Lost In The Woods: BFRO

Posted by: Loren Coleman on June 17th, 2006

John Marshall, who is the Daily Breeze / asap’s sports writer based in Denver, trekked along with a recent BFRO excursion or “expedition” in Oregon. From Wednesday, June 14, through Friday, June 16, he filed news stories of his experiences with the asap.

Matt Moneymaker

Marshall also snapped photographs, including the above photo of Matt Moneymaker calling out a Bigfoot. The story was picked up individually by various newspapers, such as in "Surviving in Bigfoot’s backyard" on Friday, June 16, 2005.

To read all three parts of Marshall’s field reports, however, with audio and video, please click here.

It all begins, for Marshall, with “dogs on a bus, a little howling and lots of driving.” Could anything be more scary than Matt Moneymaker personally trying to use his own voice to sound blast Bigfoot in the woods? Perhaps only the fact, Marshall thinks, that Matt believes this will call out Bigfoot.

This following photograph is Marshall’s metaphor for his journey.

BFRO Expedition

The famous Bigfoot pose – and the closest John Marshall said his group got to seeing one.

Mostly the article is about how the BFRO got lost in the woods, as for example in this extract from Marshall’s piece.

What started off as a Bigfoot expedition turned into a march of attrition, a group of eight hikers wading through waist-deep water, hacking through claustrophobically thick foliage and over slimy, I-bet-you-can’t-keep-your-balance rocks. Nearly nine hours, roughly 15 miles and dozens of plunges into the creek later, we finally made it to our destination, trudging in water-logged boots.

BFRO Expedition

Associated Press photos
Thick vegetation and bad weather conditions in the woods slowed the expedition on the second day of the search for Sasquatch.

The entire experience for Marshall was not a good one. He ends his series by noting:

Sometimes, it’s almost as if Bigfoot trackers DON’T want to find him.

When Moneymaker got a response to his whooping call the first day, he switched tones and knocked on trees to see if they’d answer. They never did, leaving Gruber and I wondering why he never went back to the initial noise. In the Bigfoot recordings CD, the narrator describes how the creatures came to their camp one night, but they didn’t want to shine a light to see them because it would scare them away.

Now, Moneymaker says they’ve heard Bigfoot, come across their footprints and seen the creatures in previous expeditions. We never had anything that came close to proving its existence, which only added to our skepticism.

Of course, I could be way off on this. Bigfoot could be out there. And if he does show up, I’ll be the first to apologize to the people who hunt for him and admit I made a mistake.

Until then, consider me a nonbeliever.

Indeed, it appears to be the sad end to a sad tale about a sad search for Sasquatch. Is the story a canvas for Marshall’s bias, an expose’ of the BFRO, a little bit of both, or something else? Whatever it is, it is a wet blanket on an eventful beginning to the summer of 2006.

Loren Coleman About Loren Coleman
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading living cryptozoologist. Certainly, he is acknowledged as the current living American researcher and writer who has most popularized cryptozoology in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Starting his fieldwork and investigations in 1960, after traveling and trekking extensively in pursuit of cryptozoological mysteries, Coleman began writing to share his experiences in 1969. An honorary member of Ivan T. Sanderson’s Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained in the 1970s, Coleman has been bestowed with similar honorary memberships of the North Idaho College Cryptozoology Club in 1983, and in subsequent years, that of the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club, CryptoSafari International, and other international organizations. He was also a Life Member and Benefactor of the International Society of Cryptozoology (now-defunct). Loren Coleman’s daily blog, as a member of the Cryptomundo Team, served as an ongoing avenue of communication for the ever-growing body of cryptozoo news from 2005 through 2013. He returned as an infrequent contributor beginning Halloween week of 2015. Coleman is the founder in 2003, and current director of the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine.

30 Responses to “Lost In The Woods: BFRO”

  1. Mausinn responds:

    I went to the ASAP site and read Marshall’s article. I could comment, but I think his article says it all, and Loren summed it up nicely. It is just sad.

