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COUNTY: Clearwater County
LOCATION DETAILS: Ridge between Township Saddle and Township Butte
NEAREST TOWN: Headquarters
NEAREST ROAD: Silver Creek Road
OBSERVED: I was archery hunting in Idaho not far from Headquarters Idaho, actually between Township Saddle and Township butte, when I encountered something that I have never experienced before in the mountains. I heard something heavy running ahead of me to my left as I was walking up on old railroad grade that has been used by 4-wheelers.
My first impression was it may have been an elk, but I didn't see what was making the sound. I had walked about 1/4 mile from my partner and was closing in on an area where we had seen elk earlier in the week and thought I would try to push ahead to get into the area I had seen the elk. I was walking very quietly when I heard a sound that I thought was a bird flying overhead. I looked up since the sound came from in front of me, when I heard something hit a tree and then the ground behind me. As I turned around, I noticed a branch on a small tree behind me that was moving as if something had hit it. Before I could walk back to the tree which was only about 15 feet behind me, the branch had stopped moving. There was no wind and it was very calm, and very silent.
When I got to the tree, the only think that I found was a large chunk of bark that was laying on the ground. I found this to be unusual since it came off a large tree such as a ponderosa pine as the bark was about 14 inches long, about 6 inches across and about 2 1/2 inches thick. This area has been logged in the last 40 years and there were no trees in the area with a girth which would have produced bark of this size.
At this point, it was getting late in the evening so I decided to head back to the 4-wheeler and my hunting partner. I called him on the radio to see where he was. He said he was waiting for me at the 4-wheeler, still about a 1/4 mile away from me. I found nothing else on the trail which would have produced this sound and was wondering if this could fall into the phenomena of others who have experienced similar situations. I was a bit cautious as I walked back down the trail but heard or seen no other anomalies.
ALSO NOTICED: Extremely quiet at the time of incident, no wind, sunny and temp in the 60's and no rain for 20+ days.
OTHER WITNESSES: no other witnesses
OTHER STORIES: no other incidents to my knowledge
TIME AND CONDITIONS: approximately 6:30pm
ENVIRONMENT: Pine forest, old logging road, possible narrow gauge railroad grade
Follow-up investigation report by BFRO Investigator Darrell Oyler:
I spoke with this witness at length and I found him to be genuine, detail oriented and inquisitive. He had an in-depth knowledge of the area and wildlife that only a lifetime of hunting and working as an outfitter can bring.
He said he was bowhunting for elk in 2018 in area of Headquarters Idaho. He had spotted some elk on a knob and although he had hunted in the area, he had not been to this particular location. His partner dropped him off on a ridge leading to the knob and he was slowly hunting his way up the ridge for his evening hunt. He was slowly walking a path that appeared to be an old logging railroad grade. The path was on one side of the crest of the ridge and wasn't on the spine.
The witness said suddenly something big on the other side of the ridge was apparently spooked and ran away. He estimated it was only about 20 yards away and fled in the same direction he was hunting towards. He said he could tell it was large due to the sound of its heavy footfalls, but he didn't hear the typical sound of antlers going through brush like an elk would make. The witness said it sounded heavy and bipedal, but at the time he brushed it off as probably an elk.
The witness said he continued to slowly walk up the ridge and was mainly looking down at his foot placement so he could walk as silently as possible. He said the ridge he was on joined another ridge and the area he was now on was kind of a flat saddle. He said he heard a sound that he assumed was a bird coming towards him, but by the time he looked up he missed seeing it so he turned around to see a branch of a young tree bouncing up and down. This is when he realized it was not a bird he heard, but rather something was thrown at him.
He looked over the area and the only possible item he could find was a large, thick piece of bark from a mature tree laying on top of the tall green grass by the tree. He said the area appeared to have been logged approximately 40 years ago and there was no trees in the area that had bark that thick. He also noticed the forest had went so silent that he could have heard a pin drop and he was overcome by the feeling he was being watched. He said he could see approximately 25 yards ahead of him, so whatever threw the bark had to be at least that far away.
The witness said he abandoned his hunt and started to walk back down the ridge, but the feeling of danger increased because he felt like something was behind him. He said he carried a 9mm pistol, but felt like it was not nearly enough firepower for the situation. He said he periodically looked back behind him, but never saw anything.
He said he was able to contact his hunting partner on the radio to arrange being picked up and immediately afterwards he heard coyotes yipping and howling from the location he had just left.
The witness was truly perplexed by the chain of events because as a lifetime hunter he had never experienced anything like this. The heavy bipedal sounding footfalls that he distinctly heard which were followed a large piece of bark being thrown at him. He now realized the sound he assumed was a big bird flapping was the sound of the bark helicoptering through the air. These circumstances coupled with the sudden silence of the forest, the feeling of being watched and the feeling of dread and fear made him abandon his hunt.
The witness said he later came across a hunting acquaintance who told him about hunting in the same area when something screamed at him so powerfully he immediately left the area. He said he plans to go back to that location to see if the piece of bark is still there.
About BFRO Investigator Darrell Oyler:
Bigfoot enthusiast, drone pilot and I am a retired Detective.