Month: October 2017

Strip Mine Report 10/21

Well, it’s getting to be that time when I start wondering about those last few bites before I put the poles away and call it a year. It’s been a very rewarding year in terms of time on the water as well as the quality and quantity of fish that have taken a liking to my lures. But hey, not quite done yet.

9:42am 14″ 1-8 Red Eye Shad

Date: October 21, 2017
Locations: Little John Conservation Club (3 lakes)
Time: 8:15am-2:05pm
Weather: Partly cloudy to sunny/windy to very windy
Air Temp: 61-77F
Water Temp: no reading
Totals: 19 bass
Booyah Counterstrike spinnerbait (salt & pepper) – 9 bass
Strike King Red Eye Shad (sexy shad) – 6 bass
Strike King KVD 2.5 Rattling Squarebill crankbait (sexy shad) – 4 bass
Top Bass: 2-6 Booyah Spinnerbait
Top 5 Weight: 8-4 (2-6,1-8,1-8,1-7,1-7)

10:39am 14.5″ 1-7 Booyah Spinnerbait

Notes & Nonsense

First Stop – With several bodies of water to choose from, it can present a challenge when deciding where to start on one of these fishing trips. This time around I rolled the dice on a spot that I don’t fish a whole lot, part gut feeling and part wanting to give a couple other potential spots some time to warm a bit. I scratched out three on a spinnerbait around some wood, a favorite fall approach, but nothing of note and it was time for a change of scenery after an hour of casting.

Stop Two – My second stop has been my most productive fishing hole the last several years in terms of quality bass so hopes were high to fool something good. I got my shot as one in about the four-pound range took a swipe at my Red Eye Shad just a few feet from the boat but came up short on the strike. I worked the area over thoroughly two more times with a range of presentations but failed to get a second chance. Eleven bass in just over two hours was fun but Top Bass only tipped the scales at 1-8 and only three met or exceeded the 12” mark.

1:17pm 14.5″ 1-8 Booyah Spinnerbait

1:24pm Top Bass 16.5″ 2-6 Booyah Spinnerbait

1:52pm 14″ 1-7 Red Eye Shad

Final Destination – Having worked over my big bass spot pretty good I decided to take my last shot of the day on a lake where I’d put a hurt on the bass several years prior on a similar day where the wind was howling into a wooded pocket. On this trip, the wind direction was slightly different but I did finally find an area where it had a few bass stacked on a point. Four of my five bass on the lake came from this area along a slight dropoff at the edge of a submerged weedline. Three were on a cool spinnerbait retrieve that crawled the bait over the weed tops and then just kind of killed it at the drop to let it fall slightly where the bass were ready to pounce, including the day’s Top Bass at 2-6. Even with some serious surface chop, the clear water allowed me to see a couple of the bass strike as the bait jumped sideways letting me know I had a fish before I ever felt any pressure.

Had a couple gear casualties on this outing

The Cost – While chucking a buzzbait hoping for a little late season magic my reel handle came flying off. Although I did not hear anything splash, apparently something went into the drink as I found several components scattered about the bottom of the boat but not enough. And somehow or another, I busted the tip off my Berkley Cherrywood rod either in transit to or while unloading at my last stop. Both items are not top of the line as that’s not how I roll but still stinks when equipment gets damaged. The rod was really tough to take as it was an outstanding lipless crank rod at 7’ medium action. Oh well, Christmas is coming into view.

So, a delayed report here from my latest outing and here we are in November. My goal is a November bass to end the year so stay tuned to see how that pans out as weather and responsibilities may make it a challenge. Likely one more shot before it’s all said and done. In the meantime, I do have a backlog of Top 5 submissions coming your way along with another batch of Top 10 tunes. Talk to you later. Troy

Bigfoot – Final Words

“Did you ever have to make up your mind…it’s not often easy and not often kind, did you ever have to make up your mind?” – Did You Ever Have to Make Up Your Mind, The Lovin’ Spoonful (1966)

I take a crack at the Bigfoot possibilities as we end our trek with nine final, alliterative and descriptive words, followed by my personal vision of how I’d like to see the mystery play out.

Myth – Folklore is fun and fascinating but science rules the day in my book. There is enough wonder in the workings of nature without having to invoke fairies, nymphs or various deities to explain the spectacle. And while it is attention getting to find a fictional guardian of the great outdoors (Bigfoot as Smokey Bear) it’s still up to us to get our act together in the end when managing our natural resources. This in turn will help to preserve those places off the beaten path where at least the possibility of legend can live on.

Monster – Mankind seems to need a bogeyman. But just as there’s nothing hiding under the bed or behind the closet door, perhaps there’s no furry giant lurking in the woods. Such tales simply continue to keep kids in their beds, a modern equivalent of preventing adventurous youngsters from wandering too far from the campfire in the old days (certainly would’ve worked on me). Besides, pick up the paper, turn on the tube, dial in your radio or check the internet and you’ll find that there is more “monster” in our own kind than ever reported about those mysterious hairy beasts. Sadly, the “-kind” portion of “mankind” or “humankind” doesn’t universally apply to our species.

Misidentification – Rene Dahinden once said, “I wouldn’t believe my own eyes” in regards to having a Bigfoot sighting. Ask yourself how many times you’ve seen or heard something in the woods or elsewhere only to later find that your mind and senses deceived. I guess the figments of some people’s imaginations are just more entrenched than others. I’ve spotted many muskies that turned out to be logs, morels that were corn cobs, turkeys that were clumps of debris and fur in a trap set that was a patch of dead grass. Why once I even saw a squirrel sitting on an opossum’s head in a willow tree. Turns out the opossum is still a knot on the trunk and the squirrels come and go.

Monkey Suit – You’d have to be nuts or bulletproof in some locations but it is entirely within the realm of possibility that some fool would don a fur suit and run around the woods. Coupled with today’s special effects and computer graphics one could certainly conjure up a credible sighting. To me, one of the major drawbacks of such a scenario is the inability of people to keep a secret. If it involves more than a couple individuals, somebody’s got a big mouth.

