Update: Leader Of Bigfoot Expedition Cited For Permit Violation

Posted by: Craig Woolheater on March 27th, 2012

Matt Moneymaker responds to the claims of permit violations on the recent BFRO expedition in Arkansas:

According to BFRO members who attended the expedition, there seems to be a misunderstanding of what permits were required in jurisdiction controlled by the National Park Service. To clear things up, one commenter got in touch with BFRO president, Matt Moneymaker and he passed this along to our readers:

Moneymaker is in Louisiana shooting a season 3 episode of Finding Bigfoot. I called him on his cell hone about this. He told me some things to pass along to you about the NPS citation in Arkansas, and he texted me with more of his thoughts on the matter.Shawn @ Bigfoot Evidence

“National Parks and National Reserves (outside Alaska) are a small fraction of public lands. Much larger are the National Forests (controlled by the Dept of Agriculture). State Parks have much more acreage, collectively. There are also Indian reservations, and BLM lands, and a whole lot of privately owned lands (including formal trust lands) that contain active bigfoot habitats.

The National Park Service only controls the National Parks and National Reserves. All those places are deserve special protection, and the NPS does an great job at it. Technically, the organizer broke the rules of this National Reserve in Arkansas and he was cited for it. The NPS has every right to do that, and the BFRO supports them in their efforts to enforce their rules. All their rules are policy-based, and made in Washington, to ensure maximum protection of those areas while allowing maximum human access and enjoyment. There’s a tricky balancing act between those two slightly competing public interests.

The 2012 BFRO Arkansas expedition was the very first time a BFRO expedition took place in a jurisdiction controlled by the National Park Service. BFRO expedition organizers have always been advised to avoid National Parks because the rules are so strict (e.g. you can’t step off a designated trail). Fortunately there’s a plethora of great bigfoot locations that are NOT in National Parks or Reserves. In fact there are many, many more of bigfoot areas outside the National Parks and Reserves than inside them.

The organizer of the 2012 Arkansas expedition thought he didn’t need a special use permit to camp with his group in a developed campground in the Reserve. It was a reasonable assumption under the circumstances. He made that assumption after carefully reading the Buffalo Reserve’s web site for information or guidance about special use permits for a group that wants to camp in one their developed campgrounds, especially when the participants are individually paying the fees for their own camp sites. Nothing on the Reserve’s web site addresses that scenario.

Moreover, the expedition organizer’s girlfriend reviewed the Reserve’s web site and determined that no permit was needed for a group of that size doing the activities they were going to do there.

A reporter recently spoke with a spokesperson for the Buffalo Reserve office. Apparently the office acknowledged that more information needs to be added to their web site to address these situations, it being 2012 and all.

It is not unreasonable to assume that the web site for well protected piece of public land, like a National Park and Reserve, would list ALL the prohibitions associated otherwise normal, no-impact, group camping activities.

There’s nothing wrong about the NPS citing the organizer, and there’s nothing wrong with the head office alerting all the other NPS offices to what happened. Now they will all update their web sites to provide instructions or guidance to those who want to obtain permits for paid group camping activities. That needs to happen. Until then it won’t be difficult at all for other expedition organizers to avoid lands controlled by the NPS.Matt Moneymaker

Matt Pruitt, field coordinator and investigator for the Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization (BFRO). also responds to the allegations:

My Citation

I’ve received a number of emails and phone calls regarding the recent NPS statement describing the citation I received in the Buffalo National River area.

There are inaccuracies in the article that I’d like to address. Those inaccuracies have led many readers and enthusiasts to make incorrect assumptions about the expedition.

Before I address the article, I’ll explain my side of this story.

I started scouting locations for this expedition in October of 2010. I had narrowed many viable options down to what I thought would comprise the best three; one in Northwestern AR, one near Little Rock in the Ouachita Mountains, and one on the Buffalo National River.

My selection process focuses primarily on specific environmental factors and terrain features, rather than just looking at areas with reports. There are very few reports online from the Buffalo River area, but once I started working closely with witnesses and local researchers in Arkansas, I was able to learn quite a bit about the many undocumented and unreported observations and encounters in the area.

I scouted the specific area on February 1st. It’s a dramatic and beautiful area; overwhelmingly gorgeous. I was remarking incessantly to the individual who accompanied me to scout (an interpretive ranger for the National Park Service) about how much the Boxley Valley looked like a more dramatic version of Northeast Georgia. I even tweeted this about the area: “I was absolutely enamored with the area I scouted yesterday in Arkansas for the upcoming #BFRO expedition. Truly stunning!”

It really is an incredible area. The Lost Valley Canoe general store is great as well. They were very helpful and friendly to all of us prior to and during the expedition.

After scouting that location and having been very impressed with the area, I decided to conduct the expedition there.

I immediately scoured their website to see if I needed any specific permits or passes to conduct such an effort there. There are applications for permits related to commercial fishing (which doesn’t apply to us), commercial photography (which doesn’t apply to us), weddings (which doesn’t apply to us), and cremains scattering (which doesn’t apply to us). I didn’t see any rules, regulations, or permits related to a coordinated group hiking and camping in the National River. Moreover, the campground that we were based out of is free each year from mid-November to mid-March.

I assumed that I had fully acquainted myself with the necessary information related to the usage rules and regulations of the park. I was wrong, and I paid for that mistake.

On the morning of Friday, February 24th, two NPS law enforcement rangers entered our base camp. I was in the process of distributing map packets to the expedition participants when one of the rangers approached me and asked me if I was in charge of this group. I told him that I was the organizer of a field research effort, and that I was indeed in charge of the group. I explained that myself and a few others had been conducting field research in the park since Wednesday (the 22nd), and that most others had arrived on Thursday, the 23rd.

