Mike North: Don't let getup get your goat

August 14, 2012 

Mike North

In June, I wrote a column covering some of the "don'ts" of hunting.

After skimming through some national news over the past few weeks, I wish I would've added one more "don't" to the list: Don't dress yourself up like a game animal.

It sounds silly, but several news agencies have reported that a man in a goat suit was roaming the mountains of Utah recently. The goat imposter was apparently cozying up to some goats that were simply born that way.

Wildlife officials initially suspected that the man was simply a nature enthusiast who wanted to get close to the animals, but it was later reported by The Associated Press that he was a hunter from Southern California trying out the suit in preparation for a Canadian mountain goat hunt.

The hiker who spotted the man through his binoculars described his getup as "creepy," noting that it was a "crudely made costume, which had fake horns and a cloth mask with cut-out eye holes."

The goat man reportedly spotted the man looking at him -- an encounter that must've been both awkward and disturbing at the same time.

With media coverage spreading, The Associated Press reported that authorities got a call from at least one person, telling folks to "Leave goat man alone. He's done nothing wrong."

The situation was shrouded in mystery until an anonymous man called area wildlife officials, claiming to be the goat man. Both sides spoke of the dangers involved in donning a costume that looks like a game animal.

I just hope goat man isn't around when the local hunting season heats up.

While this sort of encounter isn't existent beyond the once-in-awhile goofball realm, it does expand into another point of being able to properly identify a target.

From my experience, it's very uncommon for a hunter to mistake one animal for another, and it's even more unheard of for a hunter to accidentally shoot one animal thinking it was something else, such as shooting a doe thinking it was a buck.

Such a mistake wouldn't only garner scorn from fellow hunters, it's also illegal and can carry hefty penalties.

Taking a little extra time to make sure that what you're shooting is what you want to tag is worth it.

Plus, you never know when you might run into goat man.

Reporter Mike North can be reached at (209) 385-2453 or mnorth@mercedsunstar.com.

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