  2. shovethenos responds:

    Well at least he does acknowledge that there was something that seemed to answer some of the calling activity.

    Too bad the trip was pretty uneventful. Allegedly some of the Travel Channel (I think?) crew that went on a trip to Texas with some researchers started out as nonbelievers and came back at least less skeptical. So to an extent its a matter of chance, luck, fortune, – whatever you want to call it.

    In this instance I sympathize with the BFRO. People will bitch about researchers not spending time in the woods, and then complain when they come back empy-handed or didn’t have this equipment or didn’t do that. I’m sure there is room for improvement in planning and conducting expeditions, but at least someone is out there.

  3. harleyb responds:

    I bet there was a family of Sasquatch hiding behind trees laughing their Bigfoot booties off at these people,bet.

  4. scmarlowe responds:

    It is unrealistic to expect the big hairy guy to show up every time someone enters the woods looking for him/her.

    That said, I find it interesting that this is ONLY time (in recent memory) that Bigfoot hasn’t shown up at a BFRO “expedition” is when a level-headed newspaper reporter is present.

    This also isn’t the first story that I’ve heard about MM apparently avoiding contact with his hairy objective. Is he afraid of the animal — or just that a someone might discover a planted costumed “creature”.

  5. Kimble responds:

    I try not to comment or add my 2-cents – sitting nice and comfy here in my armchair.

    First, the writer used too many cliché’s and allusions for my liking. If you edit out all the movie references the article would be cut by two thirds.

    His last section of the article, “Shockingly (note the sarcasm)”, was worth reading. Perhaps as a skeptic he may be a bit too cynical (he did mention his own preconceptions), but his observations do hold some truth.

    I can’t comment on the BFRO or Moneymaker, but this expedition seemed poorly planned from the get go. From what I have read from the Skookum cast find, this trip seems on the opposite end of the spectrum from that one. I would have thought that the BFRO had a better established modus operandi than traipsing around in the woods.

    If the article DID convey one positive aspect it was how inhospitable the terrain is.

    Rob Carignan
    Portland, Maine

  6. Ole Bub responds:

    Good morning Bigfoot folks….

    I’m engrossed in Traver’s book which arrived yesterday…review to follow….a thought or two regarding expeditions…to ponder from the comfort of your armchair….if finding sasquatch was easy they would be living next door… even the best laid plans go awry…TBRC calls it the “bigfoot curse”….slipping, sliding and slogging through rain forest windfalls with the stealth of a D-6 Dozer is not apt to facilitate “sneaking” up on sasquatch…maybe they never heard of Goretex or Lacrosse…send those folks a LL Bean catalog…JMHO

    Perhaps someone should send the skeptic “Messin with Sasquatch”….

    I’m impressed MM can call em up like that…I can’t…have these expeditioner’s ever considered an offering of wampaum?

    I wish I was in Idaho…all the best to the folks at the “Rendevous in Pocatello”…

    seeing is believing…

    ole bub and the dawgs

  7. chrisandclauida2 responds:

    i find the bfro sad. the recent Exodus of sound experienced researchers has been replaced by campers with seniority going to who goes on camping trips the most.

    i have to say i lumped moneymaker in with biscardi. it is his own actions and ego that took a premier org and turned it into a travel agency for campers.

    there are accepted ways to do searches. they are done the way Texas Bigfoot research does them. not the showman ship way biscardi and sadly the bfro does it.

    i find it troubling the bfro uses reports as advertising tools. saving them up and releasing them before a trip to play it up.

    i still have not seen the AZ report of the former police officer who watched a Bigfoot for an extended time across a small valley. i only know about it cause matt told me trying to sell his trip.

    the people following up on these reports have no clue in hell how to do even the simplest interview. the interview is the single most important tool in collecting and vetting these reports. you gather other verifiable info about the place time weather and other facts that can be confirmed and lead to a strong sense of sincerity in the repartee or not.

    i have seen the bfro tag line of ” i believe this to be a credible report” only to do the simplest of checking and finding the weather rainy instead of clear and sunny time of sunset and such so completely off to be suspect of the whole incident. the investigators dont know how to do simple follow up questions to further draw out information.

    it is truly sad indeed that one mans greed destroyed a preeminent org. they have a huge data base and are flooded with reports that never get followed up on. they hide evidence like a poor kids who gets one toy at Christmas less it be lost to them.

