January 19, 2016 at 11:44 am #67005
This is about what I see as the multiple nature of BF, based purely on others’ stories; I have never seen or studied them directly. Each part of them might explain different behaviors.
On the one hand, BF is a hominid (my opinion), and so it can to some degree identify with us, be curious about us, and when in a charitable mood can have a soft spot for us (especially our children). Perhaps they are good enough at procuring food to have free time to indulge their curiosity. If they are curious about us, then studying children is a safer bet? Children don’t carry guns, and they are more often accompanied by women than men. So they study us when they have the time, and a full belly. This would explain the many stories wherein they easily could have, but did not, grab children.
On the other hand, BF is an omnivore-predator whose habitat is being destroyed by humankind, so they must experience food shortages, which might make their studies of us useful for deciding how to abduct our children for food. So they hunt us when other options are few, or perhaps when enraged.
On still another hand, they are not THE apex predator, we are, and they get that. They know we can shoot them, run them over with a vehicle, even destroy whole tracts of habitat with bulldozers much stronger and harder than they are. In short, they know we can and do kill them –thus their general avoidance of and hiding from us. It may be because of us that they became so stealthy, although at one time they had to share space with the likes of saber-toothed cats, short-faced bears, the american lion, dire wolves, and other very large, fanged predators, as well as quite a list of much huger, potentially deadly herbivores. These megafauna died out just yesterday, geologically and ecologically speaking–between 10,000 and 13,000 years ago, and BF definitely co-evolved with them and had a healthy fear of them. Even today, a grizzly/brown bear could give them a good fight. So, their default behavior around potentially dangerous organisms is of hiding and of stealth, another thing that might explain the many stories wherein they could have, but did not, grab children—for fear of becoming a target.
Fourthly, like us they are apes, and as such are territorial, can engage in intimidation displays and make a lot of noise, are comfortable in and around trees and have integrated trees into their displays (shaking, breaking and knocking them). I think they integrate the ape aspect with the hiding aspect by usually giving warnings without allowing themselves to be seen, but we know from some stories they sometimes get pissed enough (or “ape” enough) to step into the clear, or charge.
To sum up, BF are 1) curious hominids who study us, 2) predacious opportunists who kill and eat us, 3) pleistocene creatures who learned stealth in the face of many other dangerous creatures, and so deal with threats by avoidance, and 4) territorial apes who do what they can to intimidate or chase us off their turf.
What do you think? Make sense?January 19, 2016 at 12:06 pm #67007
I think you are pretty thorough Seamus, good post. 😉January 19, 2016 at 12:58 pm #67018
Makes a lot of sense to me.January 19, 2016 at 1:16 pm #67024
I think you have it, there.
What you said makes me wonder if they look at us like we look at chimpanzees:
We are fascinated by them because they are so like us,
know they are dangerous,
make pets of them sometimes,
prefer not to kill them,
but if pressed or psycho, will kill and eat them
or others of our own species.
ja?January 19, 2016 at 1:42 pm #67038
Elise- wow what a thought- I bet some do see us as naked chimps in the woods- the way we stumble around, can’t find our way, can’t see at dusk etc.
Seamus- good one!!!January 19, 2016 at 2:18 pm #67042
Ja!January 19, 2016 at 2:50 pm #67051
Very good post, with a lot of thought in it! Good one, thank you.January 19, 2016 at 2:59 pm #67053
I do not quite agree with the whole “we’re invading their habitat ” . They are like bear. They’re opportunists. I believe that some,not all, choose to get easy pickings where they can. There are millions of acres of land in North America, far fewer hunters than in previous decades,large and small game animals have been increasing,large tracts of privately owned land posted with no hunting allowed. My feeling : when there’s a rise in game animals,there’s a rise in preditors,including BF. I think some BF are invading our space.January 19, 2016 at 9:21 pm #67093
Rick, you seem to be saying that BF could live anywhere but decide to be opportunistic and exploit food sources near people, so that it is they who are the invasive ones and we their victims. I am arguing that they may have less quality land available to them than you think, one, and, two, that our “invasion” of the land in general makes it likely that they will crash in numbers or perhaps become extinct (and that we will follow them in that).
