Joe N. Brown
Joe N. Brown

In the late 1970s we were ranching in southern Pecos County. We were attempting to raise sheep and goats in this rough limestone canyon country.

Predators were a constant threat to our herds so riding pastures was an every day event.

This story is a recollection of one of those days.

I sent my son Charlie to ride the 12 mile pasture east of the house. I had no worries about him riding horseback in a 3,000 acre pasture. He was about 15- years-old and was very capable of riding a pasture and reporting what he found.

So, Charlie left the barn about 7:30 that morning riding his favorite horse Pidgeon.

About 10:30 Charlie came back in a big hurry.

His horse was lathered up and he was very excited. I finally got him to explain why he was so excited.

His story was, “Dad. Over in the southeast corner of the pasture, out on top of the divide, something killed a bunch of goats.

When I asked him to describe the scene to me, he said some animal had herded some goats up into the corner and then proceeded killing them as they tried to escape.

I told him to unsaddle his horse while I got the 4-wheel drive pickup and we went looking.

In our 4-wheel drive pickup we could drive up the canyon to get on top of the divide and then go to the corner. When we got there we found about 15 head of angora goats killed in a bloody pile. It appeared that this animal had herded these goats into the corner and proceeded to kill them one by one. None were eaten - only killed. While looking at this mess I found a track in the blood which I recognized immediately as a bear track.

I believed the bear killed these goats for fun and not food. Much like a cat playing with a ball for fun.

I told Charlie there was nothing we could do there. So, we headed home.

At home, I decided that my neighbors needed to be informed of the bear situation. So, I got on the phone and called my neighbor who ranched next to the southeast corner. I told him what happened to my goats in a pasture next to him. Then, I added, “We have a bear problem.”

He told me he had a bear problem this morning at my north water trough and it was taken care of. I thanked him and hung up the phone.

Then, I told Charlie and my family that bears were protected and the incident was not to be discussed ever again.

That was our only bear incident during my 25 years of ranching in Pecos County.