February odds & ends

First off, I’d like to send a giant “get well soon!” to Tom Yamarone.  Yamarone is not only a great musician, but a wonderful friend and ambassador to the bigfoot world.  He is currently in rehabilitation, recovering from a stroke he suffered a couple of weeks ago.  He helped me out a ton when I was organizing Big Sky Bigfoot last year and honestly, getting to know him was one of the highlights of 2016 for me.  So I’d like to help give back.  Please visit the fundraising page that has been set up for Tom and his family, and consider making a contribution if you are at all able.  Every dollar helps!  Thank you!

A couple of recent news items have got me thinking about bigfoot in the Great Plains.  The Plains as sasquatch habitat is a subject that generates some debate, because, honestly, a lot of us don’t necessarily associate the cornfield flatlands of the midwest with large hairy hominids.

A few weeks ago, I discovered a news report detailing an alleged sasquatch sighting and trackway find in southeastern ND. (Be sure to click the arrow on the video to see a photo of one of the tracks.)

But later, in an anonymous letter mailed to the news station, a nameless person claims to have been behind it all. It was a prank, he or she writes, that (as we know pranks are prone to do) got a bit out of control.

The outdoorsman who found the tracks claims that not only did the line stretch on for miles in the snow, but also that it showed a four-foot step — both unlikely for what the reporter says was simply “a booze-fueled stroll on a pair of homemade Sasquatch slippers.”

The track photos, if indeed were found where they are claimed to have been found, don’t look like prosthetic big-feet marks to me.  On the other hand, who the heck writes an anonymous letter hoaxing a hoax?

As those of you who grew up playing Oregon Trail should know, the Great Plains once teemed with wildlife, including bison, wolves, and grizzly bears.  Why not bigfoot as well?  Of course, those days are far in the rearview mirror now, ever since the sodbusters brought “civilization” to the region.  The once-unbroken expanse of grassland has been replaced by miles of farm fields, arrow-straight blue highways, grange halls, and grain elevators.  But what remain are a handful of river & creek corridors lacing through the prairies that theoretically could offer migration routes for an elusive creature.

North Dakota isn’t the only plains state where bigfoot is reputed to walk.  Nebraska has a surprising amount of encounters (here’s one from a couple years ago), and the first Nebraska bigfoot conference took place this past weekend in Hastings, NE.  From the reports I’ve seen, it sounds like it was a great gathering, so bravo to the organizers.  I’m all for fledgling bigfoot conferences.  However, the proliferation of bigfoot meet-ups in recent years has drawn criticism.

Writes editor Daniel Perez in the January 2017 issue of Bigfoot Times, “My own opinion about Bigfoot conferences these days is a mixed bag.  They are great as a social mixer but for real content in the talks I have yet to see real detailed notes posted anywhere.  It just seems to me they are all about merchandise sales and you can just as well buy their products on line.”

Yes, I get Bigfoot Times and I don’t always agree with Perez, but it does offer a glimpse into some of the current goings-on in the bigfoot community (such as it is).  But I really beg to differ with his assessment here.  For one thing, many of the talks given at bigfoot conferences can be found on Facebook and Youtube if one takes the time to look.  Also, speaking as a conference organizer here, I am confident asserting that nobody’s getting wealthy off these things; if we sell a few products, it just goes to cover our costs. But most importantly — the “mixer” aspect is where  everything happens.  Sure, you can interact with fellow bigfooters (and trolls aplenty) on the web; but mingling face-to-face in a nonthreatening environment is where reports are exchanged, ideas are discussed, and friendships and research partnerships are formed.  They’re fun, sure, but also useful.  Maybe they won’t last forever, so let’s enjoy ’em while we got ’em.

 

 

 

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The tulpa connection

 

Here in Montana we are in the midst of one of the coldest, snowiest winters on record.  I’m itching to get into the mountains, but that’s not practical right now.  So I’ve been sitting around the house, growing pale and flabby, and reading lots of books.  Two of the books I’ve read this winter are American Gods by Neil Gaiman and Three Men Seeking Monsters by Nick Redfern.  Both of these books explore the concept of the thoughtform.