    Matt has a chronic case of foot in mouth disease lately thanks to the penn and teller crap.

    they are supposedly holding onto excellent footage that is undisputable proof. nope it sounds more and more like biscardi is running the bfro.

  8. jayman responds:

    These noisy, bumbling “expeditions” will never turn up anything. Why should anybody be surprised? Every wild creature for miles around will be spooked.
    It reminds me of a night hike I went on years ago, with a local bird watcher who went along hooting like an owl, trying to elicit a reply. Nothing, and nobody doubts owls exist.
    If anything, this just shows how out of his element Homo sapiens is in the natural world.

  9. Alton Higgins responds:

    “Lost in the Woods” sounds like a great title for a book, but it’s been done before.

  10. Godrock responds:

    shovethenos said it best:

    “People will bitch about researchers not spending time in the woods, and then complain when they come back empy-handed …”

    I think that BigFoot exists and that they are “out there” somewhere is self evident. Note the area and the vegetation they went through. Anything could be lurking in the shadows in that kind of place.

    Sad is not the only word that sums all this up. It was also (to the trained eye) encouraging.

  11. airforce47 responds:

    I tend to think Matt Moneymaker got burned by this guy because he’s a reporter and part of the established media. So the trip didn’t turn out the way it was planned. Nobody got seriously hurt or torn up. Primitive country is just that, primitive. That’s why Bigfoot lives there because we usually don’t. I just wish I could arrange to be on one end of the trip and get a chance to photograph one of them. My best,


  12. Illuvatar responds:

    Well I suppose this confirms my suspiscions that BFRO is BS.

  13. twblack responds:

    I have my own thoughts about MM but hey give him a little credit (Yes Very Little but) he went out their and tried. This reporter went out for 3 days seen nothing and now he says he is even more a non-believer. Unless BF came right up to him and said hello he would prob. still be a non-believer. I just do not think it can be planned that hey we go out to the woods and BAM their is BF ain’t nothing that easy. I think that is what makes the P/G film an easy target for Hoax theories. But in the last 40 some years it should prove you only get lucky one in a million times. And yes I THINK THE P/G FILM IS THE REAL DEAL. But because they went out their to find and video one and it happened some will say yeah right no way ut was a hoax.

  14. oroblanco responds:

    I must concur with Jayman. I respect the efforts of BFRO but the methods leave a great deal to be desired. For one, to bring along a reporter seems as if asking for bad press or fame, (or both)either of which is foolish if they are honestly seeking to find Bigfoot.

    People who have little experience in hunting big game are certain to make a great deal of noise and easily-spotted motion when tramping about in the “big woods”, not to mention the problem of scent and wind direction. Getting together a group of people with similar levels of inexperience only compounds the noise, motion and scent which serve to alert ALL wildlife anywhere within a superior-to-human earshot and view. The urge to talk, gesture, and unavoidable nature-calls (urination and defecation) for a group is worse than for a single person. Such “expeditions” are indeed never going to capture any sort of undeniable evidence, except to prove that babes in the woods are far out of their element.