He explained to me that he had “received a tip” informing them that we were with a popular television series and were filming in the park. I explained (in no uncertain terms) to him that we were not filming for a television series, and that the series he was referring to was about bigfoot researchers affiliated with the research organization that I was a member of.

I told him that I had worked on an episode of the first season (Georgia), and that I would be working for the show again in March for an episode in Oklahoma, but that our presence in the Buffalo National River was unrelated to the series.

I provided him with the name and number of the Co-Executive Producer of the series, and told the ranger that any and all concerns related to the TV show should be direct to him. I also provided him with the name and number of BFRO Director and series cast member Matt Moneymaker, and the name and number of a BFRO administrator should they have any further questions or concerns. Moreover, I provided him with the URL of the BFRO website.

I was told that there was “nothing wrong” with our group using the campground and the park to conduct field research. I told them exactly where we had been during the previous two days, and exactly where we planned to go. I even offered to mark each locations on the map for the rangers so that they could be aware of where we would be at all times.

The ranger took my driver’s license and asked me wait. Concerned expedition members asked me if everything seemed to be okay, and I told them that the concern seemed to be related to the television series.

When the rangers returned my license, I was told that I would be given a warning. During that conversation, one of the rangers was called back (via radio) to his vehicle. I was asked to wait again.

After a few minutes, the ranger came back over to me and asked me why the BFRO website used the nomenclature “Sold Out” next to the expedition dates. I explained to him that the organization charges fees for first time participants and first time repeaters for our public expeditions. I explained to him that once an expedition roster is full, we use the term “Sold Out” to indicate that we weren’t receiving any more inquiries for that expedition. I also explained our fee system.

Each organizer is different, thus each expedition is different. There is no fixed number of expedition participants that an organizer can involve in a given expedition. I chose to have a roster of 30 people for this expedition, based on the number of BFRO members attending, and the area we would be operating in. I explained to him that the “Sold Out” nomenclature was to be used at the organizer’s discretion; not when a certain number of slots had been “sold”, or a dollar amount achieved. We ended up having 32 people attend the expedition, as two witnesses were invited by BFRO members to come and share their experiences with us.

At that point, the ranger informed me that I needed a special permit to operate in the park if members of our group had paid someone to be involved. I told him that I wasn’t aware of that, and would do whatever it took to rectify the situation. I offered to provide him with all of my receipts, rosters, emails, and documents related to the expedition if it would help in any way.

The rangers explained to me that I would be issued a citation for “conducting a business operation” in the park without a permit. I had the option to attempt to appeal it in court (in Arkansas) at a later date, or pay the fine within 30 days.

I told the rangers and the expedition participants that I would pay the fine. Here is the bottom line:

There was a permit that I needed in order to conduct that type of operation in the park, and I wasn’t aware of it. The blame falls on ME, not the BFRO. My neglect caused me to receive a citation. No one made me go to that location. I chose it, and I thought that I had thoroughly looked into any potential obstacles.

I told the rangers that I would pay for my mistake, and that I hoped that it wouldn’t reflect poorly on the expedition participants or the organization. They told me that it didn’t. One of the rangers addressed the expedition participants to tell them that they should enjoy the park, and that we weren’t in any trouble by being there and conducting research. The ranger told them that I had neglected to obtain the necessary permit and was given a citation, but to enjoy the rest of our stay.

I immediately called the Co-Executive Producer of the series to inform him that the National Park Service might call him to ask a few questions. I also spoke with Matt Moneymaker and informed him of the situation. I called Karen Bradford (Law Enforcement Specialist) to ask specifically which permit I needed so that I could educate myself. Several expedition participants were present for those phone calls and conversations.

I paid my citation in full on Friday, March 23rd. That same day, I received an email from a writer who asked if I would respond to the recent statement that the NPS made about my citation. I wasn’t able to make contact with the writer for a few hours, and by the time I had made contact with him the article had already been released.

There are a few inaccuracies in the NPS article (written by Karen Bradford). The article states: “After questioning numerous people associated with the group, they discovered that approximately 30 people had paid Matt Pruitt, who is affiliated with The Bigfoot Field Researcher’s Organization [sic], to lead them on a hunt for the creature. Several participants said that they had paid $300 to $500 each to be lead on a three- day expedition.”

First of all, there were not 30 paying participants. There were 32 expedition participants, including myself. Of those 32 participants, seven were BFRO members (who don’t pay any fee). Three more people were guests of those members, and also paid NO fee. Five expedition repeaters had to pay a “repeater fee” of $150. Of those five repeaters, four brought a guest (one each) at no additional fee. There were eight new participants who paid a “newbie fee” of $300 to attend the expedition. One of those new participants brought a guest at no additional fee. Finally, a group of four men from Mississippi and Alabama came to the expedition together in one vehicle and were charged $500, which they split among themselves.

That brings us to my next point: paying expedition participants send their fees to the BFRO, not the organizer. None of these people paid me. They paid the BFRO, who then sent me half of each fee.

For those of you who don’t want to do the math, that’s a total of $3650, of which I, the organizer, receive $1825.

If you read Karen Bradford’s statement literally, you may assumed that I was paid anywhere from $9,000 to $15,000. That is absolutely not the case. Again, I received a grand total of $1825.00 for organizing and leading the expedition.

I’d like to explain to the readers how I use that money.

