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COUNTY: Ogemaw County
LOCATION DETAILS: I was walking the west border of the Rifle River State Park west of the bridge over Rifle River. I had made it about 300 yards into the park.
NEAREST TOWN: Rose City
NEAREST ROAD: CR on the south side of Rifle River State Park
OBSERVED: I was deer hunting in the Rifle River State Park in Michigan. I was on the west border of the park about 300 yards from the southern border. I had walked into the area from the south and stopped to "let the forest quiet". I watched as three female deer crossed my path about 75 yards north of me. They were stopping and looking back to the west as they moved to the east. I thought that a buck would be sure to follow. What I saw was a figure that walked silently through the woods. It seemed to be a very large man in a fur coat. I thought,what a fool to be out in the woods in a fur coat and no hunter's orange during deer season! I had on an orange hunting coat and hat. As I stood up, the "man" turned to face me. It was then that I realized that this may not be a man. It turned and ran in the direction that it had come. I could not believe how quiet it ran through the woods.
I have been hunting for over 50 years and have spent many days in the wilderness at a time but I have never seen such an animal. I have never seen any large animal move so quietly. I have hunted bear, moose, whitetail deer, wild boar, and moose. Never had any of these animals moved through the woods without making a sound. In fact, I had heard the three deer well before I saw them.
When I got back to camp, I mentioned this incident to a guy that has hunted the area for decades. I only told him that I saw a guy in a fur coat. He seemed to be a little concerned about going back to the area. I have not hunted that area again.
This animal was about 6'8", had a grey/brown hair and seemed to have arms that were longer than a human's. It walked upright but not as a man would and not as a chimp or other primate that I know of would. There seemed to be white hair around the face and on the chest. The more that I think about it, I am convinced that it was trailing/hunting those deer. It was the rut and those does would be in heat. This could have masked my presence.
ALSO NOTICED: I left the area and never returned. I wish that I had gone to the place that I saw the animal and looked for tracks or sign. I believe that the animal was tracking the deer and did not see me because of that. There was a slight wind that put the animal upwind of me.
I am a retired ship's captain and have hunted and traveled all over the world. I am used to judging distance in the outdoors and knowing where I am at all times.
OTHER WITNESSES: Only me.
OTHER STORIES: No. However, the older hunter that I mentioned the "man in a fur coat" did not seem surprised at all and he chose not to hunt that area again.
TIME AND CONDITIONS: 0900, good light with overcast
ENVIRONMENT: Mixed pine and hardwood forest. The rifle river was about 1/2 mile to my east as I walked north. About 100/200 yards beyond where the animal stood there is a small stand of pines and then a swamp. The deer moved toward the swamp. The animal ran to the west. This is slightly higher ground and heavy cover.
Follow-up investigation report by BFRO Investigator Stan Courtney:
I spoke at length with the witness by phone.
The witness has traveled extensively and hunted big game in Africa, Asia, and Alaska.
He assumed that he was not detected by the animal because he was standing downwind. He was within fifty yards of it when it stopped and looked at him. He was very impressed by how quickly the animal moved through the woods and was out of sight.
As he made his way back to camp he felt that he was being followed and watched.
About BFRO Investigator Stan Courtney:
Stan Courtney has a special interest in wildlife audio recording. He has attended numerous BFRO Expeditions. See Stan's blog StanCourtney.com for recordings he has collected over the years.
Stan Courtney can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org