DNR examines mysterious Niles ‘footprints’Published 3:24pm Tuesday, January 29, 2013
What made the mysterious marks in the snow a Niles woman said she found and photographed in her backyard?
Was it a cougar? Bear? Or Bigfoot? Could it have been a hoax?
We may never know.
On Tuesday, the Niles Daily Star emailed two pictures of the tracks to Kenneth S. Kesson, wildlife biologist with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.
After poring over the images with his colleagues, Kesson came up with an answer — they aren’t identifiable as presented in the photos.
“There is a consensus that the marks/impressions in the snow were pretty degraded and of poor quality; thus making any animal confirmation or ID really subjective,” Kesson said in an email.
The pictures were taken by Lori Baxter, who lives at the corner of U.S. 12 and Bond Street in Niles.
Baxter said the marks were found behind her home in a fenced-in yard.
She first noticed them Monday while letting her Chihuahua outside.
“I was worried something might be out there waiting for him,” said Baxter, who searched the area for similar tracks, but found none.
As for the doubters, Baxter said she doesn’t have the time to go out and fake something like footprints in the snow and that her children wouldn’t think of doing that, either.
“The only thing I could think is if someone fell forward and put their hands in the snow,” she said.
Kesson said it is impossible to say if the tracks are real or not.
“Many times tracks and other impressions in snow degrade and change rapidly, especially given the weather conditions of the last day or two,” Kesson said.