'Goat man' comes forward
Monday , July 23, 2012 - 8:13 PM
OGDEN — An elusive man photographed earlier this month in a fur-covered goat suit crawling on his hands and knees close to wild goats near Ben Lomond Peak has been unmasked.
The individual, who has been dubbed “Goat Man” by the media and has drawn comparisons to the legendary Big Foot creature, is apparently a 57-year-old hunter from Southern California, Phil Douglass, conservation outreach manager for the Division of Wildlife Resources, told the Standard-Examiner on Monday.
On the advice of a friend from Utah, the man phoned Douglass and provided information Monday that substantiates he was the person in the goat suit photographed by Coty Creighton on July 15.
“He gave me details that convinced me it was him,” said Douglass, who did not ask the man’s name. “I’m satisfied that this was a person preparing for a hunt and did it with knowledge and experience.”
Creighton said Monday he enjoyed the suspense that surrounded Goat Man’s identity.
“I thought I wanted answers, but I was naive. I should have left well enough alone. Now I just want the mystery back,” he said in an email to the Standard-Examiner.
The man said he traveled to the Ben Lomond Peak area to test out a goat suit in preparation for an archery hunt of mountain goats in Canada in 2013, Douglass said.
“He found out about Utah and that it was fairly easy to get close to the goats to (train) to get a clean harvest shot with archery equipment,” Douglass said.
The man told Douglass he has hunted in several foreign countries, including Mongolia.
The man said the goat costume was made out of a hooded painter’s suit, the kind that is readily available for purchase in home repair stores. He outfitted the suit with Polarfleece to give it the appearance of fur and wore a hat backward, pulling the brim down to his chin to look like a billy goat’s beard, Douglass said.
The man mentioned that there are small groups of hunters who also wear goat suits to get close to herds.
“Hunters do some amazingly creative things to be successful,” Douglass said.
The man said he had no idea that he was being watched or photographed. He told Douglass that he shot video of himself near the goat herd, frequently had to adjust the hood of his costume and had to take breaks from crawling on all fours.
The man’s activities have drawn international media attention, and Douglass has been interviewed by news outlets in Chicago, New York, Phoenix and Toronto.
Douglass said from the outset that his main concern was the possibility of injury — by the goats themselves or by hunters — inflicted on someone hanging out with a herd of wild goats.
“I was concerned that this person understood the risks and that someone else might see it (in the media) and try it,” he said. “I didn’t want someone who did not know the risks to try it and get hurt.”