Manifestation – Cultures differ in their realities based on tradition and experience. Some Pacific Northwest Native American tribes view Sasquatch as an entity just as real as the bear, cougar or deer that inhabit their environment. Others incorporate various spiritual beings into their world view as well. Perhaps the rest of us have just lost touch with the ability to open our mind to such concepts as our magic resides in computers, cell phones and microwave ovens.

Mystery – We humans are a curious lot and are taken in by the unknown resulting in adherence to religion, science, the supernatural or some combination of each. But our curiosity and insecurity can lead us to fall prey to the power of suggestion and cloud our judgment. Dr. Grover Krantz offered up an apt tongue in cheek quote regarding such an affliction in stating, “I’ll see it when I believe it.”

Monkey – Large, possibly bipedal primates appear in the fossil record so it is not entirely out of the question that such species could still exist. Evolution and population dynamics, however, would make the likelihood of such animals residing in the diverse locations where sightings have been reported over the years rather slim. Small, remote pockets would stand a chance but it’s still somewhat hard to fathom.

Man – Similar to the above, perhaps a relict group of hominids has continued to survive undetected by modern man. Speaking of “modern man”, at some point we accepted the designation Homo sapiens meaning “wise man” in light of our highly developed brains and willingness to put ourselves at the top of the evolutionary ladder. If old Bigfoot is out there and stakes a claim to a nearby branch on the family tree, he might offer up a petition to change the “wise” half of our self imposed scientific name. Especially in light of some of the injustices perpetrated by “superior wise men” on “inferior wise men.”

Misnomer – Let’s say Bigfoot turns out to be “man.” How would you judge the “superior” hominid? What would the criteria be? For in my opinion, Bigfoot possesses a set of physical and mental qualities that would certainly insure his survival over ours should we ever have to revert to the wild. Most humans have long lost the ability to cut it in the absence of grocery stores, controlled climates and fancy attire. When push comes to shove, I’m betting on Bigfoot as the “superior” primate/hominid. And don’t forget that while many amongst our kind are loathe admitting it, that face staring back at you from the mirror is also an “animal.” I, for one, have no qualms with that.

In the end, I continue to waver on the question of Bigfoot’s existence. Every time I give up, something pulls me back in. I suddenly find myself transported back to 1977, staring up at that movie screen and seeing Bigfoot turn with a look over the shoulder at a ten year old kid full of wonder and perhaps a bit too charged up with gullibility. It’s a comforting place to visit, an occasional return to where anything is possible.

A place where my quest can reach a conclusion as I reach down to harvest the clump of ten morels that are just what I’d hoped to find during my previous hour of searching. One of the area’s worst mushroom hunters has finally scored, I think to myself. But I’m also reminded that the true reward is always the walk through the woods as the world welcomes spring and a palette of green about the forest canopy and floor.

Bending down for my bounty, the sound of a breaking branch snaps me out of yet another daydream. Glancing instinctively to my left, my eyes meet another set of eerily familiar, knowing eyes studying me through a nasty tangle of deadfalls and briars. Still kneeling over my initial find I slowly raise both hands, palms up in some sort of half hearted greeting. The eyes begin to climb as the figure rises from a squatting position behind its effective screen of natural camouflage. On a gut level there’s no doubt what I’m seeing yet my mind has trouble believing. Our eyes remain locked as time pauses and the sights and sounds of my surroundings fade away. When time resumes its normal course, the figure turns and gradually disappears from view leaving me to briefly wonder if it was ever really there.

Coming out of my surreal haze I realize that I’ve completely forgotten the camera in my fanny pack but it doesn’t matter and I feel no urge to pursue. Instead, I’m struck by the feeling that simply knowing is enough. Besides, my dawning senses have just informed me that I’m in dire need of a change of clothes.

Okay, a bit cheesy, perhaps. But, hey, I’ve never claimed to be a writer, I just write, a lot.

Happy Halloween and talk to you later (back to the fish and a few tunes in the upcoming days). Troy

Bigfoot – Foolproof Proof

“You’re gonna need a bigger boat.” – Jaws (1975)

Such was the stunned sentiment of police chief turned monster hunter, Martin Brody (portrayed by Roy Scheider), in the classic film. I’m sure many a person steered well clear of the ocean in the aftermath of the blockbuster that captured the imagination of a nation.
I find it interesting to ponder what sort of effect proving Bigfoot would have on those of us who enjoy wandering in the wild. Of course, I suppose a lot would depend on the temperament of the beast and his buddies once the word gets out that they’ve been discovered. But for now, that’s putting the cart before the horse. First we have to determine existence which leads to the following question:

“What are we gonna need, indeed?”

Alleged print from California

For the “we believe” camp, footprints and eyewitness accounts are enough, but what of such evidence? Hundreds of footprint casts have been collected over the years which show variation, anatomical accuracy and even injury in one notable case. Forensic examination has shown a fair percentage of these casts also contain what are known as dermal ridges, the equivalent of fingerprints. In addition, many have been found in remote locations where the odds of discovery are slim thus making a hoaxer a rather odd sort. The argument has been made that such a wide array of unique, widespread and detailed prints provides concrete (or would that be plaster) proof. At the very least, it would make for an elaborate hoax perpetrated by a substantial, coordinated and ambitious bunch of pranksters spanning at least seven decades.

Alleged photo of Florida’s Skunk Ape

And what sort of stock can be placed on photos and video? Computer technology has certainly muddied the water in recent years. With a computer, the right software and a little work you can pretty much put anything or anyone anywhere. Add access to the internet, a few clicks of a mouse and a photo/video sharing website and you’ve got the potential for an instant sensation, “going viral” I guess they call it these days. Yet there still remain some “old school” pieces of such evidence that continue to confound even after thorough modern analysis.

The reliability of eyewitness testimony is always up for debate and in the Bigfoot mystery the roster of those reporting sightings is a general cross section of society. Among this group, however, are seasoned outdoor enthusiasts, law enforcement personnel, forestry workers and fish and game officials. The significance of these individuals resides in the fact that they are either intimately familiar with the environments where they’ve seen the creature or they make a living in a field that requires tuning in to important aspects of chance encounters. It’s easy to dismiss many sightings as overactive imaginations, mistaken identity or just plain fabrication for a bit of excitement; but all of them?

