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Sunday, April 7, 2013

Florida's Wildlife Corridor

    An unexpected fact for most to hear, the state of Florida is a hot bed of Bigfoot sightings. According to the Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization's  Geographical Sasquatch Sighting Database Florida currently weighs in at 243 reported sightings, ranking it among the top sighting locations in the United States. Personally I attribute this fact to the underestimated amount of protected and preserved land in the state. Despite its several large cities there is still a lot of wild land in Florida. Largely through happenstance the majority of Florida's preserved land is nearly connected, forming a sort of unofficial wild life corridor.
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    A corridor such as this allows for wildlife to traverse the state much more easily without having the issue of encountering people, highways, or heavily populated urban areas. This division of distribution of populated as opposed to protected land in the state becomes obvious when one makes a trip through Central Florida. Aside from the ever-popular tourist destination, Orlando, Central Florida is composed mainly of farmland and wilderness. Virtually all of the east coast south of Jacksonville is sparsely inhabited until the Miami area. This area forms a wonderful habitat for wild animals and, one might add, undiscovered species.

    Working towards the furthering of this wild land, the Florida Wildlife Corridor Project is an attempt by concerned citizens and nature lovers to extend already existing protected lands into a connected corridor running all the way from the Everglades to the Florida-Georgia border. The effect of this corridor would be significant in providing uninterrupted habitat for Florida wildlife, including the elusive Florida Skunk Ape. Not to mention, it would link nearly all of Florida's major parks to the Appalachian mountains in an uninterrupted chain of wild life sanctuaries.
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    As quoted from "The Florida Wildlife Corridor aims to protect and restore connected landscapes throughout the Florida Peninsula to create a viable corridor from the Everglades to Georgia. The corridor addresses the fragmentation of natural landscapes and watersheds from the Everglades ecosystem north."

    It seems to me this wild life corridor, that already partially exists, is a perfect route for an undiscovered species to move around the state while remaining far from curious eyes in the urban centers. Could this protected "highway" be the key to locating and gathering evidence supporting the existence of an undiscovered North America Great Ape? I suppose only time will tell. Until then we'll have to rely on the efforts of dedicated squatchers giving their time and resources towards the furthering of bigfoot research.

    As always, thanks for reading! I hope you found this article informative, and please help support the Florida Wildlife Corridor Project realize their objective of unifying protected lands in this great state.

 - A.Z.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

North Florida Howl, February, 2013

  Below you will find a more elaborate explanation of the circumstances leading up to the recording of this audio. But, without further ado, here is a possible sasquatch howl recorded with the Sasquatch Hunters in North Florida, February 2013.

    As it happens I am very lucky to live in an area that allows me easy access to a great group of bigfooters, and last February, I am proud to say, I partook in my first bigfoot expedition. Headed by Stacy Brown Jr., The Sasquatch Hunters are a very professional, but very inviting group of research driven bigfooters. Best known for their now viral video, "The Brown Footage," The Sasquatch Hunters are on scene and actively investigating all around America's South. (Side note: The Brown Footage was filmed on a thermal camera recording in a sort of "negative mode" so hotter areas appear darker and cooler areas white-grey.)

Tree the bigfoot was behind in "Brown Footage"
    The trip I was on took place in the same park that the Brown Footage was filmed. In fact, the audio was recorded on the trail leading to the thermal film site. It was our second night in the park. The first night was relatively uneventful as it was cold and a very active (and loud) group of University Geology students were camped nearby. The Sasquatch Hunters did allow me to record some footage on one of their thermal recorders, however, the first time I have used such an expensive piece of equipment. The second night was vastly different. Still cold ( temperature dropped to about 27 degrees Fahrenheit at 2am) but much quieter, it was a beautifully windless night for recording.

    Our expedition group was open to the public and had attracted a decently large amount of people (though arguably a bit too large for the research area) allowing us to break into three smaller research groups. My group headed north and then east along the trail that leads into the primitive campsite where the Brown Footage was recorded a few months prior. The trail drops in elevation drastically from where we were camped and leads into some dense brush. When we were deep enough in recording devices were distributed (audio recorder, IR cam, thermal camera, parabolic microphone) and the group got settled. After listening in silence for a while we decided to try a howl. Nelson, age 13, and his father were on the expedition and in our group. Nelson had been actively interested in bigfooting for a year or so and practiced his howls frequently. As evidenced by the audio, he was quite good at it. His first howl returned the response heard in the audio clip above. I distinctly remember the silence following Nelson's howl, the long moments with everyone holding their breath, and then, unbelievably, a response. Coming from (as best I can tell) due west, it was quiet at first, but in a matter of moments there was no doubt: something was howling back. Throughout the expedition our two other howlers, Matt and Stacy, had showcased their vocal cords. Their howls sounded nothing like this, and as the response drug on for an astounding eight seconds, I was pretty sure neither of them could maintain such a level of volume for so long.
Lowland flood plain at expedition site