I was introduced to thoughtforms, or specifically “tulpa,” in an Into the Fray podcast episode last summer, which you can find at this link.  The tulpa is a Tibetan concept.  It is an entity created entirely from thoughts — if you concentrate long and hard enough, according to the concept, from your brain can spring the fully-formed embodiment of your thoughts.  Essentially a tulpa is a being which crosses over from the realm of imagination to that of reality.  Sometimes these beings are benevolent; other times, they can “go rogue” and terrorize or even destroy their creators.

In Three 51jsejqqv6l-_sx287_bo1204203200_Men Seeking Monsters, author Redfern and two friends go on a quest throughout Great Britain following up reports of monster sightings.  Along the way they run into an improbable-sounding “witch” called Mother Sarah who cautions them that what they seek is not necessarily what they expect.  Sarah discusses the tulpa but then launches into a epic tale about the “Cormons.”

The Cormons, as I understand Redfern’s retelling, are ill-intentioned beings from another dimension who were summoned into our world by a shadowy group of occultists at some time in the dim and distant past.  For weeks, these dark practitioners concentrated on “opening the door” to the Cormons.  They eventually succeeded.  This original group was found murdered, their bodies mutilated.  The Cormons had escaped.

The Cormons, according to Redfern, are entities that feed on emotion and as such, are adept at assuming forms meant to terrify the unsuspecting human race.  In this interpretation, bigfoot, other cryptids, and even extraterrestrials are actually hellish spirits whose modus operandi is to scare the bejesus out of us, slaking their evil appetites on our psychic energy.  Redfern hypothesizes that some of these beings have become extinct while others have become strong enough to exist as independent entities on the earth, but still require regular emotional feedings to survive.

In Gaiman’s novel American Gods, the gods and other mythologized beings are the thoughtforms.  These differ from the tulpa or the Cormons in that it is the coll51irop3eirl-_sx276_bo1204203200_ective consciousness of a given society that forms them.   Conjured by belief and given strength through the devotion of their worshipers, the gods emerge as sentient, separate entities.  But the gods thus created are effectively orphaned when these beliefs die or change, abandoned to make their own ways in the world.  As one god puts it, “One day they forget about you, and they don’t believe in you, and they don’t sacrifice, and they don’t care, and the next thing you know you’re running a three-card monte game on the corner of Broadway and Forty-third.”

As society changes, the gods change with it.  What are the current gods in Gaiman’s twenty-first century USA?  Technology (characterized as an obnoxious, chubby kid who has a nervous breakdown when wifi’s not available) and Media (a pretty, upbeat, platitude-spouting female news anchor), to name a couple.

This is a fun concept.  Hmmm.  I wonder what “capitalism” would look like?

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Tulpa, Cormons, thoughtforms — fascinating concepts all, and alternative explanations for alternative happenings.  You don’t have to believe that bigfoot is the embodiment of a fear-devouring evil spirit to concede that our thoughts do have power.   The question is, to what extent, and how do we control it?  What do you think?

 

 

 

The Summit of Squatch

“You’ve got to go to the Sasquatch Summit,” they say.  “It’s so much fun,” they say.

This year, I listened.  Booked a cheap flight to Seattle, rented a cheap car, and made my way to the Quinault Casino in Ocean Shores, WA.  This entailed sojourning south on I-5, taking a right at Olympia, and heading straight through that little slice of paradise known as Aberdeen.  More correctly, it entailed making about five complete circuits around Aberdeen before finding my way out.

I don’t remember Aberdeen being so complicated.

I arrived at my hotel on a Friday afternoon in plenty of time for the evening’s squatchy activities.  After finding the casino and ordering a massive bowl of chili and a couple of beverages in the bar, I was ready to go.

When I say “casino,” I mean it.  This was an incongruous setting for a bigfoot conference.  Walking out of the enormous ballroom where hundreds of people are seriously considering the existence of an eight-foot-tall hairy hominoid and into a bright, smoke-filled room full of gamblers staring at dinging and chirping slot machines never got old.

Some friends I’d met at previous conferences had graciously saved me a seat in the second row.  The first presentation of the evening was by Russell Witala, a local researcher.  I must admit I’m still not sure who this person was or why he was speaking, but he frequently assured us that he was saving some essential information to share with us at Sasquatch Summit ’17, so apparently he’s on the roster for next year as well.  Witala spoke of a habituation site he frequents where the juvenile sasquatches have taken a shine to him.  He then showed us some photos of trees which he said were broken by the squatch kids playing on them.  He said they also like to make coyote noises at him.  How he knows that it was not snow that broke the branches or actual coyotes making the noises, I’m sure he’ll reveal next year after he borrows a razor from Mr. Occam.

