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COUNTY: Hillsdale County
LOCATION DETAILS: This portion of land is along what is known as Lost Nations Game Area in Hillsdale County. It is several hundred acres of wooded land with deep creek bottoms and high ridges. It is mainly all hardwoods along with pines and swamp land.
NEAREST TOWN: Osseo
NEAREST ROAD: Perrin Road
OBSERVED: My father-in-law called me around 4pm on January 12, 2014 and told me he had went out to burn trash and found some strange tracks leading from the woods into his backyard in the snow. I went over with my camera and a tape measure to see what it was. Until yesterday we had about 15 inches of fluffy snow on the ground. Yesterday it had warmed up and rained and we lost about 7 inches of that snow so I thought that the tracks were probably just a deer or dog and between the rain and melting snow the tracks had appeared larger than they really were. When I got there I was first impressed with the size of the tracks. It was definitely not a deer or dog. I began taking pictures of the tracks and have several pictures of them. I also measured the tracks which measured 17.5 inches long. What really impressed me was the stride between steps. All of them were at least 2.5 - 3 feet apart and several were more including one that I took a picture of, with the tape measure in the picture with a stride of 4.5 feet. My father-in-law is 6'2" and he could not duplicate the stride especially with the snow on the ground. Also, he wears a size 13 boot and his tracks were not near as big and wide as these were. I have pictures with the tape measure for reference to show the size and stride of the tracks and steps. We followed the tracks into the woods and they lead to a ridge that dropped almost straight down approximately 100 - 120 feet to a creek bottom. Whatever made the tracks actually walked straight up that ridge and you can see the tracks in the pictures I took. We couldn't do it because we just kept losing our traction and slipping. The tracks never slipped. This thing walked straight up the ridge without missing a beat. The deer tracks and coyote tracks all went along the ridge but nothing else walked straight up it. No human could have done that especially with all the snow we had, not to mention I don't know any human with a 17.5 inch track and 4.5 foot stride. Also, beside one of the trees that the tracks went by there was an area about 3 feet in diameter that was yellowish brown. It appeared to be urine. I collected a sample of the yellow snow and put it in a plastic container and put it in my freezer. My wife and I own an assisted living home for elderly and developmentally individuals. We are well known in our community and I am known for my honesty. I am not trying to get attention or make up some far fetched story. I don't know what exactly made these tracks but it was something large and heavy and did things that I don't believe any human I know could do.
ALSO NOTICED: My father-in-law had heard a very strange howl like sound late one night a few months ago when he got home from work. He works 2nd shift and gets home about 12:30am. He couldn't describe the sound until he was watching an episode of Finding Bigfoot and there was a recording of a response your team got one night. Instantly, he said that was the sound he heard that night. Up until then he did not believe in Bigfoot and was still a little skeptical until we found the tracks. He believes now!
OTHER WITNESSES: Myself and my father-in-law. He discovered the tracks while he was going out to burn trash.
OTHER STORIES: Yes. My sister was driving through this area about 4 or 5 years ago in the afternoon. She had went around a curve in the road and happened to look back in her rear view mirror and said she saw something large and dark, covered in hair crossing the road. It looked like it was walking on two feet and not on all fours. We happened to be in a local Blockbuster one night several weeks later renting a movie. We asked the lady working if they had any Bigfoot movies and she showed us where they were. I proceeded to tell her I believed in Bigfoot and she said she did too. She went on to tell us that her and her boyfriend were in the same area my sister had her sighting and they had seen something large and covered in hair too. She told us this without even knowing about my sister's sighting.
TIME AND CONDITIONS: Around 4:30pm. Weather was around 32 degrees and cloudy. There was snow on the ground as well.
ENVIRONMENT: Hardwoods, ridges and creek bottoms.
Follow-up investigation report by BFRO Investigator Richard Knox:
The area where the tracks were found is located on the witnesses’ property near Osseo, and bordered on several sides by the Lost Nation State Game area. The east branch of the St. Joseph River meanders south and west of the property.
There are food plots to the southeast, maintained by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, there are the wetlands that surround the river basin, which plays host to a wide & varied assortment of wildlife; ex: (geese, ducks, deer, squirrels, raccoons, etc), while below the surface of the river are other food sources; ex:(crayfish, fish, turtles, clams, etc).
The witnesses’ property and the surrounding area are heavily wooded with ash, birch and pines; while the terrain is mostly rolling hills, with wetlands and a vernal pond on the east side of the witness’s property.
It was the end of the 2nd full weekend in January 2014, when the witness walked out behind his house & garage toward a set of barrels, where he burns garbage and scraps of food. Upon reaching those barrels, he finds in the snow several large footprints and a trackway leading south towards the Lost Nations State Game area.
(It must be noted that the prints and the trackway occurred after the winter blizzard that dumped 18 – 24” of snow in this part of Michigan, the first week in January, & the subsequent melt that occurred the week after.)
The witness contacts his son-in-law to tell him what he found, during their discussion the son-in-law commented that the prints are probably from an animal, so the witness asked him to come out to view them for himself. Upon arrival, the witness & son-in-law go out to look at the prints, with the son-in-law measuring some of the prints and the length of the step, all the while taking pictures. They then followed the trackway south, arriving at the edge of a large ravine with a stream/creek that drains south into the St. Joseph River. The trackway continued down the slope, without missing a step, turns and heads south following the creek/stream bed towards the river. The witness and son-in-law were not able to continue due to it getting dark and the slope of the ravine would have made continuing at that time of night, treacherous at best.
The son-in-law made the initial phone contact to the BFRO and initiated a report through the BFRO website.
