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This Week in Fish and Wildlife: Mountain goats in the Bridgers

Posted at 1:58 PM, Jul 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-22 16:00:21-04

BOZEMAN — On today's This Week in Fish and Wildlife, I talked with Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks biologist Julie Cunningham.

Cunningham currently has an ongoing study of the Mountain Goats in the Bridgers. Because these animals are in a popular area for people to visit, she wanted to share some tips to keep people and goats safe.

Her big tip is to keep your dogs leashed in areas where mountain goats roam. She says there are incidents of dogs being gored by goats because they are perceived to be a threat to the young kids.

Julie says if you encounter a mountain goat, make noise to try to scare it away. She says you can even throw stones at it if it becomes aggressive. Cunningham says if a goat does become aggressive, you should contact FWP to let them know about the situation.

She says you can limit contact with mountain goats by limiting attractants - salt-stained backpack straps and even body fluids are attractants to the goats, so she says your bathroom breaks should be taken far away from your tent.

Cunningham also notes that goats often kick rocks while climbing. You need to be aware of them, especially if they are up higher than you while climbing.

Cunningham says the tag line going around right now is “Don’t Poke the Goat”. If you encounter a goat on the trail, poking it with your trek pole could be seen as threatening, and could cause the animal to poke you back.