Home Cryptozoology and strange Creatures Where’s Bigfoot? Missoula, naturally. Montana’s 47 Sasquatch sightings most plentiful in two...

Where’s Bigfoot? Missoula, naturally. Montana’s 47 Sasquatch sightings most plentiful in two counties

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Kristen Inbody, Great Falls Tribune
Published 8:00 a.m. MT April 1, 2019 | Updated 11:44 a.m. MT April 1, 2019

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Joe Rondone/Democrat

DECKER — “Go ahead, call me a crackpot. All my friends have.”

Even as this driver submitted his story to the Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization, he worried about sounding crazy.

In October 2006, “J.G.” was driving a shuttle van for railroaders. He’d seen something that just wasn’t right there a few months earlier.

Driving alone on the long and lonely Decker Highway just this side of the Wyoming-Montana border near midnight, the witness dropped down over the Decker Hill and saw something alongside the road. He figured it was a hitchhiker until it crossed the road in front of him.

He slammed on the brakes. The creature was at least 8 feet tall and had 8- to 10-inch-long hair, “almost like it was groomed.”

The next day, he returned to measure bushes, fences and such to get a better handle on the creature’s size. He couldn’t find any hair or tracks.

“Nothing,” he wrote.

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Oddly enough, though he carries a digital camera “I never even thought of it.” 

The Decker guy’s account was deemed credible enough to become one of the 47 Bigfoot sightings listed in the Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization‘s database. 

Montana ranks 31st for Bigfoot sightings, with only 47 of the 5,251 in the database. Washington (660), California (440), Florida (324), Illinois (298) and Ohio (290) lead the way.

In 1995, the BFRO started tracking reports, which are categorized by Class A, B and C. Class A are the most solid of reports from a first-hand eyewitness.

Not surprisingly, the wooded counties of Montana have more Sasquatch sightings. Want to improve your odds of a Bigfoot sighting? Head for Missoula and Lewis & Clark counties.

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Here are the sightings by county:

The story continues below the graphic.

Cascade County

  • Number of sightings: 1
  • Year: 1980
  • Location: 40 miles southwest of Great Falls on Upper Saw Mill Creek near the Dearborn River west of Cascade and Craig
  • Details: In a dense forest reachable only by 4X4 in the summer and snowmobile in the winter, a party of four friends bedded down in a remote, unelectrified cabin three miles from its closest neighbor. That spring night a strange and terrible smell arose. Then came a strange, loud “warbling” noise, which circled a cabin. One woman recorded the sounds with a tape recorder. They were all sober, according to the report.
  • Rating: Class C

Beaverhead County

  • Number of sightings: 1
  • Year: 2012
  • Location: A high mountain lake near Argenta 
  • Details:  During spring runoff, the witness was driving toward Lake Esler in the Pioneer Mountains when his truck got stuck. When he came back, he and three friends saw a large, fresh footprint about 30 feet from the truck. He also said he’d seen a Bigfoot in 2000 while hunting near Deerhead Lake. He at first took the creature for a bear and said it was very muscular, broad-shouldered, five-feet wide and moved just as a man does. When it realized he was watching, it stomped off.
  • Rating: Class A

Broadwater County

  • Number of sightings: 1
  • Year: 2012
  • Location:  West-facing slope of Mount Baldy in the Big Belts   
  • Details:  An elk hunter deep in the woods saw bipedal tracks in the snow that were 4-5 days old, he estimated. He’s 6’1″ with a three-food stride, and these came from something with a five-foot stride, he estimated. “A hoaxer wouldn’t place them so far away from where people go as they would never be discovered. This place is literally the middle of nowhere,” he wrote.
  • Rating: Class B

Carbon County

  • Number of sightings: 1
  • Year: 2012
  • Location:  Along Rosebud Creek near Red Lodge  
  • Details:  Two brothers were hiking when one snapped a picture of a stream only to notice later what he thought looked to be a Bigfoot. He returned to the site a few days later and there was nothing at the spot but some broken branches. He had his father pose in the same spot for comparison. 
  • Rating: Class B

Flathead County

  • Number of sightings: 2
  • Year: 2007, 2012
  • Location: The 2012 sighting was reported to be in the North Crow area of the Mission Mountains between Ronan and Dixon on the Flathead Indian Reservation
  • Details:  A hunter reported that he was scouting deer when he saw what he took to be a Sasquatch just 2-3 feet from his truck. He described it as about seven feet tall, bipedal and dark brown. The investigator into his claim wrote that the reporting witness “believes that you must never look the Sasquatch in the eyes, and he tried not to look at it.” His siblings where near Dixon when hunting elk and as they dressed it, a 100-pound rock “was thrown onto the road.” “There is a lot of people around here that have seen and heard stuff too,” he wrote.
  • Rating: Class B

