Unusual, But Not Crazy, Says WDFW Official After Mountain Goat Spotted Near Castle Rock

Wildland Urban Interface Means Big Creatures, Too, as Evidenced by Goat in Castle Rock and Cougar in Packwood


Dozens of wooded miles away from Mount St. Helens, does a mountain goat become a forest goat?

Apparently not, as one was recently spotted outside Castle Rock on a resident’s trail camera and posted to Facebook. While it might seem strange, Eric Holman, district wildlife biologist for Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), said sightings of goats, or even families of them, aren’t all that uncommon outside of the mountains.

“It’s unusual but not quite crazy,” he said after seeing the post. “I have no reason to disbelieve it.”

Within the last few years, a band of mountain goats was spotted just east of Toutle, Holman said. Similarly, he said one was spotted on Weyerhaeuser land northeast of the Headquarters area earlier this fall.

Holman said he’d advise anyone who sees a goat outside of their typical alpine habitat to keep their distance, but enjoy the rare opportunity.

“That’s an interesting sighting. Congratulations, you’ve got a mountain goat on your trail camera. That’s pretty cool,” he said.

Residents who spot a goat in an abnormal situation are welcome to inform WDFW of sightings, he said, but the agency is not meticulously tracking goats beyond the mountains and reporting these incidents is not a requirement.

Similarly in rural-yet-populated Packwood, a resident recently caught a cougar walking through his backyard on a door camera.

“I’m a fan of wildlife,” said Packwood resident Bill Serrahn, who shared the video of the cougar on Facebook, adding later, “This is just one that happened to get caught on camera. There are cougar and bear that wander into the residential areas all the time here.”

Serrahn said he takes precautions to protect his pets from encounters with the big cats, but generally does not worry about danger posed by the local wildlife.

To learn more about living with wildlife, visit https://wdfw.wa.gov/species-habitats/living.