Cryptid Profile: The Wolf Deer
Throughout history, a major monster theme is that of the hybrid creature. The combining of two completely separate animals into one beast. This combination act tends to conjure up the image of an animal with the worst or meanest looking features of those two creatures. A quick example of this off the top of our head would be the hybridization of a snake and a spider.
Just imagine how these two creatures would look with their best (or worst) features all proudly being displayed on the body of one thing. A flat snake head with a hinged jaw filled with needle-sharp hooked teeth, eight scaly legs sprouting out its sides and running down the length of its long body. Eight eyes sitting amongst a scaled diamond pattern on its forehead. The entire beast sitting in a web it has created while rattling a hollow tail. Could you imagine that? It would be horrifying to witness in real life.
Now, let’s do another one. The key to making a good hybrid creature is to pick two types of animals that wouldn’t normally go together. Think of a butterfly mixed with a frog, or a rat mixed with a lionfish. Another good one would be a wolf mixed with a deer. But we don’t need to spend a lot of time trying to figure out what that last one would look like because it’s already reported to exist.
First reported in 1951 by a woman named Mrs. Laub, the Wolf Deer is described as standing roughly the size of a grey wolf and weighing between 50-60lbs. The creature is said to have possessed four extremely thin deer-like legs with very large foot pads and had a body that appeared to be built like a canine. The head, which looked quite deer-like in terms of shape and size, had small pointed ears sitting upon it. The fur on the body was thought to be reddish-brown in color, while the fur on the tail was extremely bushy and black in color. Mrs. Laub described the tail as being very horse-like in appearance and slightly too large for the creature's body.
As stated above, the first official witness to the Wolf Deer was Mrs. Laub and the location in which it happened was the town of Calumet, Oklahoma. The sighting is reported to have taken place in the early morning hours while Mrs. Laub set out to begin her morning chores on her and her husband's farm. As the woman made her way up a decent sized hill that sat right in the middle of the farm and cattle pasture, she caught sight of an odd-looking creature standing below.
There on the well-beaten pasture stood the Wolf Deer. Mrs. Laub and Wolf Deer locked eyes with one another and continued staring for nearly two minutes before she had enough. Not wanting to take any chances and allow the creature to possibly harm the cattle if it chose to do so, Mrs. Laub picked up a decent size stick and tossed it at the creature in hopes of getting it to move, but nothing happened. The stick hit the creature just as intended, but it never flinched. It just kept staring at the woman without breaking its gaze whatsoever. Unnerved, Mrs. Laub quickly turned around and headed back down towards her home, peering over her shoulder the entire way to make sure the Wolf Deer wasn’t behind her.
When Mrs. Laub arrived back at the house, she told her husband about the strange creature she had just witnessed. After finishing her description, her husband stated that he had also seen the creature on the property, but his sighting took place two years earlier. But for some reason, he chose to never say anything about it. Mr. Laub stated that when he had seen the Wolf Deer, it was hanging out near the brush that lined the farm and did nothing but stare at him as well. The creature showed no fear and moved away on its own time when it felt ready to leave. Mr. Laub sensed no threat in the creature and went about his work, and when he returned to the spot later, the creature was gone.
After that day in 1951, the creature did not return to the Laub’s farm. The couple never was able to figure out what they had seen, but Mrs. Laub chalked it up as being just a freak of nature. It appeared that the Wolf Deer had disappeared from Oklahoma all together as there were no further sightings of the creature after 1951. But it seemed that the Wolf Deer was not gone for good, as it reappeared in Minnesota in 1971.
The second sighting of the Wolf Deer is also apparently the last sighting. Because after this, the creature is never seen again. It was last spotted on March 21 by D.R. Clark and H.H. Christensen as they were out driving past Canby, Minnesota.
As the pair were driving, they noticed an odd looking animal standing on the opposite side of a creek on the side of the road. Wanting to get a better look, they slowed down and pulled over to the edge of the road. Instantly thinking it was some sort of deformed deer, the pair were shocked to see that the creature actually resembled the cross between a deer and a wolf.
After staring for a few moments, Clark got out of the car and approached the creek. As he got closer to the water's edge, the Wolf Deer turned and stared at him. For reasons unknown, Clark began waving his arms around and shouting at the creature as a way to possibly get it to move. But as previously stated, the creature just kept staring with an unbroken gaze. Now slightly upset that he couldn’t get the animal to do what he wanted, Clark returned to the vehicle to fetch his gun.
When Clark returned to the creek edge with his weapon in hand, he again started yelling at the Wolf Deer, but it continued to not move. Having had enough, Clark loaded his firearm and shot at the creature. Surprisingly though, he missed. Even more surprising though was the reaction of the Wolf Deer. Appearing to be completely unfazed by the multiple shots that had just been fired at it, the creature moved over just a few feet from its previous location and laid down in the dirt where it continued to stare at Clark.
Irritated at both the creature and himself for missing his target, Clark returned to his vehicle and both him and Christensen went on their way. And that was that, the last reported sighting of the Wolf Deer. Nobody has seen it or one since. The creature had arrived in complete mystery and had disappeared in the same way, without answers.
So what was it? Researchers, skeptics, and believers have all offered many possible theories as to what the Wolf Deer could have been. These range from a deformed deer, a deformed wolf, a misidentified common deer, and even the cryptid known as the Shunka Warakin. But personally, we feel none of these theories are as good as ours. Here at the PBI, we feel that the Wolf Deer was actually an out of place Maned Wolf. Let us explain why.
While primarily found in South America, it’s not that hard to believe that specimens were possibly smuggled over to Mexico (or the surrounding areas) and then sold through illegal animal trafficking. One of these creatures could have easily escaped or have been let loose, and eventually made its way into the United States where the witnesses encountered it. The reason we think this is a good theory (and again, it’s just a theory) is that the Maned Wolf honestly looks like the cross between a wolf and a deer. The creature has incredibly long legs and is the largest canid in all of South America. The Maned Wolf stands around 3ft tall, has a total body length of around 5ft and typically weighs around 50-60lbs. The fur is reddish-brown and almost looks like the fur of a fox. While the tail is typically covered in white fur, it is not uncommon for it to be dirty and appear black in color, but the tail is often described as being bushy.
When it comes down to it, the Maned Wolf looks exactly like the witnesses described. And again, it’s not hard to believe that this could be the culprit responsible for the sightings. Stranger animals have been illegally brought into North America for years, and a majority of those get caught before they have time to disappear. But just think about all the ones that don’t get caught. The ones that escape and are never seen again, and the ones that escape but are seen and not recognized, the ones forever labeled as cryptids.
-The Pine Barrens Institute
*Image credit: Google image search