    I also have to agree with Marshall, in that it does seem that some of the Bigfoot investigators really do NOT want to find him/her. For example the silly practice of “call blasting” – playing recorded sounds which are not proven to be that of any Bigfoot at incredibly loud levels in the hope that this will evince some sort of response. Well from years of hunting many different sorts of game, I can tell you that blasting any sort of game call at a level which is beyond that of a normal call (by the animal) is certain to SPOOK the game (or in this case Bigfeet) either into hiding or the next county. Worse yet, if the call is just slightly “off” the result is the same – even wild turkeys, with brains the size of a garden pea, are extremely discerning about the calls of their own kind as any turkey caller can attest. Stomping out into the bush only to blast ear-splitting recordings or shouting imitations at the top of your lungs is one sure way to NEVER run into a Bigfoot, or a deer or rabbit for that matter. Such blasting of calls might evince a responding call, but only if the critter is far enough away that it cannot tell how disturbingly loud the blast was. BFRO needs to study some big game hunting methods before having any hope of getting the evidence they seek.

    There were a number of incidents with television crews working with Autumn Williams becoming alarmed and running away from the very thing they were trying to film, even one in which Ms Williams herself fled. It is going to take a certain amount of fortitude to stay in place and get the photos or recordings that might prove the existence.


    “By all means marry; if you get a good wife you will be happy, if you get a bad one you will become a philosopher.” –Socrates

  15. Nachzehrer responds:

    You know what would be REALLY annoying? If Matt Money maker ends up being the one to actually capture a Bigfoot.

  16. sasquatch responds:

    Worse would be Biscardi. I think Moneymaker is sincere at least. Biscardi comes off as a total used car/snake oil salesman, jive turkey, attention monger, phoney. Robert Armstrong comes off as way too ready to praise and butter up folks, and seems fake right off the bat when you hear him interviewed. This is sad if he is truly sincere. He claims to have seen one as a young man and that’s why he continues to chase ’em. Dollars to doughnuts tho’, the one who brings one in finally will probably be an old retiree who slams one with his Winebago, and flms his wife poseing with it bleeding on his bumper. Of course the highway patrol will show up and confiscate the body like good boys. So no news reports will appear… That is; until after Grandpa and Grandma pass on and the video tape shows up at the show and tell one day at Can’t Read Elementary School and the teacher takes the tape to a veterinarian freind who in turn makes a copy and sends it to…Penn and Teller.

  17. Ole Bub responds:

    Good evening Bigfooters….

    Nice commentary oroblanco…I agree…folks should ask themselves…what the hell are you going do if you confront one especially up close on foot…someone is gonna get hurt…or worse…these creatures will defend their territory aggressively if challenged….JMHO

    I really do care who validates sasquatch’s existence as long as no one including the sasquatch gets injured…my preference is one of our host/members who have paid their dues….

    I still think we need a discussion of a capture protocol and a rapid response plan of action…JMHO

    seeing is believing…

    ole bub and the dawgs

  18. Mike Aragona responds:


    You can continue to bash the BFRO and Mr. Moneymaker all you want, however keep this in mind; You do not discover a new species by sitting in front of a computer speaking bad about other groups and people, you discover a new species by hitting the field and searching for them. I have attended a few of the BFRO expeditions and though some of them did not yield results, others did, I have also been out in the field myself and have come across various things. Sitting in front of a computer and doing armchair research is good to a point. You share information and keep up to date on current events, again however being negative toward a group and or person that are trying to go a bit further is non-productive to the cause in my opinion.


    Mike Aragona
    BFRO Investigator New Jersey

  19. Walkyrie Dallas responds:

    OK guys and gals, that’s about enough trashing Matt or the BFRO – if you don’t like it, go try it, or better yet join in and help improve it. It might help some of you to have a little history. First off, in this type of thing you are damned either way – Matt started the whole BF Expidition thing precisely because there was an opposite backlash to what you are all saying now . . . “The BFRO never takes anyone along on their expiditions from the public, they wont open it up!!” “Have you ever noticed that The BFRO never invites local people along on their trips into the local woods?” etc. etc. blah blah blah. I helped facilitate getting the BFRO and TBRC into a collaborative relationship and in TX there is a nice blend of both appproaches, BUT, none of the folks going out on these forays are Rambo the Zoologist. This is very rugged terrain and the FACT is the humans are not capable of traversing very far let alone with equipment without some degree of flailing. Matt said 10 years ago that the best way to attract one of these creatuures is to go en’ situ and camp out minding your own business and cooking up some smelly food – if they are around they’ll investigate you; if not there’s no amount of “tracking” that will work.

