard, hill and driveway for about an hour.
The had become very spooked by us trying to capture them. At one point all three ended up on top of the hill in the front yard. David decided to get some bird seed to try to attract them. It was the closest thing we had that resembled feed. Our hopes were that the feed would allow the goats to let their guard down long enough for us to catch them. It worked. As soon as we started shaking the bird seed around, all three goats started wagging their tails and bleating simultaneously. They still would not come down from the hill. We decided to throw some seed down and walk away.
As soon as we walked away all three goats came down the hill to see what kind of treat we had for them. They liked the idea of feeding time. While trying to corner one with the seed I lost my footing and I got knocked over and bird seed went flying all over the front steps (NOTE TO SELF: never try to wrangle a goat wearing flip-flops).
Finally, the deputy caught one of the females that came up to eat out of the pan of bird seed she had. She had put a ramp on the back of tailgate and led the goat into the truck and placed her in a cage. While she was locking up the cage, David had a rope and lassoed another one by the foot! (My husband the cowboy!!) We were able to wrangle that one into the truck with the first. The third goat paced back and forth. She knew the other two were in the truck, they were calling for her. We made several attempts to catch her, but she decided she wanted no parts of being captured and took off! The last time we saw her she was heading up the mountain across the road from our house. The deputy waited a little bit, but the goat did not come back. The deputy decided to leave and told us if the remaining goat came back to call the dispatcher again. I continued to look in the yard well into the night. I was hoping the third goat had come back so she could be captured and taken back to the others. She never showed up.
Monday afternoon when I got home from work, I opened the front door. David was already home from work and immediately informed me that the missing female goat is named “Biscuit”!! The owner of the goats had left a very kind note on the front door while we were at work. She asked us to please call her if we saw Biscuit and that she would reimburse me for the damaged plants.
I gave the owner of the goats a call to chat with her about what had happened. The owners of the goats think a bear spooked the goats and caused them to escape. They have been missing a little while and the owners feared that the bear had eaten the goats. They were relieved to know they were still alive. I told her about how capturing them was not an easy task and we were sorry we could not capture Biscuit. I then proceeded to ask her the names of the other two goats. The name of the female was Keisha and of all names what do you think the male goat’s name was?? His name is ELVIS!! How ironic that David and I just got married in Vegas in April at the Graceland Wedding Chapel. Only to be visited by a goat named Elvis. But the story doesn’t end there. It turns out the owners of the goats just sold their house. In the contract of the house the goats are to convey with the house. The new owners are from Las Vegas, Nevada!! I am still laughing. There is no way I can make this story up. It is just too good of a story not to share.
The owner offered reimbursement for the damaged plants. I don’t even care about the plants. Every thing that was eaten will put back out. The only damage I had that concerns me is my Japanese Maple tree. That got chewed on and some of the bark was ripped off. My mama got that tree for me after we moved in last year. If it dies, money can’t replace it. I will just have to do my best to make sure it isn’t too injured to survive. Besides how could I charge the lady for giving me a really good story to write.
I sure hope Biscuit finds her way back home with Keisha and Elvis. As much as I dislike what she did to my plants, I cannot stand the fact that Biscuit is out there somewhere all alone. Makes me a little sad…
A couple of weeks passed, since our visitors came by. There have been a couple, if not more, sightings by neighbors on the mountain. I even received a phone call last week while I was at work, alerting me that Biscuit was sighted in our yard again. I quickly alerted the owner that her goat was in our yard again. A couple of days after that, I found out, that Biscuit had disappeared before they got there to take her home. I guess Biscuit likes life free on the mountain. We continue to look for her. You’d think she would be missing Keisha and Elvis by now.
I usually clean the house on Thursday night. David and I like to try to do all our house chores during the week, so we can enjoy our weekends without that hassle. David was not going to be home for most of the day on Saturday, so I decided to wait and clean house on Saturday while he was gone.
