Those who got a good look at the beast described it as being nearly black and having high shoulders and a back that sloped downward like a hyena.
The Ioway, and several other Native American Indian tribes in the region, called the creature Shunka Warak’in, which translates into carrying off dogs, because it would often sneak into Indian camps at night to steal their dogs.
The first documented sightings of the Shunka Warak’in by white settlers began in the 1880’s when members of the Hutchins family settled down in the Madison River Valley, in the lower part of Montana. Not long after the Hutchins settled into the area, they, along with several other locals, began to encounter a strange wolf like animal. In his book, Trails to Nature’s Mysteries: The Life of a Working Naturalist, published in 1997, Ross Hutchins wrote the following description of some encounters that his grandfather had with the Shunka Warak’in.
- One winter morning my grandfather was aroused by the barking of dogs. He discovered that a wolf like beast of dark color was chasing my grandmother’s geese. He fired his gun at the animal but missed. It ran off down the river, but several mornings later it was seen again at about dawn. It was seen several more times at the home ranch as well as at other ranches ten or fifteen miles down the valley. Whatever it was, it was a great traveler
Ringdocus is the name given to an unidentified animal shot by Israel Hutchins, a Mormon settler in Montana in 1886. Hutchins had it stuffed by a local taxidermist, Joseph Sherwood, who put it on display at his general store near Henry's Lake, Idaho until the 1980s when it mysteriously disappeared. DNA testing has never been conducted on the animal.
In 2007, Jack Kirby, grandson of the man who shot the animal, tracked it down to the Idaho Museum of Natural History in Pocatello. The specimen was displayed in the Madison Valley History Museum when it reopened in May 2007.
Over many years the Hutchins story was all but forgotten, that is until cryptozoologist Mark A. Hall uncovered the story after of a creature or group of creatures resembling the Shunka Warak’in were sighted in Nebraska, Iowa, Alberta and Illinois.
In 1995, following the discovery by Mark A. Hall, Lance Foster, an Ioway Indian, told renowned cryptozoologist Loren Coleman of a creature he and his tribe called the Shunka Warak’in that looked something like a hyena and cried like a person when it was killed. Foster, who heard of the mounted ringdocus carcass speculated that it may be an example of Shunka Warak’in, which he knew from his own experiences and those of relatives in Montana and Idaho.
In December 2005 a strange wolf like animal began killing livestock in the McCone, Garfield and Dawson counties of Montana. By October of 2006 the animal, now known as The Creature of McCone County, had killed more than 120 various forms of livestock and appeared in several news articles including one in the May 2006 issue of USA Today. On November 2, 2006 the Montana Wildlife Service shot and killed a creature that may have been responsible for these killings.
Originally thought to be a wolf, the animal that was shot showed characteristics that were not common with any wolf species known in the area. The animal that was killed appeared to have orange, red and yellow fur, where as wolves known to live in the area are of a grey, black and brown color. Muscle tissue was sent to the University of California Los Angeles where DNA samples were taken in an attempt to compare it to the Northern Rockies wolf. The carcass was sent to the National Fish and Wildlife Forensics Laboratory in Ashland, Oregon for genetic study, however no record of the results of these studies could be found at this time.