Initial Pictures provided by witness:
My initial contact was with the witness’ son-in-law. We spoke for about an hour, going over the initial report and any new details that have come to light; the son-in-law then sent me an email containing the pictures he took that night. After looking over the pictures, I made arrangements to meet with the witness the following weekend.
The following weekend, I met up with Investigator Jim Sherman and we proceeded to the witness’ home. As we traveled the last 1/8th mile to the witness’ home, the surrounding woods impressed me with how secluded it was even though we were less than a half mile off a state highway.
Greeted outside by the son-in-law, we spoke with him about 30 minutes before venturing in to the residence to speak with the initial witness. The witness is an older gentleman, who is living in his retirement home, doesn’t have a home computer or internet access, spends his time between working 2nd shift, watching the birds at his feeder outside the window and reading the bible. Also, the witness' daughter-in-law was there as well.
The witness went through the details of that evening, the subsequent arrival of his son-in-law and their trekking through the woods to the edge of the ravine. The witness also recalled that a couple of months prior to finding the prints, he was returning home from work late at night and as he proceeded to walk from his vehicle to the house, he heard a loud howl coming from the general direction of the ravine, inside Lost Nations State Game area. The howl was so out of place for the sounds he usually hears in the woods surrounding his house, the strength and depth of the howl made the hair stand up on the back of his head and he immediately moved to get into the house.
After speaking with the witness for about an hour, we proceeded outside towards the burn barrels. Upon arriving, we noticed that the print locations were noticeable, but the outline and distinguishing features were obscured by the recent snow. We looked at the prints and then proceeded to follow them as they headed south. The trackway didn’t follow any specific path or animal trail, but headed in a straight, narrow line towards the Lost Nations State Game area.
The tracks as they continued south encountered a fallen tree. There was no indication in the snow that whatever created the tracks, went around the tree as a deer might have, or crawled under the tree, though there was about 2’ of space between the bottom of the tree and the ground. But, it appears as if it stepped over the tree to continue on without breaking its stride. The trackway continued south towards the ravine and instead of stopping, continued down the embankment towards the creek bottom.
Jim and the son-in-law decided to follow the prints, and after slipping, sliding and getting close to falling at least once, they both reached the bottom of the ravine. They followed the tracks as they headed along the edge of the creek/stream, stopping where they encountered a dead deer. They were unable to examine the deer, because it was buried in snow and frozen solid to what was under the snow.
Please see the attached video of our group following the tracks:
I continued along the top of the ravine and eventually came to a fairly busy deer trail that leads from the bottom of the ravine and heads northwest. Jim and the witness’ son-in-law came up the deer trail and we followed it for a bit till we decided it was time to head back towards the house.
As we walked back towards the house, we begin discussing the trackway and I postulated that if those were outbound tracks, where were the inbound tracks to the burn barrels?
So, as we got close to the burn barrels, we discovered a second set of tracks coming from the west, intersecting the burn barrels & the first set of tracks. These tracks were as obscured as the first set, and with the backdrop of the pine trees obscuring sunlight from reaching them, they were only found once we looked at them from the other side.
We followed the tracks, which intersected multiple deer trails, causing the tracks to become difficult to follow at times, once they entered the pines west of the house. Once through the pines, we split up, Jim headed west with the son-in-law down a slope to a small plateau before the terrain slops down to the river again and I headed back south along the edge of the pine trees.
I discovered a snow covered trail cam, while following a series of deer trail and noticed that all the deer trails converge to pass behind the trail cam. Looking around to see why, I discovered a trackway passing in front of the trail cam, coming from the area we were searching earlier, heading towards the northwest, where Jim & the son-in-law had just discovered another trackway on the plateau, coming up from the river bottom & heading in the direction of the witness’ house.
These prints were a bit more noticeable than the others, due to the openness of the area they were in, but still no features were recognizable.
I’m unable to say what created these tracks, since their features were obscured due to the melt the previous week and the snow the day before. But, what I did find compelling about this report was that the step between some of the tracks was near 4 ˝’, the stepping over the fallen tree instead of going around or under, the stride down the slope of the ravine without any indication of sliding or slipping. It seems that whatever created the tracks came up from the river basin west of the house, walked to the burn barrels to check them out and then headed south to the ravine and back down to the river basin.
I come to believe that the witness is a decent individual, with no reason or motive that could compel him to lie. He mentioned that he has no idea what created the tracks, that’s why he contacted his son-in-law, to help him figure it out.
There are additional second hand details to append to this report:
It was mentioned by the daughter-in-law that her husband, the witness’ son, reported large crashing sounds one evening, after returning home from work at 1 or 2 in the morning. Their house is on the adjacent property to the east of the witness’ property and also bordered on the south by Lost Nations State Game area.
The son stated that the sound was not like that of a deer moving quickly through the woods, but that of something much bigger; ex:( elephant barreling thru the woods), heading south towards Lost Nations State Game Area and the St. Joseph River.
The son-in-law mentioned that his sister witnessed something large & dark haired cross the road behind her vehicle as she drove thru a set of ‘S’ curves. It traveled from one side of the road to the other before disappearing into the wood. These ‘S’ curves are several miles east of the witnesses home, within the Lost Nations State Game area, along the southern banks of the St. Joseph River.
Also, the son-in-law reported that his wife and himself, stopped at a pull-off area near the “S” curves and experienced an overwhelming feeling of being watched.
There are 6 other reports within a 20 mile radius of this report.
About BFRO Investigator Richard Knox:
Richard is a designer for a power company that services the majority of Lower Michigan. He is a former Emergency Medical Technician & Volunteer Firefighter. He enjoys camping, hiking and Geocaching with his wife, kids and grandkids. He and his wife attended the 2012, 2013 & 2015 Michigan Upper Peninsula Expeditions. Richard can be contact at SM_BFRG@hotmail.com