So we were off and running. Next up was Ron Morehead, whose 1970s “Sierra Sounds” recordings have become iconic in certain circles.  Morehead and certain linguists believe the sounds represent actual conversations between the creatures.  You can hear some of the recordings here.

Next on the program was David Ellis, an audio specialist with the Olympic Project.  The Olympic Project is a well-known outfit which researches alleged bigfoot activity on and around Washington’s Olympic Peninsula.  I was familiar with Ellis through the podcast OK Talk, which I adore, and on which he’s been a frequent guest.  Ellis was presenting sound recordings from the “Devil’s Creek” location discussed in the podcast, so I had already heard most of what he had to share.  They have captured some interesting sounds there, similar to gorilla chest-beating, as well as alleged vocalizations.

I have a slight complaint about Ellis’ presentation and that was that he showed us none of the visual signatures of these sounds. Sound produces vibrations, which can be represented visually similar to a seismic readout of an earthquake.  Ellis repeatedly said that through these spectographs, he can tell that the sounds have NOT been made by known animals in the area — but he didn’t show them as part of his presentation.  David, if you are reading, toss in some screenshots next time!

After a brief “town hall” meeting moderated by Derek Randles, also of the Olympic Project, it was back out into the casino for the remainder of the evening, complete with a live band and line dancing in the bar.

I was a bit late next morning.  Ordered some breakfast back in the good old casino bar and it took a long time.  So I missed the first speaker, who was Mitchel Townsend. Townsend has found bones with teeth marks he alleges are from sasquatch.  He has written an incredibly lengthy and dense analysis of this find which I, admittedly, will probably never work up the wherewithal to read.  I can barely make it through the title page.  You can find it here.

Thom Powell was taking the stage by the time I wandered into the conference room.  Our front-and-center seats had been bogarted, but I skulked around the edges of the room and found a spot.  Confession time: I like Thom Powell.  He reminds me a lot of Christopher Lloyd in Back to the Future and one expects at any moment to see the man hop into a DeLorean and disappear.  His book The Locals is one of my favorite bigfoot reads.  I was in the middle of his more recent book, Edges of Science, at the time of this conference.  Powell has, after years of study, developed a sort of unified theory of the paranormal, which is fascinating in itself whether or not you agree with much of it.  What do extraterrestrials, Aztec gods, Eisenhower, and bigfoot have in common?  Look up “Edges of Science” if this interests you (how could it not?).

Cliff Barackman next did a presentation on sasquatch hand prints.  A lot of attention is paid to footprints, obviously, but a number of alleged bigfoot handprints have been found as well.  This was my favorite presentation of the conference.  So often, the same old beloved stories are dusted off at these conferences.  But Cliff, who is an engaging speaker anyway, was treading territory here unfamiliar to the mass of us.  Explaining the telltale markers of finger length and even the folds of one’s palms, the prints Cliff displayed indicated a definite pattern of hand movement and usage that are more primate than human.  We’re accustomed to thinking in terms of footprints, but obviously handprints have the potential to reveal vastly more about this creature’s behavior.

After another Olympic Project presentation about an alleged sasquatch nest site, complete with photos that indeed appear to be very large ground nests made primarily out of huckleberry twigs, Christopher Noel took the stage to tell us about autism and bigfoot.  I read a book by Noel a while back because it was a free download for the Kindle.  In the book, Noel offers that certain behaviors common to individuals on the autistic spectrum are common to bigfoot as well. He speculates that these behaviors increase the bigfoot’s chances of survival in the wilds.  He calls this the Sasquatch Savant Theory.  I’m just gonna leave this right here.

In another odd juxtaposition — the speaker following Noel was Dr. Jeff Meldrum.  I was especially interested to see Meldrum’s presentation as I had only gotten to see snippets of it at the Big Sky Bigfoot Conference.  Meldrum expressed his displeasure at the public perception of bigfoot as “paranormal,” bemoaning that his book is located not in zoology sections of bookstores and libraries, but in the occult or new-age areas.  (Dewey, of the decimals, categorizes it as “controversial knowledge.”)  He complained — as do I — that the so-called “skeptical” literature of the bigfoot world is anything but.  And like at the Montana conference, he urged the crowd to act as citizen scientists, collecting evidence in a systematic way that can be verified by scientific means.  The implication, of course, is that taking a no-nonsense scientific approach to the problem of sasquatch will elevate its study in the public eye.

