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DATE: before Thankgiving
COUNTY: Pope County
LOCATION DETAILS: Go up hwy 7 North above dover, turn right onto gravel road at the National Forest sign. Stay straight on grave road, and go approcimately 1.5 to 2 miles down the road. Small road to the left. You will almost miss it if you are not careful. Follow road into fields.
NEAREST TOWN: Dover
NEAREST ROAD: Hwy 7 North
OBSERVED: It was during "modern gun" deer season, probably about 3 years ago. I really can't remember the exact year. I was walking along a road that intersects two fields that were within the Piney Creek Wildlife Area. These were basically clearcut fields, yet they always appeared to me to be well maintained. I think this is probably because the land was very close to private property. I was walking on this road when something in front of me just caught my eye. There was a shape on the ground that appeared to be a footprint. There was also another impression at the edge of one of the fields. In other words, there was an inmpression leaving one field and then an impression (footprint?) in the middle of the road. I don't know why it caught my attention like that, nothing like that really has before, nor has it since. I decided to turn around and leave. When i got home, however, I just couldn't get what I had seen out of my mind.
The next morning my wife and i had to go up to Jasper, but on the way i told her that I wanted to stop and get some pictures of that impression. It was only about two miles off of Highway 7 on one of the gravel roads which goes into the wildlife area. In order to get to where i had seen this impression though, i had to leave my wife and little girl with the truck parked on the gravel road and then walk about three hundred yards down a narrow road. This is a road that enters between the two fields, goes through them and then end at the end of the fields. You can't get a two wheel drive truck down into them because 4 wheel drives had cut ruts down where the road enters the field. Thus you can't turn the truck around hardly. The impression was still there, so i laid my shotgun down beside it for scale, and took some photographs. I also placed my size 10 boot beside the print. It was little if any longer than my boot, however much wider than my bare foot would be. The unique thing though, and this is what really got me, is that there were only three toes. After I was finished, I headed back to the truck where my wife and little girl was.
When i got to the truck, my wife said that, when she got out of the truck for a moment, she saw something further up the gravel road on the opposite side that I was on. The growth was about waist high and she said it was crouched down in the growth looking at her. When it saw her look, it stood up (whirling around at the same time) and disappeared back into the edge of the woods which bordered real close to the road. I asked her what it looked like and she stated that it had the face of a human, yet also like that of a monkey. She also said that it had hair on it's body. I asked her how big it was and she stated that it really was not much bigger than a person. It was just crouching there watching her. The last thing she commented on was how fast it was. She said that it was extremely fast.
I have wondered what it was that she saw, and if perhaps it was connected to the impressions that I observed. I also wondered if perhaps it was in the process of coming to the edge of that gravel road in order to cross it. This would have brought it in the proximaty of the impression that i found. When it saw my wife and truck sitting there it may have just crouched doen hoping not to be seen. I really don't know what i photographed or whether or not what i photographed is really a footprint. My wife is pretty insistent however on what she saw.
On a last note; before posting this, I did some checking on web sites and read various things that people say they observed or noticed. I can't say that I smelled anything that day or even thought that something might be watching me. I hunted Piney a long time before that incident and have done so often since then as well. Except for that impression, I have never seen or noticed anything which was out of the ordinary. I have heard rumors of sightings though. Rumors which never really bothered me or that I even thought about. They still don't bother me but i can't say that i don't wonder now.
ALSO NOTICED: You always here stories. But we keep them low here. There was one hunter at pilot rock which was about 6 or 7 miles from this area. Back in the 80's he did not come back to the camp. They went lookng for him and found him in his stand. He was afraid to come down. Said he saw something covered in hair walk past his tree. On it's way past, it turned to look at him and it's eyes followed the tree up to where he was sitting in his stand. I heard this from my dad who told me that it had happended to the brother of his friend. His brother was one of those who had to go get him out of that tree. I didn't really believe it so i asked the man myself. He looked at me with a straight face and stated that this is what his brother had told him when they found him in his stand. He also stated that him and his brother had hunted those same woods for over 30 years and his brother really was not afraid of anything in there. He stated his brother, who was in his forties, appeared really scared when they found him and told the others that he would kick the first person's butt who laughed or made fun of him.
OTHER WITNESSES: Just me for the footprint. My wife for the sighting.
TIME AND CONDITIONS: Found the impression at about 2:00 p.m. My wife saw whatever it was at about 9:30 the next morning.
ENVIRONMENT: Pine trees, massive thicket. This is where the impression was pointed towards.
Follow-up investigation report:
I spoke with the witness and his wife on 1/7/04. They were both very helpful and added the following details to the report:
He added that it was like he just stopped in "mid-stride" when he first noticed the track. He didn't get the feeling that he was being watched, but it did make him stand up and look around. He said that after finding the track in the road he looked and found one more coming out of the field and one more going toward the thicket which was about 30 feet away from the road. The witness said that his impression was that whatever made the track was running, and he estimated the distance between each track as 5-6 feet. The tracks were very fresh and he wondered "what I might have spooked" that would have made these tracks. He estimated the tracks to be 11 to 12 inches in length, "about the size of my size 10 boot" and wider than his bare foot would have been. He also said he could see three distinctive toe prints that sunk into the ground deeper than the heel of the track, and they seemed to "push off" with enough force to misplace the grass on that part of the track, which made him think whatever it was, it was heavy and was running. The toes were large across the top of the foot and a space could be seen between each toe. He has misplaced the pictures that he took the next day, but will try and locate them and send them to me.
In an interview with his wife, she said that she and her daughter had stayed on the road in the truck the next morning while her husband had gone to take the pictures of the tracks. She got out of the truck and walked around to the front of it to heed nature's call. She looked down the road and saw what she described as something that looked like "a hairy little old man" crouched down in some grass by a light pole about 60 yards away. She said it had "scraggly" dark chocolate colored hair and the face was a lighter brown color than the hair. She described the eyes as "human looking" and said that it looked at her the whole time until she took a few steps toward it. It then stood up, wheeled around and ran into the woods behind it. She was amazed at how fast it moved, and said that it looked "stooped over" when it stood up to run. She got back into the truck and started blowing the horn for her husband. She said she was afraid because she did not know what the thing was she saw, and wanted to protect her child. She told me that they have driven down that road many times since that day, but have not seen anything more.
One other note of interest: The husband stated, both he and his wife had been hunting in that field a week or two before he first saw the tracks. He placed his wife on a stand which was just inside the thicket across the road. When he returned, he asked his wife if she had seen anything. She said that she had been hearing something walking back and forth in the thicket, but it would not come out. She stated that she thought she could hear whatever it was breathing. The witness says he laughed and stated that the deer were in rut and she probably heard a buck that sensed danger and did not want to leave the safety of the thicket.