    After the howl died down there was an audible assortment of shocked responses from the group (partially included in the audio clip). As most of us were first time bigfooters we were pretty shocked. I think half of us didn't expect to actually hear something. And I recall even Matt Roberts, an experienced bigfooter, remarking on the quality of the response. It truly was amazing. We followed with another howl from Nelson that received no response but for exciting a pack of coyotes off to the northeast. I wish I had access to that recording as the coyotes gave us a nice long response. I remember Matt Roberts mentioning perhaps hearing another call from the west as the coyote howling wound down, but it was too faint to pick up on the recorder.

    The rest of the night was much more uneventful and though we made several more trips around the investigation area there appeared no more activity. Another research group did report footsteps off in the brush that seemed to mimic their pace, but the proverbial "curse of bigfoot" struck (exactly when you need your equipment the most, is when it will break) and that groups' thermal camera had a fatal recording issue and was unusable.

    All in all, the trip was a success and one heck of a good time. I thoroughly enjoyed the professional but welcoming attitude of the Sasquatch Hunters and look forward to many more bigfooting expeditions with them. That being said, I am excited to announce I will be accompanying them once more on the Northeast Georgia expedition, May 10th-12th.

Deer limbs found along road on way to expedition
    Thanks for reading!

 - A.Z.

P.S. The image below and one to the right are two of several photos I took of a deer carcass my father and I found along the road to the expedition. Based on how the limbs were removed from the body I believe coyotes had a go at it. The head of the deer was nowhere to be found.

Rib cage and partial spine of a deer, head was not found

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

America's Wilderness

Photo credit - E. Winick -
       "If there was such a thing as bigfoot we would have found it by now." "How could such a large animal remain hidden in such an urban country?" These and other similar lines often make up the core of bigfoot skeptics' arguments. And, they have a point. It does seem highly unlikely that an animal predicted to stand seven to ten feet tall and weight upwards of five hundred pounds could exist. However, it seems to me that many people underestimate just much wilderness remains in America.

    Based on data collected by the United States Forest Service, National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, and Fish and Wildlife Service, the current amount of land deemed "wilderness" within America stands at a whopping one hundred and nine million, four hundred and seventy-eight thousand, nine hundred and thirty-nine acres. Or, simplified: 109,478,939 acres. In total, this amount of land covers more area than the state of California. Now, I don't know about you, but to me that is a huge amount of wilderness. Given, the total land mass of America is around 2.3billion acres, one can conclude wilderness makes up twenty-one percent of all American land. Some estimates range as high as twenty-six percent, however. In all that unexplored, untamed land, I feel it is possible that a large animal could remain undetected. Especially if said animal did not want to be found and was intelligent enough to evade attempts at capture.

    Imagine, a wilderness the size of the state of California. Now place within that a small population of forest-savvy, intelligent bipedal hominins that do not wish to be found. Release into this wilderness an even smaller group of bigfoot researchers. How greatly are the odds stacked against them? Consider, as well, that these researchers are busy dealing with all the problems, appointments, and stresses of everyday life, such that their time spent exploring this area is severely hampered. Needless to say, my bet is on the bigfoots remaining hidden.

American Wilderness -
    Of course, there is the added factor of hunters. As they routinely travel into the backwoods of America, hunters comprise a large population of boots on the ground when it comes to searching for the big guy. The problem remains, however, that hunters are not searching for bigfoot. They are hunting game animals. The methods used in locating game animals are drastically different than those used by bigfoot researchers. Nonetheless, bigfoot sightings by hunters are relatively common and, in fact, a large portion of bigfoot sightings come from hunters (The BFRO sighting database is an excellent source for reading up on these sightings).

Another factor to consider is the shared U.S. - Canadian border. Where America's percent of wilderness is approximately twenty-one to twenty-six percent of it's total landmass, Canada boast much more vast tracts of wild land. Exact numbers are hard to find, but the general consensus seems to hover between forty-five to fifty-five percent. Along nearly all of the border American wilderness intersects Canadian wilderness. With very few geographical landmarks separating this land, animals could easily pass between the two. Thus, Canadian wilderness must also be considered when thinking about the amount of wilderness in North America.

    With such large amounts of land, it is quite naive to think all of it has been searched, or even thoroughly explored. In this vast area, I feel it is entirely feasible for a large, intelligent, biped to remain undetected. Do not be deterred, however, bigfoot researchers. Eventually, the discovery will be made. Just keep your eyes open and cameras ready.

    Thanks for reading!

 - A.Z.

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