OGDEN -- The photographer who says he took pictures of a man in a fur-covered goat suit crawling on his hands and knees near a wild goat herd in the hills near Ben Lomond Peak has come forward.
Coty Creighton, who is the design director for JDHgroup based in Ogden, told the Standard-Examiner on Thursday that he took the photos on the morning of July 15 while on a hike about a half-mile north of Ben Lomond Peak.
Phil Douglass, conservation outreach manager for the Division of Wildlife Resources, said he has been in communication with Creighton and believes the photos are authentic.
"I feel confident Coty did take those photos," he said.
The man in the goat suit has not been identified, apparently hasn't done anything illegal and may be an innovative photographer or hunter, Douglass said.
"My concern was for the safety of the individual (from being injured by goats or hunters), and if he understands the risk, he's free to make those choices," he said.
The DWR received two anonymous phone calls Thursday morning from a man agitated about media coverage of the individual in the goat suit.
"The man repeatedly stated, 'Leave goat man alone, he's done nothing wrong,' " Douglass said.
Creighton said he was alone on his hike when he spotted a herd of goats. He then saw what appeared to be a larger goat having trouble making it down the hill.
"I thought it was a deformed goat," he said. "It was clumsy, not nimble."
Creighton used binoculars to get a closer look and was stunned by what he saw. The figure, about 200 yards away, wasn't a goat after all but a man dressed in a furry goat suit, he said.
In addition to the goat suit, the man was wearing a cloth mask with eye holes cut out, what appeared to be black papier-mache horns and leather gloves, Creighton said.
"He was on his hands and knees, crawling along the mountainside," said Creighton, adding the man didn't have a backpack or photo gear but may have been taking pictures with a small cellphone.
Creighton took photographs for about 20 minutes before the man in the goat suit spotted him.
"He stayed on his hands and knees and stared back," Creighton said.
Creighton said the encounter was odd and frightening. He decided not to confront the man and continued his hike to Ben Lomond Peak.
On the way back down a trail from the peak, Creighton encountered Frank Howe, a Utah State University liaison for the Utah DWR, and told him about the man in the goat suit.
"Something was definitely off with that guy (in the goat suit)," Creighton said in an email to the Standard-Examiner.