DHS Squirrel
Geographical Index > United States > Colorado > Rio Blanco County > Report # 13699
Report # 13699  (Class B)
Submitted by witness on Monday, January 30, 2006.
Possible knocks heard near the Flat Tops Wilderness area of White River National Forest
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YEAR: 2005


MONTH: October

DATE: 17

STATE: Colorado

COUNTY: Rio Blanco County

LOCATION DETAILS: (edited at request of witness and for further investigations)


NEAREST ROAD: State Road 8

OBSERVED: My father and I were elk hunting in October 2005 in the White River National Forest near the Flat Tops Wilderness. This area is in Rio Blanco county outside of Buford, CO. My father has hunted there most years since the 1970's. I have been a dozen or so times since the 80's. The area is along the [edited] at about 10,000 feet. Very remote, few hunters. We backpack in and camp in the primitive style. Our site is [edited].

My father killed an elk and asked if I could meet him one morning to dress it and haul it down a steep slide. The slide is an open area that extends up the side of a mountain about 1/2 mile. It is steep and as a result has a central corridor that is devoid of trees. It is surrounded on both sides by dense forest growth. It is rocky and very rugged.

I met him one morning at about 1030 am to help out. When I arrived he told me he had heard a series of very loud knocks sometime before I arrived. He said it was up the slide toward the rim and the flat tops area on the top of the mountain. He said that they were very loud and sounded like a man hammering on a tree with a hammer. He said that the knocks were so unusual, he thought I was up above him messing around with him. I told him that I had not been, and then jokingly commented that bigfoots are said to make sounds like that.

Anyway, we started working on the elk and I was there about a 1/2 hour when we heard the knocks again. This time, they were to our left (south), at the same elevation on the moutain we were on. They came from dense growth and seemed to be no further than 100 yards away. There were 8-10 knocks, very rythmic, and quite loud. They were strange and obviously not made by anything we could identify (unless it was a 200 pound woodpecker). They sounded like a rock hit against wood -- very clear and crisp. No other unusual sounds. We have had a couple other unusual occurances and perhaps I will submit them. At any rate, I checked your site and to my suprise, found that the knocks on your "Whoops and Knocks" sound bite are hauntingly similar. Best Wishes!!

OTHER WITNESSES: 2, father and I

OTHER STORIES: Not quite. But there have been sounds similar to howls in the distance in years past. Also, my father camped alone one time and had a large animal hitting the side of his tent. Several series of three hits on the side of the tent. The animal was not startled away by his yelling. He finally got up to investigate, but saw nothing.

Clear, sunny, no wind, about 40 degrees. No precipitation at that time although it rained and snowed two days later.

ENVIRONMENT: Steep open and rocky slide on mountain side. Conifers and evergreens.

Follow-up investigation report:

I interviewed the witness by telephone for almost two hours and was impressed. He is a 38 year-old North Carolina police officer who also spent six years with the Florida Game Commission. These experiences have sparked a further interest and study in the subject for him.

A few additional notes can be added to his original report. He described the knocks as sounding "like a guy driving nails, loud and rhythmic, like a guy hammering," and "like somebody taking a 2x4 and hitting a log," or possibly like a rock knocking on wood but which seemed too loud for a man to be able to do.

He heard about eight to ten knocks for a duration of about six to eight seconds. He also stated that his father had mentioned hearing similar knocks and whoops on prior occasions.

After discussing the original report with the witness, he also detailed the additional unusual experiences mentioned above. I thought them sufficiently interesting and asked him to write those in his own words as well, which he did and I add here:

"Here is a little on the other two incidents we spoke of:

Late 1980’s (either 88 or 89):
Same basic area of the [edited] as the knocks report. This incident occurred during a mid-October rifle hunt. Temperatures were mild (40’s), no wind, with light intermittent rain, which stopped by late afternoon. I was using a hook-on tree stand and watching a clearing (about 100 yards long) among dense pine growth. The woods were very quite, too quite and I observed no animal movement of any kind that afternoon. I had the sneaking feeling of being watched. At about 4 PM, I heard what I originally thought was coyotes whooping and howling north of my position (200-300 yards away). The sounds were loud, overlapping, as if made by numerous sources. They were moving slowly to the west (my left) over the course of 5-10 minutes. The sounds then ceased. I would characterize them as higher pitched, short duration howls that were not quite like a coyote (which tends to scream) and definitely not like a wolf. This past Fall I listed to some of the recording on the BFRO site and now am really uncertain of what I heard. The sounds were excited and nagging, almost like a running fight or chase of some type. At any rate, I sat until near dark and climbed down from the stand. I walked about 20 yards to the east (my right), to the edge of the clearing. I was not using a flashlight and it was pretty dark in the surrounding woods. Just as I entered the tree line, I heard a loud noise just on the other side of the clearing (about 30 yards behind me). It sounded like a large limb had been broken from the lower portion of a tree. It startled me so badly, that I spun around and brought my rifle up (thinking bear). Just after I did this, it sounded as though the “limb” that had been broken off, was swung through a bush (or other plant material) and impacted loudly and sharply against the base of a tree. It was close, loud, and highly unusual. I walked backward most of the way back to our camp."

From my notes of our discussion, I can add some further details. This location was also near a wet, boggy area. He was distinctly uncomfortable as he had the nagging feeling "something was watching me" which was a noticeably unusual feeling for him. He heard the "loud, ripping, cracking, breaking" of the tree limb which was then followed by the repeated beating or smashing of trees and brush which made quite a loud and frightening commotion, so much so that he immediately swung his rifle towards the noises and backed out of the area. He admitted that he found it so unnerving that he was terrified. The howls he heard went in the same direction as the following commotion, except those noises were much closer than the location of the last howl heard.

"This last one (we spoke of) involved my father hunting and camping alone. He relayed it to me after returning home. I don’t remember the year, but it was approximately 98 or 99 (maybe 2000). He decided to camp above the same creek (edited) we usually utilize. However, he was on the eastern side and just above it on a ridge that parallels the creek (which runs along 30 or so yards away). He has been hunting that area nearly ever year since the early 70’s and knows it very well. He is a life-long outdoorsman and knows a great deal about wildlife and animal movement. He was careful to set his camp away from any game trails. He said the woods were very quiet, clear, and quite “normal.” Average temperature during these October hunts is usually in the high 20’s at night (elevation about 9600 feet). He said he was asleep in his tent in the middle of the night. He awoke for unknown reasons. He said as he lay there, something hit his tent three times. He showed me one time, by slapping the back of his hand against the side of a nylon tent. He said the point of contact was on the side, near to the top of the tent. He said the whole tent shook. He stayed still and quiet and the contact came again; three clear slaps on the side of the tent (same manner and intensity). It happened again in the same manner and he called out (yaa, git!!) in an attempt to spook away whatever it was. He said a minute of so went by and again, three more slaps on the tent. He started hollering and shining his flashlight (he said he thought it might be a bear; I didn’t believe him about that). He said a few moments went by, and again, there were three slaps on the tent. He said he turned his light on, unzipped his tent, and cautiously crawled out with his rifle. He said he looked around, but saw nothing. He told me the woods were quiet and he never heard footsteps or breathing. I asked him about it over the years and he just blows it off as superstition and just “some animal” slapping his tent. He basically refused to talk about it the last time I brought it up."

Further investigations into this area are intended. The witness also plans to continue his yearly hunts in the same area with an additional interest for further investigations and observations of his own.

David Petti

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