Posted by: Craig Woolheater on May 29th, 2014
Guest blog post by Cindy Bowers
Every year hundreds of enthusiastic researchers head to the woods, gear in tow, carrying cameras, tents, and various baiting strategies. They enter the woods with one goal in mind: that of finding Bigfoot. The goal of discovery in and of itself is a self-sacrificing cause, often costing the researcher time and money. What drives some of these men and women to do what they do? For some it is the possibility of a new species being discovered, studied, cataloged, and written about. For others, it is to find answers to their own personal experiences. This would be the discovery of the century if a researcher could find and prove this creature exists. There are, however, researchers who practice unethical and potentially dangerous practices while using these Bigfoot baiting techniques, such as the use of menstruating women or menstruation pads, children and gifts of food. The ethical researcher should use environmentally friendly alternatives such as purchased pheromones or cotton shirts, remove children from the field until they are educated, and take a responsible approach to food gifting.
Some Bigfoot researchers believe there is a connection between women’s menstruation and pheromone and that these pheromones will attract Bigfoot. They are taking used pads or tampons into the forest and placing them on the forest floor or hanging them in trees with the hope it will lure in the elusive creature, often they leave them behind. The use of women as bait is unethical, especially in the context that the women themselves may be menstruating. By making comments like “I hope one of the girls is menstruating,” the researcher is reducing them to bait instead of treating them as a fellow researcher. This is demeaning and focuses the attention on the male researchers while devaluing their female counterparts. Many of these women contribute greatly to these teams, such as zoologists, biologists, trackers and photographers. They are wives, mothers, sisters and grandmothers, and they should never be treated as a means to an end.
The general use of menstruation pads or tampons is thought to attract Bigfoot through pheromones released during menstruation. The consensus comes from reports such as those found in the Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization database, the largest such organization comprised of scientists and journalists. Report #1090 is one such example, it quotes a woman (name withheld), and her experience as follows: “Around the age of 12 or 13 (I’m 34 now) I went with my parents to Sugerpine Campground in the Sonora/Twain Harte area in California. We were there for two weeks in our 21’ travel trailer, and I was completely bored out of my mind! I also had just started menstruating for the first time while we were in the middle of our trip (mentioning this seems weird, but will make sense later).” She then goes on to explain her encounter with Bigfoot and the fear she felt from the encounter. She concludes her account with “when I mention I started my period for the first time, I believe animals have an uncanny ability to sense and smell those types of things, maybe it caught wind of me and decided to follow and check me out” (BFRO).
From this witness report, one can see how the correlation is drawn between menstruating females and Bigfoot, by these researchers. Human females release more pheromones during the ovulation process than are released during menstruation. Humans have three main glands the sweat, sebaceous and apocrine. The apocrine glands are of particular interest to scientists. Professor of psychology Howard C. Hughs writes in his book Sensory Erotica that “In many mammals, apocrine glands are known to function as pheromone factories” (283). One of the areas these glands are concentrated in is the armpit region.
Wise Geek, which is a team of researchers, writers and editors, recently published an article by Florence J. Tipton on human pheromones in which she says, “The need to procreate and protect the human species causes females to emit pheromones that generally will be most noticeable during ovulation.” Since human pheromones are released in higher quantities during ovulation, there is no basis for their use in menstruation baiting, as any pheromones would be present in smaller quantities. The practice of menstrual baiting is becoming more popular, and along with this comes greater concerns for safety.
This is a dangerous practice that may attract predators to the area, putting the entire team at risk. Wild animals such as black bears, grizzly bears, cougars, and wolves may be attracted to the smell of blood, perceiving it as wounded prey.
A study conducted by Lynn L. Rogers of the U.S. Forest Service a Leading Bear biologist stated that, “This concern became wide spread when 2 menstruating women were killed by grizzly bears (Ursus arctos horribillis) in Glacier National Park in 1967, prompting government agencies to circulate brochures warning menstruating women against entering bear country.” Rogers’ study concentrated on the American black bear (Ursus americanus) and used habituated well-fed bears who were generally disinterested in the menstruation bait. The results of this study may have presented differently with malnourished bears that were not used to human activity. He further concludes that based on written reports, that there is no direct evidence to correlate grizzly attacks to women (Rogers). However, Kerry A. Gunther, a Bear Management biologist for Yellowstone National Park, says, “The responses of grizzly bears to menstruation odors has not been studied experimentally.”