Alleged Yeti scalp from Nepal

While eyewitness testimony can be an integral aspect of the criminal justice process, the scientific method will demand some eventual forensic proof. At the very least, this would likely mean some unique DNA obtained from a hair, blood, tissue or fecal sample. Even so, there will still be those in the scientific community who will need the ultimate and undeniable piece of evidence, a Bigfoot body.
With that comes a whole slew of ethical and logistical questions.

Is Bigfoot man or monkey?

Would the “hunter” wind up famous or infamous?

Would the potential financial windfall be worth the inevitable publicity nightmare?

A deer, a bear or a turkey is one thing, but could you pull the trigger on a biped and possible relative?

What would it take to knock down such a beast?

And, consider this, what if you only injure your target and he winds up more than a little upset?

What about a live capture with a trap or tranquilizer?

Then where does he go, stuffed in The Smithsonian, caged in the monkey house at the local zoo, off to grade school or possibly in a boxcar making the rounds with a circus or freakshow?

And getting around to the “bigger boat” quote, how do you propose to haul out a 7-8’ body weighing in the neighborhood of 600-800 pounds according to many eyewitnesses after taking him down in some remote patch of wilderness? Do you ask for help and risk somebody stealing your thunder or greedily guard your potential cash cow? And do you really want to be remembered as “the guy who shot Bigfoot” when it is no longer farcical and fictional tabloid fodder?

Probably not, if you take him down in Skamania County located in southwest Washington state. Since April 1, 1969 a law has been on the books stating that “any willful, wanton slaying of such creatures shall be deemed a felony” subject to substantial fine and/or imprisonment. In 1984 the ordinance was also amended to consider such a killing as homicide should the coroner deem the creature to be “humanoid.”

Regardless of the manner in which the discovery goes down, the quest for proof then ceases. The late Dr. Grover Krantz put it this way while attending a Bigfoot symposium back in the late 1990’s. “I will be very happy when it’s all over. Most of the other people at this meeting they’re gonna be very unhappy when it’s all over because one of their main reasons for existence is gone. Because once the scientists all take over, they’ll shove all these amateurs aside.”

Alleged “Bigfoot” body known as “The Minnesota Iceman.”

While I understand the need for a body, I kind of hold out hope that one never shows up as it would sure ruin all of the fun. Thus, if Bigfoot would ever happen to step out of legend and into my crosshairs I can state with certainty that I’d let him walk. I don’t need the grief or the guilt. Besides, I’d have my answer.

Yet again, Dr. Krantz was spot on in summing up this dilemma stating, “If the time comes when I have the choice of shooting or not, it will be the most difficult decision I have ever been faced with. And, however I decide to act, I will regret it for the rest of my life.”

Well said.

Talk to you tomorrow. Troy

Bigfoot – Close to Home

“Forward troubles Illinois, lock the front door, oh boy! Look at all the happy creatures dancin’ on the lawn…doo, doo, doo lookin’ out my back door.” – Credence Clearwater Revival, Lookin’ Out My Back Door (1970)

Although we are no closer to solving our mystery than when I was a kid, the reports just seem to keep on piling up. As we’ve explored previously, the world is home to a variety of purported hairy monsters with a number of variations occurring in Alaska and the lower 48. But what about the possibility of having an encounter close to home?

Now, I realize that my blog can wind up anywhere but since I reside in West Central Illinois, I’m going to explore some lore from my region of The Land of Lincoln. Should you wish to research reports from other locales I would suggest consulting The Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization’s (BFRO) sightings database.

According to the BFRO, 83 of Illinois’ 102 counties have an entry in the database and Illinois ranks fourth in the U.S. with 284 submitted reports trailing only Washington (635), California (436) and Florida (312). Keep in mind, however, that these are only the reports that eyewitnesses have gotten around to submitting. It stands to reason that there are countless others that remain unreported for various reasons. People may not be aware that such a forum exists, maybe they are too embarrassed to pass along their encounter (despite relative anonymity) or perhaps they don’t want to create a stir near home due to a potential wave of curiosity seekers. Then again, they may not believe the experience themselves or are simply content to keep their sighting private.

To each their own, but I enjoy regularly poring over the reports to see what’s new in Illinois or to explore reports from neighboring states. For me, it’s akin to reading a ghost story that I can actually relate to after having spent many a night around a campfire pondering things weird and wild. And the closer the report to home, the more it falls under the “must read” category.


As good as my family can report while Messin’ with Bigfoot – McDonough County, IL 7-4-17

In addition to the BFRO database, the book entitled I-Files: True Reports of Unexplained Phenomena in Illinois details a number of sightings within a couple hours’ drive from Knox County, where I spent 47 of my 50 years. Among the counties included are Fulton, Hancock, Henderson, Henry, McDonough and Tazewell. The list of communities near which these encounters took place consists of Canton, East Peoria, Gulfport, Hamilton, Kewanee, Lewistown, Pekin, Vermont and Warsaw. Well now, there has to be something to those reports because I’ve been to those places and some of those people seem pretty familiar. They wouldn’t make this stuff up, would they?

Even much closer to home back in the mid 90’s was a report out of East Galesburg involving a woman who was frightened by an “ape” that approached her vehicle late one night. I can’t recall whether I heard this report on the radio or saw it posted in the newspaper but I’ve failed to turn up anything in the archives at the local library. I suppose it doesn’t really matter anyway as it disappointingly turned out to be a case of significant drunkenness upon further investigation. Imagination and inebriation are quite the combination.
More recently, in June of 2011, a footprint and later a headless rabbit were discovered amidst some apple trees south of Springfield. Further information on “The Chatham Bigfoot” can be found here and an internet search will turn up more than a few additional articles to keep you busy.

And while you’re searching, why not go looking for something called “The Cole Hollow Road Monster?” This hairy creature, nicknamed Cohomo, prompted several hundred calls to various Tazewell County law enforcement bodies during the spring and summer of 1972. Both the I-Files book and the Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization website provide interesting tales and details on those wild few months. Among the fun was the prospect of administering lie detector tests to witnesses, an accidental shooting amongst a posse of searchers, Cohomo spotted swimming in the Illinois River and a report of strange lights descending in the vicinity on a night in late July.