I started scouting for this expedition and receiving inquiries in October of 2011. I lived in Oklahoma City during that time, and the drive to the Arkansas border itself is about 180 miles, not to mention the additional miles to other locations. One of the locations that I scouted was 325 miles (one way) from my home in OKC. That’s a 650 mile round trip. The site I scouted in the Buffalo River area was 295 miles from my home; a 590 mile round trip. That’s not even including the many miles that I drove while scouting around each location, and not including my final trip to and from the expedition itself. During that expedition, I drove dozens of miles each day. I am currently in the process of moving and have boxed up most of my documents, but when I get fully moved in to my new location, I’ll gladly organize and share my gas receipts to give the readers an idea of how much I spent in gas alone for this expedition.

In preparing for each expedition that I lead, I make a number of purchases. I’ll name a few here, but like I said above, I will gladly share my receipts and total costs with interested readers here once I have organized all of them.

Prior to each expedition, I typically purchase a surplus of batteries for all of my devices, as well as enough batteries to supply many other people, should they find themselves needing batteries. My GPS units and audio recorders require AA batteries. My headlamps (of which I have five in case any are needed by participants), handheld red LED flashlights (of which I have five), and two-way radios (of which I have five) all require AAA batteries. I buy enough batteries to power all 15 of those items for five days (Wednesday through Sunday), as well as a surplus to provide for other expedition participants if necessary. Anyone who has attended one of these expeditions can tell you that we go through batteries like crazy.

I purchase a surplus of rain covers (ponchos) and hand-warmers, in the rare event that an expedition participant is under-prepared and we encounter rough rain or sudden temperature drops.

I purchase multiple maps of the area, including the relevant 7.5 minute topographical maps, the National Geographic waterproof topo maps, a DeLorme Atlas and Gazetteer, and any other specific (vehicle use, hiking trails, etc.) maps I can locate.

I spend literally hundreds of hours on the phone discussing the expedition with inquirers and participants. I spoke with over 60 expedition inquirers to select the few new participants who came to the expedition. Many of the expedition participants signed up months in advance. I made myself available to take their calls at anytime. I interviewed dozens of witnesses across the state, as well as interviewing a few seasoned researchers. I devoted a significant portion of my phone bill each month specifically to the expedition.

Finally, I was also working a full-time sales associate job earning $9.50/hr, or roughly $380 a week (before taxes). I had to take several days off work for scouting locations (which I haven’t added up yet), as well as taking six days off work for the expedition itself. That six-day stretch alone is a (roughly) $456 portion of my income that I had to forfeit in order to be present at the location during the expedition. When you have monthly bills (rent, car payments, auto insurance, cell phone, etc.) each dollar that you purposely forfeit counts.

So, if any of my readers are interested, I will add up my receipts and phone bill percentages, and internet bill percentages, and days missed at work (which also caused me to forfeit a quarterly bonus) to reconcile against that $1825.00 that I received for the expedition. I think you’ll quickly see that I didn’t profit a single dime on this expedition.

I don’t organize expeditions to make money. I organize them in order to explore new areas, to challenge myself, and to introduce interested parties to the sasquatch phenomenon. In the process, I end up fostering many relationships between new researchers and BFRO members, witnesses, and cultivating new friendships.

It’s very difficult to organize expeditions the way that I choose to do them. It’s incredibly stressful, and requires a lot of focus and responsibility. It’s exhausting, time-consuming, and financially difficult. However, it’s personally very rewarding, and that has (until this point) inspired me to continue organizing expeditions.

In closing, I’d like to apologize to anyone who read the NPS statement and thought that I was intentionally trying to violate the National Park Service or the Buffalo National River. Nothing could be further from the truth. I have the utmost respect and compassion for the National Park Service. I have very deep connections to the NPS. I won’t discuss the nature of those connections at this point, but those who know me personally know what I’m referring to. Beyond certain connections, I’ve been fortunate enough to get to know many NPS employees; a few of which I consider great friends. Also, I have visited many NPS sites, including Great Smoky Mountains NP, Grand Teton NP, Yellowstone NP, Glacier NP, North Cascades NP, Mt. Rainier NP, Olympic NP, Redwoods NP, Chickasaw NRA, and Buffalo National River. I have been to the Oklahoma City National Memorial so many times that I’ve lost count.

I was more than willing to pay my citation. As I stated before, my negligence was to blame for being unaware of the permit. I failed to do so, and I learned my lesson. That doesn’t bother me.

What does bother me is that the NPS statement may lead people to believe that I intentionally violated the rules and regulations of the park. That hurts. I would never do such a thing, and those who know me personally (and especially those in NPS who know me) can attest to that.Matt Pruitt

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.

28 Responses to “Update: Leader Of Bigfoot Expedition Cited For Permit Violation”

  1. DWA responds:

    I’m not exactly enamored of the BFRO practice of leading newbies – actually, leading large batches of anybody, and 32 is a large batch – on paid expeditions.

    If you’re focusing on the science, which BFRO professes to be, you’re minimizing the distractions. Not to mention all the expenses of leading a trip like this, which actually are a major diversion of resources and distraction in themselves.

    That said: I wasn’t exactly alarmed when I heard about this. It appears further that this guy took every reasonable precaution, and got bushwhacked by fine print that wasn’t even in print.

    Even thought Matt M’s not technically right – I’ve spent quite a bit of time off-trail in National Parks, sanctioned by the rules – I sure wouldn’t want a group of 32 doing something like that. It’s damaging, not only to park resources but to the experience of users who leave trails to get away from crowds. (If you are a group of 32, you are a crowd, and have no reason to leave a trail.) Again, you may not be able to leave trails in some NPS places (say, Mesa Verde). But in others (say, Denali), there’s virtually no alternative.

    I feel sorry for Pruitt. He sounds like a dedicated decent guy who ran afoul of a rule that wasn’t prominent enough. You’d think that would be one of the first ones you’d read.

  2. fuzzy responds:

    Well said, Matt. Please continue your comprehensive activities in support of the Quest – we need dedicated organizers like you.

