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COUNTY: Gunnison County
LOCATION DETAILS: The south side of Fossil Ridge near the base of it in a dry creek bed that runs east and west and has a game trail running along the north side of it. It's within Hunting Area 55. From Gunnison go east on Hwy 50 about 11 miles to Parlin. Go about one mile on the road to Pitkin (3101?) and turn left on Road 3103. This road goes about 8 miles north and becomes Forest Rd 583. From there hike about 2 miles northeast along the base of Fossil Ridge.
NEAREST TOWN: Gunnison, CO
NEAREST ROAD: Forest Road 583
OBSERVED: My uncle and I were elk hunting near Fossil Ridge northeast of Gunnison, CO when this incident ocurred. It was late afternoon when we noticed a strong odor that we thought might be elk so we headed east toward a small ridge hoping to find one on the other side. As we got closer we heard the noise of rocks being banged together. As we topped the ridge we saw a large dark brown animal squatting at the edge of a dry creek bed with it's back toward us. It was banging 2 rocks together with it's "hands" and making a grunting/growling noise each time the rocks hit.
It seemed to sense our presence almost immediately and turned around and looked at us. Then it quickly stood up and jumped across the creek in one motion. I remember thinking "nothing can move like that!". It ran up the slope on the north side of the creek bed at an angle and disappeared into the pine and aspen trees farther up the hill. We could see it for about 50 feet before it was gone from sight. It moved real quietly for something that big.
I estimate it's height as 6'5''. It was covered with long dark brown hair that made me think of a yak. It had a strong smell, at least there was a strong smell in the area that was like elk urine.
After we calmed down a bit, we went into the creek bed and found the 2 rocks which were chipped and broken. We looked for other signs in that place but couldn't find anything else.
ALSO NOTICED: Looked for tracks - found none.
Looked for hair - found none.
Found 2 chipped and broken river rocks in creek bed.
OTHER WITNESSES: Myself and my Uncle. We were elk hunting.
OTHER STORIES: No
TIME AND CONDITIONS: Late afternoon just before dark. It was a nice day, clear and calm. No snow in the area. The sun was behind us as we looked east and there was plenty of light to see clearly.
ENVIRONMENT: Dry creek bed covered in river rock near base of tall ridge. Game trail just north of creek bed. Small open area above game trail with scrub oak and then aspen/pine forest above it. Steep hillside to north.
About BFRO Investigator Dr. Steven Coy:
Former wildlife biologist - US Department of Interior