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COUNTY: Clinton County
NEAREST TOWN: Carlyle
NEAREST ROAD: U.S. Highway 50
OBSERVED: While strolling through the timber on a warm fall night, I came up the slight incline from the river bank and heard a scream coming from due east. My immediate thought with respect to the sound was that it was a bobcat. I froze in my tracks and looked toward the sound in time to see whatever it was jump from about 6 or 8 feet up in a tree to the ground. It landed on its hind legs, took 3 or 4 steps, then went to all fours and ran faster than I have ever seen anything run into the treeline. When I saw that it was completely gone, I ran as fast as I could perpendicularly to the highway.
ALSO NOTICED: As I stood frozen in fear hoping that it wasn't going to charge me, I took note of it's slim but muscular build. It was definitely fur covered. Given the moonlight and available streetlight shining through the trees I guessed it to be a tan or light brown. I didn't look at its head as I was stunned by its agility and the fact that it jumped down onto its back legs and not its front. All felines that I am aware of jump with there front feet first, but the sound had a very feline call. The scream was very intense too. It was loud enough for me to feel in my ears, not just hear. I assume it was waiting for prey in the tree and when I came up the riverbank from the other direction I must have scared it or ruined its hunt. I don't know. All I do know is that it was large, powerful agile and scared me on a level that I had not experienced to that point; nor since, in my life.
OTHER WITNESSES: None
OTHER STORIES: My cousin described a creature maybe similar near his house further in town. I would be happy to discuss further details if necessary.
TIME AND CONDITIONS: About 11 pm, clear night, almost full moon, warm for time of year maybe 55-60 degrees, some light from nearby highway.
ENVIRONMENT: A lot of sycamore, elm, probably pin oak and a few pine/conifer trees. Not a lot of dense underbrush throughout but in patches. The railroad trestle and bridge over the Kaskaskia river are within 200-300 ft. of sighting.
Follow-up investigation report by BFRO Investigator Stan Courtney:
I spoke with the witness by phone. The following details can be added to the report:
- The animal was 6 1/2 to 7 feet tall and weighed approximately 300 lbs.
- The witness stated the animal had broad shoulders and was muscular.
- The animal had long arms and appeared to have no neck.
- He was unable to make out any facial features as the animal never looked towards him.
- This is the 2nd report from Illinois of an animal being up a tree, coming down and running away on all fours.
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