Mar 13

Panther Tracker Claims Bigfoot Sighting


Author and naturalist Jim McMullen holds a plaster cast of what he claims0_JimMcMullen
is a footprint of a bigfoot that he took while in the Florida Everglades. Lisa Krantz/Staff

A Golden Gate man who has spent almost 23 years tracking the Florida panther is stepping forward with claims of a bigfoot in the Everglades and a book in the works on the hairy beast. James McMullen, 55, is a naturalist and the author of a book on the Florida panther. He said that, in his years of tracking the big cat, he’s had “unexplained encounters with physical evidence and unaccountable strange sightings of an unknown creature known as ‘bigfoot.'”

McMullen, who issued a news release on “the skunk ape phenomena” this week, joins Ochopee resident David Shealy, who has also publicly made similar claims of a bigfoot-like creature that roams the Everglades. Shealy’s stories of the foul-smelling beast, which he calls a skunk ape, has attracted local skeptics and mostly tongue-in-cheek attention ranging from the Weekly World News to Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show.” For McMullen, he said his only bigfoot encounter occurred in the daylight sometime in August 1997, when he came across a nearly 7-foot, 500-pound hairy creature while tracking the panther in the Everglades. McMullen said he’s seen numerous evidence of the bigfoot.

He declined to reveal the exact location of the sighting, but the 30-second encounter took place in a remote area located south of Lake Okeechobee and north of the Ten Thousand Islands. McMullen said the sighting was located miles from Shealy’s skunk ape sightings at Trail Lakes campground on U.S. 41 East in Ochopee. McMullen said that although he was unable to photograph the bigfoot, he began a research project to track the beast for more evidence, including collecting seven plaster casts of the hairy creature’s tracks. McMullen said he decided to go public with his story after finding the best bigfoot track last month. He made a plaster cast of the five-toed, 14-inch footprint. “In essence, I have now gone public with my bigfoot project to help save him from extinction mostly because of overdevelopment and destruction of habitats that exist in critical areas of Florida,” McMullen said. For several years, McMullen worked for the Big Cypress Nature Center and The Conservancy of Southwest Florida as a naturalist. McMullen’s book, “Cry of the Panther: Quest of a Species,” was a New York Times bestseller in the mid-1980s.

“In my opinion, we have an unknown species that needs to be defined,” said McMullen, who says he is not working for any special-interest group concerning Everglades restoration. McMullen noted that his current research involves trying to collect DNA evidence of the bigfoot, which he hopes will prove its existence. “It seems like people should know about this and how it relates to the environment,” he said.


4 Responses to “Panther Tracker Claims Bigfoot Sighting”

  1. Frankie P

    Great news. I think the more the biologists and others admit to sightings, it will gradually move from “hysterical” sightings of “bears” to an “unknown” to be added to research. I hope that it will.

  2. Tyler W

    If anyone is interested, I have been searching far and wide for a both inciteful and interesting podcast regarding the subject and came accross the N.A.W.A.C , who have been trying to gather evidence for the North American Wood Ape as they ave dubbed it or a.k.a Sasquatch. They seem to have some interesting accounts and some really ground breaking research and developmental strategies in accordance with there own hot spot location dubbed area X as well as area Y . I feel like they are legitamate in how they have approached the subject and after years and years of my own research, I really feel like they offer a great scientific examination that begs the question of the “how’s” and “why’s” regarding conservancy of these animals. I have not had my own experience or encounter and Luke many I Lind of drueled over the possibility of having my own class A encounter, that was until I heard the majority or encounters on Sasquatch Chronicles , more specifically the Insider Part 1 and 2 and after seeing the fallout and horror surrounding B.G. and the torn up camp. I am actually now maybe a bit worried about the safety of family members and extended family and friends who are avid outdoorsman and women and I now fear a bit for their safety as we have young children now growing up as a new generation in the outdoors of the Pacific northwest. I think their needs to be some attention toward the efforts of both notifying the public as well as finding a real way in finding a solution to the issue at hand over a species yet to be fully and lawfully / in some cases unlawfully discovered. Science and biology has to have a body and knowing whatI know, this more than ever needs to happen, for science and for knowledge and further efforts to establish area for both research and further efforts to somehow finda balance of power, that can serve to aid the effort in all aspects and also prevent further damages caused by both parties. I am not sure if it is smart to not have or hold a healthy fear and respect for these animals , just like any large wild animal and in the same breath know that the “myth and legend” is very, very, real and I cringe at the notion of more people getting hurt by trying to get a payout for a cheap thrill or these going extinct or in a lesser degree of 2 evil’s , trapping a dangerous animal in a corner has never faired well for anyone and I think that to a degree, this is and will continue to get worse as the world’s population and consumption will inevitebly only further encroach on the lands and territory that they have held for all we know could be for hundreds of thousands of years , maybe millions who knows. All I know is that I lovethis show, I send my best to all the people who can rationally expell the B.S. that has polluted the world of Bigfoot and that I implore any reasonable thinking persons judgment and reasoning skills to really ask yourself if you want to come face to face with something that could possibly end you and in the least establish a waking nightmare you will probably leave scarred either emotionally and/or physically. Thank you Wes, Will , Shannon and Woody! You guys are really doing a great job and I have read some really stupid and selfish crap from wither the jaded or the envious in some of the threads and I just hope you guys continue to do what you do as a place for those to come and share their encounters free and without judgment ! That’s what s made this show amazing and I am a pretty good radar for b.s. and I for one have never once felt that any of our hosts have been disingenuous or shady. I mean really…some of you are complaining about S.C. in a time where M.K. and R.D. or T.B. are running a Muppet show and so transparent in their B.S. I could trip and fall in the epicenter of that junk and circus act and still be a few thousand miles off in any direction and till hold tight on the bulls eye. I have been in bed three months straight and I thank God for this show for the help in getting me through the worst time of life. Remember to enjoy and give thanks, and then remember what it was like before S.C. and all we had was a S%#T television show, a busted bounty and the BFRO bed and breakfast lounging on your dime in the sun while you fought over lemar DNA and weather the P&G film is Patty is just a man in a suit or undeniably impossible to fake. Count your blessings and I can’t wait to see what comes out of Area X and when the lid is coming off the cover up. Free B.G. we want more !!

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