In a story that traveled around the world during mid-July about a mystery man impersonating a Rocky Mountain goat in the Utah high country, wildlife officials have announced what most sportsmen and readers of this blog probably surmised all along: The faux goat was a hunter.
A man taking a casual afternoon hike near Ogden, Utah, on July 15 caused quite a stir after he snapped some fuzzy photos of a man dressed in a white mountain goat suit, crouched on a distant mountainside near a herd of wild goats. After Coty Creighton showed his photos to authorities, rampant speculation began, and the photos and stories went viral.
Articles about the so-called “Goat Man” appeared online and in newspapers around the world, including extensive coverage in the UK, prompting widespread theories of what would potentially drive someone to behave in such a bizarre fashion.
But an announcement last week from the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources validated what many hunters and wildlife experts already figured out: Goat Man wasn’t some run-of-the-mill nutcase. No, he was a specific kind of nutcase—a crazy ol’ bowhunter!
Phil Douglass, the DWR’s conservation outreach manager for northern Utah, said he received a call from a 57-year-old Southern California archery hunter who explained he was merely trying out his goat suit in preparation for a mountain goat hunt in Canada next year, and that the Utah herd and location proved a good place to practice his stalking techniques.
“He gave me enough details about the area and the situation that it made me feel confident this was him,” Douglass said.
“In talking to him, I felt he was very knowledgeable—a very experienced hunter. He’s hunted internationally,” Douglass added. “My concern all along was that this person needed to understand the risks, and certainly after talking to him, I felt he was doing the best he could to understand and mitigate those risks.”
So far, the “Goat Man” has not been identified by name.