Therefore, with no field studies on grizzly bears showing how they would respond, there is still a potential risk when using menstruation baiting. Gunther went on to say that the studies included testing on polar bears both captive and free-ranging and found “that free-ranging polar bears detected and consumed food scent samples and used tampons, but ignored non-menstrual human blood and unused tampons. This suggests that polar bears are attracted to odors associated with menstrual blood.” While this may not seem important to some people, at least those in the lower 48 states, it is important to Russian and Alaskan researchers or those in the most Northern areas, and they should most defiantly refrain from the practice.
Bears are not the only wild animals to attack and kill humans. There have been wolf attacks in Alaska. NBC News reports on one such attack: “a pack of wolves killed Kenton Joel, a 22-year-old Ontario engineering student.” There have also been cougar attacks in Colorado. The New York Times in their article “Mountain Lion Kills Boy Hiking in Colorado Park”: reported that, “Mark Miedema bounded ahead of his parents and sister on a well-traveled trail in rocky Mountain National Park on Thursday before being attacked and killed by an 88-pound mountain lion.” The United States as well as British Columbia has addressed the issue of menstruation by providing pamphlets to hikers and campers warning of the potential danger. Officials urge caution while menstruating and camping or hiking, as seen in the material from the Ministry of Water, Land and Air Protection of British Columbia, who stated in their 2002 bear and cougar pamphlet that “Women should consider using tampons when menstruating.” Gunther notes that the Yellowstone National Park Service issues these guidelines for visitors:
The following precautions are recommended:
1. Use pre-moistened, unscented cleaning towelettes.
2. Use internal tampons instead of external pads.
3. Do not bury tampons, pads and towelettes (pack it in – pack it out). A bear may smell buried tampons or pads and dig them up. By providing bears a small food “reward”, this action may attract bears to other menstruating women.
4. Place all used tampons, pads, and towelettes in double zip-loc baggies and store them unavailable to bears, just as you would store food. This means hung at least 10 feet above the ground and 4 feet from the tree trunk. (Gunther)
Two separate governments are advising people there is a potential risk. This is not an ethical practice for the conscientious Bigfoot researcher, and there is real danger from predators. Even if women are not used or present, the researcher may be putting themselves or their team members at risk by using menstrual bait such as used pads or tampons.
Menstrual baiting should be avoided, in favor of safer and more ethical alternatives. There is no reason to put others at risk, and there are alternatives. Pheromone chips are available online at: BlueNorth.com.
An online blog called Guide to Bigfoot Hunting has this to say about their product:
“Pheromone chips are a method used to attract Bigfoot by creating an impregnated scent. The chip is attached to a tree branch, and left for Bigfoot to arrive. They are often accompanied with a trail cam to capture an image. These chips are made up of a mixture of ape and human pheromones. Pheromone chips aren’t proven to work for this type of animal, although they are used to attract other wild animals such as deer. Experts say that any primate would be attracted to them. Bigfoot or not.”
This product is a small compressed chip soaked in the pheromones, and then hung in a tree by a string. The chip should be removed and return with the researcher after using it, pack it in, pack it out. By using alternatives the researcher will be removing the blood from the equation and therefore the risk from predators. Since more pheromones are released during ovulation through the armpit region, a tee-shirt worn for a couple of days would serve as a safer alternative as well. The shirt can be taken out into the field, used, and return with the researcher when he or she is finished. Both the pheromone chips and the tee-shirt serve as ethical substitutions to menstrual baiting and will help protect the environment (by eliminating abandoned pads),while keeping the researchers and their teammates safe.
Co-founder of Cryptomundo in 2005. I have appeared in or contributed to the following TV programs, documentaries and films: OLN's Mysterious Encounters: "Caddo Critter", Southern Fried Bigfoot, Travel Channel's Weird Travels: "Bigfoot", History Channel's MonsterQuest: "Swamp Stalker", The Wild Man of the Navidad, Destination America's Monsters and Mysteries in America: Texas Terror - Lake Worth Monster, Animal Planet's Finding Bigfoot: Return to Boggy Creek and Beast of the Bayou.