I was waiting for David Paulides.  A one-time bigfoot researcher and former law enforcement officer, Paulides has more recently turned his attention to missing-persons cases, writing a series of six (!) books under the title of Missing 411.  He was the anchor of the program and was allotted an hour and a half for his presentation, whereas everyone else had gotten a slim hour.  Paulides’ talk, after taking some potshots at the “bigfoot community,” was a catalog of missing-person case after missing-person case after… well, you get the idea.  It soon began to feel that I was at the “Missing Persons’ Summit” instead of the Sasquatch Summit.  So mainly I had been waiting for Paulides because I really, really wanted the man to make some sort of bigfoot connection, although I didn’t have any expectation that he would do so.  What connections DOES he make?  Well — a lot of people who go missing are doctors!  How can that be a coincidence?  And — a lot of people who go missing are picking berries or mushrooms in the woods! How can that be a coincidence?

So, essentially, the answer to the question “What connections does he make?” is really “None.  None at all.”  But he sure does have a lot of books to sell, and by refusing to make these connections, he assures that he can sell them to the widest possible audience.  I’ve stated before on this blog and I will state again now: There is no good that can come of stirring the pot.  And anyway, what’s the point of collecting hundreds of stories and not formulating a theory to connect them?

Well.  What were my impressions of my virgin Sasquatch Summit? They were right, it was a blast.  It was also large; I believe more chairs had to be brought in to accommodate the hundreds of people who came.  I learned that you can have an eclectic line-up of presenters which includes both “flesh-and-blood” and paranormal believers, and that it can actually work, for the most part.  The Summit affirmed my belief that we CAN all get along despite having disparate positions on the phenomenon. But I also learned that I have real issues with people presenting theories as facts, and perhaps even bigger issues with people presenting facts that have no theories.

The Summit caused me to think quite a bit about the responsible presentation of information.  If you accept as fact when someone tells you, for example, “This tree branch was broken because of sasquatch; I may not have evidence of this, but I know it to be true,” — that’s not critical thinking.  To flip that coin, if you say (as do many of the so-called “skeptics”), “I believe bigfoot does not exist, therefore bigfoot does not exist,” your brain may as well leap out of your skull in a frenetic and desperate attempt to find a better home.  Similarly, if you say, “I have documented hundreds of cases of missing people but I refuse to make any logical connections unifying them,” — what the heck is even the POINT?  Without a logical framework, ANY and ALL presumptions fail.

Going in, I knew it would be a weird blend of flesh-and-blood and paranormal believers, but I didn’t expect the Sasquatch Summit to be so thought-provoking.  I also didn’t expect the casino food to be so good (I’ll be thinking of Friday night’s fisherman’s platter probably for the rest of my life).  So I’m glad I went.  As the last conference of 2016, Sasquatch Summit was a definite winner.

 

 

 

Film review — Boggy Creek Monster: The Truth Behind the Legend

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For their first two documentaries, the Small Town Monsters production crew chose a pair of little-known bigfoot incidents: the Minerva Monster (near my Ohio hometown) and the Whitehall, NY sightings (which I reviewed here).  Both films were nicely produced and preserved for posterity these fascinating, but nearly forgotten, bits of bigfoot Americana.

This time they tackle the famous Fouke Monster of Fouke, Arkansas, immortalized in the 1972 b-movie docudrama, The Legend of Boggy Creek.  To be honest, I thought this was a bit of a departure; there’s arguably no better-known bigfoot case in modern America.  I knew they’d make another good movie, but what I didn’t know was how much more there was to be told.

Whether you choose to view it as a bigfoot movie or as an interesting little bit of folk-history, Boggy Creek Monster succeeds.  Lyle Blackburn serves as the film’s narrator and our guide through the swamplands surrounding the small southern Arkansas town. His laid-back southern personality is perfect for the role. Blackburn literally wrote the book on Boggy Creek, a book I shamefully have not yet read.  He’s clearly very personally invested in the story, having a fascination with the Fouke Monster since childhood.  The film follows Blackburn as he interviews “monster” eyewitnesses and revisits scenes from the 1972 movie.

