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COUNTY: Wright County
LOCATION DETAILS: it is at Smittle Conservation Area near Grovespring. I would be happy to take you out there.
NEAREST TOWN: Grovespring
NEAREST ROAD: Hwy H and Tt
OBSERVED: i want to start this off by saying, I don't know what I saw. I know it wasnt a bear. Having said that I don't know what to think. I am attaching a google doc that has pictures of what we found...
So this last Saturday at about 12:30 my hunting partner and I went to Smittle cave conservation area to scout and see what conservation has cleared. We crossed a creek bottom to where there are small food plots.
Once we crossed to the other side of the field we saw something on the trail about 150 to 200 yards off. even from that distance I could see it was big. I noted a head by a limb that I judged was maybe 5 or six feet of the ground. what we saw then crouched and sort of swayed a few times before taking off to the right and stopping. not being sure what we saw we crossed into the next field and discussed what it was, we turned around and went back to the field we had seen the creature and it was gone. We crossed back to where it had been and found a large fresh footprint. I put my foot down next to the print. I wear a size 10 1/2 and the print is way bigger than my foot. We estimate it to be 16 or 18 inches long. In that same area we found broken trees that had been pulled up and then wove between other trees. What does that?
Also the limb we thought was maybe five or six feet off the ground was more like 8 foot maybe 9.
What we saw was big and when it moved it almost glided. It was dark gray with brown hair, it was bipedal. I couldn't make out facial features or say 100 percent what it was. We were too far away.
ALSO NOTICED: unusual broken trees and foot prints.
OTHER WITNESSES: Me and my hunting partner. We were walking in a food plotted small field.
OTHER STORIES: Yes all over the area people have seen things over the years.
TIME AND CONDITIONS: early day about 12:30 or 1
ENVIRONMENT: Wooded with food plots, ponds, cedar forest and it's out in the boondocks. Very hilly in the bottom next to a creek. Lots of deer and turkey.
Follow-up investigation report by BFRO Investigator Brian R. Woods:
I communicated with the witness by email first, in order to receive and examine the photographs he had taken. We then spoke over the phone and discussed the details of the day he and his friend witnessed the large, crouching animal depart over difficult terrain to evade them. He described the animal as engaging in a rocking/swaying motion as it appeared to watch them. The movements of the animal as it retreated were described as graceful, gliding, and fast - a steep hill was negotiated and ascended without effort. Piqued with curiosity, the witness and his friend walked toward and into the area where the animal had been just moments before. Several interesting things were found. Not only were several narrow trees freshly broken several feet off the ground, but within close proximity of them, a large footprint was discovered. The two men photographed what they found. The print was estimated to be nearly sixteen inches long, in comparison to the witness's own foot.
On the scene and several times since this day, they have discussed and tried to pick apart their experience, but can't dismiss the sheer size, agility and behavior as being one of the more common animals they know to inhabit this area of Missouri.
Examining the print, I would say the estimation of sixteen inches is probably pretty close to correct. If you zoom into the top area of the print, possible toe indentations can be seen, and as the witness pointed out in our phone conversation, it even appears that mud might have been squished between the toes. This print, in my opinion, would've been good enough to cast and preserve for additional analysis. Also of note is the debris that litters the middle of the print, which may indicate the presence of a mid-tarsal break. The presence of this anatomical feature would explain the lighter degree of pressure and less damage done to the substrate, compared to the obvious deeper impressions near the toes and heel.
The location is also known as the Fuson Conservation Area. The witness is familiar with the area, and visits throughout the year. He also hunts nearby, and pays particular attention to deer movements in anticipation of hunting seasons. I found him to be genuinely curious with his questioning for me, and consistent with the details and events of his experience.
About BFRO Investigator Brian R. Woods:
Brian is a former Emergency Medical Technician, as well as an outdoor enthusiast, and proud Scouting father. He's been a lifelong resident of the Midwest, surrounded by many miles of Missouri forests, waterways, and wildlife.