Saturday was beautiful. The morning was nice and cool and it was perfect for opening up the windows, while I was cleaning to let in the nice fresh air. I was in our master bathroom mopping out the closet when all of a sudden I thought I heard His Royal Highness running down the hall. He does this from time to time and at times he sounds like a one kitty stampede galloping down the hardwood floor of our hallway. I think I actually said out loud, “What is Atchee doing running down the hall like that this morning?” I really didn’t think much of it and finished mopping the floor in the closet. I came out of our bedroom and started down the hallway, when something caught my eye on the front porch. I couldn’t believe my eyes, it was Biscuit!
David and I hadn’t seen or heard anything about her in a couple of weeks and hadn’t really looked for her anymore. I was surprised to see her. As I watched her through the screen of the open window for a moment, I remember thinking to myself she looked like she was hiding and was afraid of something. I quietly went and got my phone and tried to get in touch with the owner. I called and there was no answer, so I sent a text message that read:
“Biscuit is on my front porch. If I don’t hear from you in 15 minutes, I will contact Animal Control.”
Since the windows were open, I remained quiet. I didn’t want her to run off again, but I heard her run off the porch anyway. I opened the front porch door and looked. She was headed up the front hill. I went back in grabbed my flip-flops out of the entry closet and then proceeded outside at least to try to keep an eye on her until either the owner or animal control came to get her.
As I walked around the corner of the house to the side of the yard, something caught my eye. After a quick double-take, I realized there was a big 200 pound black bear walking in my yard about 5 yards away!! With my phone in hand, I froze. The bear looked at me for a brief moment. He was not studying me, he was hunting a goat! I managed to get myself together for a quick photo. Then calmly walked back to the front porch. I watched the bear walk up the hill in the same direction that Biscuit had went. I stood on the front porch in amazement for a minute. I then knew why Biscuit was so scared. She was hiding from that bear.
About a minute or two the bear was out of sight and I could no longer hear him crunching his path through the woods, all of a sudden I could hear running through the woods again. The crunching sound of the brush and leaves was faster. I then saw Biscuit crashing down the mountain at high-speed. A split second later, the bear was following down behind her! I grabbed the broom off the front porch, raised it in the air with arms and yelled, hoping to scare them somewhere else. It didn’t work they proceeded to run around the back of the house like I wasn’t there. Since Biscuit was faster than the bear, she made it around to the front porch before the bear was out of sight going around the back. I tried to get her away from my front porch, even shoving her off the steps. She was determined to use my front porch to hide. All I knew was that I needed to get inside, that bear was on his way around the house any moment. Sure enough, as soon as I got inside, the bear walked around from the same direction Biscuit had come. He was going to try to eat Biscuit right there on my front porch!!
I did not know what to do. All I could do was watch. I quickly ran and closed my front windows, before the bear got on my front porch. Just as I was closing the second window, my phone rang. It was the owner. She said she didn’t know when she could get there. She didn’t have a truck so she could come and get Biscuit. It would be a while. I told her I had not called Animal Control and then let her know what was going on outside on the front porch. For some reason, the bear did not come up on the front porch, instead he went on the outside, but as I was telling the owner what was going on, I was watching him stand up on his back legs and swat at Biscuit from my back bedroom window.
There were a thousand things running through my mind, but I think the one thing that concerned me the most, was that Biscuit was going to break through the front windows with those big horns on her head, and then she and the bear were going to ransack my house! If they didn’t do that, then that bear was going to eat her on my front porch. I wanted no parts of either of these scenarios. I got a little frantic and ended the conversation with the owner so that I could call Animal Control.
I had saved the number in my phone in case I ever needed it again. Boy did I need some Animal Control and I needed it now!! I called and told the dispatcher what was going on. She proceeded to tell me that they are not allowed to dispatch Animal Control for anything but domesticated animals, meaning dogs and cats. I thought Domesticated animals? Well this goat has a name. She knew to come to my house for protection from this bear and hide on my front porch behind my wicker rocking chair I had as a child. That sounds pretty domesticated to me! I proceeded to the lady:
“Look, I realize that, but I have a violent situation happening outside on my front porch. There is a bear trying to eat a goat!!!”
