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PROVO — A trail runner learned the importance of keeping your distance from wildlife after he encountered a seemingly harmless mountain goat on Mount Timpanogos Sunday.
Kevin Slider is training for an upcoming Spartan race competition and was taking video of the sunrise on Mount Timpanogos Sunday morning when a curious mountain goat slowly approaching him on the trail.
"I see them up there all the time, and so I thought, I will get some video of him," Slider said.
Slider wasn't initially nervous for what seemed to be a rare, up-close look at nature. But suddenly the goat became aggressive.
"There was nowhere I could go. I was in the middle of a snowfield," he explained. (The goat) was just solid muscle, and I thought, if he gets me on the ground, I could be a dead man."
Slider's video serves as an important reminder about being safe around wildlife, said Scott Root with the Division of Wildlife Resources. "Wildlife is unpredictable. I think that is the most important thing to remember," he said.
In this case, Slider appeared to do everything right when the goat became aggressive, Root added.
"There was nothing in this footage to hide and get behind, which typically you want to do with big game. So, making noise was the best thing he could have done."
Everyone wants to get that photo for Facebook or Instagram, but the bottom line — get a bigger lens and give the wildlife their distance.
–Scott Root, DWR
Root said people typically stay far away from predators like bears, but sometimes they do approach big game animals that appear to be tame. However, he warned that moose, in particular, can be dangerous to encounter on the trail.
"(Jamaican sprinter) Usain Bolt can run 28 miles per hour. A moose can run 35 miles per hour. Everyone wants to get that photo for Facebook or Instagram, but the bottom line — get a bigger lens and give the wildlife their distance," Root said.
Mountain goat attacks are rare, but a woman's dog was attacked on Mount Timpanogos three years ago. Also, a hiker was killed by a goat in a national park in Washington State in 2010.
For more wildlife safety tips, visit wildawareutah.org.