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Montana Fish Wildlife & Parks:
Mountain goats live in some of the most remote and precipitous terrain in North America. The challenge and beauty of these places also draw recreationists, who often encounter goats along the way. What people do in these encounters matters, not just for their own safety, but for the health and wildness of the goats.
Some goat-occupied places in Montana, such as the Bridger Range near Bozeman and the Flathead Range near Kalispell, are particularly busy destinations for recreationists year-round. Conflicts between humans and goats can lead to human and pet injuries, reduced goat health and dangerous goat behavior.
However and wherever you recreate in goat country, here’s what you can do to be safe and keep goats wild and healthy:
- Keep your distance. Give goats plenty of room when you see them. Keeping dogs under control at all times is key. A nanny goat will protect her young if they feel threatened or crowded. If a goat is reacting to your or your dog’s presence, you’re too close or too loud.
- Manage attractants. Goats are attracted to salt, so keep sweaty items like clothes and backpacks secured. If latrine facilities aren’t available, urinate away from trails and campgrounds. Never feed goats or other wildlife.
- Yield to goats. Give goats the right of way whenever possible. If you are hiking downslope from goats, watch for falling rocks. Goats often travel at night, so keep your dog in your tent. If a goat approaches you, move away.
Responsible recreation is a critical component of human safety and wildlife health everywhere. Minimizing negative human impacts on the places and wildlife we enjoy will help ensure they are accessible and enjoyable in perpetuity.