Bigfoot Encounters

Tracks found 2001 on Payne Ranch,
Covello, Mendocino County, California

Mendocino National Forest
September 2001 - 1700 hours - nearest water: Skunk Lake
Closest road would be NFS Road M1

I was deer hunting in an area known as the "Payne Ranch" when I observed a single track on the bank of the creek. I have been hunting for twenty years and have taken several bears over the years in this area. At first I thought I was looking at a bear track.

I was approximately 10 feet from the track when I saw it. As I got closer I realized that it was much larger than a Black bear track. It was located in a muddy / sandy spot between some rocks. I inspected the track and discovered that it was approximately 4 times as long as a 7mm Rem. Magnum shell case and approximately 2 1/2 cases in width near the toes. It had the appearance of a distorted human foot with a distinct large toe on the right side and four smaller digits to the right of the larger digit.

The ground was dry enough that there was no water within the impression. This area is fairly remote and I did not encounter any other hunters in the area. I seached the surrounding stream bed for more tracks but did not locate any. I did not have a camera with me to photograph the track.

This area is a very dense wooded location. It has a tree canopy of Oak, Pine, Bay and Cedar. The rocks were all covered with moss due to the shade and although it was September, it was easily 15 degrees cooler within the creek bed. There are numerus caverns and many deadfalls along the stream. Water is available here year round. The banks ascend at approximately 50 degrees away from the stream. I believe its made up of volcanic rock.

I never saw a source of the print, however I did note that while there, the surrounding woods were very quite. No sounds of birds or squirrels or frogs. I am very aware of sound while hunting and have noticed that when a large predatory animal is nearby, smaller animals become quiet. I stayed in the immediate area for almost an hour hoping to get a glimpse of what I know made this track, but did not see or hear it.

I did hear what sounded like a dog panting at one point above me but it was for only a few seconds. I returned to the site the next morning but did not find any other tracks. I relocated my original track sight but it had changed drastically due to any evening thunder storm. I returned to the same area during the second week of November for a late season archery deer hunt. It snowed while I was there and I brought a camera hoping to locate another track but I did not.

I am of the firm belief that this track was made by an animal other than a bear or human. I can only say that it has impacted me greatly. I hope to re-encounter this forest creature again. Hopefully I will have my rifle or bow at the ready to provide final proof and documentation to all.

I know that many would feel that shooting a sasquatch would be wrong, but if the opportunity presented itself, should it be done? I spent 11 years as a sheriff's deputy and would exercise extreme caution before shooting at the unknown. I just feel that an actual speciman would end all of the speculation and prove the creature is real. I have had several discussions with my fellow hunting partners and we all agree that if we observed one over a period of time, in a remote location, from a short distance and positively knew it not to be some idiot in an ape suit, we would shoot it. How do you feel about this? I've heard that Patterson had a rifle with him at Bluff Creek and shot film rather than bullets.

Frankly, I didn't really believe in this until that track was there for my own eyes to witness. Now I can't help but observe the wildness differently. I wonder all the time if I will someday actually see what made that print. As a hunter, all I can say is "We deal in lead, friend". I would feel much more at ease talking about seeing Bigfoot with one on the cover of National Geographic after a sportsman killed one.

To conclude, I hope that someone is able to capture one or film one over several days to provide further evidence so that none have to be needlessly killed, but I feel its probably the only way to end this conclusively.

Vince Crudele
Wednesday, January 16, 2002 at 22:49:46

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