  3. Novelhawk responds:

    Thanks for taking the time to explain, Mr. Pruitt. Your explanation seems completely reasonable and viable.

    It is unfortunate that we live in a time where sensationalist news is more important than accurate news, and I hope that the writer of the story was, like Mr. Pruitt, just misinformed of the facts before proceeding.

    Mr. Pruitt, I would suggest sending the writer your reply and requesting a public correction to the original and incorrect news story. It is what I would do in your situation.

  4. Nny responds:

    I really liked the response.

    But I’m still a little surprised that you can lead a commercial, for-profit expedition into private/government owned/protected/sanctioned land/property and not expect to spend money on permits. It’s like he looked at the website, didn’t find what he needed(or maybe his girlfriend looked at the site and didn’t find it) so went ‘Cool. No charge.’ But when he was fined, he called up a number (very quickly it seems like) and asked questions…. why not call the number and ask a person BEFORE going on the expedition?

    I think I know the answer. It’s because the expeditions cost so much out of pocket for the expedition leader that saving money anywhere is extremely welcomed.

    And the whole situation is funny to me. BFRO is a business (a business about finding bigfoot[pun!]), not a non-profit scientific team. They need to make this clear to all of their members, researchers, expedition leaders, etc. They are not sanctioned by any scientific, educational, government, state, or federal body.

    They are a business. They have a for-profit TV show. I guess whoever’s in charge over there needs to make that clear to the members about that.

    It still makes me smile…. a commercial expedition walking through National Park Service land with enough gear, most likely, to look like a wedding or commercial fishing or commercial photography… but because the website said nothing about commercial bigfooting, hey, we get a free ride.

    Matt Pruitt not making money off this needs to be directed back to the BFRO. Why do they keep half of the money made while Matt goes off and spends, what? 3000 of his own dollars so the BFRO can pocket an easy $1825?

    Matt, what the hell ya doin? Start your own business and use “former BFRO” if you want to use the BFRO name. At least that way you’d be taking less people, get more money, and now you know to ASK QUESTIONS instead of just assuming.


  5. PhotoExpert responds:

    I agree with DWA. I feel Matt Pruitt’s explanation of what happened to be very honest, heartfelt and true. And yes, even if he did make some money personally, he definitely earned it with all the time he devoted to this expedition. There is nothing wrong with capitalism and any profit he made was minimal because of the expenses that were incurred and loss of money at his regular job.

    With that being said, many of us here have predicted that something like this would happen. The show Finding Bigfoot had consequences here and they were not positive. That reputation preceded them. Notice in Matt Pruitt’s explanation, that the reason the rangers were there is because they heard they were there was in relation to that show and filming. When they found out it was not, everything was OK. However, because of an oversight of the black and white rules, Matt was fined. The point here is that they would never have been hassled if there was no connection to the Finding Bigfoot show. The reason they were hassled was directly attributable to that show. And as many have stated here on Cryptomundo, the antics of Matt Moneymaker and his team on that show would have negative consequences on real researches. These predictions finally came to fruition.

    In other words, we told you so! I feel bad for Matt Pruitt. He made an honest mistake. He suffered the consequences for the Finding Bigfoot show.

    To Matt Pruitt: Thank you for your honest explanation. Sorry to hear about the troubles you encountered and the negative fallout you received. I do not think your honest mistake brought any negative attention to the BFRO. However, as for the Finding Bigfoot show, it appears that if it’s negative attention, as predicted here by several Cryptomundo regulars, has finally caught up with itself. Personally, I have a feeling this is not the end of the consequences from the Finding Bigfoot show. I believe that this show is going to effect true Bigfoot research negatively, for years to come and that the damage being done by this show will have negative repercussions for years to come.

  6. Opalman responds:

    Once again the BFRO exposes itself for what it is. Something akin to a carnival sideshow hawking gawks of the Fat Lady (or was that MM) for 25 cents.

    Taking paid groups into wilderness areas to clamor and disturb the biotope for an admission fee is about as tacky as cryptozoology gets. Tacky isn’t the problem though; exploitation of a rare and noble creature who obviously treasures it privacy and subjecting the environmental stillness of the country’s last truly wild areas with ridiculous, noisy sound systems and fake woodknocking is the problem. I’m still hoping and waiting patiently for MM to mount an expedition in the fall of some year; say November 15th; dressing up in a costume made of Rodney Young’s werewolf fur. Even I’d pay money to watch that. I’ll let Nicki Minaj finish that song.

    The BFRO proves again they aren’t about sasquatch research, hell they they’re not about anything: except making a big name for themselves and especially their exalted leader. Any profit they make is icing on the cake— MM would rather have his ego stroked than his wallet stoked.

    It unfortunate that so many sincere neophytes are lulled into believing such a big lie as expressed and represented by the BFRO. In my opinion: they have proven themselves (the admin and their a$$ kissers) as frauds and charlatans.

    I’m just now reading Coleman’s book as regarding Mr. Tom Slick and his quest to find the yeti. What a dichotomy: Tom Slick and MM—how obvious the difference between the sincere and the phony. And so it is and so it goes. I wish that when this site has occasion to contact MM for whatever reason, the administrator would do so without publicizing the fact; it make him (and us)sound like a MM fans. When I learn of a kindredship there I’ll no longer be seen here.

  7. fuzzy responds:

    WHAT A CIRCUS! Gripe, whine and yak! Opalman, Photoexpert, Nny and others just LOVE to jump all over the BFRO, Matt and anybody connected with actually doing the work of looking for this amazing cryptid creature! Makes me wonder how many of those caustic commenters have ever actually been out on a search, with all the prep work and expenses on vehicles, maps, camping equipment, tech gear, site planning, logistic coordination, travel, setup, meals, sanitary facilities, meetings, area scouting, field work, night forays, daily summary meetings, wrapups etc etc…

    Not many positive ideas to offer, tho… just more griping.

