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COUNTY: Collier County
LOCATION DETAILS: SR41 near 40 mile bend
NEAREST TOWN: ochopee
NEAREST ROAD: st rd 41
OBSERVED: We( me and a friend ) went night fishing for catfish , actually getting to a muddy run-off right off st rd 41 around 10pm during the summer of 1997 near turner road. As we off loaded our equipment and cleared the overpass rails we headed down the side of the overpass; we were shining flashlights around the pond to make sure we didn't step on any snakes or gators, something screamed at us (now mind you that there was only about 2 to 3 feet of space between the pond and dense woods i can't imagine how something can even get in there) with such intensity that i felt my chest rattle my heart almost stopped; it felt like whatever this was was right in front of us and it did not want us there!!
we are not amateurs we both were carrying high powered hand guns and could not locate what this creature was or where it was yet it felt like it was right in front of us. we scanned the area over and over but to our surpised could not locate where or what this sound came from all we knew was that it was BIG!! well we hightailed it out of there and could never understand what could have that kind of vocal power until i started my own research online. Me and my friend have been fishing in the glades for over 25 years and have much experience with wildlife , bors gators, deers black bear, i've even seen panthers and have done a some tracking, i have found footprints that just don't add up; bare human shaped prints in the middle of a cypress swamp, i've seen what looked like a urangutan in the swamp looking at us from behind trees and disappearing and me my friend would always ( this type of sighting twice), jokingly state that someone's pet had gotten away. we never been bothered other then that night this creature screamed at us and we took it as it did'n't wan't us there i felt we disturbed something, invaded it's territory, i hope this helps for after i started my own research i came to the conclusion that these creatures do exist call it what you want (bigfoot, skunkape, sasquatch) they are real and they don't bother us except when we invade their space . I really enjoy your website it also helps me understand that i'm not crazy , most people would think and look at me like i'm crazy when i relatemy encounter, (they don't have any experience outside of the city, they will never understand until bigfoot hits them over the head, even then they'd deny it. These creatures have a right to be there
ALSO NOTICED: i've seen what i took to be an orangutan and have spotted something similar looking at me from a distance in the woods (both were very brief and hard to say axactly what these were but i was left with the impression that it was some sort of primate , did not surpise me cause i know ther's quite a few primates that have been released by private owners or have gotten away from some circuses (barnum & bailey have had thier yearround home in I believe Sarasota for about a 100 years
OTHER WITNESSES: 2 witnesses
OTHER STORIES: I did not pay it much attn (my encounter til i saw a special on the discovery channel with david shealy that's when i really started to try to find answers , that's only a couple of miles from where i was.(ochopee in collier county)
TIME AND CONDITIONS: this happened around 10:30pm
ENVIRONMENT: off overpass, muddy , heavily wooded area ;thick woods
Follow-up investigation report by BFRO Investigator Dr. Robert S. (MD):
8/26/06: I spoke by phone with the witness, who seems very credible, and has 25 plus years experience outdoors in the Everglades. He and a friend were dressed in waders and intended to night fish a small creek/runoff along SR 41. They were greeted with a very loud (like a "bullhorn") low pitched scream, almost a growl, which lasted for approximately 10 seconds. The witness felt strongly the scream was meant to send a message to not come any further, but was not a threat or an attack gesture. No unusual odor was noted. Despite briefly shining flashlights in the area, no visual evidence of a creature was seen, even though it seemed to be very close (few feet away) by the audible intensity. The witness did not feel any human could make a noise that loud, and had never heard any noise like that before in his years of being in the Everglades. The vegetation was very dense on either side of the water including oak, sawgrass, and eucalyptus.
The witness also spoke of other observations in the general vicinity over the last 20 or so years. He and the same friend saw what they thought was an orangutan high in a 40-50 foot tree from a distance, but it had disappeared when they approached the area, and no details of color, hair length, or specific size were noted at the time. He also relates as a teenager (about 25 years ago) seeing a large (estimated 15-18”) human-like footprint (with toes) far back in the swamp about 7 miles down a gated dirt road, with vehicular access limited to Park Rangers. More recently, he notes seeing several smaller footprints that were human-like but much more wide and “blunt” at the toes.
Within the past year he notes discovering a crude “shelter” alongside a canal with 4-5 trees on one of its sides bent over and inter-twined with 2 or 3 trees on the other side. He believes the trees were placed this way, and feels there is no way these trees could have accidentally formed this structure. As he was passing by this area, he remembers a strong smell of “urine and wet deer,” and was concerned he may be surprising an animal (he was thinking deer at the time) in the vegetation so quickly left without investigating the structure any further. The bent-over trees were in a shallow valley, sheltered from the wind, and no other trees were bent over around them as might be after hurricane winds.
11/16/06: Update. On 11/03/06 witness went back to general area of previous track sightings to relax and fish. He discovered a large solitary track in moist soil next to a canal. Track appeared to be a left foot, with a large toe and three smaller toes, with the last (fourth) digit angled off to the side of the foot about 45 degrees. Track was on level soil, with no evidence of sliding. The witness purposely made an impression with his size 10 boot in adjacent soil for size and depth comparison. Track size estimated to be 15" in length and 4-4.5" at the heel. Track impression was about one inch deep, slightly deeper toward the front of the print, in the direction of the canal which was about one foot away. The witness boot impression was 1/4 inch deep, and witness is 215 lbs. He estimates track was no more than one or two days old, with no debris except for small stone inside the track. He also noted many deer, panther, and hog prints in general area, and believes the canal is a source of water for much of the local wildlife.
About BFRO Investigator Dr. Robert S. (MD):
Robert S. is a physician practicing in California. He has attended the 2006 Florida, New York Adirondack, and Washington expeditions, the 2008 West Virginia expedition, 2013 N. Florida and Alabama expeditions, and 2014, 2015 N. Florida expeditions.