Last week, Cody Creighton was hiking along through the Wasatch Mountains outside Ogden, Utah when he spotted something strange. On a facing hillside he saw a small herd of mountain goats moving through the rough terrain. But there was something unusual about the last one, which was trailing far behind, and looked unusual even at a distance.
The goat man was on his hands and knees, "climbing over rocks and bushes and pretty rough terrain on a steep hillside." When the goat man spotted Creighton he froze, then put his mask back on and "scurried to catch up with the herd."
Creighton reported the sighting to park authorities, who are concerned for the goat man's safety. This fall the park will be issuing hunting permits for 60 wild goats, and there is a real chance that the goat man could be accidentally shot by hunters.
There is, of course, the question of why. Why dress up in a goat costume and clamber through the Wasatch Mountains? The goat man's behavior is being called "furry-like" by some sources, keying on the connection between a homemade animal costume and the furry subculture, which abounds with people who wear homemade animal costumes.
When you hear about someone wearing a costume to sneak into a herd of wild animals, you worry he's planning to do something unseemly to them. But in the case of mountain goats, I don't think that's going to be an issue. Goat Man has a lot more to worry about than the goats do.
Mountain goats are an introduced species in the Wasatch Mountains, where they are having a devastating effect on the local ecology. Mountain goats are as deft and fleet of foot as they are ornery, and they have a reputation with hikers and campers as being confrontational, even dangerous animals. Between the terrain and the difficult personality, it's hard to imagine wanting to spend very much time with a herd of mountain goats. (As opposed to, say, deer or dolphins.)
The story of the Utah Goat Man raises an interesting question. It makes me wonder if some Sasquatch sightings have actually just been sightings of regular human beings wearing Sasquatch costumes. Either because they are trying to blend in with the Sasquatch and gain their trust, or because they truly want to become "one with the Sasquatch."