Gallatin County

  • Number of sightings: 3
  • Year: 1993, 2006, 2016
  • Location:  A 1993 sighting was reported from the Gallatin National Forest 30 miles south of Bozeman in the Portal Creek area. 
  • Details: Three backpackers were hiking the Gallatin Divide to Yellowstone National Park when a wild storm blew in during the summer of 1993. They took refuge by a rock outcropping and heard howling.
  • When the storm abated, they heard thrashing and prepared for a bear encounter. Instead, they heard the howling again and saw “something massive and dark and clearly running on two legs” run through the brush about 60 yards away before it disappeared into the forest, according to the submitted report.
  • Rating: Class A

Glacier County

  • Number of sightings: 2
  • Year: 1982, 2003
  • Location:  Avalanche area of Glacier National Park (2003) and the foothills of the Rockies on the Blackfeet Reservation (1982)
  • Details: A hunter, age 14, and his cousins were on horseback in the fall of 1982. The horses started acting squirrely and jumping in fright, according to the report. The men assumed a bear was in the area, but instead they saw a hairy, “very tall thing” running on two legs about 40 feet away. “It just stared at us as if in the same amount of amazement as we were, and then just disappeared into the trees just as fast.” The next day they found branches broken 6-8 feet up. 
  • Rating: Class A

Granite County

  • Number of sightings: 2
  • Year: 1994, 2010
  • Location:  Sand Basin area (1994), Lost Creek State Park (2010)
  • Details: A prospector was checking out old mines in the summer of 2010. As he was driving down a logging road north of Georgetown Lake, a rock came hurling through the trees and hit his SUV, leaving a sizable dent, he reported. He got out to yell at whatever punk threw the rock but was struck by the odd silence. He saw a large, dark creature disappear into the trees.
  • “I thought to myself ‘No way, It couldn’t be,'” he wrote.
  • Rating: Class B

Lewis & Clark County

  • Number of sightings: 8
  • Year: 1977, 1978, 1981, 1982, 1990, 1994,  2010, 2015
  • Location: On a private road between Helena and Great Falls (2015)
  • Details: In the spring of 2015, a Special Forces retiree saw an all-black figure walking on two legs. He originally took it to be some person walking down his road “but no person ever walks down my road.” The head and hand were black, too, and walking with a strange gait, according to his report.
  • Rating: Class B

Lincoln County

  • Number of sightings: 1
  • Year: 2005
  • Location: Horse Creek drainage in the Cabinet Mountains Wilderness southwest of Libby 
  • Details: Five mountain climbers were camped at the foot of Mount Snowy for the Fourth of July. As they swapped stories around the campfire, between midnight and 1 a.m. a strange sound came from the woods, beginning as a low growl and raising over time to a high whine before coming back down again. The vocalizations occurred four or five times at 10-15 minute intervals for the next 90 minutes. 
  • Rating: Class B

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Madison County

  • Number of sightings: 1
  • Year: 1978
  • Location: Alder Gulch near Virginia City
  • Details: On the opening day of deer season in 1978, four guys left a remote cabin to hunt along a ridge. They scanned every opening and meadow for deer. Then the reporting party’s cousin said, “There’s another hunter … (pause) … why is he wearing all black?” They stared. When they backed up for another view 15 seconds later, there was no sign of the creature, which had a “the distinctive dome-shaped head with no neck and broad shoulders”  and was solid black, they reported.
  • Rating: Class B

Meagher County

  • Number of sightings: 2
  • Year: 2011, 2012
  • Location: Checkerboard,  Kings Hill Pass
  • Details: A retired nurse was camping at Jumping Creek Campground on Memorial Day weekend 2010 when he hiked out to Lamb Creek, where he noticed a foul odor. He started fishing when he saw what he described as a female Sasquatch 30 feet away washing something in the water. He screamed. She was 7-feet tall with hairy breasts and matted brown hair with reddish highlights. Her nose was between a gorilla’s and a human’s.
  • He told a Bigfoot investigator his parents had another encounter in the 1970s and his uncle in the 1980s at the same campground.
  • Rating: Class A

Mineral County

  • Number of sightings: 1
  • Year: 2008
  • Location: Alberton 
  • Details: No details except that KPAX covered that there was a Sasquatch sighting reported. 
  • Rating: Not rated

Missoula County

  • Number of sightings: 8
  • Year: 1977, 1989, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2008/2009, 2012, 2012 again
  • Location: Waterworks Trail (2012) 
  • Details: A Massachusetts veterinarian was visiting her daughter in Missoula when she and her family hiked up Waterworks Hill about noon on July 20, 2012. As they paused to pant, they noticed a large, dark object on the far ridge. They stared at it, and then it turned, took several large steps. Her daughter snapped a picture of the head and shoulders as it disappeared over the ridge. A bear biologist reported seeing a squatch about 7 miles from there in 2006.
  • Rating: Class B

