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COUNTY: Bear Lake County
LOCATION DETAILS: A very popular southern Idaho creek valley, just on the Utah border.
NEAREST TOWN: Fish Haven
NEAREST ROAD: Highway 89
OBSERVED: I was playing with my dogs about 200 feet from the campfire right before sunset. I heard a weird sound behind me, pretty far up the mountain. I thought that I just imagined it and kept playing with the dogs. After about 10 minutes I heard it again, along with a second call farther up the canyon. I thought that I imagined it. Another 5 or 10 minutes went by and I knew the third time that I had heard it. I was a very loud, sharp call very much like what a primate sounds like (from what I have seen on t.v.). I was instantly on edge, as I have camped/hiked in this area many times over about 10-12 years, without any previous incidence of these sounds. I went back to my campfire to start dinner when I heard it again-this time my dogs took notice and were very uneasy as well. After 2-3 more instances, with my 3 dogs cowering at my feet, I decided to respond. Immediately there was a call in reply that sounded agitated, They proceeded to call back and forth, progressively getting closer to my location, and it was getting dark. I got in the back of my SUV with my dogs to try to relax and think, and then I heard sounds very close in the trees not far from me. The dogs went from terrified to attack mode, barking and jumping at the back & side windows, and I realized the sun roof was open. I panicked, jumped over the seat and started the vehicle and jetted out of there.All of this happened in about an hour or so.
ALSO NOTICED: My dogs had seen many animals in the hills before, and nothing ever seemed to frighten them.
OTHER WITNESSES: No, just my dogs and I.
OTHER STORIES: Yes,several. Bears also live around here, but are extremely rare.
TIME AND CONDITIONS: Sunset, clear sky, no wind.
ENVIRONMENT: Coniferous forest, very close to creek with fish, spring nearby. About 6,000 ft elevation.
Follow-up investigation report by BFRO Investigator Todd Strong:
I talked to the witness on the phone and I have camped in the same area myself. I found him believable, experienced in the outdoors and familar with his dogs. He still seemed a little scared and after interviewing him I can add the following to his account.
The witness went camping with his three dogs, something he often does, and had been playing with the dogs in an undeveloped campsite for about two hours. He heard a strange vocalization up the mountain he had never heard before, then a second, similar vocalization respond. Not knowing what they were, and realizing they were a long ways away, he tried to mimic the vocalization himself. Both animals responded and started moving down the mountain in his direction, calling and vocalizing to each other. The closer the vocalizations got the more scared his dogs became until he took the dogs into the vehicle with him.
Shortly after locking themselves in the vehicle, the dogs became totally petrified and began growling, barking and snapping at the windows, leading him to believe the two animals were at least inside the campground and possibly right outside his vehicle. He decided to leave at that point.
The witness explained his three dogs have never been scared before and have even ran in between the legs of moose and elk while in the mountains. The best way the witness could describe the sound was like a chimpanzee sound he had heard on nature shows only deeper and not quite as high pitched. It was the first time he had ever heard an animal make that kind of noise.
I am aware of other reports in this general area of loud vocalizations and believe that detail, the animals approaching the campground after the witness vocalized and the reaction of the dogs to be typical behavior.
He told a professor at Utah State about the noise and he showed him the BFRO website and suggested he send in a report. The professor said he and a friend saw something the year before in the same area walking on two legs through a clearing they thought was a bigfoot.
About BFRO Investigator Todd Strong:
Todd Strong has a Bachelors Degree in Business Administration and is self-employed.
He is a Certified Visual Tracker; Level 1.
Todd has been an avid outdoorsman since childhood. Attended the following BFRO expeditions:
Utah 2007, Northern California Spring 2008, Olympic Peninsula Washington 2008, Northern California Spring 2009, Northern California Fall 2009, Wyoming 2010, Olympic Peninsula Washington 2011.
Todd was the Expedition Organizer for the Utah 2010 expedition and is organizing the Utah 2012 expedition.