Mountain Monsters: The Coyote Killing Massacre

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Mountain Monsters - Coyote Killing Massacre (S5E6)

The AIMS Team is, quite apparently, spending the entire fifth season in Tygart County, West Virginia. What began as a simple hunt for the presence of wolves -- itself an unlikely event given that wolves were historically hunted to extinction in the state -- has turned into a quest for yet another cryptid.

The team was led to this point by following in the footsteps of their former leader, the late John Tice, aka Trapper. His journal was bequeathed to them after his passing, and they are now using the clues within it to see what Trapper saw acquiring a lifetime of experience.  The animal they seek now is dubbed the Smoke Wolf, and while Trapper never gave it that name, his journal does claim to have heard the noises attributed to it by the locals the team has interviewed. Buck and his crew get directed to a place in the woods called Rock Point, but they're not given an exact location or even how to recognize it when they arrive -- just that it's up "thataway" and in the high elevation area.

On the path of their journey, deep into the "no man's land" where supposedly men haven't gone for years, they find recent evidence that men have, indeed, been in this area. There are deep tire tracks left by heavy equipment, and stacks of timber ready to be hauled away. The crew seems to have stumbled upon a timber poaching operation, and I can't help but think it would be hilarious if the entire "Smoke Wolf" story would end up with the timber thieves captured by one of Willy's traps and handed over to the authorities after Buck pulls a rubber wolf mask off the main thief as he grumbles, "And I'd have gotten away with it, too, if it hadn't been for you meddling hillbillies!"

This episode doesn't have a lot in the way of action. The interview with one of the locals spins a yarn about the man's father, a Vietnam veteran who lost a friend in these woods, and the search party he put together to find him. The man was never found, but one of the original search party members, also a Vietnam buddy, was John Tice -- Trapper. This is the origin of how Trapper got involved in hunting down cryptids, because while he never found the missing man, he did encounter evidence of the solid black massive canines with red eyes.

The rest of the episode doesn't give us a lot of momentum. They find Rock Point -- a big rock, that's angled like it's pointing -- and Huckleberry reads in the journal that the way to attract a predator here is to cook something in the rain. The idea is that the rain keeps the smoke low, so it spreads out further. The idea works, and soon we hear packs of coyotes yipping. But another sound interrupts them, and they go suddenly silent, only to erupt again later in what sounds like a massive dogfight. When the team runs to the location to investigate, they find multiple coyote carcasses -- bloody, mangled, and mutilated. Something tore them up good.

They also encounter a human in the woods, who manages to outrun them when they charge after him. And this human was seen the same way Rock Point was discovered. Which prompts us to wonder something. See, every time an AIMS team member is out by themselves, they hear something stalking them. And inevitably -- and multiple times in this episode -- they mention they need Jeff with to get over there with that thermal camera. It's a handy device, because it finds the big rock in the dark, and it sees the human figure watching them from a distance. But now I have to wonder: just how expensive are these things, because it's become very obvious that every member of the team needs one, if only so they can quit ordering Jeff to run back and forth through the woods from one location to the other.

The episode is missing any sufficient monster encounters, aside from some growling noises that are, per usual, drowned out by sound effects.  However, the previews for the next episode get us back into familiar territory, when Buck executes a tree knock -- and gets an answer. Because it turns out that in addition to the Smoke Wolf...

...there's a Bigfoot in these woods.