Look at your comparison of SQ to bear. Bear used to exist throughout the 49 states, and now are completely extinct in a lot of places, including my home state of Illinois, which is pretty much one large corn/soy field now. If sasquatch are like bear, then they are much reduced in number. Old-growth forests running along waterways have been replaced by adolescent forest, which will burn down if we ever have a long enough drought. Aside from a couple of small patches, literally every tree in the state has been logged–and that’s true of nearly every state. Elk, buffalo, puma and wolves used to live here, too, and most everywhere, and now are confined to a few corners while the reintroduction of wolves is fought and cursed even in those few places where it’s barely allowed, far away from here. There are precious few places even left that have not been changed by humankind, and almost always these places are left with less total soil, less pure and rich soil, less biodiversity, air water and soil less clean and life in general less abundant. Dude, there are even 90% fewer INSECTS to splatter on our windshields around here these days. That, my friend Rick, is a really ominous sign, since they comprise much of the food chain. That is why I use the term “invade”.
The large and small game animals have been increasing because of the absence of predators, as you point out that includes hunters, and IMO bigfoot have been doing their best to pick up the slack. Who knows what their net effect has been, but it probably takes a lot of deer to keep them on their feet. So unless their numbers are truly tiny, I imagine they have saved some forest from being stripped of vegetation by starving, overpopulated deer. It makes sense that BF numbers may be increasing, and I do agree that they are opportunistic and can be, for some people, anywhere from a huge nuisance to a traumatic experience. But no one has any idea (that I know of) what their original numbers were, if that would make it any clearer who is invading whom.
My thinking is that we begin to “invade” other animals’ space when our presence serves to degrade the ecosystem at large. If we stay small or sustainable enough not to compromise the health of the land, then we might talk about other animals’ invading OUR territory. But we are spearheading the fastest and most drastic mass extinction in the history of the planet, as far as anybody can tell. Since we depend on all those other creatures and plants, we’ll even extinct ourselves if we don’t reverse course. So who’s invading whom? Are we invading ourselves?
I only know that we have destabilized all ecosystems, everywhere, making them weaker and less able to sustain life. Temporary gains in certain populations of animals don’t change that, and those gains will certainly not be sustained when ecosystems reach a point of collapse. For one instance, bigfoot numbers will drop–numbers of almost all animals will drop–if the future sees an extinction of honeybees and other, native bees. And the bees are certainly not far from doing just that, thanks to habitat fragmentation, lack of food flowers, and whatever the hell is causing “colony collapse disorder” (Pesticides? My state is literally coated in them thanks to big ag, whereas the native prairies supported a huge number and variety of “organic” plants that would flower at different stages of the year, so the bees always had plenty of untainted food).
One more aspect of our “invasion” of BF “territory” is the development of the formerly wild land that was left. How many times have you heard an old BF report where at the time there was lots of woods, but “there’s houses there now”? People want their own slice of Nature, and I can’t blame them, but in the process of building their dream home, they have to kill off at least a little bit more of nature, and I imagine some BF are pushed out of at least part of their territory in this way.
Another side-effect of so-called “development” (how I hate that word!) is that forest fires are not allowed to burn through, in the interest of saving the newly built houses. They put them out, which means that underbrush builds up (the trees themselves are already small and easily burnable due to logging) and becomes a powderkeg until, finally, a fire starts that no one can stop without spending huge amounts of money. Instead of regular, small, healthy fires you have a conflagration that burns the life down to below the soil. Only the prairie can handle that kind of burn, except that IT (at least in Illinois, Iowa, and Ohio) for all practical purposes does not exist anymore. You can bet that such devastation affects BF who depend on healthy forest for their long-term survival. A few easily gotten, charred carcasses are not a good trade for an indefinite supply of deer and edible plants.
