The search for “Bigfoot” or “Sasquatch” has captivated society for hundreds of years. Tales of huge, hairy human-like creatures roaming the woods and mountains have popped up all over the world and the popularity and interest has never been higher than it is today. There are organizations all over the world solely devoted to searching for the beast; television shows are dedicated to the hunt; and of course advancing technology coupled with social media has fueled the madness. But why do humans have a fascination with this mysterious figure?
“I think it’s human nature to think ‘I can do this. I can figure this out,” says Mike Bardsley, founder of www.IndianaBigfoot.com, a website that provides a place for those who have or believe they have had an encounter. Mike founded the website after several members of his friends and family (and later himself) independently had encounters with the creature(s) on private property in Michigan.
“On the 4th of July weekend in 2009, after a series of vocalizations south of our camp in Michigan began to trail off, I had gotten into a car alone and went out for a drive around 2:30am to try to isolate and figure out where the sounds were coming from]. I was heading back to camp when I had a [Bigfoot] cross the road in front of me. I went from low-beams to high-beams in time to see it in the middle of the road seventy-five to ninety feet in front of me, and then run off the road to the south. It was tall and lean, and probably 6 ½ — 7 feet tall.”
What do I need to join the hunt?
According to Mike, one should rely more on diligence than fancy gear. “While having gear is a great thing while out in the woods, it so far hasn’t proven to be the equalizing factor in getting anyone proof or enhancing their chances of an encounter. The best tip I could give anyone is to find a place where there seems to be an established, viable population of the creatures living, and then go spend as much consecutive time there as possible.” In short, gearheads can bring their gear, but all you really need is good ol’ camping equipment and a healthy amount of patience.
Should I bring a bunch of people like they do on television?
On television, many times the groups that go out looking for Bigfoot consist of several investigators and a film crew. Should you strike out in huge numbers in hopes of increasing your chances of an encounter? “On an average weekend when I’m in camp, it might be me and one other person. On a holiday weekend we’ve had upwards of a dozen to fifteen people in camp. We’ve had activity under both of those scenarios.” Mike also has a very interesting opinion on who exactly should go, too. “My opinion as well, is that having more women in camp and a few children is a good thing. While I’m sure it’s only anecdotal, there’s wide-spread belief within the community that women have a better chance of having an encounter. And having children in camp also creates a real interest in a Bigfoot observing humans. This seems to be one of the things they do in regard to us. They seem to love to sit back at night and watch us. That’s why the overly-paranoid use of flashlights is counterproductive.”
Where do I go? The Northwest?
While thePacific Northwest is probably the most popular area of the country to search due to the heavy forestation, Mike believes that there are many other great places, as well. “You really just need to find a place with enough forestation, water, and natural resources where large animals exist. Waterways are important [too]. In many cases, just having plenty of swamps or lakes in a region is enough.”
So, young squatch hunter, you’ve got a lot to chew on. In the meantime and with Mike’s advice in mind, let’s take a look at five great places to set out on your adventure.
Pierce County, Washington — According to the BFRO (Bigfoot Researchers Organization), the State ofWashington has the most reported Bigfoot sightings annually. Of all the counties in the state, Pierce County sports the highest number. Surrounding counties of King and Lewis also have a high number of reports. All three of these counties (as well as the majority of the other sightings) are near water sources.
Bluff Creek, California — If you’ve seen the Patterson-Gimlin film, you might know that it this grainy, yet mystifying video of a creature appearing to be Bigfoot, was shot in Bluff Creek, California. As Mike points out, “I doubt [that] after 40 years, ‘Patty’ is still hanging out there waiting to be found.” However, the Six Rivers National Forest in Bluff Creek is listed in the top 10 of highest number of sightings in the nation, according to the BFRO.
Bloomington, Indiana — This one may shock you a bit as it’s…well, Indiana. But, if you’re in the mood for a little Midwestern adventure, the Deam Wilderness, a part of the Hoosier National Forest and just south of Bloomington, is a favorite of Mike’s. “Overall, I think the northern part of Indiana is used more as a travel corridor. In the southern part of the state, you have far more standing timber, making for much better habitat and long-term survivability, as well as far more natural resources for the creatures to utilize. I’ve camped in the Deam Wilderness just south of Bloomington. That whole area around there has some rich history of activity.’
Northeastern Ohio — While you’re in the Midwest, it may behoove you to go to Northeastern Ohio, as well. Shockingly,Ohio has three counties that rank in the top 10 of annual sightings according to the BFRO. Ohio actually currently has more sightings than Oregon. “All of the Great Lakes states have history of activity and sightings,” Mike says. “Find some rugged, rural areas with enough natural resources and some history of activity and go settle in for a few days, or even a week or two. You’re going to have to let them come to you, because you aren’t a threat to them. I can’t stress that enough.” Well now, that’s scary…
Ocala National Forest, Florida — In Florida, there have been so many Bigfoot sightings that they’ve got their own name for the creature – The Florida Skunk Ape. One of the more active places in the state seems to be Ocala National Forest. For example in 2012, a man reported being accosted by a creature after getting his vehicle stuck in the sand on a forest road while exploring. The creature reportedly threw rocks at him and later emerged from the forest carrying a smaller “child” Bigfoot. Baby Bigfoots? Yikes!
So there you have it, folks. Everything you could possibly need to get out and start “squatching.” At the very least, you have a great (if quirky) excuse to explore America’s wilder locales. The author of this article absolves himself from any and all responsibility for Bigfoot mauling and maiming injuries.