  20. longrifle48 responds:

    one thing bothers me about moneymaker..though i have never heard any sounds he makes..but if he can immitate sasquatch,how does any member of his group,know any sounds heard have not been produced from moneymaker himself??

  21. scmarlowe responds:

    Long, Many folks in cryptozoology field research can imitate calls. But I have frequently heard of folks who have attended BFRO “expeditions” here in Florida that Mr. M is not around the group when they have heard calls.

    Circumstantial, but it does seem odd.

  22. scmarlowe responds:

    Walkyrie, with all due respect, I HAVE done it. I’ve taken students into the swamps as part of my cryptozoology field study class as well.

    Just going out into the woods with good intentions doesn’t credential you as a cryptozoologist any more than being armchair bound with similar intent.

    While I can accept variations in methodology, I can’t condone poor science nor justify an $800 price tag as a participation fee that doesn’t include transportation, food or even access fees for the parks or camping areas they visit.

    I can easily get a state room, meals, transportation and port fees for a 7-day all inclusive cruise to the Archaeological ruins of the Yucatan for less money with an organized crew that conducts themselves professionally.

    Moreover, the defection of the truly professional experts at BFRO makes an eloquent statement about the organization’s objectives and management — as does the conduct of two BFRO members who crashed one of my college expeditions last November.

  23. aaha responds:

    Looks like he is snorting something in the top photo. This is a classic case of “the blind leading the blind”. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – these people are a danger to public safety and should be monitored more closely by federal agencies. Someone will end up getting seriously hurt or killed on one of these whimsical forays.

  24. Scarfe responds:

    When dealing with something as fantastic as the idea of Bigfoot, the burden of proof always has to be on the cryptozoologist. I certainly don’t fault the reporter for remaining a skeptic after following what appears to be a haphazard and unprofessional expedition. Heck, I believe in the possibility of Bigfoot and I’m not impressed by a few sounds in the woods.

  25. Walkyrie Dallas responds:

    SCM, I’m not defending anything here – I am not invested in either position. I guess you could say I feel strongly both ways (ha, ha). All I’m pointing out is the fact that it started out with good intentions. I was in on a couple of the first conversations at the germination of this notion of the “booked expidition for paying clients”. Matt and I were talking about having one or a couple of north Texas outings and I said “there are people, particularly the big game set – you know the safari type – who would pay big money to tag along on one of these organized research forays, depending on how it’s positioned.” We both agreed that it would be nice to have a recurring stream of funds to help subsidize what was becoming an increasingly expensive hobbie. It’s my understanding that Matt and some of the other curators carried most of the expense of maintaining the website and the cost of all the early expitions. Anyway, Matt basically ran with the ideas from there as I was unable to help or participate in any meaningful way with any of the trips or even follow up on Tx sightings, which were (thankfully) picked up by Daryl and the TBRC gang.

    I don’t know about your credentials or your off-piste experience, but hats off to Matt for even trying to turn more people on to the whole BF phenom – I think he is to be credited for giving BF a great deal more credibility with a wider audience than any amount of pontification from experts.

    And as far as this bs about “someone’s going to get hurt” – guess what? Campers and hikers and skiers and climbers are hurt every year anyway, so, so what?! – Go enjoy some mother nature and catch bigfoot, or catch Matt making howls, or catch Alton measuring and catalogueing the angular declinsion of tree breaks, or catch BF catching Daryl and Craig catching BF! (just kidding around guys) . . it’s all good.

