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STATE: New Mexico
COUNTY: Lincoln County
LOCATION DETAILS: [Location specifics withheld due to upcoming expedition to this area]
NEAREST TOWN: Ruidoso
NEAREST ROAD: Highway 37
OBSERVED: Me and a buddy have frequented the [canyon] for fishing and hunting over the past three years. We are both wildlife majors at Texas Tech and are very accomplished big game hunters and flyfishermen.
We followed the trail that begins at the [bottom of the canyon] and followed it until the trail diappeared. Abouth 1/4 of a mile up the river bed from there we set up camp in our usual spot which was a grassy embankment along the rocky riverbed.
We had been there for three days of fall brook trout fishing and camping. The nights leading up to the final day were routine, elk bugling, racoons in the creek bed and one encounter with a small black bear that was very curious about us. Spending a lot of time here and in other dense wilderness areas in these mountains was no problem for us.
The final night was bitterly cold, so we didn't sleep that much. I decided to leave camp at first light to begin fishing. My partner was still tired from the cold night and stayed behind to get some rest.
I followed the river upstream on my usual route through the thick underbrush, fishing all the logjams and deep pools that the trout piled up in. I was probably about a mile upstream from camp when I followed the river into a steep canyon of giant boulders that had an good sized pool. I fished for about fifteen minutes before I started to feel something watching me or a presence.
The strange thing that scared me was that the birds stopped singing and the woods almost went silent. I then scanned the steep canyon boulders and pine forest and saw brush and trees shaking vigorously and immediately thought I was about to see a bear.
I slowly went to the opposite side of the creek and stared in the area trying to make out the creature. Everything stopped moving and I quickly started down river towards camp. About 10 minutes later I heard what sounded like a gutteral moan or cry directly across the river, like the creature was trying to scare me, this combined with the fact that it had parralled me down river really made me panic. I then ran all the way back to camp as quickly as I could, spraining my ankle in the process.
I am an accomplished outdoorsman who has had plenty of experience with bears and the area, but I have never seen a bear parralel a human for as long as this creature did, and the cry was definetly different from any kind of growl or vocalization that I have ever heard out of a bear.
ALSO NOTICED: I have frequented the area for the past three years, and last winter hiked along the trail with my girlfriend and another friend. We saw large footprints that were probably 18'' long in fresh snow, but because it was the afternoon and only about 10 yards off the trail about a mile and a half in, we blew it off as a joke that someone probably fabricated.
OTHER WITNESSES: I had hiked up river by myself, but I was with another friend who skipped morning fishing for some sleep off the main trail about a mile from me.
OTHER STORIES: No, I'm from Texas and frequent the area probably 10-12 times a year, but have never talked to anyone who has even been in that far other than some elk hunter on horseback that simply warned me about bears.
TIME AND CONDITIONS: About 7:00am. The sun was just rising, but the forest, canyon, and riverbed were all cast in shadows and some darkness.
ENVIRONMENT: It took place when I was sumbmerged in a steep canyon of boulders and pines that went down to a logjam in the river that was great fishing for brook trout. The [river] is probably only two yards across here. The boulders were huge. Fallen logs criss crossed the river and the bottom of the canyon. The forest of pines surrounding the river is incredibly dense right up the mountain side.
Follow-up investigation report by BFRO Investigator Matthew Moneymaker:
You can see several photos of the region on the details page for the two upcoming expeditions into the area. Click here for that page.
The next two BFRO expeditions will be exploring the area in last week of 2004 and the first week of 2005. These are open-invitation expeditions for people who want to join the BFRO. Participants must be experienced campers and prepared for any weather conditions.
At this time there are no remaing slots for the first expedition, but you are invited to inquire about remaing slots for the second expedition by calling (949) 278-6403.
About BFRO Investigator Matthew Moneymaker:
Matthew Moneymaker is originally from the Los Feliz District of Los Angeles, California.
- Bachelor of Arts in English Literature from the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA), 1992.
- Juris Doctorate from the University of Akron School of Law, 1996.
- Founder of the Bigfoot Field Researchers Organizaton,1995.
- Writer and co-producer of the Discovery Channel documentary "Sasquatch: Legend Meets Science," 2001.
- Co-producer of the TV Series "Mysterious Encounters" for the Outdoor Life Network (OLN Channel), 2002.
- Producer of the "2003 International Bigfoot Symposium" (Willow Creek Symposium) DVD set, 2004.
- Co-host of "Finding Bigfoot" on Animal Planet Channel, 2010 - present.
- Current Director of the BFRO