Wildfires are out of control in the United States, record size, record duration. The national parks that still have decent trees are headed for the bidding block, loggers want them and private interests own our government almost completely now, so they will get them, and log them. Which means our ecosystems will get even weaker, which means all natural populations, including bigfoot, including ourselves, will be that much closer to imploding.
Weak ecosystems means that all are susceptible to disease. From high numbers last year in Illinois, I was told that deer numbers are actually low for the first time in a long time due to blue tongue virus. That’s either an indication that deer numbers were too high, limiting food and allowing the disease to spread betwen herds, which means that sasquatch were not culling the numbers effectively (Illinois is 4rth in U.S. bigfoot sightings, but maybe that’s not enough). OR the ecosystem here is so altered and/or damaged that the animals are weak. In any case, if deer numbers crash for any reason then BF will lose an important food source and probably crash in population as well.
I don’t know. I could go on. You might have guessed that I am passionate about this subject, I apologize if I went on and on. It’s because I fear for our future, and want it to be a good one.January 19, 2016 at 9:53 pm #67100
Hey Seamus, I understand your concern for our environment. I share it, albeit in a little different light. I am a hunter, and I used to be involved in logging right out of high school.
I would like to point out that many of the wildfires that spread through places like southern California, can’t be leveled only on logging. In fact, most of the wildfires run rampant in land that environmentlists lobbied and won to keep loggers out. They petitioned the government to keep loggers out of those areas, because they wanted to protect a frog, or a certain type of bug, etc. (I am being somewhat facetious, but the point I am making is real.
For instance, they closed down a large portion of logging in California for the spotted owl, which they swore only lived in old growth forests. After they won and most of the logging and sawmills were closed down, lo and behold, they found out that the spotted owl lived in barns, old buildings etc. It was all a lie to get what they wanted, the closing of logging.
Nature is more adaptable than many people realize. For instance, in Alaska, they refuse to allow drilling for oil in the ANWR refuge area. Why? because they said Prudhoe bay drilling had devastated the caribou herd. I’ve been north of the Arctic circle, and I can tell you from personal experience that the caribou herd is absolutely humongous up there. They use the pipeline right of way as a superhighway to get back and forth, because it’s easier traveling. The Bison in Alaska does as well.
Hunters and loggers are not the boogeyman that some make them out to be. In fact, it’s the hunter that finances most of the wildlife preservation, privately and publicly.
Finally, I have been in the Sierra mountains and the coastal ranges on the west coast. I’ve lived in Alaska, Montana, I have seen much of Wyoming, and New Mexico, Texas, Nevada and many more states. There is more forest, even old growth forest than you can possibly imagine. Sasquatch has plenty of range to roam. Some choose not to. Why? My belief is that they are creatures of opportunity. Just as bears will hang around garbage dumps for easy pickings, Sasquatch will too. They will adapt to where people are, and have quite well.
I can go on, but I’ve posted enough. Now, I also believe we must take care of the environment, but to say that housing developments etc. should not go up, or that people should to be allowed to live in the country, or mountains, to me is not a valid argument. Man is the alpha predator, and like it or not, Man IS a part of nature. If threatened, man has the right to defend themselves as well.
I do appreciate your view, I just wanted to give an alternate view for a balanced discussion!January 19, 2016 at 9:59 pm #67102
Great post, can’t argue with any of it, all seems well laid-out, logical and probable.
A short-faced bear could reach 14 tall (if it stood on two legs) and OVER 2,000 lbs! That would have been a serious challenge for any Sasquatch!
While a Saber-tooth cat could be 15 feet long and weigh up to 500lbs with 20 inch fangs!
I also gather that the both of them became extinct around 10-11,000 years ago perhaps due to the Younger Dryas, which caused wildfires and environmental catastrophes that led to the extinction of many of North America’s largest predators
I wonder how Sasquatch manged to survive????January 19, 2016 at 10:27 pm #67109
Awesome, Russell! We DISCUSSIN’!