Area of Henderson, County IL in the vicinity of the sighting described below.

However, my all time favorite local report comes from a Henderson County turkey hunter in May of 2008 and can be found on the BFRO website as Report #23949. The encounter occurred near Rozetta which I’m sure is “parts unknown” (to borrow an old professional wrestling term) to nearly everyone. But for around forty years, my dad and uncle had free reign on several parcels of land right where this sighting took place. Although we’ve now lost access to the largest portion of the ground we collectively called “Wilson’s”, for many years it was an outstanding outdoor classroom for hunting, fishing, trapping, camping and hiking. Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends featured annual camping visits and each November found us making the daily trek of several miles along the creek bed running through an area known as “The Big Timber” for the first week of trapping season. Throughout the years we never saw, heard or smelled any clues, but then again, we were more focused on fur, navigating the rocky creek bottom and retelling tales of previous wilderness experiences. Yet, I couldn’t help but imagine after finding this report that while we didn’t see him, I’d sure like to think that old Bigfoot had his eyes on us over the years from landmarks along the trapline like Eagle’s Point, The Rose Bowl, The Waterfall or The Big Sycamore.

A favorite Henderson County, IL outdoor spot we call “The Waterfall”, was Bigfoot keeping an eye on us over the years?

Perhaps if we’d only turned around to look back rather than always looking forward in anticipation of what the next trap might hold…
Talk to you tomorrow. Troy

Bigfoot – Big Suit

“Send lawyers, guns and money, the **** has hit the fan.” – Lawyers, Guns and Money, Warren Zevon (1978)

Imagine that after spending your entire existence striving to avoid human contact you suddenly realize that you’re going to have to devote all of your free time to hanging around a bunch of lawyers.

Could this be a major factor in our mystery?

If Bigfoot ever decided to show his face, he’d stand to make a fortune in appearance fees assuming somebody didn’t try and shoot and stuff him first. In addition, there could be a hefty windfall from lawsuits over using his likeness without written or verbal consent. Of course, that begs the question of whether or not Bigfoot can speak, read or write, but I digress yet again into potential foolishness.

In reality, however, Bigfoot is big business and a big star, whether he exists or not. His impressive resume includes appearances in advertising campaigns, television shows, movies, music, books, magazines, tabloids, sporting events and web pages.

For example, consider this scenario that could have taken place in my neck of the woods over the years. For starters, let’s say you and some buddies stop by Pizza Hut to tackle the old Bigfoot pizza (introduced in 1983 and consisting of “two square feet of pizza cut into 21 slices”). To burn off such a mammoth meal you then head for a local golf course to try out your new Sasquatch driver ($89 to $200 on Ebay). After the round you could stop at one of the old Bigfoot Amocos to fill up the tank for the ride home (consult Bigfoot Directories for nearest location). While there, you could grab a soda to pour into your Yeti tumbler along with some Jack Links beef jerky whose “Messin’ with Sasquatch” commercials are quite humorous. The product isn’t too bad either, just a bit pricey, perhaps on the offhand chance that they’ll someday have to compensate their star. Anyway, you get the picture.

Speaking of pictures, Bigfoot’s acting career dates back at least to the 70’s. Who can forget Steve Austin, The Six Million Dollar Man, periodically battling Bigfoot (portrayed by Andre the Giant and Ted Cassidy of Lurch fame)?

And Han Solo’s sidekick was technically a Wookiee, but let’s face it, Chewbacca was just an intergalactic Bigfoot while in the 80’s, Harry and the Hendersons would cast the furry beast as an animal that was just as curious about us as we were of him.

Of course, we can’t leave out Bigfoot’s Himalayan cousin, the Yeti or Abominable Snowman. A highlight of his movie career is the 1964 stop motion animation classic, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. It seems that the Bumble (or Abominable Snow Monster of the North) was originally a bad guy but changed his stripes after Yukon Cornelius and Hermie the Elf pulled his teeth or something. Later, the Star Wars series appeared to give another shout out to ape-like monsters with the ice cave dwelling Wampa in 1980’s Empire Strikes Back. The Abominable Snowman also appears in Pixar’s 2001 release, Monsters, Inc., entertainingly voiced by John Ratzenberger (Cliff Clavin of Cheers fame).

Should the disproportion of fictional portrayals dismay any of you true believers, don’t give up hope. For years you could just grab the latest edition of “The Weekly World News” to buoy your spirits. The publication decided to close up shop on their printed tabloid with a final issue in late August of 2007 but do not despair. They have elected to continue with an online version dedicated to the unusual, inane and, how do I put this…stupid. If you insist on believing anything you read, then you no doubt already know that Bigfoot is alive and well. In fact, he has recently recorded an album of duets with Elvis, robbed the Tooth Fairy and eaten Donner and Blitzen.


Bigfoot is no stranger to the world of sports, either. The NBA’s old Seattle Supersonics featured a mascot named Squatch that entertained at home games with a spectacular variety of antics and acrobatics. However, the franchise relocated to Oklahoma City and Squatch was last seen introducing his cousin, Slush, as the mascot for the Edmonton Rush of the National Lacrosse League (you indeed can find anything on the internet). In addition, Slush has now been joined by another cousin, Freez, who also performs during Rush games.

Getting back to a side note from the NBA, the Utah Jazz used to have a player that I always felt bore an uncanny resemblance to many eyewitness descriptions of Sasquatch. Mark Eaton stands 7’4” and played for Utah from 1982 through 1993, retiring as the second all-time leading shot blocker in NBA history. Imagine the sight of that figure strolling towards you out of the shadows.

A final suggestion for you to get a glimpse of the remarkable power of Bigfoot would be at your good old neighborhood Monster Truck Rally. Although I’m not particularly a Monster Truck Rally sort of guy, I understand that Bigfoot is considered the original Monster Truck and can still be sighted on the circuit.

My man, Zac, found Yeti.  Not sure if the expression represents victory or alarm over the price tag.