The crew found plenty of people willing to go on camera to share their experiences with the monster, including the retired sheriff who investigated the actual case that was profiled in Legend.  A lengthy and intriguing recorded interview with Smokey Crabtree, a lifelong Fouke resident who was instrumental in the 1972 movie, is featured as well. (Crabtree passed away last year at age 88, a reminder that it’s vital to preserve oral history while we still can.)

They also speak with a number of ordinary folks — some of whom have never publicly shared their stories — who have sighted the monster right up to recent years.  While nationwide interest in the Fouke Monster died down after the initial release of Legend, that wasn’t the end of the story.  Far from it.  Bigfoot-type creatures are reported in the area fairly regularly.  The witness tales are compelling, made even more so by the filmmakers’ choice to interview them right there on the mucky Arkansas backroads.  In fact, to say the filmmakers nailed the atmosphere of the area is an understatement — there’s not much creepier than a swamp, but in this movie, it’s absolutely chilling.

I also watched the “extras” on the DVD, something I don’t normally do, but it was fun to see the process behind filming the documentary.

While the wide variety of interviews and the scenery make the movie well worth watching, one thing that I would have liked to know more about is the general opinion of your average Fouke resident on the “monster” stories.  It was stated in the film that when the 1972 movie came out, about half the residents were all for it and half wanted nothing to do with it.  It seems the town is embracing its bigfoot heritage — a grocery store called Monster Mart and the local museum figure prominently in this documentary — but I wonder if that 50% is still reluctant to associate with the “legend.”

Some day maybe I’ll go find the answers for myself.  For now, I’ll have to content myself with living vicariously through Boggy Creek Monster, and look forward to the next Small Town Monsters movie, whatever it may be.

Boggy Creek Monster is available at Small Town Monsters.

 

 

 

Big Sky Bigfoot Conference ’16: A quick and dirty roundup

Well now, this post is a long time coming.

It’s sort of hard to write about an event you organized, mostly because you don’t experience that event in the same way other attendees do.  As organizer, I didn’t get the luxury of sitting down and listening to each presentation; I was worried about the temperature of the room, the arrangement of the chairs, the volume on the sound system, the dang laptop that I spaced off and left at my house instead of bringing to the venue, going off-schedule (so sorry, but sometimes it happens), and the people coming and going (please don’t let the doors slam, thank you!), and whether the vendors were doing well, and getting Bob Gimlin some chicken soup, and about selling our official t-shirts.  And what? We’re out of coffee AGAIN?

It’s exhausting.

But you know, despite being frazzled to the nth degree from not only all of this, but also from some really, really stressful and poorly timed family situations — I had an absolute blast.  Our lineup of speakers was awesome, and they shared excellent information with our many attendees.  So here’s my quick-and-dirty synopsis for anyone who may be interested:

The Big Sky Bigfoot Conference was held Fri & Sat, Oct. 21-22 at the beautiful Bitterroot River Inn & Conference Center in Hamilton, Montana.  The weather was quite pleasant, with sunny skies and temperatures in the 50s each day.  The venue looks out over the Bitterroot mountains, with the Bitterroot River a stone’s throw away.

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l-r, Caitlin Ertz, Thomas Ertz & Nell Ertz; the author; John Mionczynski; Kathy Strain; Bob Gimlin; Jeff Meldrum; Tom Yamarone; Russell Acord.  Not pictured: Misty Allabaugh and Tom Brodhead

 

We kicked off on Friday evening with a town-hall-style meeting led by Columbia Falls, Montana bigfoot researcher Misty Allabaugh.  This was open to the public and all attendees were invited to share their bigfoot experiences.  The venue was absolutely packed for this, and it was a wonderful meeting for both the experiencers and for those who came out of general interest.

Saturday morning we started off with a presentation by Montana BFRO researchers Tom Brodhead & Thomas Ertz.  They, along with Thomas’ wife Caitlin and their adorable daughter Nell, had set up a table with detailed area maps for folks to mark their sightings.  They received several hopeful reports to follow up.

Bigfoot novelist, researcher, and Bitterroot area native Russell Acord spoke next, giving a presentation on the likelihood of a sasquatch-sized creature remaining hidden in the wilds of North America.  Russ also did a bigfooting q & a with the audience.