    Step right up, folks! While the object of all this chaos, the hirsute mystery himself, grunts in disgust, turns, steps into the shrubbery and disappears… again!

  8. windigo responds:

    “Opalman”, you have made some very curious assertions in your blog. Most interestingly, you went so far as to state that BFRO members are, “frauds and charlatans”. Such a statement must require keen insights into the mechanics of the organization, and an observed element of impropriety on the part of the organizational body. If I may ask, what BFRO sanctioned expeditions/events have you personally attended?

    Myself, I am a BFRO investigator with over 20 years of research behind me. I have assisted in the planning and coordination of multiple BFRO expeditions after becoming a member several years ago. Never in all my time with the BFRO did I witness an attendee to an expedition who left the event feeling cheated, or in any way disgruntled with the way the BFRO conducts it’s operations. On the contrary, many of these former attendees expressed a warmth and appreciation towards the BFRO, and the efforts of it’s members.

    Furthermore, you gave indication of your belief that the BFRO and it’s members are rather amateurish and not representative of true research. I am curious to know your specific basis for such a claim, and what experience you personally have researching Sasquatches in the field, that led you to this conclusion.

  9. DWA responds:

    fuzzy: you’re griping, whining and yakking.

    Matt Pruitt sounds like he’s trying his best to do this the way he feels it should be done. Some of us have legitimate reservations about that, which we expressed. We’re not saying we’re right, but we think we may be.

    I offered one VERY VERY positive idea, to wit: hey BFRO. Taking 32 paying customers into the woods may be a bit of a financial and logistical distraction, wot? Is this confirming the sasquatch or That’s Entertainment? Let me get more specific. Go to texasbigfoot.com, and note how the Texas Bigfoot Research Conservancy (TBRC) do it. I’m willing to bet that any skeptical scientist that had tagged along on any of TBRC’s activities – and I mean every single bingle gingle one I have read about, which would be all – would have come back advocating more research, with mainstream resources. HowZAT for positive?

    PhotoExpert – while we’re on positives about a big negative – is right about “Finding Bigfoot.” It’s a Tar Baby par ex.

    It may be generating something beneficial, as I have pointed out here. Most of the encounter reports going up on BFRO.net now are of encounters within the past two years, with an astonishing percentage of current-year encounters. What I’m seeing is as compelling as anything I have seen go up either on their site or TBRC’s. Some of it is happening because of “Finding Bigfoot.” That’s good.

    Now for the bad. That show takes BFRO’s good work and, while not flushing it, certainly doesn’t cast it in the proper scientific light. People may be inspired to report their encounters. (They probably are moved to do so by the installments of people just like them, reporting experiences just like theirs.) But there are probably people out there – actually, no ‘probably’ about it – who now look at that database and everything else associated with the BFRO in the light of the antics on the show. (A mistake, a big one. But there you are.) Nothing scientific about ’em. They don’t go where their own database shows concentrations of encounters. They try something new (and silly) every time out. They focus on the most dubious of evidence. And they – particularly Matt M. – undo much of the good they’ve done not only with their non-scientific approach, but with their prickly return blasts to the inevitable brickbats. The TBRC? Stiff upper lip and straight collar, and science all the way.

    I think 50 plus years of nuttin’ says this loud and clear: if the scientific mainstream doesn’t engage in this question, nobody reading this will live to see the sasquatch confirmed.

    And good TV – read bad science – and touron ‘expeditions’ aren’t helping that. At all. In fact, your last two sentences describe BFRO’s expeditions and their effect pretty well, I think.

    Which makes a lot of good people gripe a lot.

  10. bigfoots responds:

    @ fuzzy …. you REEK of affiliation…

    the bfro expeditions are nothing more than grab-ass in the woods for money.
    its basically camping with a bunch of people you dont know and its a social event.
    ofcourse the guy had 32 people… he probably would of taken 50… after all he gets half the money…

    my “Theory” is more people = less interaction..

    I can not prove my theory but my experiences have led me to that conclusion…

  11. Opalman responds:

    @fuzzy: Thank you for the opportunity to work on my recent New Year’s resolution which I’ll describe as striving towards the goal of being less judgmental and more patient with those folks that have difficulty with logical thought processes. In your surmisal of the MM group;

    “…the BFRO, Matt and anybody connected with actually doing the work of looking for this amazing cryptid creature!”

    Fuzzy exactly what work are you referring to? Is it the BFRO’s polarizing effect on the lay public in general stemming from their television program; “Finding Bigfoot”? I have yet to meet anyone who is of the opinion that the FB series did anything positive in affecting the public’s impression of cryptozoology. Most folks came away from the experience after watching any episodes of FB believing that the entire subject of the creature’s existence is bogus; the continued fabrication and perpetuation of a myth. Now that’s really helping the sasquatch research effort, isn’t it. Laying sarcasm aside fuzzy: the BFRO has done much to oppose the effort of describing and classifying sasquatch. As I have stated before the only thing; (in my opinion); the BFRO has to be applauded for is their geographical database of sightings and most of the report follow ups. For this one thing they have occasion to be proud.
    In your rhetorically presented question;

    “have I…have ever actually been out on a search, with all the prep work and expenses on vehicles, maps, camping equipment, tech gear, site planning, logistic coordination, travel, setup, meals, sanitary facilities, meetings, area scouting, field work, night forays, daily summary meetings, wrapups etc etc…”

    Let me answer your question thusly—you know not what you ask; and you seem to be jumping to the false conclusion that we who disagree with the vainglorious, commercializing (paying expedition goers), pompous, self-aggrandizing, and totally unscientific antics of the BFRO; don’t contribute to the real effort ourselves. As I said; that’s a totally incorrect supposition; fuzzy. I can’t speak for the others you mention, but in my opinion just by virtue of their contributions to this and other websites like it, they contribute significantly to the effort. How? By speaking up when attempts are made to dishonor lady logic and by vehemently objecting to subjective non-sense regarding sasquatch and the cryptozoological phenomenons we see here at Cryptomundo and other sites.