As you can see, Bigfoot/Sasquatch/Yeti (or at least their likeness) has had quite an impact on American pop culture going on fifty years. Once again, I’m sure there are plenty of other instances out there that have either slipped my mind or are simply unbeknownst to me. But that’s another aspect that is part of the enjoyment of meandering across the internet with this blog. Thanks to readers comments and e-mails, I get to refresh my memory or learn some new things, useful and otherwise (but no less important to me) along the way.

Talk to you tomorrow. Troy

Bigfoot – Surfin’ With Sasquatch

“Let’s go surfin’ now, everybody’s learning how, come on and safari with me.” – Surfin’ Safari, The Beach Boys (1962)

Today, we’re going to hang ten with Bigfoot on the vast sea of potentially useless knowledge.

What did we ever do without the World Wide Web?

I just typed “Bigfoot” into a search engine box and got 28,900,000 results in 0.73 seconds. Nearly all of which are probably useless, totally unrelated to what I’m looking for or defunct.

But that’s not really the point.

It’s simply awesome the amount of information and misinformation that is available these days. Now I can do my research and get my laundry done at the same time as I have a virtual library accessible from my home thanks to a collection of technological magic.
When I’m not doing something important on the internet like looking at baseball boxscores, submitting blog entries, making Facebook posts or watching vloggers fish, sometimes I go searching for Sasquatch. And while you would think that those millions of hits in the search would produce a boatload of insightful and up to date information, I’ve found that such is not the case. My wanderings have found only a handful to be current, many simply borrow from other sites and others just have no visual or informational appeal.

As a result, I’ve really got a rather scant list of recommendations.

The Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization ( – Plenty of stuff here with photos, video, discussion and you can even sign on for an upcoming Bigfoot expedition. You can also view The Mysterious Monsters, The Legend of Boggy Creek, A& E’s Ancient Mysteries: Bigfoot and In Search of Bigfoot here. My favorite aspect of the site, however, is the sightings database as I get a charge out of reading the creepy encounters (several of which took place right in my neck of the woods).

Animal Planet Finding Bigfoot page: ( – Fooled around on here checking out the teases and looks kind of fun. The delivery does a good job of pushing the creepy, tales around the campfire vibe as well. Of course, that’s the intent of a tease. Still not paying for television though.

North American Bigfoot Search – ( – A ton of stuff here could keep you busy for a while. Lots of reports as well as some interesting research into the history of disappearances in national parks over the years, never heard about that sort of thing before.

You know, this guy seems to have something going on with his website, too.  And how about finding Bigfoot in the palm of your hand these days?

Beyond these sites, I generally find the news reports on the latest sightings to be the most interesting and also occasionally get lost on YouTube perusing some “entertaining” clips. Despite such a proliferation of easily accessible evidence, we still lack a definitive answer, which I suspect is a winner for “the web.”

In regards to “the web”, I’m sure glad there was no such thing as the internet when I was a kid. Don’t know if I would have ever gone out in the woods after seeing what was truly out there according to all of the video “proof” one can find these days. You no longer need a campfire, ghost stories or conniving adults to get you a little creeped out. Nope, a device with internet access can achieve the same result in broad daylight in the comfort of your own home, all by yourself. That’s a whole other kind of scary.

Of course, this meager offering scarcely scratches the surface of Sasquatch sites and articles out there. In putting this series together I came across many articles from news organizations, online publications, personal blogs and the like that were of interest. It’s just far too much to list so I’ll leave it to you to explore as you see fit and keep me posted. But surfers beware as it’s quite a jungle of information out there in cyberspace and you just can’t blindly accept every nugget of “truth” you dig up along the way.

My research for this posting did turn up the following gem, however, that I felt summed it all up quite nicely.

“The greatest thing about the internet is that you can quote something and just totally make up the source.” – Ben Franklin

Talk to you tomorrow. Troy

Bigfoot – Squatch Watching

“I know it’s true, oh, so true, ‘cause I saw it on TV.” – I Saw It On TV, John Fogerty (1985)

“People tend to see what they want to see.” – Dr. Grover Krantz, Bigfoot buff

Over the years many films and documentaries have explored this mystery. Some good, some bad, but, you know, sometimes bad is good.

Back in the 1970’s there was a rash of documentary type films that graced television and movie screens. Among these were Erich von Daniken’s In Search of Ancient Astronauts narrated to the hilt by the great Rod Serling and adapted from the sensational (and highly illogical) 1968 book Chariots of the Gods. And on the heels of this sort of speculation came Schick Sunn Classic Pictures offerings such as In Search of Noah’s Ark, In Search of Historic Jesus and The Lincoln Conspiracy. Awesome stuff for a youngster and I watched and believed nearly all of them.

Not so much anymore.

Except, that is, for some of the Bigfoot stuff, old and new, which occasionally finds me scratching my head and thinking, “Well, maybe…” A little something called The Mysterious Monsters by the aforementioned Sunn Classic Pictures left quite a mark and I’ve been a Bigfoot fan ever since.

With the explosion of television channels in recent history the list of “monster hunting” programs has grown considerably. However, my frugality and fear of becoming a couch potato courtesy of the vast wasteland of the airwaves has made my home cable and satellite free since the mid 1990’s (I waste enough time on the internet anyway). Thus, I am not up to speed on the latest bunch of Animal Planet/Discovery/Learning/Outdoor Channel Bigfoot shows. I’ve considered playing some catch up online but time can be in short supply and I suppose most of it is the same anyway. Just change the time and place, add the tease of “the latest technology” and I imagine that we’re still right on the cusp of “proving the existence of this elusive beast, once and for all.”

So, I’ll leave the present endeavors for my fellow Bigfoot fans while I provide the following reviews. This list consists of documentaries that have included the good old “on the verge” tagline over the last forty five years as well as some “fictional” required viewing for the Bigfoot fan.

The Legend of Boggy Creek (1972) – A creepy documentary-type movie that used to show up on late night TV and scared kids like me. It deals with Arkansas’ Fouke Monster and while it hovers on pretty bad, that’s certainly part of the appeal. A buddy of mine lent me a copy of this one many years ago and unfortunately, I gave it back. According to promos, it’s one of those “based on real events” films. It would go on to spawn several other “Boggy Creek” pictures, some were sequels, some were not and I have no idea if they were as cheesy as the original.

