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Geographical Index > United States > Wisconsin > Vilas County > Report # 10609
Report # 10609  (Class B)
Submitted by witness on Saturday, February 12, 2005.
Hiker finds large footprints in Northern Highlands State Forest
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YEAR: 1991

SEASON: Summer


DATE: 20

STATE: Wisconsin

COUNTY: Vilas County

LOCATION DETAILS: North of Highway 51 within the southern portion of the Northern Highlands State Forest. West of Mishonagan Creek, east of Lac Du Flambeau. Very remote, nothing but logging roads in this area.


NEAREST ROAD: Highway 51

OBSERVED: Back in 1991, I went for a hike on the woods just north of my families cabin, in the area east of the Lac Du Flambeau Indian Reservation and within the Northern Highland State Forest.It was a big mistake not to bring a compass when I started hiking west off of Rux Road, in the town of Arbor Vitae, at the southern edge of the State forest and I soon became turned around, going in circles. Everyting looked the same eventually no matter which way I headed, and I kept ending up in the same place. I have been fishing and hiking in this area since I was a child though, and knew that if I followed Mishonagan creek, then headed away from it westward, I would eventually reach civilization. I couldn't find the creek any longer however, but knew that I had to go past the swamp.

There is absoulutely no development or even roads in this area,(except a few old logging trails) and it took me 12 hours and having to cross a swamp in waist deep water and knee deep muck until I reached the Reservation.

At around midday or so, I went out into a large bog near Devine Lake, I believe, which is a complete wilderness lake, and tried to wave down a passing plane, to no avail. There was a mucky deertrail going through the bog, with many animal tracks.

But then I saw something I thought was fascinating, in the mud, there were huge footprints in the bog that looked almost human, but were probable twice the size of my own (I wear size 12). I don't think they were large bear tracks, as there were no claw marks, nor did it look like the tracks of a four-legged animal. They looked like huge human footprints, with really big toes. They ended where the ground became more dense and was covered with moss and weeds.

I know what I saw, it was in broad daylight, and I wasn't drinking or anything. I studied them for quite some time before I decide to try to find a way home.

Also, after I got out of the swamp, late in the day, I had to make may way through some dense thickets of shrubs and raspberries, and stopped for a moment to eat some of them. I then heard some grunting sounds, but couldn't see anything as the visiblilty was about a foot in front of my face. It could have been a bear, but sounded strange. I got out of there and finally found a dirt road and got a ride home.

ALSO NOTICED: I noticed there were other stories from the same region in Wisconsin.

OTHER WITNESSES: Nope, I was alone.

OTHER STORIES: Yes, from this site.

TIME AND CONDITIONS: It was a fair sunny day, high was probably around 70 F or so.

ENVIRONMENT: Pine Forest with alot of brush, as well as some wetland areas mixed in. There is a couple of streams in the area as well.

Follow-up investigation report by BFRO Investigator Stan Courtney:

I spoke with the witness by phone.

The witness stated that there were four to five tracks in a muddy area that held the imprint. The tracks were well defined showing the toes.

The footprints measured seventeen inches long and six inches wide.

About BFRO Investigator Stan Courtney:

Stan Courtney has a special interest in wildlife audio recording. He has attended numerous BFRO Expeditions. See Stan's blog for recordings he has collected over the years.

Stan Courtney can be reached at

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