Does Bigfoot live in the mountains surrounding Pocatello?

Posted by: Craig Woolheater on February 5th, 2016

In 2012, a video was released depicting a large black figure on a cliff at West Fork Mink Creek south of Pocatello.

Though the black mass only appears for a few seconds, it was enough to grab the attention of many Bigfoot researchers.

“It was quite intriguing because they saw a figure that walked into the cover of the trees once it realized it was being watched,” said Dr. Jeff Meldrum, an Idaho State University professor and a noted Bigfoot researcher.

Link to watch video: Idaho Bigfoot Video

One of the witnesses took a photo of a footprint in the snow. Researchers noted that this print was very similar to one that was found in 1967 close to where the infamous Patterson-Gimlin film was shot. This film, some Bigfoot scholars claim, depicts Bigfoot walking in a wooded area in California. Others claim the film depicts a guy in an ape suit.

Meldrum later investigated the West Fork of Mink Creek area. After an analysis, he discovered something interesting about the figure in the video.

“It had to be at least 7 or 7 1/2 feet tall,” he said.

Infrequent and seasonal

For many skeptics, the eerie video is easy to write off as a hoax. But according to Meldrum, the wooded, mountainous areas south of Pocatello have had credible Bigfoot sightings over the years, and they tend to follow certain patterns.

“The sightings are infrequent and seasonal,” he said. “They usually occur in the late fall and winter months.”

With multiple appearances in numerous Bigfoot documentaries, Meldrum has become a leading expert on the subject of the mysterious animal. His goal is to study Bigfoot as if it were an academic science, with statistical analysis and a thorough collection and examination of evidence.

He’s even published numerous books on the subject, including “Sasquatch Field Guide: Identifying, Tracking and Sighting North America’s Great Ape,” which teaches outdoorsmen how to track and preserve Bigfoot-related forensic evidence in the wild.

Click here to purchase Meldrum’s book

And with his research, he’s discovered some interesting correlations between Sasquatch and east Idaho.

The food source

For one, local sightings of Bigfoot tend to be centralized at a specific elevation. A species of berries, which are known to survive long past the first frost of the winter season, grows at this elevation. These antioxidant-rich plants are popular with bears, who feast on them before they hibernate for the winter.

It has been theorized that Bigfoots will wander around the Rocky Mountains during the winter months, utilizing these berries as a food source.

Meldrum said he could not provide details on the exact elevation or the berries species because he does not want to compromise a colleague’s study. But he did say that the berries were found all over a draw at East Fork of Mink Creek where an unidentified man walking his dog claims to have spotted Bigfoot.

The black bear connection

Secondly, Meldrum said Bigfoot prefers to hang around black bears.

“If you were to overlay a map of Sasquatch reports with a map showing black bear populations, you’ll find it’s almost a perfect match,” he said. “If a black bear can make a living in an area, so can another omnivore like Bigfoot.”

Though black bear sightings in the Scout Mountain and Mink Creek areas are extremely rare, Idaho Fish and Game said it is very possible for a bear or two to reside in the mountains surrounding Pocatello.

But Meldrum said another East Idaho hotspot for Bigfoot sightings is in the mountainous regions around Montpelier, an area with a sizable black bear population. It was here that Meldrum received an extremely credible Bigfoot sighting, where the witness was a high-ranking law enforcement officer.

The encounter occurred about 10 to 15 years ago outside of Montpelier. The officer was out elk hunting when he came face-to-face with the mysterious hairy creature, which stood at an estimated 8 feet.

“It cocked its (own) head back and made a loud scream.,” Meldrum said. “They sized each other up, and then it just turned around and ran off.”

18 inches

Thirdly, rain and snow play a big impact in Bigfoot’s preferred range.

“As a rule of thumb, we see the most accurate sightings in areas that get at least 18 inches of precipitation annually,” Meldrum said.

This rule of thumb, Meldrum says, explains a lot about some of the mysteries of Sasquatch. For one, it shows why the creature is widely reported to call the damp coniferous forests of Washington state home. It also explains why no remains of a Bigfoot species have ever been discovered.

“In coniferous forests like the ones in Washington, which can have volcanic soils, elements are going to dissolve rapidly,” Meldrum said. “Plus, an 8-foot tall gorilla is not going to have a natural predator, so when Bigfoot is about to die, it’s going to go to a place where its remains will disappear quickly.”

So why would Bigfoot come to east Idaho, an area often dealing with drought-like conditions?

Meldrum believes the creatures have very large home ranges, particularly in habitats that are less productive than the wetter forests of the Pacific Northwest. Though east Idaho may not be able to provide a suitable habitat for a resident Bigfoot population, the region’s winter berries might encourage the creatures to pass through the area from time to time.

The same depiction

On the way to either Mink Creek or Montpelier, it’s likely Bigfoot would have to cross the Fort Hall Indian Reservation, another local hotspot for Sasquatch sightings.

Though Meldrum said the local Shoshone-Bannock Tribe is protective about its history with Bigfoot, other tribes across the West are usually pretty open about their depictions of the creature.

Though the names and background stories for Bigfoot can differ from tribe to tribe, their physical descriptions and appearances are usually very similar.

“It’s uncanny,” Meldrum said. “Stretching from the Pacific Northwest to the Colorado Plateau, it’s usually the same depiction.”

Puff of hair

Though in the past the study of Bigfoot was laughable by academic standards and often grouped with the paranormal, Meldrum said his research into the subject has won the respect of many of his peers. He is also approached by strangers in parking lots and grocery stores who want to thank him for his objective, academic approach to finding Bigfoot.

Some even tell him about their own encounters with Sasquatch.

But despite the sightings and the video evidence, nobody has ever produced any definitive physical evidence that the mysterious North American ape actually exists.

“It’s frustrating, but it’s not surprising that we haven’t found that definitive proof,” Meldrum said.

However, there are approximately 18,000 new species of animals, fauna and flora discovered every year. A lot of these species had been previously unknown to scientists. Perhaps someday the Bigfoot question will be resolved, either by a semi-truck smashing into one as it crosses the road or through an accidental discovery of a Sasquatch carcass in the woods.

But the stories from hunters who have encountered the creature are clear — Bigfoot can be hard to kill.

“I’ve talked to hunters who say they shot Bigfoot, and they say they saw the puff of hair come out from where the bullet struck, and then it just ran off,” he said.


About Craig Woolheater
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.

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