A legend died in Deborgia last week by the name of Colt (a.k.a. Stinky). A black goat who famously hung out on a rocky cliff off Interstate 90 near a cell tower. Marsha and Tom Hoag, who live below the cliff, often saw Colt since he would drink from their pond and hang out on their property.
“He was getting old and I think he fell from the cliff,” said Marsha. She said his shoulder was pretty broken up and the side of his head looked like it had hit a rock. “There’s a lot of snow and ice up there. I think he just lost his footing and fell.”
Marsha and her husband, Tom, went to pick up the shaggy goat and planned on making a shoulder mount out of him but his body was missing. That’s when she posted a plea on Facebook for any information as to his whereabouts. A neighbor posted that another man in the area, Rick Weaver, had him. Weaver had the same intention of getting the famous Bovidae mounted. Once Weaver heard the Hoags wanted Colt back, he returned the goat.
“He was Stinky,” said Marsha, upon getting the goat’s body back. “He even still had on his collar.”
COLT LIVED for a decade on McGee Point located on the border of Deborgia and Haugan west of St. Regis. The slope where he lived was sunny in the winter and cool in the summer, said the man who raised him, Rob Harris.
Rob and his wife, Beth, had a farm on Finley Road up Thompson and Deborgia Road. There the couple raised goats, hogs and chickens. When Colt, which is his name registered with the National Dairy Goat Association, was 2 years old, the couple gave him to their neighbor, Jim Toomey. He took the goat for weed control.
However, Toomey didn’t have Colt for very long before a dog chased him up McGee Point. From that time on, no one could catch the elusive goat.
“Honestly, I figured he would come back on his own,” Tom said. They had bottle-fed Colt, and his twin brother, Ruger, since birth and he was tame. Tom explained that Colt had been the weaker out of the two, and they didn’t expect him to live. Ironically, Ruger died at four weeks old and Colt went on to live to the age of 12. Which is fairly old for a goat whose lifespan averages 15 to 18 years.
COLT HAD become famous to the area and could often be seen from I-90. Locals looked for him when they drove up the road, and reports of a black goat were made from people driving down the highway. Because of his above average size, longer coat, beard and horns, he was often mistaken for a black mountain goat.
“This is definitely a domestic, and not a wild animal,” said Missoula Wildlife Biologist Liz Bradley. “I have gotten reports of it before and I have seen it myself a couple of times from the interstate. I’m fairly surprised it’s still alive. I thought it had just gotten away temporarily.”
Colt’s father was a larger-than-average American Alpine buck and his mother, an Oberhasli doe. Though Ruger was the more traditional Oberhasli brown color with a black features, Colt was pure black. Something that happens about one out of every six births, Tom explained. Though Colt didn’t seem to like human relationships, he did enjoy the company of other animals. There were reports of him hanging out with deer, elk and even a moose and a stray dog.
When Marsha made her post on Facebook, there was an outpouring of grief from locals mourning the loss of their neighborhood icon.
“A legend, I loved him and looked for him every day,” said one resident. “Stinky will be missed,” said another.