The Mysterious Monsters (1976) – Back in 2011, I was able to purchase a copy of the film that captured my imagination all of those years ago at the West Cinemas in Galesburg, IL. After being tough to find for many years, the aptly named Cheesy Flicks Entertainment released the classic documentary on DVD in 2009. I’d longed to see this one again despite being afraid…afraid that it would disappoint. It didn’t, as it definitely lived up to the moniker of its new distributor. Peter Graves’ narration and his seeming sincerity are a treat along with the incredible 70s backdrop of sideburns, bell bottoms, horn rimmed glasses, reel to reel tapes, panel station wagons and a cigarette in every hand. Seriously though, the Patterson-Gimlin tape and appearances by much younger Bigfoot hunters Dr. Grover Krantz, Peter Byrne and John Green make this one worth the time. Notable quote (from Peter Graves featured as the opening lines of the film): “The facts that will be presented are true (dramatic pause for effect). This may be the most startling film you’ll ever see.” Yikes!

In Search Of – Leonard Nimoy (Spock of Star Trek fame) hosted this series that was great fare for a youngster as I never knew what manner of mystery was going to show up on the tube. The original series aired from 1976-1982 and began with the disclaimer that “This series presents information based in part on theory and conjecture.” It also seemed to conclude with a statement along the lines of “We are on the verge of solving this mystery…” Thirty-five years later I can’t help but wonder if we are “still on the verge” or truly know the answer but just won’t admit it because it would ruin all the fun.

A&E Ancient Mysteries: Bigfoot (1994) – Nimoy also narrates this documentary which is pretty standard Bigfoot history. One puzzling segment features a video shot by a pair of Bigfoot hunters, Scott Herriot and Daryl Owen, in California in October of 1992. For one thing it’s hard for me to figure out what they are claiming as a Bigfoot and for another, I can’t recall seeing this footage on subsequent programs. Regardless, I still enjoy this video and it serves as a solid introduction to the subject.

Sasquatch Odyssey: The Hunt for Bigfoot (1999) – Four of the most renowned experts (three are now deceased) who probably have a combined 200 years worth of Sasquatch experience share their thoughts on the elusive creature. Their history, feuds and banter are worth the price of admission. I also enjoyed the aspects of the film showing that “Bigfoot” is truly about more than just some large, hairy mystery.

Sasquatch: Legend Meets Science (2003) – I was eager to see this documentary when it originally aired on The Discovery Channel back in 2003. I was unable to have anyone record it but have since purchased a copy of the DVD. A cast of experts from various fields are assembled to analyze evidence such as footprints, video, vocalizations and potential sources of DNA. The researchers do their thing and then report in with their conclusions. Personally, I found this video interesting as it employed science over speculation to resolve the mystery once and for all. But guess what? Oh, I suppose you already know.

Harry and the Hendersons (1987) – Yes, I did, purchasing this one for the kids, of course. Despite being a Sasquatch fan, I’d honestly not seen this one, never had a desire to do so but eventually figured that it was the right thing to do. Not so much, as I wound up paying little attention. The whole time I couldn’t help but wonder if a classically trained star of stage and screen such as John Lithgow ever wondered as I did during the course of the film, “What am I doing?” It also reminded me of the night I watched Xanadu in its entirety, which not so coincidentally led to my decision to live without a cable bill all those years ago.

As noted previously, I’m out of the loop on a great deal of newer Bigfoot programming. Therefore, I am now counting on you guys and gals to provide reviews of the latest batch of “monster hunting” shows so I can invest my YouTube time wisely.

Talk to you tomorrow. Troy

Bigfoot – Recommended Reads

“A man is known by the books he reads…” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Oh, great!

When I was a kid, the Weekly Reader book orders and RIF (Reading Is Fundamental, remember that one) book fairs kept me well stocked on a variety of topics that fall under the umbrella of “pseudoscience.” In addition to Bigfoot, there were sea serpents, UFOs, ESP, poltergeists, The Bermuda Triangle, haunted houses and a myriad of other “strange but true” phenomena that tantalized my active imagination.
For better or worse, the grown-up version of me is a bit more skeptical than the 70s version. But it’s still fun to go back there, and with a house full of youngsters I still get ample time to be a kid too. And just like 40 plus years ago, there have been a more than a few Bigfoot books show up in my home via book fairs and library collections.

It’s funny when looking through some of the newer publications with my boys that I find many familiar faces and tales in those pages. My oldest son, Jayce, seems impressed with my knowledge of the people and events as we flip through the pages of a Bigfoot library book. He also finds it hard to believe that many of those tales have been around longer than his dad.

But those old tales are still the best and my “research” collection and wish list below include more than a few that are less than new.

The Mysterious Monsters (1975) by Robert & Frances Guenette – This is the one that started it all for me and is considered a classic by many Bigfoot fans. I’ve got this one stored away somewhere and need to track it down and read it again in order to see if it can amaze at fifty like it did at ten. It was also made into a documentary film and my general opinion is that the books are always better than the movies. If you’ve seen the film…well, that’s for another day.

Where Bigfoot Walks: Crossing the Dark Divide (1995) by Robert Michael Pyle – This lepidopterist (butterfly guy) with a Ph.D. from Yale University takes a lengthy trek through the Dark Divide region of Washington State’s Cascade Mountains with Bigfoot on his mind. The book reads variously as a field guide to the area’s flora, fauna and geography, as an editorial on the U.S Forestry Service and as a Bigfoot biography. For me it’s at its best when exploring the Bigfoot myths, possibilities and the cast of characters associated with the hunt. It’s cleverly written, insightful, thought provoking and entertaining to the point that I’ve read it three times. Notable quote on finding evidence for Bigfoot via his bathroom habits: “So what does Bigfoot do? When Sasquatch goes apesh**, does it hide the evidence as careful as people do?”