Park County

  • Number of sightings: 2
  • Year: 1989, 1999
  • Location: Crazy Mountains (1989), past the Bozeman pass near the Bridger Mountains (1999)
  • Details: An Oregon driver and his passenger were on Interstate 90 between Bozeman and Livingston when they saw a “very large, reddish-brown animal walking upright” off the road. His friend said it looked like Chewbacca. They kept driving, much to his regret. 
  • “Everyone I’ve ever asked treated it like a joke,” he said.
  • Rating: Class A

Phillips County

  • Number of sightings: 1
  • Year: 2011
  • Location: U.S. Highway 191 65 or so miles south of Malta in the C.M. Russell Wildlife Refuge.
  • Details: Under a full moon at about 1 a.m., a Malta tow truck driver left to fetch a car that had hit an elk. After a state trooper left with the driver in the accident, the Malta man loaded the car and heard a deep grunt. About 100 feet away he saw an upright creature dragging the dead elk the car had hit. It was about 40 below zero. He was scared and cold and left.  The man later told an investigator the creature looked like a bodybuilder but bigger and with a squat face covered in hair and a five-inch beard.
  • Rating: Class A

Ravalli County

  • Number of sightings: 2
  • Year: 1991, 2005
  • Location: Sula, Bowls Creek
  • Details: In 2005, a truck driver and his wife saw what they described as a Bigfoot spring across US Highway 93 between Conner and Sula deep in the Bitterroot Valley. The man reported he lives in Montana and knows what a bear looks like “and that a bear cannot stand upright and run like the creature we saw.” It was about 40 feet out “plain as day.”
  • Rating: Class A

Richland County

  • Number of sightings: 1
  • Year: 1979-1980
  • Location: 3 miles west of Sidney on Montana Highway 200 
  • Details: On a cold night during the winter of 1979-1980, a teenager was driving home when “what had to be a Bigfoot” crossed the road in front of him or her. The bitter wind was whipping through the creature’s hair. The teenager was terrified, according to the report.
  • Rating: Class A

Roosevelt County

  • Number of sightings: 1
  • Year: 1984
  • Location: 14 miles west of Wolf Point on the Missouri River bottoms
  • Details: A tribal member and friends were hunting on the Fort Peck Indian Reservation on a fall evening. They walked through cottonwoods searching for deer when the man making the report heard a loud and horrible sound, deep but yet with gurgling noises and a chimpanzee-like hoot. Elders had advised him to stand his ground as a warrior if ever he encountered a Sasquatch. He gripped his gun … and then lit out in terror. 
  • Rating: Not rated

Sanders County

  • Number of sightings: 1
  • Year: 2004
  • Location: A boat launch near St. Regis
  • Details: On a sunny afternoon, a woman and her daughter’s boyfriend were driving past the Clark Fork River when they saw what they took to be a sasquatch and her little squatch on a sandbar. The creature was 8-10 feet tall and hairy, with a similar creature up to its knee. The small one looked as if it was curious about the chunks of ice floating by, the woman reported. “Perhaps her baby had gone too close to the river and she was reaching out as if to say ‘that is far enough!’ just as I have done with my own children.”
  • Rating: Not rated

Butte-Silver Bow County

  • Number of sightings: 2
  • Year: 1988, 2007
  • Location:  Bull Run Gulch just northwest of Walkerville (1988), on the east ridge to the south of Our Lady of the Rockies (2007)
  • Details: On a summer afternoon in 2007, a man hiking in the mountains above Butte saw an 8-foot-tall creature about 200-300 yards away. It seemed to want to scare off the human and walked with his arms swaying. Its dark brown hair was groomed, the hiker reported.
  • Rating: Class A

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Stillwater County

  • Number of sightings: 1
  • Year: 1971
  • Location: 6 miles northeast of Mystic Lake near Fishtail
  • Details: On a July hike, an angler and her family heard a knock like a baseball bat hitting a ball but louder. She immediately felt they were no longer alone. After fishing, they headed around the lake only to smell a stench such as she has never smelled before or since. Her hair stood on end. Pine cones began landing near her feet though she was some distance from trees, she reported. She walked on and saw two sets of huge tracks. When Bigfoot shows began airing, she had her explanation, she wrote.
  • Rating: Class B

Blaine, Carter, Chouteau, Custer, Daniels, Dawson, Deer Lodge, Fallon, Fergus, Garfield, Golden Valley, Hill, Jefferson, Judith Basin, Lake, Liberty, McCone, Musselshell, Petroleum, Pondera, Powder River, Powell, Prairie, Rosebud, Sheridan, Sweet Grass, Teton, Toole, Treasure, Valley, Wheatland, Wibaux and Yellowstone counties have no reports in the database.

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