Yeah, I know it’s not as simple as some of us environmentally conscious people make it out to be. But it takes books to make all the points.
Even a climax forest can be an ecological liability, if the canopy does not allow for successive generations to replace the older trees when they die. But that’s rare. What really keeps fire manageable is an old growth forest, the fire passes through what little underbrush can survive under the canopy, scalds the trunks of the big trees, and moves on with little harm done. IF the forest has been logged already, then I agree, it needs to be re-logged at intervals so that it is not crowded with trees and becoming a fire hazard. Regular mini-burns are a good idea, too. But you seem to be saying that old-growth forests are a fire hazard, that is simply not true, in general.
You’re making it sound like there is plenty of old growth left, somewhere, but I live in Illinois and that has little meaning for me here. Think 0%, plus 2 postage stamps of the stuff. But I’m happy for you over there in Montana. Fact is, old growth was the rule, and now it’s the exception. At least 90% of it has been cleared, and the rest fragmented significantly.
Saying that man is an alpha predator and has a right to put up developments in the mountains is fine, although you didn’t actually support that with any logic or evidence. Just sayin. Maybe you didn’t have the time. But the point is not what we feel we have the right to do, the point is how it will work out for us in the end. If further fragmenting habitats so that we can live how we like, where we like, ends up contributing to some kind of environmental collapse, then that is the issue, not our status as “alpha”.
I like hunters because hunters care about the environment in their own way. They want to be able to continue to hunt, and I support that whole-heartedly if there are species that need to be culled, which is usually the case with deer here in Illinois. In fact I would like to BE a hunter, I just never get around to it. But I think most people, even hunters, miss the big picture, because it’s grim and bums people out–I don’t bring this up at parties–and because it takes quite a bit of study, and thought. The environment is extremely complex.
As far as the owl thing….Dude. I can’t speak to any devious bulls*** by environmental concerns with that, I wasn’t there. But you have to admit that environmental concerns haven’t exactly held much sway in this country, if they did we’d have 75% old-growth, instead of 10%. And spotted owls are hardly common birds, the threat of their extinction was, and is, very real. I, personally, would lie a little bit if it meant an owl would not go extinct. Would you?
Hellfire and onion! Is that really the time?…Well, I appreciate your point of view, Russell. I look forward to hearing more from you, if you are so inclined. Maybe you can tell me where to find some old-growth in Montana, I have spent time there before–on Hollowtop Mountain–and love it. I saw a moose!January 19, 2016 at 10:46 pm #67111
I wish I still lived in Montana! No, I’m in Southeast Wisconsin right now, Probably not too far from you!
If you ever get the opportunity to fly over the Rockies, and the Sierras, take a window seat and look down. You won’t believe how much old growth forest is left. And that’s just a small portion that you will be able to see in your flight!
But even northern Wisconsin has some magnificent forests! If you get a chance, if you haven’t heard my story, listen to episode 159, the campsite stalker. That’s my story. It actually happened in an old logging area in California.
I’ll catch up with you later!January 20, 2016 at 7:33 am #67130
All right, Russell! I’ve listened to every episode at least once, but I’ll refresh my memory….Yeah, Wisconsin. I want to spend some time up there. It’s very well wooded up north. But somehow Illinois still has more sightings? Weird.
Steve E., the Younger Dryas was a period of sudden cold that had more drastic effects in Europe than in North America. Florida actually got warmer during this time. There is a hypothesis that a comet struck in the Younger Dryas, causing the cold and the wildfires you mention. Those who advocate different causes for the extinction of the short-faced bear and friends point out that there is “no” evidence for this, and the fact that the megafauna had survived many previous climate changes as drastic, or more so, than this one. Another hypothesis is that the populations of these animals was already fragmented (by what I don’t remember), and that the Clovis People, forerunners to modern Native Americans, with their deadly stone spear tips finished off the remaining populations one by one. Large animals take a long time to repopulate, not so long to kill off. There is speculation that the natives “learned their lesson” from these die-offs, which of necessity changed their primary food source, and began to live according to a philosophy of balance with nature. This would explain why there had been no extinctions at all since that time until the arrival of Europeans in America, but it may just be that smaller animals more easily avoid large predators, or perhaps a combination of the two factors (and others?).
