Report of Encounter Preface: The witness is the father-in-law of “Greg”, the person whose visual encounter was reported in the article written by Zack Glover which was published in the Alabama Game & Fish magazine January 1, 1998 and entitled “Stalked in Dallas County.”
The witness was contacted by this RFP Research Project field investigator while the investigator was interviewing other witnesses in Lowdnes and Dallas Counties during the week of May 14, 2007. This writer had received information that since the time of Greg’s encounter that this witness, while accompanied by others, had heard on more than one occasion, sounds from a large enigmatic animal like those heard by “Brian”, whose incident was also detailed in the same article. The report was received in person from the witness at the Southern Sportsman Hunting Lodge near Benton, AL in Lowndes County in the presence of Dave Lyons, co-owner of the Lodge.
Date Report Submitted to the RFPRP: May 17, 2007.
Date of Encounter: During the November modern gun deer hunting season in 1996.
Time of Incident: Late afternoon until just before full darkness.
Weather Conditions: Clear and cool with a slight breeze from the south.
Nearest City or Town: Benton.
Location: About 1 mile south of U.S. Highway 80 and about 1 mile east of Dallas County Road #7 near the Dallas/Lowndes County line.
Nearest highway or road: Dallas County Road #481 which runs east and west, about 1/2 mile south of the site.
General Land Use Description: Timber lands containing numerous wild game “green fields” and food plots, with some pasture lands in the general area.
General Terrain Description: Mostly lowlands with some wet lands/swamps when the area receives normal rainfall.
Nearest Lakes or Streams: The location is about 1/4 mile west of Soapstone Creek which flows north and empties into the Alabama River in the town of Benton, just below the Robert F. Henry Lock and Dam. The location is about four miles from that part of the river. There are several stock ponds in the general area.
Witness Profile: He is a middle-age former resident of the area who now lives in Montgomery. He manages the private deer club which leases the land on which Greg’s and Brian’s encounters took place. The witness is an avid hunter, and familiar with known native wildlife. He is employed by a State agency.
Activities of Witness Prior to Encounter/Incident: He was hunting out of an elevated “box” deer stand which was approximately 15 feet above ground. The stand is located just inside the wood line on the west side of “green field”. The field is a little over 100 yards long (north and south) and approximately 65 yards wide (from his stand to the opposite side). While he was in the stand late that afternoon there were from 15 to 20 deer in the field – the most he had ever seen in that particular field. He was closely watching an eight point buck that was feeding in the northeast corner of the field. That buck was the largest in the field but it continually maintained a position in which the witness’s view of the deer was blocked by a large oak tree that stood along the edge of the field a few yards from the stand. There was also a large six point buck feeding near the eight point. Shortly after the herd of deer arrived in the field to feed they all began acting very nervous and unusually wary. He noticed that a four point buck was frantically running back and forth from the center of the field to just inside the woods on the east side. (That side of the field was near a small tributary of Soapstone Creek which itself was only a few hundred yards away.) As the buck ran back and forth he continually “blew and snorted” as if very alarmed. The other deer were feeding, but while eating they watched the four-point and the wood line very intently.
Details of Encounter / Incident: As darkness drew near, the witness decided he was not going to get a clear shot of the eight point buck, and decided to take the six point. He took careful aim, fired, and the buck dropped. The rest of the deer scattered at the sound of the shot. The witness sat with the rifle in position to fire again if the deer moved. It did not move, but he decided to watch it a few minutes before he climbed down out of the stand. Within a few seconds he was startled to hear a very loud sound that at first started as a human-like yell and then changed into a roaring growl. The witness could not understand what he was hearing, and began looking at the deer on the ground to see if it may have made such an unusual sound. He saw the deer had not moved. Immediately he heard the sound of something crashing through the woods directly across the field, in the same area the buck had been focusing his attention. Then the roaring scream was heard from that area again, but this time it was louder and seemed to originate closer to him than the first. At that time the witness said he thought to himself. “Oh my God, that’s the thing that chased Greg and Brian out of the woods!” By then it was barely light enough to see to walk, and he decided to get down out of the stand and head for his truck that was parked a hundred yards or so to his right and slightly behind the stand. He tried to climb down quietly, but dropped a bottle of scent masking solution which struck the ladder and made a loud noise. The sound caused the unseen animal to roar again, and it began making very loud, somewhat muffled, popping sounds which the witness had heard Greg and Brian mention. (The witness stated the sounds were like those that would be made if someone slapped two large flat rocks together.) He too was sure it was the sound of the animal popping its teeth together. When he got on the ground, he hurried toward his truck, and could hear the animal begin to run through the brush around the edge of the field toward him. It followed him to the truck, occasionally grunting and often making the popping sounds. He made it to his truck safely, and “drove like the devil” to the camp. He told the camp members what had happened and several trucks and armed hunters went back to the green field. The six point buck was still where it had fallen when he shot it. The deer was loaded and taken back to camp without anything more being heard from the animal.
Description of the Animal: The animal was not seen.
Photos or Drawings Made? No.
Description of Related Sounds: As described above.
Description of Related Scents / Odors: None detected.
Other Details: A few nights after the incident some of the camp members stationed themselves in the stands in that area and used infrared lights and night vision equipment in an attempt to see the unknown animal. Their efforts were fruitless. Two weeks after the incident, the witness and others retrieved a frozen front shoulder of a deer from a freezer, and made holes through the shoulder on each side of the bone. They looped a one-quarter inch nylon rope through the holes and tied it. They then tied a section of the rope between two trees so that the rope was about eight feet off the ground. The shoulder was then securely tied to that rope, about eight feet from the nearest tree. They did not check the bait for three days. When they did check, the rope had been broken by force. (It was closely examined by several men, and it was their unanimous opinion the rope had not been chewed or cut.) The portion of the rope attached directly to the shoulder was never located.
Investigator’s Comment: When the writer was told about the one-quarter inch nylon rope being broken, he erroneously thought that it would be difficult for an animal, even one as large as that described by Greg and other area residents, to do that . I was surprised to learn today that a solid braid, one-quarter inch Nylon rope has a load limit of only 90 pounds.
The next summer the witness and his wife planted garden peas in one of the fields in the area of the incidents, and applied garden sulfur to them to keep the deer from eating them before they ripened. While he and his wife were at the field late one afternoon checking on the peas, they heard the same popping sounds as he and the others had heard. They quickly left the area.
In the summer of 1999, the witness and Greg started bush-hogging some of the food plots late one afternoon, and their work continued until after dark. The witness was on the tailgate of his truck that night watching as Greg took his turn on the tractor. Over the sounds of the tractor and bush hog, the witness began to hear the popping sounds in the woods behind him when the equipment was at the other end of the field. When Greg and the tractor came back around the field close to the truck, the witness gave him a hand sign to shut off the tractor’s engine. When the engine died, they could clearly hear the loud popping sounds drawing nearer. They left the tractor and drove out of the area.
Historical Notes: See other reports posted on this site from Dallas and Lowndes Counties, Alabama.
Report received and recorded by: Tal H. Branco, Field Researcher/Investigator, The RFP Research Project