Wolf-like creature in MT

Illustration by 2017 witness of upright, wolf-like creature in SW Montana. (All rights reserved by witness)
There's been a lot of excitement in the past week over a wolf-like animal shot by a rancher near Denton in north Central Montana. It's some kind of canid, most experts agree, and possibly some type of wolf-dog hybrid. A few have gone so far as to call it a dogman or even werewolf, although it was only seen running on all fours. This week I received a Montana sighting report describing something much more like a typical dogman report in terms of size, appearance, and behavior. The witness had seen the news photos and felt that he should reveal what he had personally seen. At my request, he also drew the attached sketch of what he observed standing at the treeline of his own back yard less than a year ago.

It occurred only 150 miles southwest of Denton, near the northern edge of the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest and Wise River. Just a glance at a map will confirm what a great habitat it would be for any wild canid.

The witness has since moved from that area. He said I could call him Zach here, but I do have his full name for contact info. He is in his mid-twenties, and at the time of the event worked in the environmental science department of the state's Conservation Corps. Here is his own account of the 2017 incident:
I lived alone and in this remote location we don't have cable so the only option is satellite TV. It was a humid summer night in July and the TV was acting up so I needed to go out and readjust the satellite like usual. I took a flash light and when I went outside it was usually quiet. Like so silent it was unnerving. I brushed the thought off and went to the dish which is in the corner of my yard. I went to work, making sure all the wires were alright and pointing it to a different angle. Suddenly I heard I small snap of a stick to my left and turned the flashlight to the direction and I saw a creature standing there. I got a good look at it for what seemed like an eternity but was for only about ten seconds. I slowly backed off and ran back to the house and locked all the doors and windows.

The creature was unlike anything I have ever seen before. When I shined the light at it, the first thing I saw was the head. It has cropped ears that pointed upwards. Its snout was narrower than a bears and longer and I could make out large teeth protruding from the jaw. Its eyes were a deep yellow, amber shade that seemed to reflect off the light I was pointing at it. The body was muscular and huge. It had long arms that appeared to be longer than its legs. Broad shoulders that tapered into a skinnier waist. It was slightly crouched over when I saw it, with one hand wrapped around a small tree. I could make out the legs which looked similar to a dog's legs, it had obvious hocks. Even with the crouched position, it was about my height which is 6 foot. Standing up to full height this creature could easily be 7.5 feet tall. The fur was black and thicker around the neck and chest and the bottom half significantly less so.

I don't know if it was aggressive or not. Was it observing me or stalking me? For a creature this large is was deceivingly silent. It got within 15 yards of me without me noticing. All I knew was I needed to get out of there and not find out. I don't live on the property anymore but after the event I never had another face-to-face encounter. But I would hear sounds in the woods I cannot explain. They would start off relatively quiet, and work their way up to furious howls/screams then back down to quiet again. I don't know if this was the same thing because it could be local wildlife.

Once I got back to the house, I opened a window closest to where I saw it and shined the light exactly where it was but it was gone. It was still dead silent outside when I had the window open. Some nights it would just be very quiet outside and others it would be like normal.
Zach said what he saw was nothing like those new photos now making Internet rounds. His description and sketch show a creature that is larger and more muscular than the Denton canid, and also had black fur rather than brown. Its behavior was also different, as it was observing the yard of the witness from a spot next to good cover rather than boldly stalking farm animals, and then quietly removed itself from view as the witness retreated into his house. He would have had no idea whether it was truly gone or just behind some foliage, still watching.

My final remark wold be the caveat that neither incident proves nor disproves the other. It is interesting, however, that this sighting occurred so close to the time of the Denton sighting, and shows there may be more of a background of unknown canine encounters in Montana than we may have guessed. Many thanks to Zach for contributing!
About The Author

Investigator and artist Linda Godfrey is the author of 17 books on strange creatures, phenomena and people. She's a frequent guest on national TV and radio shows. She lives in the Kettle Moraine area of SE Wisconsin with her husband and monster dog, Grendel.