    Yes; I have been “out on a search” and this continues in spite of my not-so-wonderful health. But unlike the BFRO we feel no need for “wrap-ups”, (whatever the hell they are?); town hall meetings or even allowing our left hand knowing what the right hand is doing, (so to speak)

    I am not at liberty to divulge the specifics of my group’s operations regarding sasquatch research; the last thing we want is publicity—publicity would so severely hurt our efforts that the operations might be curtailed altogether. I will say this; I am following in the footsteps of my early mentor and everything that we do is to large part in loving memory of him.
    I feel responses like this are important because I believe every person interested in classifying sasquatch and ultimately protecting it, is important.

  12. Nny responds:



    Except for the ‘and anybody…actually doing the work.’

    Just the BFRO, love. Just the BFRO.

    And there’s been many, many positive ideas offered by caustic commenters, not really in this thread however, when it comes to finding bigfoot(both the show and the real pursuit).

    Fiddle. Sticks.

  13. PhotoExpert responds:

    fuzzy–Whaaaa! Do you need some cheese to go with that whine of yours? Really? Apparently, you have never read any of my posts. Or if you have read them, you obviously fail to know the difference between objectivity and subjectivity. So let me take this opportunity to educate you.

    I am speaking for myself here. The other people you named and maligned in your post can defend themselves. They don’t need my help.

    You posted that I jumped all over the BRFO. Please, show me where I have done that in my post. I implore you to show me one instance where I said something negative about the BRFO or as you state it, jumped all over them. Please, do that, I’ll wait.

    Secondly, show me where I whined or any of the posters you mentioned, have whined about the BRFO. Go ahead, we will wait. You may feel free to go back as many years as I have been posting here to find any post by me, jumping on the BRFO. I dare you to find one! You will not because I never have done that. Your accusations are false, which make you a whiner and blind supporter of the BRFO, regardless of the facts at hand.

    Maybe your perception of astute posters, writing about the negative antics of MM, the rest of the cast with one exception, is your idea of whining. But pointing out the obvious and doing so objectively, is not whining. Hey, I do not have a dog in the fight. Yes, using the word “Squatchy” in every episode, declaring everything that moves to be a BF, and declaring your expertise on an animal that has not been proven to exist yet, is doing wonders for Cryptozoology! Care to defend that? MM being associated with the BRFO, does and will effect the BRFO negatively for years to come. It will effect and has now effected, the BRFO and it’s efforts as has been proven by Matt Pruitt’s honest statements.

    Thirdly, if you had actually taken the time to read any of my posts, you will see when MM originally posted on this site after the series began to run, I was one of the few that actually defended MM. That is in black and white, so learn to read and get your facts straight. I was objective and actually defended him as the series came out. Now, being objective, I can not defend any of the crew or antics of this show!

    Lastly fuzzy, please show anywhere where I maligned the BRFO in my post. I actually defended Matt Pruitt and thanked him for setting the record straight.

    You my man or lady, are the one who is subjective. You jump on fellow Cryptomundians and accuse them of things they did not say or write or imply. That is whining!!!

    So the next time you post, get your facts straight and correct. Or just keep your trap shut. Your opinions are irrelevant when they are based in so much subjectivity.

    Oh, and fuzzy, if you actually take the time and read my post, please show me where I am incorrect about any of the other content. I want you to show me where Matt Pruitt was not engaged by rangers because of the association of the group with the FB show and MM. Please do that for all of us!!! Matt Pruitt made that perfectly clear. Are you now going to argue with Matt?

    Fuzzy, get a grip, stop your whining, read my posts before slinging arrows at me, learn the difference between objectivity and subjectivity, and stop subjectively defending MM and the BRFO. Got it? You stand corrected!

  14. jstevens2154 responds:

    “Moreover, the expedition organizer’s girlfriend reviewed the Reserve’s web site and determined that no permit was needed for a group of that size doing the activities they were going to do there.”

    Case closed….

  15. mcat responds:

    Having recently met Matt Pruitt and other BFRO members, and having gone on a couple of expeditions with them, I would like to say that they are some of the finest people I have ever met. I was on the Arkansas expedition, and Matt Pruitt dealt with the situation in an admirable way. The BFRO people I know are enthusiastic, helpful, have a good sense of humor, and truly do engage in logical tactics designed to increase the chances of a sasquatch encounter. Being in the field, and not at the computer, is what’s important to me. There seems to be some folks at the computer that would do well to lighten up, try to enjoy this interesting pastime/hobby/scientific research that we all love, and get out in the field. Anyone who has an interest in sasquatch is someone I want to talk to, regardless of group affiliation. Matt Pruitt is a gentleman and a scholar, and has taught me much about sasquatch.

  16. gridbug responds:

    It’s no secret that Matt Moneymaker’s public exposure via the Finding Bigfoot show is proving to be a detriment to the BFRO and cryptozoology in general. Simply put: he makes us all look like idiots in the eye of the mainstream. The BFRO website is good for one thing and one thing only: encounter stories. Well, and the video/audio files they have parked on their server. That’s about it. I’m assuming that Moneymaker was hoping he could use his show to bolster support for the apparently never ending Search for Squatch in a big way, but he pretty much proven himself his own worst enemy. As far as the BFRO leading folks on paid expeditions into Bigfoot terrain, fools and their money are soon parted. You know what’s far more enriching and rewarding? Doing your own research and going on your own research expedition, whether it be for a day, a week, or a month. Even if you don’t come back with an encounter, you’ll still benefit from time spent among your fellow creatures in a blissful state of isolated ecobalance.

