Bigfoot Encounters

Field Report:
Sasquatch Investigations in the Pacific Northwest
By James A. Hewkin, Oregon Dept of Fish and Wildlife, 1994

On August 23, 1994, while traveling with Jack Sullivan in the Cascades on a route along Wash Creek, in the Clackamas River, we stopped to investigate a freshly torn stump near the road. We found possible Sasquatch evidence as we examined a slab off the torn stump. There was a noticeable nail scratch across the slab of wood, suggesting the breakage of woody material had been accomplished by a broad fingernail. There were no other identifiable marks on the stump.

On October 27, 1994, Sullivan and I interviewed a person in the Clackamas County area who had recently experienced problems with his cattle herd breaking through the fence. The cows had broken the fence twice, both times occurring about midnight. He stated that the animals were normally quiet and gentle. Our examination of the area indicated the pasture also involved some timber, and two small streams flowed through it. The abuts Cascade foothills. We found no tracks or anything unusual. Upon contacting the cattle owner's neighbor, he indicated his two large dogs had been acting strangely the previous few nights.

Sullivan and I interviewed a bow-hunter who lives in the Estacada area who stated he believed he saw a Sasquatch on November 3, 1994. He had been sitting on a stand next to timber and facing a clearcut area for several hours, hoping to get a shot at a deer. Upon hearing footsteps approoach from the timber, he expected to see another hunter. Finally, a tall dark figure came into view, stopping at the edge just barely in his view. It turned around and disappeared into the timber. He was convinced it was a Sasquatch because the figure was much higher above the brush than a human would have been. It was getting late, so the witness left the site. This vicinity has had many Sasquatch sighting reports over the past several years. The hunter was wearing a camoflaged uniform scented with cedar. The timber at the site is dense second growth Douglas fir of commercial size.

On May 30, 1995, I met Fred Bradshaw at Elma, Washington, and we toured the Grays Harbor County area. He had been investigating Sasquatch reports in the area for several years. During the tour, we interviewed Don Muller, who was logging some private land along the Satsop River. He recollected seeing a Sasquatch in September of 1969, at a distance of about 150 feet (45 m). It crossed the road and walked into the brush. The site was about 10 miles (16 km) from Elma. It was daylight, and the visibility was good. The animal was described as dark and hairy, and it walked on two legs the entire time it was in sight.

He also claimed to have observed five 17-inch (43-cm) tracks on the East Fork of the Satsop River. He did not recall the date, but the find was about 18 miles (29 km) from Elma.
Grays Harbor County has had Sasquatch reports since the first homesteaders arrived. It is bounded on the west by the Pacific Ocean, and basically supports a lumber economy. The terrain is mountainous, consisting of the Coast Range, locally called the Black Hills and the Willapa Hills, which are dissected by narrow valleys. The northern portion of the county merges into the Olympic National Forest.

Sullivan and I spent the period of June 19-21, 1996, in the Ochoco Mountains in Oregon, where we had done fieldwork for several years. This trip did not produce any indication of Sasquatch activity. We did locate two elk carcasses (skeletal remains). One was a 5 pt. bull elk with skeletal remains quite intact; the other was about one mile (1.6 km) farther along the brushy stream, and the bones were scattered about. From all appearances, it was likely the animals were victims of the past elk hunting season. The area is a popular elk hunting location. There was an obvious increase in elk sign in the area. The absence of possible Sasquatch activity does not reflect anything other than such evidence is difficult to locate anywhere, and we were, of course, only walking a line through a parcel of wilderness.

I did receive a rather bizarre report from a deer hunter. He claimed he had seen what had to be a Sasquatch while he was hunting in northeast Oregon, a few miles north of Bourne, a ghost town situated in the Blue Mountains. He reported to me by phone as follows: The location where he had been hunting, approximately 3 miles (5 km) north of Bourne, included a large clearcut. He was walking slowly through it when he glanced downhill toward the bottom of the clearing just in time to see a large bipedal animal take about three steps before disappearing into the forest. The animal's color was brown, but it was darker on the legs. The extraordinary aspect account is that he claims a small black bear was following it. The distance between the two animals was only about 2 feet (60 cm).

Immediately following the disappearance of these two animals into the forest, a buck deer spooked out of the nearby area into the clearcut. The hunter fired several shots at the running buck, but missed. He estimated the distance to the animals at about 375 feet (115 m), but said it may have been closer.

Naturally, such a reported interaction between a Sasquatch and a bear may leave the reader doubtful. I have pondered this report, and believe it has the ring of truth. Did he perhaps see a hunter with a black dog following him? I doubt it. Some hunters make drastic observational mistakes. However, I have also received some very good reports from hunters, and each report should be studied as thoroughly as possible, and evaluated on its own merits.

The evidence has been scanty, complex, and challenging. It indicates that the remotest rugged areas are probably the home ranges of these animals, which prefer to remain "unknown." My fieldwork has been reduced in the past several years because of extensive out-of-state travel. However, I intend to continue investigating Sasquatch evidence as time permits, and shall attempt to uncover some good evidence to help solve this strange scientific problem.

© James A. Hewkin, 1994

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