Report # 2804 (Class A)
Submitted by witness T.D. on Friday, August 27, 1999. Tracks found by hunters, creature seen (Show Printer-friendly Version)
COUNTY: Marinette County
LOCATION DETAILS: Marinette County, Wisconsin - about ten miles NW of town in a large cedar swamp (several hundred acres, maybe larger).
OBSERVED: My father and I were deer hunting the WI gun deer season on 80 acres of land owned by my father's friend. The land was in the middle of the cedar swamp already mentioned. We had several encounters that before and during that week. During the pre-season scouting in the area and the actual hunting season I found large tracks, although it was difficult to make them out with any detail since it was very wet and muddy, and had been raining/snowing which washed out any definable tracks. I first assumed they were bear tracks, but given their uniformity (bear have smaller front feet than their rear) I doubt that. I also noted the absence of deer or any other activity in what became the center of all these encounters (geographically). The deer that I observed before and during the hunting season seemed to be deliberately avoiding the center of the swamp and were staying well to the edges near the farmland. That struck me as odd. In my many years of hunting and spending time in the outdoors, I've never observed any other animal being so territorial that it scares other game out of the area completely.
Our first real encounter happened about an hour before sunrise on the first day or two of the hunting season. (It's been seven years so memory isn't as clear as it used to be.) My father and I were walking into our stands for the morning hunt. We got down into the swamp and crossed the first stream so that we were now on the south bank heading west. Shortly after we crossed, I noticed that something was following us in a parallel path about thirty to fifty yards to the south. We walked and it walked with us. It was still very dark and the vegetation too thick to be able to see anything - we could hear, that's it. We also noticed a dank, musky odor although faint at this point.
After going approximately one-quarter mile to the west we had to turn SW and follow a short trail (approx. 100 yards) around some deadfalls to reach the old wagon trail which went to our stands. We had gone maybe thirty yards when something directly in front of us (maybe twenty yards) started screaming and howling. It made the hair stand up on the back of both of our necks. I couldn't figure out what it was. I flashed my flashlight in its direction and got a reflection from a set of eyes, which weren't the usual color of a reflection for deer, bear, raccoons, or opossums (all animals have a unique color that their eyes reflect at night when flashed with a bright light). The eyes seemed to be seven to ten feet high. As it was very dark and I couldn't make out anything more I assumed it was something like a coon or bear in a tree. The odor mentioned above was stronger now. Both my father and I then turned around and moved as fast as possible (it's rough terrain) back to the stream where we sat down behind some logs and faced the direction of where we encountered the animal. As the sun came up I could make out dark patches of fur moving through the deadfalls a hundred or so yards in the distance.
We waited awhile and then crossed back to the north side of the stream where we found a different way around the deadfalls by crossing the same stream to its south bank farther west via a dead tree that had fall across the stream, and then heading south and around the deadfalls from their west side. When my father and I headed back to the truck for lunch after hunting the rest of the morning, we went back using our new route and avoided the area of the encounter. We noticed that something had relieved itself (feces - they looked more human than anything I've seen
in the woods from animals) in the middle of the dead tree over the stream where we crossed. It was very odd, to say the least. It seemed like territorial behavior to me. We noticed tracks on the old wagon trail we followed to our stands also the next day.
My father had an encounter in the same area later in the week while hunting. I was in a tree stand about a hundred yards SE of where he sat in a ground blind so I didn't witness this directly. It was afternoon and my dad noticed something walking towards him from the west through the swamp. It was bipedal, dark and hairy, and tall. The vegetation was too thick so my father never made out a face or head, just a general shape. It was grunting and making similar noises. It kept walking straight for my dad so he broke a few sticks and limbs to make some noise and hopefully scare it off. That didn't stop it so my dad raised his rifle and aimed at the animal, although he didn't shoot. The animal stopped and stood behind some trees for a short while before it then took off in the opposite direction through the swamp. I heard all this commotion and got out of my stand to go see what was wrong. My dad was a little shaken up since he had never had anything like that happen before.
We called it a day and headed in. We didn't hunt that area much more after that. Deer activity was almost down to nothing and the encounters we had with this animal had us a bit leery. Needless to say, I haven't been back to the area for seven years.
ALSO NOTICED: I think I covered everything that happened in multiple incidents above. Both my father and I are accomplished outdoorsmen and neither of us has ever experienced anything like this before. I believe given that there are now two reported incidents in the same area, one fairly recent, it may be a good area to do some research.
OTHER WITNESSES: My father and myself.
ENVIRONMENT: Cedar swamp surrounded by farmland and some hardwood ridges. The swamp itself is quite large covering several hundred acres, maybe more and stretching through a large area NW of Crivitz, WI. There are three streams that flow through the area - the cedar swamp following the length of their bottoms in all directions. There are some old logging roads in the area, and one old wagon trail cutting through the swamp that used to be used many, many years ago by people living in the area to go to and from Crivitz to their homes and farms.