  17. Opalman responds:

    @Windigo: If you had read the entire thread you would certainly have noticed that I indicated a distinction between the bfro and its administration and the “follow uppers” & neophytes who don’t know any better or are simply working with what they have.

    In my rejoinder to “fuzzy”; I go so far as to praise the BFRO for both the excellent geographical database and the “follow up” investigators.

    I have a lifelong (5 decade) reservoir of wilderness experience; hunting, fishing, tracking, subsistence furbearer trapping that fosters raised eyebrows when I discern the actions and philosophy of the bfro. Any conclusions I’ve reached in regard to the bfro are those of a woodsman and self-studied zoologist well versed in many topics related to the postulated creature science calls: sasquatch.

    I’ve noticed an interesting dichotomy between those posters on this site who practice genuine deductive logic and scientific methodology and those that get all “fuzzy feeling” when the bfro is mentioned. That is: the two are mutually exclusive. I’ve yet to find a serious sasquatch researcher that holds anything but contempt for your bfro ; “The only scientific organization that is dedicated to the study of sasquatch”; (whoops I mean “bigfoot” or was that “squatch”)!

    I am a serious sasquatch investigator; yet, I’ve never in 45+ years had a sighting. It wasn’t till about 2 weeks ago that I had a real and definite class B encounter (thanks for the term). I don’t sell out to silly sensationalistic TV programs (though I‘ve been harried in that regard); I don’t make up phony encounters or hoax or impress my friends, I definitely don’t think I have all the answers; I don’t make up claims to fame like “I was the one who first discovered tree knocking”! Close family friend: Ivan T. Sanderson spoke to me of tree knocking while MM was still sucking his thumb!; BTW—I certainly don’t take people without woods experience afield; or anyone afield for money for that matter…None! In fact I don’t take anyone on field trips unless I know them well, and explicitly trust their common sense and level headedness. I’ve seen some very bad things happen in the deep wilderness and believe me I know of no greater sense of frustrated helplessness than sitting around a campsite trying to keep someone from bleeding out while you are waiting on MedEvac for hours listening to a grown man shriek and squeal in pain.

    Oh and before I forget, the few field associates I do have are all trained in advanced first aid and trauma management, basic survival skills; AND all field goers carry a large can of UDAP. (hint, hint)

    I know people who have attended your paid forays and as well as some of your other hooplas…In fact I’ve spoken to several. They all tell the same story. As one or more of my colleagues on this site have already indicated; the bfro is a social organization, a bunch of folks; (most very nice and wonderful people); getting together over a mutual interest (hobby). There nothing wrong with that…that is until you start making the rest of us look like asses and idiots; (which I assure you we are not…hah ha ha) . Or until you hold yourself out as “the authority” regarding sasquatch; or as DWA adroitly points out: your 32 member field trips start seriously and negatively affecting the creature’s home ranges, the biotope and environment in general. MM is guilty here on all counts. Help me out here: what is it about him you want us to admire?

    I don’t believe the bfro and its members are rather amateurish and not representative of true research. I know this to be a fact. No serious scientist or sasquatch researcher would touch you guys with a ten foot pole, and you know it!

    I sincerely hope this answers your questions and wish you well in spite of all.

  18. Opalman responds:

    @gridbug: Thank you for your astute observations I could’t possibly agree any more.

  19. DWA responds:


    “In my rejoinder to “fuzzy”; I go so far as to praise the BFRO for both the excellent geographical database and the “follow up” investigators.”

    Had to single this out.

    Too many people will look at what ….well, “has turned” let us just say about the BFRO, and the things on which reasonable people may disagree – e.g., big paying groups and what they do for the cause – as sufficient to dismiss the entire bushel as bad apples.

    It can’t be said enough what a mistake that would be; and the two things you cite are primary reasons.

    Moneymaker’s Lucid Moments have also generated a couple of the best articles on that site.

    It is perfectly possible – in fact, easy in the extreme – to hold in one’s mind the two positions that BFRO does some bad/questionable stuff…and some of the key stuff being done in the field.

  20. fuzzy responds:

    WOW!!! Thanks, Guys (& Gals?), for these reactions! 16 total Responses, with some 4,325 words (not counting mine), all the better to prove my point, that being (in case you missed it) the almost total lack of positive, creative ideas or suggestions about possible improvements in FB or BFRO or MM or CB or BF or even RH, Office & Field staff, producers & directors, camera, lighting & communications technicians & support personnel, episodes & segments, experiments, meetings, diversions et al… it is really commendable how well most of you restrained yourselves from actually contributing anything useful to the Quest.

    I’d say more, but I’ve been ordered to “… stop subjectively defending MM and the BRFO. Got it? You stand corrected!”

    “Case closed”? What a circus!

  21. DWA responds:


    If you’re looking for the sasquatch the same way you’re looking over this thread, well my bet’s on one person not to prove its existence.

    By your own stats would those be?, you have perused one HECK of a lot of stuff not to get any of it. (Including the abundant positivity.) I might not want to admit that.

    Good day, sir, and, um, good luck.

  22. Opalman responds:

    @DWA: Regarding your admonishment to “not throw the baby out with the bathwater”; I concur 100%
    As surprising as this may be I take no delight in berating the bfro in any way and in fact I visit and look for the good in their site on a regular basis. As long as I’m learning I really don’t care who the teacher is. I’m a very results driven person as I suspect you are too.
    I must also note though in all earnestness: I have not had the occasion to read anything authored by MM that I found particularly elucidating; now that’s not to say such an article doesn’t exist…I just haven’t seen it…yet.