I remained as calm as possible and didn’t argue with her. She told me to call The Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. She gave me their number. I hung up the phone and proceeded to dial the number. I got an automated system. It basically told me they were closed, their business hours and gave me a couple of prompts to dial to report a hunting violation. I did not hear a prompt to press regarding a bear trying to eat a goat on your front porch. However, this was a hunting violation. There is not supposed to be a bear chasing a goat on my front porch at all. A deer maybe, but not a goat!
I hung up the phone and continued to watch the bear walk down my front porch through the triple front bedroom window. I then called Animal Control again. I needed some help, and I needed it now! The lady on the phone realized how determined I was to get help. She said she would contact the deputies they had one duty, but they were shorthanded, due to reduced staff and she couldn’t make any promises. She had my name and number. She was to call me back if they agreed to come.
I then heard some more galloping on the front porch. Biscuit managed to get away from the bear and proceeded to run around the backside of the house again, with the bear behind her. She managed to get away from him once again. I then went to my back bedroom window, I could see the bear chasing Biscuit down the back hill. Biscuit bleated for her life. The bear was so close to her, but could not quite get her within his reach. Then they proceeded to run towards the back steps of the deck. I could hear the deck steps creaking. I prayed they were not coming up the deck. I then received the call from the dispatcher. She told me that Animal Control was going to respond. They were currently answering another call and they would be up to me after they took care of their current call. It was the best they could do. I thanked her about a thousand times before she ended our call. I then received a text message from the owner. She was sending Biscuit’s previous owners up to the house to get her. I text her back, which read:
“There is a bear, they may need a gun!”
Help was coming, but was it too late? I could still hear the back steps of the deck creaking. I could only imagine the worst and could not see what was going on without opening the door and did not want to know.
At that moment I heard hoof prints again on the front porch. Biscuit had managed to get away from the bear once again. I looked out the window. Bless her heart, she was hiding behind my wicker rocker, just as quit and still as a church mouse. I kept waiting for the bear to come back to the porch. He didn’t. In fact, after Biscuit waited a few minutes, she once again left the front porch. She headed up the driveway just like she did the first time she made her great escape. I made a noise with my mouth, snapped and called for her, trying to get her to come back to me on the porch. She turned, and looked back at me like you were no help to me earlier, forget you! She turned walked up the driveway and out of sight. I kept watching and waiting for the bear, but there was no sign of him anywhere. In the distance I hear a vehicle on the gravel road, stop and then take off. I kept waiting for the vehicle to show up at the top of the driveway, but it didn’t. I went inside the house and gathered up the nerve to go out on the back deck to take a look around for the bear. It was then that the Animal Control truck was entering the driveway.
I went back through the house and out the front door to meet them. They told me that the previous owner of the goat had picked Biscuit up and was hauling her off in the back of a small SUV. They then searched the perimeter of the yard and even behind the barn for the bear, but he was gone. I thanked them for coming out and away they went. It was over.
After things were quiet and I settled down, I text the owner and told her I was sorry I panicked, but the bear freaked me out, but I was glad everything ended well. She probably really thinks I’m a fruit, but that’s okay, I’m sure a lot of people do. I’m used to it.
I was glad Biscuit was still alive after all this time. She didn’t get eaten by the bear that was trying to attack her on my front porch. The house and all its windows were intact. Me? Well, I was one frazzled mountain woman for the rest of the day. All I could say was: “There was a bear chasing a goat…” I’m sure after some therapy and a shock treatment or two I’ll be okay.
I will leave you with this song: “The Lonely Goatherd” from the Sound of Music, sung by Julie Andrews.
I’m going to practice my yodeling now… 🙂
THE END. (I hope)