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LOCATION DETAILS: Black Stone Gap area, North West of Nordegg, Alberta. 1.5 miles North of Old Trapper's cabin.
NEAREST TOWN: Nordegg
NEAREST ROAD: Forestry Trunk Road
OBSERVED: We were out bow hunting in the Black Stone Gap area north west of Nordegg, Alberta and had something happen I can't really explain. We set up camp about 9:30 Friday night Sept 9, 2016 and started a fire to cook dinner. We hear noises coming from the tree line about 25 yards away and got out the shot guns figuring it might be a bear. After about a 1/2 hour of hearing something moving in the bush, my buddy fired a round into the air to try to scare it off. Not 20 seconds later a rock the size of a soccer ball came flying out of the bush and landed beside us and a tree started to shake violently back and forth and another rock came out of the bush at us. This went on for a good 20 minutes with 17 rocks being thrown. We packed up camp and left. I've hunted all my life and I know bears can shake trees but they cant throw rocks 25 yards. I don't know if I should report this here or not but I'm trying to figure out what the hell happened that night it scared two experienced hunters and made me not want to return to one of my favorite spots to hunt.
ALSO NOTICED: Just something moving in the bush then rocks being thrown
OTHER WITNESSES: 2 building a fire to cook dinner
OTHER STORIES: No
TIME AND CONDITIONS: 9:30 pm it was dark and there where clouds and showers
ENVIRONMENT: Foot hills spruce forest mixed with popular trees
Follow-up investigation report by BFRO Investigator Beckie B.:
At approximately 9:30pm on September 9, 2016, the witness and a trusted hunting partner arrived in the Black Stone Gap area near Nordegg, Alberta. Shortly after arriving at the site, the witness and hunting partner started a fire to prepare supper. Almost immediately, both hunters began to hear leaves crunching and 'something big' moving through the bush approximately 25 yards away at a nearby tree line. As experienced outdoorsmen, the witness and the hunting partner both assumed that the noises were being caused by a bear. The hunters retrieved their shot guns as a precaution. The sounds of movement, crackling leaves, and breaking of branches continued from the same location for approximately a half hour. In an attempt to scare off the presumed bear, the hunters fired off a round from the shot gun into the air.
Immediately following the shot, a spruce tree in the tree line where the noises had been coming from began to shake violently, followed closely by a soccer ball sized rock being thrown from the same area seconds later, landing close to the hunters. The tree shaking as well as the rock throwing continued for a full 20 minutes with a total of 17 rocks being thrown towards the hunters. Throughout this entire time, no vocalizations of any type, growling, huffing, or screaming, were heard.
The witness and hunting partner packed up their camp within the 20 minutes while the tree shaking and rock throwing were continuing and vacated the area. In the rush to leave the area, the witness left a cell phone on a stump in camp. Although witness is a lifetime hunter and has been into the area frequently over the past 25 years, there was extreme hesitation to return to the location to retrieve the phone. Prior to this encounter, the witness had felt the feeling of being watched in this area, but had never felt threatened like on this occasion.
A variety of alternatives and scenarios were considered by the witness such as other campers/ hunters shaking the tree and throwing rocks, however this was ruled out due to the remoteness of the location and the high level of danger to other humans still remaining concealed after a shotgun was fired into the sky approximately 25 yards away. The possibility of a bear or cougar shaking the tree was also considered and rejected due to the occurrence of prolonged rock throwing that accompanied the tree shaking.
After a number of emails and phone call with the witness, I determined that witness was credible and very familiar with the area. The witness was a lifelong hunter who was camped in a fairly remote area which he had visited frequently over a 25 year period. The hunting partner refuses to discuss the experience.
About BFRO Investigator Beckie B.:
Beckie has been active in the outdoors throughout her life in Nova Scotia, British Columbia, and currently Alberta. This love of nature led to degrees in science with a specialization in animal biology and education where she develops and supervises environmental education programming. She is very experienced in wildlife identification, biology and behavior and is an active hiker and camper. She has attended 2015 British Columbia, 2016 Alberta and 2016 British Columbia expeditions.