    Like you too though; I mince no words; I expect and invite critique of anything I do publicly and I expect others to at least not lie about things (hoax etc).

    Thanks for pointing out this issue.

  23. DWA responds:

    Opalman: me too; I’m on the BFRO’s “Reports recently added” every three days or so, at least. Just like the TBRC database, it’s an evidence linchpin, the voice of the people, lots of them, seeing something that is very consistently described.

    In fact, for someone who routinely touts the TBRC, I have to say that BFRO trumps them on geographic scope (which is, OK, understandable) and volume and frequency of updates. And the reports are every bit as compelling for the most part. (I mean, it’s the same thing, right? People reporting their experiences.) And, as I have said here, even “Finding Bigfoot” may have a plus side: Every time new reports go up since that show started, there’s an encounter from this year or last.

    All that’s required is the expertise to set up a database; turn it loose; and find some people out there who can follow up with witnesses and ask the right questions. (Follow-up is key; not only is every witness not necessarily Shakespeare, but many don’t want to say much until they know they’ve hooked up with a bona fide group.) One does not have to be a scientific superstar to let the people have their say, and help them out with follow-up visits and interviews. Quality of follow-up is uneven but there are some very good investigators on the BFRO network.

    MM’s articles on the Minaret skull and “Deer Kills and Bigfoots” are actually pretty good reads with some interesting stuff in them.

    I don’t like negative critiques either, but sometimes it’s required, and there are some smart people here. We’re on the frontiers of science in crypto; and the bold few need all the eyes and ears to help that they can get. Because even the pioneers here are learning.

  24. windigo responds:

    “Opalman”, you have every right to voice your opinion and concern about the BFRO. However, the vitriol that is obvious in your choice of words comes across as rather boorish. You once again have chosen to make sweeping statements about not only the organization, but it’s members as well. Given the fact that you have admittedly never done field research with any of the organizations members, much less attended a BFRO event, you can only address your issues from a second-hand vantage point. At the very least, I would hope that you would take the time to separate the significant efforts of BFRO members from any political discourse of may have towards the administrative body. You failed to adequately do this and continued your rant against all, without distinction.

    The members of the BFRO are continually striving to improve the organization as a whole, and are deeply committed to our efforts. What we are proud of is serving as catalyst to increase the public awareness and consciousness related to the Sasquatch phenomenon. Nothing is more satisfying to me than transforming the thought processes of the classic skeptic, to one who subscribes to the existence of this marvelous creature. We indeed do our very best to educate our attendees to the reality of this creature and offer then guidance and instruction, regarding the many things we have learned through the years.

    Does all this follow suit with a purely scientific method that satisfies the world of academia? Of course not, as anyone who truly applies themselves to the study of Sasquatch is ultimately engaged in pseudo-science. No carcass/remains have ever been discovered, or live subject captured and studied. That is precisely why the scientific community considers any Sasquatch research as merely fodder for the back page of most tabloids. Our line of research and discovery has come a long way in recent years, and I am proud of my part in this process. I am currently working with two universities, regarding my projects in the field, and I have been able to gain some consideration for our line of research. This involves evidence collected in my personal investigative efforts, and in BFRO community. That is why when you state, “no serious scientist or sasquatch researcher would touch you guys with a ten foot pole, and you know it”, you just might be off base. In fact, the anthropologist/primatologist I am meeting with this weekend might have something to say about that. She has stated to me in the past that she has become rather impressed with the tracks that I have cast and vocalizations that I have recorded through the years. I don’t make mention of this to find favor with you, only to give you consternation when not fully informed about who and what you level animosity towards.

    In closing, I myself would never even consider leveling the types of accusations and opinions towards you or your group, that you have myself and my organization. I prefer to view us all as brothers in research with a common cause. We can all learn from one another and enjoy the camaraderie that comes with our great quest. We can also choose to be destructive and demeaning towards one another, which yields nothing to the fellowship and goal that accompanies the heart of genuine research. I have long ago made my choice, and I subsequently wish you and others the very best in your research, and related endeavors.

  25. Opalman responds:

    Oh Fiddlesticks, your post isn’t worthy of a continued response. Wake up and get with the program…will ya!

  26. Opalman responds:

    @windigo: One last thing I should remind you of. I absolutely make distinction between the bfro’s administration/leadership and individual researchers; perhaps I need to spell this out. In several posts; recent and old; I gave credit to the bfro’s hard work in putting together a very useful database of encounters and when I do the same referencing “follow uppers”; I am talking about people like you, if in fact you are one of those individuals. I’m fairly certain MM had little involvement in hands on data entry and so on. Further I strongly suspect that your anthropologist/primatologist lady friend isn’t meeting with you as a representative of anything more than a private researcher. As stated in previous posts my gripe with the organization is singular; i.e. the tremendously negative effect the bfro under the helmsmanship of MM has had and continues to have on sasquatch research. This damage culminates in additional peril to the sasquatch species. Now…that all I have to say regarding this subject.

  27. windigo responds:

    “Opalman”, not even addressing the inaccurate suppositions in your last post, but based on the entirety of our exchanges, I think it is safe to say that you have positionally woven yourself into an argument that cannot be won. Such is often the case when one has little or no direct knowledge on what they are critical of. However, in the spirit of gentlemanly debate, I offer detente in our quarrel.

  28. Opalman responds:

    Fair enough windigo, human perception being as unusual a creature as any sasquatch could ever hope to be. I wish you well hope at some point you might benefit by choosing your friends more wisely.

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