Anthropologist Kathy Strain, author of Giants, Cannibals and Monsters: Bigfoot in Native Culture, next gave her presentation on Native American interpretations of sasquatch.  She showed one particular film of a traditional dance that had the hairs standing up on the back of my neck — very cool stuff.

Next up, Tom Yamarone, Bob Gimlin, and Jeff Meldrum shared some recollections during a tribute for recently passed bigfoot pioneer John Green.  Green’s groundbreaking research, compiled into several books, most notably the classic Sasquatch: The Apes Among Us, has had a tremendous impact on subsequent generations of bigfooters.  Yamarone, a bigfoot songwriter, also shared the debut of a new verse in his song about Green, in part: “When the day finally comes and his vision is seen/ Sasquatch will look back and say, ‘Thank you, John Green.'”

After the lunch break, wildlife biologist John Mionczynski shared his insights on how a sasquatch might survive in our area as well as his own history researching the subject since the 1970s.

Tom Yamarone next entertained us with more songs, including “The Ballad of Albert O” and “Roger and Bob (Rode Out That Day).”  Yamarone has a passion for the history of bigfooting and he led smoothly into the penultimate (and possibly most highly anticipated) speaker of the day: Bob Gimlin himself.

The 49th anniversary of the Patterson-Gimlin film had passed just two days earlier — the day Tom and Bob, oddly enough, drove into Montana from Bob’s home in Yakima, WA.  Gimlin told the crowd, after asking us not to throw any rotten tomatoes, about his experience the day the film evidence was captured: how he covered Roger Patterson with his rifle after Patterson’s horse freaked out; how Patterson scrambled after the creature trying to get something on camera; how he (Gimlin) wanted to pursue the creature even after Patterson ran out of film, but did not because they needed to go find the missing horse; how he covered the creature’s tracks with chunks of cottonwood bark to protect them from that evening’s rainstorm.  It is a fascinating account, coming from the only man in the world who was there when the historic footage was filmed.

After Gimlin was finished, we presented him with a card and a cake, because the previous Tuesday had been his 85th birthday.  I hope the cake was tasty; I was good and didn’t even try to sneak any.

Dr. Jeffrey Meldrum spoke as the final presenter of the day.  Meldrum, author of Sasquatch: Legend Meets Science, is one of the few credentialed academics to give the sasquatch conundrum serious scientific review.  Meldrum encouraged the crowd to act as citizen-scientists, collecting evidence in a measured way and not jumping to conclusions.  He asked us to consider, when doing bigfoot research, what we as individuals have to bring to the table.  It’s the people, he says, who are likely ultimately to solve the bigfoot puzzle.  It was gratifying to see the conference end on such a thought-provoking note.

So there you have it, the official Big Sky Bigfoot Conference overview.  If you attended, I hope  you learned something, had a great time, and maybe made some new friends.  If you presented — you are fantastic and I can not thank you enough for all the hard work you put into your presentations.  Super-special shout-outs to Bridget and the Bitterroot River Inn  crew for all your assistance; and to the ever-fabulous Becky Cook, without whom none of this may have been possible.  Many, many thanks to EVERYONE who supported BSBC ’16.  I hope to see you all again next year. 😉

Big Sky Bigfoot 2016 Sponsors:

Sasquatchprints.com

Lady Green Designs

Bitterroot Brew Pub

Paranormal Montana

Sasquatch Syndicate

Al’s Cycle

Bitterroot River Inn & Conference Center

Special thanks to:

Cabela’s

Black Cat Bake Shop

Door prizes generously provided by:

Al’s Cycle

Bozeman Paranormal

Creatureplica

Expedition: Bigfoot, The Sasquatch Museum

Daniel Perez

Green Ribbon Books

Small Town Monsters

Sasquatch Coffee

Lawdog’s Saloon

Wayne Barnes

Bigfoot in Montana: Exotic species?

After my last post, I emailed the Montana department of Fish, Wildlife, and Parks (FWP) through their web site to inquire about the state’s regulations on hunting sasquatch — and actually received a response!  I regret to say, however, absolutely nothing has been cleared up.  According to the emails I received, regulations on hunting bigfoot-type creatures in my state “would most likely not exist.”

I’m withholding the name of the person who wrote back to me, but other than that, here is our exchange.

