Posted by: Craig Woolheater on March 5th, 2013
Cliff posted his behind the scenes views for the episode of Animal Planet’s Finding Bigfoot entitled “Badlands Bigfoot” on his website.
The expedition to South Dakota really taught be a lot about how adaptable bigfoots can be. I had very few expectations as to what kind of terrain we would encounter on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, but when I got there I really was taken aback. Far from being the moist, cool, forested habitat one envisions when thinking about bigfoots, this part of South Dakota was harsh, dry, open fields with hardly any cover beyond brush and shrubs. On top of all of this, when we visited the location it was well over 100 degrees during the day. What was going on here, and how could bigfoots call this place home?
As it turns out, while many bigfoots are seen in the open areas described above, they do not hang out in such places very long. Bigfoots in this area seem to spend most of their time in the deep, narrow river valleys that wind through the reservation. They are seen out in the open as they cross the plains between these canyons under the cover of night, or sometime alongside roads as they snake besides the larger rivers.
Since all the tributaries that are at the bottom of these valleys empty into only a few larger rivers, these hidden valleys are all connected. Many have water flowing in them for most of the year, and all of them are thick with cover with plentiful food.
We initially were going to visit the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation to investigate a possible bigfoot video, but our plans had to change when we later found out that the video was the result of a practical joke played on the kid in the video. Since we do not investigate admitted hoaxes for the show, we turned our attention to James Twiss, the former chief of police, and the compelling story that came from the reservation a number of years ago. There had been many sightings of a bigfoot in August of 2006 over a week’s time. One night the police were called out to a mobile home where a witness saw his dog chase after a very fast “tall man.” When police arrived, they were told the direction that the tall man had run and James started scanning the area with the department’s thermal imager while he sent a squad car down towards another home nearby. Through the imager he could see the cruiser and the police officers by the house, but he could also see another figure walking nearby. This figure was much larger than the police officers, and it was walking unseen by them in a nearby gully. The bigfoot slipped by undetected and made its way towards the river. From that vantage point, James could hear the dogs go off as the creature went about its business and left the immediate area along the nearby river.
James already knew that bigfoots were real, as there had been several encounters on and near his property. His children reported seeing them near the swamp at the end of their road, and other children in his family told of having bigfoots look in their windows at night. One of the family dogs was found ripped apart and shoved under a trash dumpster on the property. Footprints left by the creatures occasionally showed up in the soil near their home.
My solo camping trip was very informative. I started by going downhill to find where the water was most likely to be flowing. Instead of a large river, I found a dried up muddy riverbed with only shallow pools of water too muddy to drink. I then changed my strategy and headed up to the highest elevations I could find in hopes of catching the water flowing before it had the chance to evaporate in the sweltering heat. It was in the thick pine forests of the higher altitudes that I encountered the big horn sheep and the bison.
~ Cliff Barackman
See Cliff’s photos and the rest of the report here.