Bigfoot Sasquatch Evidence (1999) by Dr. Grover Krantz – The late Washington State University professor was one of the few academics to explore the topic and admit a belief in the creature’s existence. The book uses detailed analysis of the evidence in presenting some pretty convincing arguments although it can get a bit technical and dry. It took me a while to wade through this one after a number of fits and starts. It comes out of the gate well and finishes strong but some of the analytical portions in between got me bogged down. Notable quote on the legitimacy of an Indiana footprint cast: “It also showed the two sasquatch traits that I have never revealed to anyone.” And from what I can gather he never did, what’s up with that?

The I-Files: True Reports of Unexplained Phenomena in Illinois (1999) by Jay Rath – While quite entertaining, this book only dedicates a small portion to Bigfoot amidst other topics such as UFO’s, ghosts, giant birds, killer kangaroos and The Mad Gasser of Mattoon just to name a few. Notable quote from the cover: “True reports of unexplained phenomena in Illinois” Clever, just because the reports exist doesn’t necessarily make their content true.

Cryptozoology A to Z (1999) by Loren Coleman and Jerome Clark – Cryptozoology can be defined as “the search for animals whose existence has not been proven.” Well, this reference book has plenty of cryptids (proposed animals) to offer along with brief bios on some of the major players in the history of this discipline. While I believe that all of the people exist(ed), as far as all of the creatures, not so much. Notable quote from the cover: “The Encyclopedia of Loch Monsters, Sasquatch, Chupacabras and Other Authentic Mysteries.” Similar to the previous publication, an “authentic mystery” doesn’t necessitate the existence of such creatures, but it sure sounds good.

The Field Guide to Bigfoot, Yeti and Other Mystery Primates Worldwide (1999) – Loren Coleman and Patrick Huyghe – I love field guides and have an extensive collection of Peterson, Audubon Society and Stokes editions. They are invaluable resources for those looking to learn about the great outdoors. This guide, on the other hand, is an incredible source of something, and I’ll keep it clean here by just saying “entertainment” or “legend.” It contains entries for more than fifty different creatures, many of which seem the same, categorized into nine classifications. The introduction and afterword contain some interesting discussion while the rest gets a bit redundant and fanciful. Notable quote – “If there is any truth to the testimony of eyewitnesses worldwide…” begins the second sentence of the book and the authors appear to have discounted very few, if any, reports throughout history.

And now, the Wish List (only 60 shopping days until Christmas)

The Search for Bigfoot: Man, Monster or Myth? (1960) by Peter Byrne – Although nearly sixty years old, the fact that it was penned by a Bigfoot hunting legend would make it worth a look.

Sasquatch/Bigfoot: The Search for North America’s Incredible Creature (1993) by Don Hunter with Rene Dahinden – Same as above for a book co-authored by the colorful Dahinden. If his written prose resembles his dialogue, it could certainly be a hoot.

The Myth of Bigfoot: The Inside Story (2004) by Greg Long – The premise here is that the Patterson-Gimlin Film features a man in a monkey suit. It sounds interesting to check out a skeptical investigation of one of the most compelling pieces of evidence.

The Best of Sasquatch Bigfoot (2004) by John Green – This one is actually a combination of two older books written by one of the foremost authorities on the subject. Those titles, “On the Track of Sasquatch” and “Encounters with Bigfoot” are published here in one volume along with some more recent information/updates. Once again, having been written by a legendary researcher I’ll put it on my wish list.

Sasquatch: Legend Meets Science (2006) by Jeffrey Meldrum – A professor at Idaho State University, Meldrum utilizes a scientific approach and experts in various fields to examine the evidence. I have the companion video and it would be interesting to read and compare.

So, there you have it. Your assignment is to select one of these books and submit at least 500 words by Thanksgiving break. Ready, set, read…and don’t forget, nearly a week of Bigfoot left to go.

Talk to you tomorrow. Troy

Bigfoot – Pass It On

“Thank God for kids there’s magic for a while.” – Thank God for Kids, The Oak Ridge Boys (1982)

A number of years ago I went off on another Bigfoot blogging adventure. Part of that project consisted of recruiting the offspring to assist via a glimpse of the perspective I had back in the 70’s. Today’s posting will be a blend of “old” and new from this bunch who were introduced to Bigfoot at an early age.


Artist’s renderings from the four kids over the years.

Children are interesting creatures in their own right. Those little sponges can flatter a parent when showing an interest in your passions such as baseball, music or fishing. They can also embarrass with a bit of colorful vocabulary or a raised voice when frustrated. Nothing too mysterious either way with these small humans, as it’s not hard to figure out where they get it. And, I suppose their Bigfoot affliction would reside somewhere midway between the proud and the uncomfortable ends of the parenting spectrum.

For example, our boy, Jayce (now age 8), used to don a camouflage hat and a pair of his sister’s pink boots to roam the house while wildly gesturing and repeatedly saying, “Find Bigfoot.” I found it entertaining to play along (minus the pink boots). But every time we got close, we somehow proceeded to chase him off instead of attempting a capture of our elusive subject.


Jayce hunting in 2011 and again in 2017 with brother, Zac. Attire varies over the years but still hot on the trail and full of imagination.

My girls also displayed interest and in hindsight I am glad that I jotted down a few tidbits from those conversations. For now, with one a teenager and the other approaching, Bigfoot is generally just an afterthought, indulged only when one of their little brothers gets the bug. However, there was a time…

Helena quotes at age 7 (now age 13):
“Put a trap out, a log he could trip over and maybe his mask would fall off.”
I inquired what to use as bait to trap Bigfoot to which Helena replied, “Berries.”
“It’s not scary, it’s just weird.”
“I hope it’s a guy because it’s kind of scary looking.”

Carly quotes age 5 (now age 11):
“Is it real? It could be a man in a suit.”
“Is Bigfoot nice? Does he want a friend? Maybe he just wants a friend.”
“We can trap him and say, ‘Are you the real Bigfoot?’”
I again asked what to use as bait to trap Bigfoot and Carly answered, “Humans

Jayce age 2 (now age 8):
“Turn it off, it’s pretty scary.” By the way, he still starts out brave but generally winds up with a similar response these days as he subconsciously backs away from a video playing on the television or computer.

Jayce age 8: “He doesn’t want to hurt people, he just wants them off of his territory.”
“He is a Wookiee.”

Zac age 6: “He doesn’t want to eat 10-pound bass.”


