Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Seriously?!

July 23, 2012

'Goat man' spotted in mountains of northern Utah

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) —

 A man spotted dressed in a goat suit among a herd of wild goats in the mountains of northern Utah has wildlife officials worried he could be in danger as hunting season approaches.

Phil Douglass of the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources said Friday the person is doing nothing illegal, but he worries the so-called "goat man" is unaware of the dangers.

"My very first concern is the person doesn't understand the risks," Douglass said. "Who's to say what could happen."

Douglass said a man hiking Sunday along Ben Lomond peak in the mountains above Ogden, about 40 miles north of Salt Lake City, spotted the person dressed like a goat among a herd of real goats. The person provided some blurry photographs to Douglass, who said they did not appear to have been altered.

Wildlife officials now just want to talk to the man so that he is aware of the dangers. There's no telling what his intentions are, Douglass said, but it is believed he could just be an extreme wildlife enthusiast.

"People do some pretty out there things in the name of enjoying wildlife. But I've never had a report like this," Douglass said. "There's a saying we have among biologists — You don't go far enough, you don't get the data. You go too far, you don't go home. The same is true with some wildlife enthusiasts."

Douglass said 60 permits will be issued for goat hunting season in that area, which begins in September. He worries the goat man might be accidentally shot or could be attacked by a real goat.

"They may get agitated. They're territorial. They are, after all, wild animals," he said. "This person puts on a goat suit, he changes the game. But as long as he accepts responsibility, it's not illegal."

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