Saturday, March 31, 2012

Bigfoot Not So Elusive

The problem with the Bigfoot is rather simple.  He is perfectly adapted to living in the woods and we are not.  More important though is that he is a nocturnal animal who hunts and works when we are well asleep.  Put that in place and we get observations split evenly between night and day.  Because he is big, he has a long stride and his speed walking is surely twice ours which pretty well makes tracking him ultimately impossible.  He will get wise and become evasive long before a tracker is very close.  We still need to try, but with an experienced tracker and plenty of nocturnal hardware to capture images.

As I have posted before, we presently have approximately 10,000 individual class A sightings in inventory which is why the TV crews are not going to run out of material any time soon.  We likely do not have that many sightings of the cougar which shares range, principle niche, and general distribution.  Because of this, the creature is certainly out there and it habitually avoids human contact as does the cougar but not the daylight loving bear who is several times more dense on the ground as either the Bigfoot or the cougar.

Importantly, a new generation of searchers and scholarship is now  coming to grips with the reality of this creature and with the mass marketing of the underlying data, we are beginning to get serious traction.  Sooner or later, we will figure out how to commence interaction as Jane Goodall did with her mountain Gorillas.  The best place to do so will likely be in the National parks around Banff were it is claimed that actual troops have been identified.

It is possible and even likely that the majority of individual sightings have been of young males out exploring for a new territory to set up in.  Actual family sightings have been scant in comparison although profoundly instructive when made.

In the meantime, enough critical mass is now created to ensure that serious efforts can go ahead.  This entails targeting established locales with night viewing automatic critter cams that are not obvious at all.  In that way sooner or late we will get lucky.

The main thing is to not underestimate the innate intelligence of the creature itself.  I took my lesson as a young boy attempting to eliminate a wise old ground hog.  After multiple efforts to trap him, including multiple traps and wonderful hiding strategies, I gave it up in complete defeat.  The real lesson is that we need to catch one that is young and dumb.

Camera technology is our best bet to formally establish the real existence of this creature academically.  After that I think actual contact is the only option that can work at all.  I would start by leaving out a bushel of apples with camera coverage.

Bigfoot? He's not so elusive

Real or not, Sasquatch is a larger-than-life figure on TV. It's not so much a search for the creature as a hunt for ratings.

March 27, 2012|T.L. Stanley

Matt Moneymaker, James "Bobo" Fay, Cliff Barackman and Ranae… (Paul Souders / Animal Planet)

Imagine a hulking, growling, 8-foot-tall woodland creature so elusive that professional trackers can't find it, scientists can only speculate about it and believers can't prove -- definitively -- that it exists.

Hiding deep in the forest may be your modus operandi, Bigfoot, but Hollywood and Madison Avenue are pushing you -- however reluctantly -- into the spotlight. A slew of documentary, TV and film projects including Animal Planet's current hit "Finding Bigfoot," and a Sasquatch film trilogy from "Blair Witch Project" director Eduardo Sanchez are poised to get past the old grainy images of yesterday and give the hairy 800-pound biped a high-def close-up.

"There's been a real upswing in scholarly interest along with this huge undercurrent of popularity among the general public," said Jeffrey Meldrum, the Idaho State anatomy and anthropology professor and primates expert who wrote "Sasquatch: Legend Meets Science" as a companion to a Discovery Channel special of the same name. "There's something about the human psyche that really connects with this icon."

Campfire stories, eyewitness reports and grainy videos have kept the legend alive for decades in the U.S. and worldwide. (The mythology goes back much further if you take cave drawings into account.) And Bigfoot has been a pop culture fixture since the 1950s, popping up in movies, commercials and as a guest on '70s TV hits like "The Six Million Dollar Man" and "The Bionic Woman."

Each time there's a new development -- such as evidence of a yeti allegedly uncovered in Russia last fall or a Bigfoot body purportedly discovered in Georgia, both of which turned out to be fake -- there's a spike in online searches, blog posts, news reports and, inevitably, Bigfoot-centric entertainment.

"Blair Witch's" Sanchez is working on a Bigfoot-based horror movie, the first of a planned trilogy, and a group of Bigfoot enthusiasts is putting together a documentary called "Sasquatch: The Quest." Meldrum, along with launching an online scholarly journal, is producing an Internet TV project and considering an expanded version of "Legend Meets Science."

"We all want to believe that there are still monsters lurking in the secret corners of the planet, and that's the allure of Bigfoot," said Marjorie Kaplan, president of Animal Planet, home to the hit series "Finding Bigfoot. "It's fun to be reminded that we don't know everything."

"Finding Bigfoot" follows four eccentric field researchers who travel to towns where there have been sightings, gather stories from the locals and set out on their own expeditions. The colorful characters have coined "squatch" as a term of endearment and say things like "It's really squatchy out here," to describe remote areas they think are harboring Bigfoots.

The series, which attracted 1.6 million viewers for its second season premiere, will launch its third season this summer. "If anybody's going to find him, it's going to be us," Kaplan declared, adding with a laugh, "hopefully after 100 episodes."

In coming months, cable TV will be overrun with Sasquatch programming. Syfy thriller "Bigfoot" promises a "big and nasty, teeth and claws" star nestled in a kitschy popcorn flick, according to Thomas Vitale, the network's executive vice president of programming. Airing this summer, the Saturday night movie pits former child stars Barry Williams and Danny Bonaduce against each other in a search for the larger-than-life biped at a rural music festival. It fits strategically with the network's tradition of over-the-top original action movies like "Sharktopus" and "Piranhaconda."


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