'Goat man' in US mountains identified as hunter

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A man seen dressed in a goat suit among a herd of wild goats in the Utah mountains has been identified as a hunter preparing for a Canadian archery season.

After a hiker spotted the man on July 15, wildlife officials said they wanted to talk to him to be sure he was aware of the dangers as hunting season approaches.

They speculated he might be an extreme wildlife enthusiast who just wanted to get as close as possible.

This week, the mystery was solved. Phil Douglass of the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources said he received a call Monday from a 57-year-old California hunter who explained he was merely trying out his goat suit in preparation for a hunt in Canada next year.

"He gave me enough details about the area and the situation that it made me feel confident this was him," Douglass said Tuesday.

The man did not identify himself, Douglass said.

Douglass said wildlife officials encourage archery hunters to practice their skills and to "get themselves in a position where they make a clean and humane shot."

And while it's not illegal to dress up like the animal you're trying to kill, Douglass said it's still dangerous.

"It's unwise," he said. "It's just a bad idea all the way around to do that kind of thing."

Coty Creighton, who first spotted the goat man, said he appeared to be acting like a goat while wearing a crudely made costume with fake horns and a cloth mask with cut-out eye holes.

"We were the only ones around for miles," he said. "It was real creepy."

Douglass said the hunter described the goat costume as merely a hooded painter's uniform and a fleece.