Posted by: Craig Woolheater on May 30th, 2008
In light of Loren’s announcement earlier today of Bushnell’s $1,000,000 Sasquatch trail cam photo contest, I wanted to post a piece authored by one of my colleagues at the Texas Bigfoot Research Conservancy, Daryl Colyer. Daryl authored the following article regarding the use of camera traps to obtain photographic evidence of the Sasquatch.
The Texas Bigfoot Research Conservancy has been actively proceeding with plans to obtain compelling photographic and/or video evidence through a long-term remote camera trap project based on the premise that such evidence can suffice to secure recognition of the existence of bigfoot. From that point, more intense and properly funded research would enable the collection of further and additional forms of evidence, including, ultimately, sufficient physical evidence to permit either the formal designation of a previously uncatalogued species or the recognition of the sasquatch as the descendant of a previously described species.
Periodically questions arise regarding the use of motion-sensing game cameras in sasquatch research. Doubts are expressed concerning the idea that this technique, as applied by wildlife biologists in documenting other rare species, is appropriate for the sasquatch.
Actually, in all likelihood, sasquatches probably possess all the tools and intelligence necessary to detect (hear, smell and/or see) camera traps, just as many of the species photographed by the TBRC appear to be aware of the camera traps taking their pictures.
However, while accepting the probability that sasquatches can see, smell and/or hear the cameras, it remains highly illogical to think that they consciously avoid them.
Why would they steer clear of them? How would they know to avoid them?
This kind of reasoned avoidance behavior would indicate a learned response to something that may have caused harm in the past. How would sasquatches have learned this behavior? For example, are there known instances in the past of firearms being set up with cameras and automatically triggered to discharge, which would have resulted in pain or death to a sasquatch? Has a tradition has been passed down to avoid any and all cameras in the woods? In other words, what consequence as a result of not avoiding camera traps in the past would cause this species to consciously avoid camera traps in the future?
Is it afraid that its picture is going to be taken?
Is it afraid that its soul or inner being will be stolen?
Is it afraid of capture? (If so, why risk venturing close to residences and vehicles?)
These certainly may seem like silly questions, but they must be answered reasonably if a cogent argument is to be made that the species is cognizant of camera traps and their capabilities to the point of avoiding them; and there are indeed a number of people who actually do believe this.
If eyewitness accounts are accurate, sasquatches seem to show little or no fear of anything else that is mechanical or electronic. Some reports indicate that even firearms and gunfire do not intimidate or scare these creatures. Why would a small metallic or plastic object attached passively to a tree ward them off? They certainly do not seem to be leery of hunting stands; a number of reports have been generated by hunters who claimed that they were sitting in hunting stands while observing sasquatches.
Some sasquatches, according to reports, actually seem to be drawn to automobiles, even while the vehicles are running. They do not seem to be deterred by porch or security lights, electronic feeders, ATVs, freezers on porches, etc.
There is nothing mysterious about the failure, to this point in time, of game cameras to photograph sasquatches. No explanations involving super intelligence, super senses or paranormal capabilities need to be employed. The odds simply have not caught up with them yet. But they will. When they do, of course, this debate about whether or not sasquatches know to avoid camera traps will be done.
Game camera technology has been, until quite recently, horrible. It has only been in very recent years that camera capabilities have increased the odds of securing rare wildlife photos. The “thousands and thousands” of cameras commonly cited by cynics as existing across North America have been largely made up of inexpensive, slow-to-trigger, often malfunctioning, over-exposing cameras. Even the TBRC’s camera arsenal, made up of the very best technology commercially available, has demonstrated a significant number of malfunctions; however, with patience, perseverance, pluck and plenty of cameras properly positioned, confidence remains high that there is a reasonable chance of success.