According to scientist Ranae Holland, host of the Animal Planet show Finding Bigfoot, Washington is the scene of more Sasquatch sightings than any other state. While the legendary creature’s existence has yet to be confirmed—Holland herself has yet to encounter one—what we do know is that Bigfoot mythology looms large in our state, from roadside chainsaw carvings to the annual Bigfoot Conference, which takes place in Kennewick from August 31 to September 2. We asked Holland for her tips on how to conduct a proper search for the elusive hominid beast.
1. Follow the History. Plan your search for areas where most reported sightings occur: wooded settings in Pierce County and in the Cascade foothills.
2. Dress for a Deep Forest Hike. Bring a headlamp, bug spray and good hiking gear so you can comfortably follow any leads. Such clues could include tracks, hair, nesting sites and things like split trees; Bigfoot believers say tree damage indicates Bigfoot territory.
3. Stop and Listen. Beyond visual cues, listen for Bigfoot “vocalizations.” Sasquatch speech is said to sound like, well, Chewbacca: a mix between a bear growl and human yell.
4. Leave the Perfume at Home. It is believed that Sasquatch has a very strong sense of smell, so limit strong odors to keep yourself as undetectable as possible and gain maximum tracking potential.
5. Set Out at Night. Sasquatch is believed to be more active in the dark.
6. Use the Buddy System. Teaming up with another person is smart and more fun; and two sets of eyes expand the range of your survey.
7. Record Your Observations. If you happen to encounter Bigfoot, stay calm, keep your distance and try to avoid confrontation. Snap a photo. After the creature passes, describe your encounter or sketch what you saw in a field journal. Check the area for hair and other evidence, and report your findings to the Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization, a virtual community that bills itself as “the only scientific research organization exploring the Bigfoot/Sasquatch mystery.” And consider yourself lucky!