Why did bigfoot survive the great mammalian extinction? For the same reason we did, I’m guessing. Being opportunistic omnivores who could eat anything at any time, night or day, they were able to adjust and probably did even better than before. The megafauna carnivores were nothing but nasty competition to them, and predators of them, although potentially they could make a decent living off of carcasses (?), and the herbivores in question were too large to take down easily. BF seem to be as fast as big cats, and so were probably hard to catch and would team up on any predator that tried. They could throw rocks or use stout sticks as weapons (I can guess that even a sabertooth didn’t want a troop of huge ape-men throwing boulders at it). They can be very stealthy if they need to be. They say that the pronghorn antelope developed its great speed in response to predation by the american cheetah, so maybe bigfoot did so in response to all those megacarnivores out for blood. People even today, with automatic rifles and whatnot, have a hard time taking one down, so I imagine that the Clovis people stayed the hell away, and that the modern Native Americans’ reluctance to get anywhere near them is something that has been in place for eons. Sasquatch, as opposed to ground sloths and mammoths, which had never seen humans before and probably dismissed them as no threat, probably learned very quickly to stay out of range of those spears. Because they’re damn skippy smart, compared to sloths and elephants.
Who knows? At the very least you can say that it is their abilities and traits, all that we study here, that allowed them to survive. The fun part is speculating about just exactly how that all worked out in practice.January 20, 2016 at 10:48 am #67174
My dear friend Seamus, you uncorked the notion that BF has less quality land resulting in a diminishing species when you said this:
“Rick, you seem to be saying that BF could live anywhere but decide to be opportunistic and exploit food sources near people, so that it is they who are the invasive ones and we their victims. I am arguing that they may have less quality land available to them than you think, one, and, two, that our “invasion” of the land in general makes it likely that they will crash in numbers or perhaps become extinct (and that we will follow them in that).”
It’s hard to counter your argument from the perspective you present without your definition of quality land. However to accept your argument completely one would have to deny millions upon millions of square miles of federally set aside land in Alaska and the lower 48 states in addition to hundreds of state forest, parks and wildlife game reserves not considering privately owned properties. So the argument of limited quality land is fallacious in my opinion.
There really is no shortage of wildlife anywhere U.S.A. Free minded enterprising people have become very wealthy collecting roadkill all across the country of all sorts for rendering companies in the manufacture of pet food.
From the time of the first inhabitants to early European explorers and the settlers and others who colonized the country after them, the bell was rung. Neither you nor I can unring the bell or unsettle 300 million inhabitants of this country here and now, so let’s move on and look at your next point.
I am one of the few that firmly believe BF exist, live and thrive very close to mankind as much as they shy and secretive can easily remain on the fringes of modern development. I know this because I see the reports. You may not find bison, elk or deer running loose down the sidewalks of these newly developed suburbs but there are pets, rodents, food, and water readily available.
I have a few reports of BF sightings in urban settings that we don’t commonly associate them with but it is true. BF seems to enjoy cat scat, dog and cat food and even indulge in pets themselves. They have been reported drinking chlorine water from swimming pools and dumpster diving out back behind some of large chain restaurants in areas where wilderness and development converge.
What is the BF population in the United States today? Who knows exactly but from what I see and I do take account of figures from reports I read that seem to oppose the idea these things are anywhere near diminishing in numbers quite the contrary in my opinion. They appear to be multiplying or proliferating like rabbits!
I come to this conclusion based on the numbers of infant to young adult heights being reported compound that with the number of multiple animal group sightings it would be difficult to argue otherwise.
Good Thread …
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