Just like evergreen trees and salmon, Bigfoot has become one of the PNW’s most beloved icons.
It makes sense, really. Washington has the most claimed sightings of any other state, it once tried to make Sasquatch the official state cryptid, and the Supersonics were championed by the furry mascot Squatch. I mean, we freakin love this primate.
But as Sasquatch Awareness Day arrives, our burning question is: What the heck should you even do if you find yourself standing in front of the 8-foot hairy animal?
To find out, we called up Matt Moneymaker, President of the Bigfoot Research Organization and Host of Animal Planet’s “Finding Bigfoot.”
What areas are people most likely to find Bigfoot near Seattle?
It’s bad form to give away specific locations, because we don’t want too many people piling up. But the coast of the Olympic Peninsula where the freshwater salmon streams meet the coast — that’s a really good bet for having a sighting. In the Cascades, higher elevation areas that have a lot of deer or elk in the summer — especially if there’s a lake there — those are good. Or, you can check our database for a list of recent sightings.
What should we do if we come across Sasquatch? Do we need to treat it like a bear?
We’ve [Matt + his team] been exploring the safety issue for 30 years. The thing is they’re sparsely populated so there’s no territorial conflicts between them. They never have to fight and they’re not ferocious. Sasquatch will growl or throw something, but there’s no documented case of them physically attacking anyone.
What should you do if safety isn’t a concern?
Show them the same kind of respect you would show a human. They obviously don’t understand English, but they make arm gestures between one another. You can try to beckon them to approach you. Or, try to capture evidence by taking a video — even if just for the audio — or take photos of footprints.
How do you go about researching bigfoot?
It’s geographic. You have to be getting a flow of information because they don’t stay in the same place. They seem to be nomadic. They don’t have a hut that they’re going back to and it makes it really hard to study them or set up photo traps. It’s hard to predict exactly where they’re going to be. But you look at recent sightings, go into those areas, make the right kinds of sounds, and see if they’re around. There’s nothing mystical about it. It’s what coyote hunters do.
Should untrained people try to find bigfoot?
Untrained people have encounters with them a lot. “Trying to find one” is just camping out or hiking. Maybe you shouldn’t do that if you can’t do that safely on your own. There are freak weather events and a whole lot of other things that can get ‘cha out there.
What do you think will need to happen for them to be “discovered”?
We call it the Jane Goodall methodology. It’ll most likely be a female living by herself in a very remote area where these things are around. A young Sasquatch may lose its caution, comes up to the cabin, finds food there regularly, and gets hooked. It’ll need to continue on long enough that it becomes very comfortable with the presence of that woman, and she can get that color, daylight footage we’ve all been dreaming of.
What does Sasquatch awareness mean to you?
It should be about letting people know that these creatures are out there and that they don’t need to be afraid of them. It’s a wondrous and life-changing experience to have an encounter with one. People should not be afraid to come out and talk about what they saw. These creatures should be admired; they’re like the perfect citizen. They don’t cause any trouble, they’re never seen, and you don’t see any impact on the environment.
How should we honor Sasquatch Awareness Day?
Film someone who’s seen Sasquatch telling their story and share it on social media. Let people know that these creatures do not hurt anybody. Don’t shave — it’s a simple way to show that you’re a supporter. Or take a walk in a Bigfoot area — value the nature we have here in North America.
Matt also has an active petition to make Sasquatch Awareness Day a recognized day in the US and Canada.