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Hikers in Utah are wondering who a man dressed as a goat is trying to kid. On July 15, a hiker in the mountains above Ogden, 40 miles north of Salt Lake City, spotted an odd-looking mountain goat, but it turns out that it wasn’t a goat at all. It was a man in a goat costume.
Coty Creighton was hiking alone along Ben Lomond peak when he spotted what he assumed was an injured goat trailing behind the rest of the herd. Being about 200 yards from the creature, Creighton looked through his binoculars and found that it was no goat – it was a man in a white goat suit. Access Atlanta described the outfit as a “crudely made costume, which has fake horns and a cloth mask with cut-out eye holes.” Though the goat man seemed to spot the hiker, Creighton was able to hide behind a tree and take photos. He then provided those blurry photos, which appeared to be unaltered, to the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources.
The man tried to act as a goat, climbing the rough mountain terrain on his hands and knees. He followed the herd over the rocks and bushes on the steep hill. He didn’t quite pull off the whole goat thing, though: in addition to falling behind the herd, he would pull up his mask every so often, most likely in an effort to better see the tough terrain.
The unidentified goat man may be unaware of the many dangers of living in a herd of mountain goats. No one is sure exactly what his intentions are, but wildlife officials believe he may be an extremely enthusiastic wildlife enthusiast. Now officials are looking to talk to the man. Phil Douglass of the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources says that 60 permits will be issued this year for goat-hunting season. If the man stays with the herd until September, when the season begins, he is in danger of being mistaken for a goat and shot. No matter how crude his costume may be, if one hiker thought he could be an injured goat from a distance, a hunter could make the same mistake. Even without the threat of hunters, the man could be attacked by real goats. Douglass says of the goats, “They may get agitated. They’re territorial. They are, after all, wild animals.”
The story has been gaining national interest after being reported by local news outlets. Either the goat man has supporters or he’s back in cell phone-range: on July 19, after the story broke in Utah, wildlife officials received a phone call from an anonymous, “agitated” man who said “Leave goat man alone. He’s done nothing wrong.” The caller, who Gawker pointed out may be the goat man himself, is right: goat man has done nothing wrong. Douglass said that as long as the man accepts responsibility for what he’s doing and what happens as a result, there is nothing illegal about what he is doing.
Who knew anyone would love mountain goats so much that they would want to live among them? Let’s hope that