Panola County Man Helps TV Show Look for Bigfoot

Posted by: Craig Woolheater on February 3rd, 2015

Local wildlife expert and cryptozoologist Jeff Stewart recently filmed in Panola County with Les Stroud, star of the TV series “Survivorman.”

Is Bigfoot in East Texas? The answer: maybe. A Panola County wildlife expert spent a week in January searching for answers to the mystery of Bigfoot for an episode of a national TV series called “Survivorman: Bigfoot,” which airs on the Discovery Channel.

TV show host Les Stroud contacted Jeff Stewart, a Panola County cryptozoologist — a person involved the search for animals whose existence has not been proven — to be his tour guide while the series filmed in East Texas in January.

“It was a bucket list dream come true,” Stewart said. “The man was as polite and professional, and yet after being with him for a week, I felt like we had been friends for 30 years. He still texts me two to three times a week asking how I’m doing. The whole crew was nice. They were like family to one another and immediately treated us like family.”

Stewart became interested in cryptid animals after an experience he had when he was 15 that he could not explain.

“I had an encounter with something walking on two legs,” Stewart said. “I know everything that walks these woods and I found myself face to face with something I could not explain. It was a very traumatic experience for a kid. After that I saw a couple of black panthers and everybody said they don’t exist and after researching it, science said they don’t exist. From there I developed a thirst for knowledge.”

Stroud opted to film in Panola County, Stewart said, because it is a “hotspot” for sightings.

“There are twice as many sightings in Panola County as any other county,” he said.

So, Stewart brought Stroud to the Piney Woods and to the Sabine River.

“I brought him to the Sabine River, where we spent a week putting out trail cameras,” he said. “We spent a week looking for the Sabine thing, did vocal records and calls, put out traps, hid cameras and microphones and fruit in taxidermy animals and placed those out into the woods and they recorded anything that came.”

The trip was eventful, Stewart said, but to find out what happened, viewers will have to wait for the episode to air.

Despite that, Stewart said working with Stroud was a “once in a lifetime opportunity.”

The crew began filming on Jan. 6 and was in East Texas for seven days.

The two men filmed together for a few days, but during the last four days, Stroud had a crew at night and Stewart had a crew during the day, he said.

The night filming was an interesting experience for them, he said.

“We were out the night that we had the 17 degree night and whenever we had the sleet and the freezing rain,” Stewart said. “It was funny because everybody (on the crew) being from Canada, they were expecting warm, beautiful weather and it was sleeting and raining. But, in a few days it was warmer.”

Despite the weather, Stewart described filming the show as a “unique experience” because everybody had cameras.

“You have a couple of cameramen with the big cameras, but most everything is shot with the GoPro cameras to get your point of view,” he said. “We also use aerial drones that were equipped with FLIR, infrared and night vision.”

Stewart said his favorite part of filming involved sitting around a campfire with his son, who helped out on set, and Stroud.

“I have a 16-year-old son and getting to sit around and swap stories and have my son experience this with me was phenomenal,” Stewart said. “Beyond all the filming and ‘you’re going to be on TV,’ all of that is eclipsed by experiencing that with my son.”

Besides appearing in this show with Stroud, Stewart will also appear in an episode of “Monsters and Mysteries in America,” which will air on Destination America. He is also going to be filming on the Sabine River with the TV show “Finding Bigfoot.”

When he’s not busy on TV, Stewart also works with the Orange-based Children’s Kingdom Ministries and Kingdom Zoo, which seeks to teach children about Christ through his creation. The organization’s focus is on spiritual and wildlife education through media, encounter-based programs and mentoring.

Stewart became involved in the ministry because he is friends with Chester Moore, who in addition to leading the zoo also hosts the GETV series “God’s Outdoors with Chester Moore.”

“I take care of a lot of the websites, the Facebook page and I film with Chester with animals,” Stewart said. “My being a wildlife expert, I guess you can call me the resident snake expert because I catch anything that slithers.”

The episode of “Survivorman: Bigfoot” featuring Stewart will air next season. A date has not been set.


See also:

Update: New Survivorman Bigfoot Episodes
Update: More Survivorman Bigfoot Episodes
More Survivorman Bigfoot Episodes

See all of the Survivorman posts on Cryptomundo here.

#LesStroud #SurvivormanBigfoot

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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