Bigfoot is well represented in our home

I’ll wrap up this entry with a final anecdote about my children’s quest that took place during a Labor Day weekend trip to Quincy, Illinois. Back in 2011with a brand new and future Bigfoot hunter on board we stopped a gas station/convenience store to take care of our business, stretch out and grab a snack. Jayce and I did our thing, tagged off for Julie and the girls and then waited in the van with sleeping little brother, Zac. More than several minutes later, Helena and Carly returned with the telltale grins that indicated something up the sleeve.

They’d found Bigfoot!

Right on the label of a large piece of Jack Link’s beef jerky and bought it for dear old dad; very thoughtful although a bit on the pricey side. It reminded me of one of those television commercials; “Gas – $60, big old chunk of jerky – $6, Bug Juice – $3, your children finding Bigfoot – priceless.”


Yep, not hard to find this version, if you know where to look.

“The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.” – Proverb

Talk to you tomorrow. Troy

Bigfoot – Me and Monsters

“Hello old friend, it’s really good to see you once again.” – Hello Old Friend, Eric Clapton (1976)

Saw these guys earlier this year, Pennsylvania and Illinois (left to right), will this be as close as I ever get?

As a kid, I was really into the tales of “creatures” that reside in the fringes of human habitation and imagination. In the case of Bigfoot, my imagination sure got the best of me as I bought it hook, line and sinker. And back in the 70s, there was plenty of other weirdness to catch a curious minded boy who was more than willing to believe. Beyond various apemen, the list included The Loch Ness Monster, Ogopogo, Champ, The Jersey Devil, The Bermuda Triangle, ghosts, ESP, poltergeists and so on. On the Ripley’s scale I was no doubt with the “believe it” crowd rather than the “or not.”


Look what still shows up at my house all these years later.

Forty some years later I don’t give much credence to most of that stuff. I’ll still fall prey to the occasional headline but read with a considerably more skeptical eye. Maybe I’m a bit more jaded and cynical as a “grownup” or perhaps it’s just inevitable that most of us lose some of the gullibility as we age and learn how the natural world really works (which is amazing enough without having to make stuff up).

But for some reason, Bigfoot stuck.

There’s something about my encounter with the Patterson-Gimlin film that won’t go away. Especially Frame 352 where Bigfoot turned to look directly at me in that movie theater back in 1976. That image of my old friend has continued to fuel my imagination throughout the years upon encountering something not readily identifiable in the great outdoors. I know that in each case there was certainly a logical explanation but evolution supersedes reason with the involuntary “hair standing on the back of your neck” response, leaving you to ponder, “What if?”

In my youth, Bigfoot was lurking somewhere in the pitch black night as I tagged along with Dad navigating the woods awaiting the howl of a bluetick hound on tree. Bigfoot was also responsible for the unseen snorting, crashing commotion on a remote Argyle Lake State Park hiking trail in broad daylight.

And Argyle Lake would be the spot where I came as close as I’ll likely ever come to encountering the real thing. In this instance, it turned out to be a poor choice for a hiding place from which to observe some friends scaring other campers. Our prank was easily outdone by my dad prowling the night looking to give us a dose of our own medicine. Coincidentally, I happened to choose the same bushes as an observation post that my dad was already occupying. A well timed grunt and a hand on my shoulder rendered me unconscious with my final fleeting thought being, “Bigfoot got me.” I was hyperventilating and pretty shook up when I came to but my dad also got an unplanned scare thinking he may have literally scared me to death.

Even as an adult the imagination can still work its wonder on occasion. Late one night at Little John Conservation Club I was awakened by a wicked bit of snarling outside of my tent. It was enough to make me hope that the beers I’d consumed earlier would wait until daylight before issuing “nature’s call.” Of course, a few too many beverages might have also been a contributing factor, along with a raccoon or two.

Some of my stomping grounds through the years.  Snakeden Hollow just sounds like a likely spot (see below) and a place we call “The Big Timber” just looks like a likely spot (stay tuned later this week).

More recently, a strange unidentifiable series of shrill shrieks from a tangled patch of timber in the fading daylight at Snakeden Hollow gave me a few goosebumps. The noises actually left me contemplating taking the long way back to my truck rather than walking along the narrow, uphill lane alongside the timber (an incline can significantly impair one’s ability to flee, you know). In the end, I gutted it out with several glances back over my shoulder and lived to tell the tale.

And in the fall of 2015, I had an interesting discussion with a fellow who has actually seen the real thing. During a work trip to Washington State, I struck up a conversation with an onsite co-worker upon asking if he knew where I could pick up a few Bigfoot souvenirs to take home to my kids. Recognizing a fellow Bigfoot fan, he confided in me the tale of his encounter, hesitatingly at first, and then simply sharing the event, never once asking me to believe, as in the end, my view of the incident doesn’t really matter. I no longer remember all the details of his sighting but his delivery and demeanor while relating the experience left a lasting impression. Here was a guy who had indeed seen something that both shook him up pretty good and gave him a resolution to the mystery. Talk about “things that make you go hmmm” and bring you back to the “well, maybe” camp.


Cool gift to my son, Jayce, from a fellow Bigfoot fan (the eyewitness noted above)

Okay, so beyond the eyewitness account, I’ll readily admit that my tales of figurative “bumps in the night” aren’t the most stellar of strange encounters. But even if we humans truly are collectively “alone” out there in the woods, I’m certain that I am not alone in being unable to resist the occasional urge to turn and see what, if anything, is following me. I’d also venture a guess that a few have found themselves walking back to the truck at a little bit faster clip than usual for some odd reason. Perhaps you’ve also reached the point where you’ve found yourself having to suppress the “flight” portion of the good old “fight or flight” response hardwired into your anatomy. The imagination can work wonders in darkness or daylight and imposes no age limit.

Don’t be afraid to admit it. After all, such feelings represent much of what the whole Bigfoot mystery means and even more about what it means to be us.

Gotta have a campfire pic, the best place in the world for discussing our subject.

“There’s some things in this world you just can’t explain.” – The Legend of Wooley Swamp, The Charlie Daniels Band (1980)

Talk to you tomorrow. Troy