Wildlife • Viewing opportunity declines after April when goats head to higher ground.
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Utahns often confuse bighorn sheep and mountain goats.
Both are sure-footed mammals suited for life in steep terrain in Utah, ranging from the high mountains to the deep canyons of redrock country.
One is typically a dusty brown with short hair and long, curved horns that are often hammered into each other when males display dominance during the mating season. The other is a shaggy, white, bearded creature with pointy, black horns and kids.
Impress your friends and learn how to tell the difference, or at least how to spot the shaggy, white one during the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources' (DWR) annual mountain goat viewing event April 20 at the mouth of Little Cottonwood Canyon.
People are invited to the free event from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., which will take place at the Park-and-Ride lot at the mouth of the canyon. Wildlife biologists will be on hand to talk about the life of the mountain goat and will have equipment available for use to get a close-up look at the mountain goats.
"You'll get a front-row look at these agile rock climbers using spotting scopes and binoculars that we'll provide," said Bob Walters, Watchable Wildlife coordinator for the DWR. "You can also pick up a poster and a card that will teach you more about mountain goats. And we'll be happy to answer any questions you have."
The goats can be seen throughout April, before they head to the higher reaches of the Wasatch Mountains. Fixed-point telescopes and interpretative signs remain in the lot throughout the year.
State wildlife officials are not certain if mountain goats are native to Utah. There were no records of historic sightings.
Six mountain goats from Washington state were released in the Lone Peak Wilderness Area on the Wasatch Front in 1967. More transplants increased the population and, eventually, the herd was used to start other populations across Utah.
P The Division of Wildlife Services is inviting the public to its annual event where it provides binoculars and spotting scopes to help people observe mountain goats. This year's free event is 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, April 20, at the Park-and-Ride lot at the mouth of Little Cottonwood Canyon. For more information, visit wildlife.utah.gov/dwr/.