Greetings.  This is possibly an odd question, but one that I’m curious about.  A family member brought the following to my attention:
http://www.dailykos.com/story/2016/10/09/1580008/-Breaking-News-Bigfoot-hunting-is-legal-in-Texas-but-not-in-California

Obviously each state is different.  As a Montana resident, my question is — if bigfoot creatures exist in Montana, what would be the regulations on hunting them?

Thanks
Sarah

 

Sarah,

Great question! I am not a legal expert and appreciate your understanding in my honest attempt to candidly answer your question without confusing you further or complicating this hypothetical situation.
You are correct in that each state varies in the ways hunting regulations are created and enforced. Most likely Bigfoot would be classified as a non-native exotic species. Hypothetically, if Bigfoot creatures do exist in Montana the regulations on hunting them would most likely not exist- this would be due to its classification as exotic species.

“Exotic species” are any species that are not native to that ecosystem. They are broken into three categories:

Controlled

“Controlled species” means live, exotic wildlife species, subspecies, or hybrid of species that may not be imported, possessed, sold, purchased or exchanged in Montana unless a person obtains written authorization from the department.

Noncontrolled

“Noncontrolled species” are live, exotic wildlife species, subspecies, or hybrid of that species that may be possessed, sold, purchased or exchanged in the state without a permit, except as provided in this subchapter or in Montana statutes or federal statutes. An uncontrolled species may not be released into the wild unless authorized in writing by the department. This definition does not authorize the sale, possession, transportation, importation or exportation of a noncontrolled species in violation of any applicable federal or state statute or regulation or county or city ordinance.

Prohibited

“Prohibited species” are live, exotic wildlife species, subspecies, or hybrid of that species, including viable embryos or gametes, that may not be possessed, sold, purchased, exchanged, or transported in Montana, except as provided in MCA 87-5-709 or ARM 12.6.2220.

Hopefully this helps, and please let me know if you have any further questions. Check out this link for more info:

http://fwp.mt.gov/fishAndWildlife/species/default.html

Thank you-

 

Hi  —

Wow, thank you for your quick response.  I certainly wasn’t expecting one so soon.  I guess the only obvious question is why would they be determined to be non-native?  If a creature which isn’t common to Montana migrates to Montana naturally, through its own power, is it still ‘non-native’ for legal purposes?
Cheers,
Sarah

Hi Sarah,

 

Excellent question- I would argue that  the fact the creature isn’t common to Montana and migrates to Montana (natural or unnatural) is what makes it a “non-native.” Regardless of how it gets there the fact remains that it is a non-native species. The classification is required in order to determine the correct way to quantify and care for the species according to Montana statute.

If we can get past the state’s assumption that bigfoot are not native to Montana — I feel like Montana needs to update its codes on “exotic species” as the regulations cited by the FWP representative imply that the questionable species has been bodily transported into the state.  With bigfoot, this is probably unlikely.  Unless I pick up one who’s hitchhiking next time I’m in Washington state, bring it home in my Tercel, and release it into the wilderness.  I guess that’s not so unlikely after all.

 

To kill or not to kill: that is the (legal) question

 

I’m sure many of you are aware of the famed ordinance in Skamania County, Washington, which prohibits bigfoot-killing.  But what about the laws in other places?  There’s a lot of ground to cover here in the good old U.S. of A.

This helpful article clears up the muddy waters of game regulations as they relate to bigfoot in California (don’t kill ’em) and Texas (go for it!)  Sigh… oh, Texas.

Breaking News: Bigfoot hunting is legal in Texas, but not in California!

From the above:

“The lack of confirmation of this alleged animal’s existence brings into question whether or not it occurs naturally in California,” according to the agency (California Department of Fish and Wildlife-ed). “If Bigfoot occurs naturally in the state, then it would be defined as a non-game mammal pursuant to California Fish and Game Code Section 415.”

In order to take a non-game mammal legally in California, it must be listed in the California Code of Regulations, which Bigfoot is not.

“If Bigfoot does not occur naturally in California then it would not be defined as a non-game mammal and could not be taken legally… unless the Bigfoot was causing property damage (in which case it could be depredated) or if a Bigfoot was considered a public safety threat (in which case the animal could be taken).”

Conversely, according to Texas wildlife officials, our big hairy friend is a “nonprotected nongame animal:”

A nonprotected nongame animal may be hunted on private property with landowner consent by any means, at any time and there is no bag limit or possession limit.

Glad that’s cleared up.  Now, on to find out the regulations here in Montana.