Geographical Index > United States > Michigan > Alpena County > Report # 38061|
Submitted by witness No on Thursday, December 06, 2012.
Photographs taken of a possible trackway on property west of Alpena
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COUNTY: Alpena County
NEAREST TOWN: Alpena
NEAREST ROAD: M65 & M32
OBSERVED: On November 6, 2012 I was walking our 106 acres located in central Alpena County. It had just snowed (1-2") the day before. While on one of our many paths I came across large tracks that were not like anything I've seen before. Later upon notifying my south neighbor, he also found the same type of tracks. They were 5.5" X 10"; flat without any toe or craw marks. The gait from toe to heal was 20" and walked in a straight line. This animal walked through dense forest and underbrush which a human would (normally) not enter.
12-15 DNR personnel have viewed the pictures of these tracks and agree that they represent no animal that is recognized in Michigan. I am an experienced outdoor person; have hunted bears and deer in this area.
In October I also noted an area in one of our food plots (wheat) large tracks. An area approximately 20 feet in radius was torn up.
Pictures are available of the Fall and Winter tracks.
ALSO NOTICED: no
OTHER WITNESSES: two neighbors saw the same tracks
OTHER STORIES: A DNR field biologist mentioned that an unidentified incident was report in the adjacent west county.
TIME AND CONDITIONS: Pictures taken in mid morning in November.
ENVIRONMENT: Mixed conifer and hardwoods. Land is low and wet in most areas. Aspens where the predominate tree, 5th year of growth from planting.
Follow-up investigation report by BFRO Investigator Jim Sherman:
BFRO Volunteer Richard Knox followed up with the witness.
The area where the tracks were found is on the witness’ property, which is located around half an hour west of Alpena and Thunder Bay, off Lake Huron. There is a river to the west of the property, food plots to the northeast and a stock pond to the south. A power- line corridor runs east to west with a portion branching off to service his residence and neighbors. It was in the middle of 2012 hunting season, the witness was out walking his property after a 1 – 2” snow fall the night before, when he discovered these tracks.
“The stride length, the lack of a heel impression, the straightness of the tracks and the density of the brush that the tracks went through," the witness stated, was the most convincing details that convinced him that these tracks were not created by a person walking on the pathways. The tracks did not match any known animal prints that the witness has seen. His photo showing the straight path of the trackway:
Stride length in a person or animal is the distance between successive steps of the same foot/paw. So as you or an animal is walking, each time there is a step, the distance between the same points on the same foot is considered your stride length. (ex: left heel to left heel, right toes to right toes.). Whereas, the distance between the same points on opposite feet/paws is the step length. (ex: Left heel to right heel, right toes to left toes. Right heel front paw to left heel front paw.)
The witness has seen bear tracks which can sometimes overlap depending on the speed of their gait and general body size. But most often the back paw lands in front of the previous fore paw. A double bear print can resemble a human-sized or larger print. Melting can add to that effect but bear feet tend to point outwards when walking, and this is not the case in these photographs.
Later that day, the witness spoke with a couple of his neighbors and they too had seen similar tracks.
The witness is an avid outdoorsman, trout fisherman and hunter with friends and numerous contacts in the conservation field. The witness and his wife have a sizable collection of wildlife material, along with a family member who has written numerous wildlife articles for magazines.
I find the information provided to me to be from a credible and educated individual, having lifelong experiences with both wildlife and the environment he lives in. Further, I was impressed that he took the time to photograph and measure the prints.
About BFRO Investigator Jim Sherman:
Jim is a High School History teacher and Track and Cross Country coach. He attended the Michigan Northern Lower Peninsula Expedition in 2011, the Michigan Upper Peninsula Expedition in 2012 and is co-organizing the upcoming Michigan UP 2013 Expedition. He assisted in the production of Animal Planet's Finding Bigfoot, Michigan Episode. He participates in Ironman Triathlons and enjoys fishing and camping with his wife and daughter. Jim can be contacted at email@example.com and Twitter @shermanbigfoot.