The RFP Research Project (RFPRP)
Second Field Investigation Report
South Talladega County, Alabama
MG and KT
Preface: This is the second report by MG & KT from the same area of south Talladega County. The last entry in the first report was dated August 17, 2007.
Findings & Observations: The information shown below is from field notes and arranged in chronological order.
August 18, 2007: KT arrived on the hunting lease about 10:00am. Temperature in the mid 80’s, partly cloudy. Walked to baiting site. After looking carefully for any sign of activity and finding none, KT installed a ladder tree stand about 50 yards west of the baiting area. He then opened a fresh plastic jar of peanut butter and attached it to a tree. A gutter nail was used to fasten the jar about 4 feet off the ground. KT left the lease about 11:30am.
August 22, 2007: KT & MG arrived on the lease about 8:30am. Temperature was in the low 90’s, partly cloudy with a slight breeze from the south. Moon near full phase.
They parked near the baiting area and walked in carefully looking for sign of activity. No sign was found. They then used “trot line” cord to suspend a watermelon about 8 feet off the ground. The free end of the cord was run through the fork of a small tree then tied off to another tree. They also bent over a small sapling, about 2″ in diameter and about 14 feet tall, and tied a sealed zip-lock bag containing a package of Oreo cookies near the top of the tree. When released, the tree sprung to near its original position.
They checked the jar of peanut butter that had been left earlier, and found it had not been disturbed. MG nailed another jar of peanut butter to a nearby tree. It was positioned about 7 feet off the ground. The men left the lease about 10:30am.
August 23, 2007: MG and KT arrived on the lease about 8:15am. Temperature in the low 90’s. A light rain had fallen the night before. They drove to a point near the baiting area, and walked into the area.
They found the plastic bag that had contained the Oreo cookies was now on the ground near the base of the tree on which it had been attached. They picked up the bag using gloves, and saw that the bag had been torn open along one side, and the cookies missing. There were no teeth or claw marks on or in the plastic bag. They then noticed the trot line cord had been broken about one inch from where it had been tied to the small tree. The force used to break the cord caused it to cut through the tree’s outer bark and cambium layer.
They then found that the cord that had been used to suspend the watermelon had been broken and the melon broken against the tree about four feet off the ground. The remains of the melon were still on the ground.
A careful search of the area revealed no tracks except their own. They continued to look for sign as they walked to the area where KT had installed the tree stand. There they found that the peanut butter jar that MG had nailed to a tree (the one placed about 7′ off the ground) was gone and the nail left in the tree.
They found that the other jar of peanut was still on the tree about 4′ feet off the ground, but there were gouges in the surface of the peanut butter which appeared to have been made by two fingers swiping through the top layer.
They left a package of snack cakes about five feet off the ground in a small tree at the primary feeding area and began following the creek toward the road. Before they reached the road they noticed a pile of ripe muscadines in the dry creek bed. The researchers were puzzled because there was not a muscadine vine in the area and no animal had eaten the fruit.
When they reached the truck the men tried to experimentally break a section of the trot line cord by tying one end to the hitch ball and pulling on the loose end. MK tried to break it but could not do so because the cord began to cut into his hand. Then both men tried to break the cord using their bare hands and could not do so. They left the lease about 11:30am. (When MG arrived home he broke the cord by tying one end to a tree and the other end to an ATV. The string broke only after “gassing” the vehicle.)
August 24, 2007: MK & KT arrived on the lease about 8:15am. The temperature was about 85 degrees and the sky clear. (Thunderstorms had passed through the area the previous day and dropped the daytime temperature to below 100 degrees.) The moon phase was between full and last quarter. They parked and walked into the baiting area. They had prepared a deer roast and used a cord thrown over a limb to suspend it about 9 feet off the ground. The roast was about two feet from the tree trunk.
The sealed snack cakes that had been left earlier were still there. They left the lease about 9:30am.
August 25, 2007: MG arrived on the lease about 6:15am. KT had arrived earlier. The hunting club was having a work day and other members were there. After work tasks had been assigned and the others had gone to other areas, MG went to the baiting area. He found that nothing had disturbed the deer roast or the snack cakes. While walking in the baiting area, MG heard the sound of gravel crunching on the road. Shortly he heard the sounds of a large animal breaking through an overgrown cut-over nearby. He watched and listened for about ten minutes but heard nor saw nothing. (None of the club members had assigned tasks in the area.)
August 27, 2007: MG and KT checked the baiting area about 8:30am and found both the deer roast and the snack cakes intact.
August 28, 2007: MG and KT checked the baiting area about 8:30am and found both the deer roast and the snack cakes intact. Another snack cake was left.
August 32, 2007: MG and KT arrived on the lease about 9:00am. Sunny and temperature in the low 80’s. Afternoon showers had fallen the last few days. Arriving at the baiting area they found none of the food had been disturbed.
While searching the area for sign they found a small (8-1/2 inches long) impression in wet ground along the creek. The impression showed what appeared to be only 4 toes. About 2 feet from the impression was a clear impression of knuckles. The impressions were found under a small muscadine vine from which all the fruit had been removed. KT agreed to return to the lease the next day to cast the tracks. They left the lease about 11:00am.
September 1, 2007: KT and AT (his daughter) returned and cast the impressions about 10:00am. They checked the baiting area and found the food still intact. They left about 1:00pm.