Bigfoot Encounters

Field Report:
Sasquatch Investigations in the Pacific Northwest
By James A. Hewkin, Oregon Dept of Fish and Wildlife, 1991

Several short field trips were undertaken in the Cascade Mountains in 1991, and one 3-day trip was taken into the Blue Mountains of northern Oregon. This report summarizes information from the more productive fieldwork.

On June 11, 1991, in the Cascades, I examined fresh evidence in the form of a torn-up log showing a possible nail mark, as well as several muddy streaks. No claw marks were evident. The sire was in an older clear-cut, about 15 years old, and densely vegetated with fir tree reproduction and brush. A healthy population of mountain beaver (Aplodontia rufa) was present in the area. And the ground was perforated with their tunnels.

In the company of Jack Sullivan, I spent the period of July 17th through the19th in the Blue Mountains. From where there have been numerous Sasquatch reports in recent years. We examined three torn-up logs, which indicated possible Sasquatch presence. One log revealed what appeared to be a Sasquatch nail mark.

Another log had been rolled out of its half-buried position. It measured about 9 feet (2.7 m) in length, and had a diameter of about 20 inches (50 cm). The location of this log is about 1 mile (1.6 km) north of the area where we found similar evidence in 1989.

A May 18th interview with a witness living near Estacada, Oregon, whose name is not being divulged, revealed interesting new information on possible Sasquatch behavior. The contact was initiated by a school friend of the witness' son who informed Sullivan of a possible Sasquatch encounter. Sullivan then relayed the information to me.

The reported incident occurred in 1979, while the witness was deer hunting in the Cascades, in the Molalla River drainage in western Oregon. The witness remembers the year because it was near the time his daughter was born. After he and his partner had hunted most of the day - with no success - while alone, sat on a stump overlooking a small meadow. The meadow was surrounded by timber, and was bisected by a tiny meandering stream. After about an hour - it was late in the day - a doe deer and fawn appeared and began feeding close to him. He watched them for about 15 minutes. The doe was about 60 feet (18 m) from him; the fawn had moved closer to the edge of the meadow, nearer the timber. Suddenly, a large, dark animal leaped out, seized the fawn, and leaped back into the timber. The fawn was heard squealing and bleating, and then there was silence. The doe reacted immediately by snorting, blowing, and prancing around in typical alarm. Other deer, of which the witness had not previously been aware, were also heard snorting in the timber. The attention of the doe was directed to the witness. The incident had occurred so fast that she had apparently failed to notice exactly what had happened, and had perhaps been attracted to the witness by his flinching at the moment of the incident. The witness immediately left the area and walked to a nearby logging road, about 300 feet (90 m) away, where he met his hunting partner. He told him that he had just seen a bear size a fawn. His partner had not seen or heard anything unusual. They left for home without further investigation. Upon getting home the witness told his wife: "That was not a bear!" He realized that the animal had moved rapidly on two legs, and appeared to have seized the fawn with its hands. The distance from the edge of the timber to the fawn had been no more than 6 - 8 feet (2 - 2.5 m), and the witness' perception was that the animal had leaped out in one large step, made the grab, leaped back, and vanished in the timber. The incident happened so quickly, the witness stated, that he had no time to observe much detail. However, he was positive that the animal had moved bipedally, not quadrupedally, and had "hunched-over" shoulders. He described the animal's color as neither black nor brown, but: "very dark."

The site was less than 1 mile (1.6 km) from a logging operation, and a small pond was a short distance away. I interviewed the witness' hunting partner on May 28, and his version confirmed what the witness had stated - although, of course, he had not been present when the supposed Sasquatch incident occurred. He remembered that the witness had appeared distraught when they had met on the logging road after the incident occurred. The two have not hunted together since. He also provided information on the location. The site of this reported event is about 14 air miles (22 km) south of where I reported Sasquatch tracks in 1986, and about 10 air miles (16 km) south of where I reported possible carrion taking by a Sasquatch. The described reaction of the alarmed doe is consistent with deer behavior when they are alarmed and confused, and I accept this as a credible report. To my knowledge, it is the only reported observation of a supposed Sasquatch actually preying on another animal. The reported speed of the animal in this incident reinforces my thinking that Sasquatch are very efficient predators, and it is possible that meat is, in fact, a major component of their diet.

On October 18th through the 20th, I took a field trip with John Green and John Bindernagel, a wildlife ecologist, in an area of the Cascades. We were looking for rock pits, as reported previously in 1986. We investigated an area I was familiar with, and I was surprised to find three additional, very old pits I had overlooked on previous trips. In one area, 14 rocks had been pulled out of a trail over a distance of about 300 feet (90 m). There were no visible scratch marks on the rocks, making it unlikely that it was the work of a bear. This portion of the trail was located on a heavily vegetated north exposure, cool and shady.

At one point, about 1 mile (1.6 km) further along the trail, a salamander was observed crawling under a rock. It was a rough-skinned newt (Taricha granulosa granulosa), which are common in boggy ponds in the area. Such small animals are a likely food source for Sasquatch.

No strong evidence for Sasquatch was obtained in 1991. As in previous years, nail marks on logs were provocative but inconclusive.

The 1979 sighting report involving the seizure of a fawn is an interesting addition to the Sasquatch literature. Further fieldwork will be conducted during 1992 with the purpose of uncovering new evidence for the presence of large, unknown bipedal primates in the forests of the Pacific Northwest.

© James A. Hewkin, 1991

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