    Lastly, this is the first I’ve heard about the BFRO defection and that is sad: sad for the defectors, sad for the BFRO, sad for Matt, and sad for the rest of the interested public. I’m sorry that what began as a nice way to defray some costs and spread the excitment has become veiwed as such a boondoggle (or series of them).

    But I do agree with the quality of the supposed investigations (not just on the BFRO; there are other sites that are far worse – the BFRO seems to be above the rest.) I tried investigating for awhile and I didn’t like posting anything that I couldn’t go out and verify and corroborate onsite with the witness’s witnesses (meaning people who also saw “it” or saw the agitated state of people who did see and can verify time and place, etc.) But that would be a full time job and we all have kids and jobs that pay and . . . .Here is the critical evidence that BFRO reports are higher standard than other sites: very few reports on the BFRO start with or contain the words “I SEEN . . .”
    Considered by many to be the epitome of illiterate or borderline literate discourse, this one simple gramatical fragment can be used to qualify almost any alleged witness.

    OK, I’m just getting silly now – better get out while I can.

  26. scmarlowe responds:

    I’m deeply troubled by the terms “Safari” and “Big Game Hunters” and I guess it’s that trepidation that underlies my objection to the BFRO “expeditions”.

    Cryptozoologists, zoologists, and anthropologists should be engaged in scientific discovery. This is a labor of love. Granted it isn’t lucrative and has high out of pocket costs. But, at least those who are involved in legitimate study here aren’t exploiting an animal that hasn’t yet been officially “discovered”.

    I find it difficult to believe that a group that would condone and organize a “hunt”, as the safari and big game terms suggest, the subject animal would be in the forefront of the creature’s ultimate protection and conservation.

    Of course, this position will probably get us into the “kill, no kill” argument. Craig and Loren already know that I am FIRMLY in the NO KILL camp and no amount of dialog will get me off that seat.

  27. scmarlowe responds:

    Incidently, after over fifty years of experience on this planet, I’ve discovered that the road to ruin is often paved with “good intentions.”

  28. DWA responds:

    Exactly. I agree with everyone here.

    Not being a regular watcher of “Crypto Tonite!” I can’t make any judgments about defections/accessions to any crypto group, or the credentials of any particular crypto-feller (or dame). So I won’t. I will give my opinion, as a long time hiker backpacker paddler skier, that you won’t find wildlife by hiking around noisily. Call blasting? Well, show me it works. But these guys are called cryptids for a reason.

    And then again. Anyone know what DOES work, for this animal no one knows anything, really, about? We may just have to accept that there may be some kernel worth keeping from every approach, and cross our fingers.

    (Except NO KILL. Can’t change that approach. I’m so with Scott on that one. I’m in the one that says DON’T TOUCH — no capture, tranquilizing, anything of the sort — guided by the Golden Rule, of course. Would YOU like it? Is human knowledge, then, really just the satisfaction of insatiable humnan curiosity, worth doing that to a living being? Yes, a question science asks all too rarely, I know.)

  29. Walkyrie Dallas responds:

    On that last comment: Of course it is! Also, what can go wrong ultimately does, and so on. No, you mustn’t read to much into the nomenclature I chose for the “monied traveling wildlife adventure” set – many, many folks who go “on safari” are weaponless and just go to see the beautiful creatures in the natural setting. Anyway, be that as it may, one of my main points (not directed at your posts I don’t think) was that even “Cryptozoologists, zoologists, and anthropologists” [who] should be engaged in scientific discovery” are more than likely bungling around in the jungle.

  30. bccryptid responds:

    Just enforces my point, I’ll never be taking the media into the woods. They snivel and complain and question all day, and their gear is too difficult to haul and keep functioning.

    The main points I take from this is that the woods of the Pacific Northwest are extremely difficult to move through, which enforces a good point that they make an excellent place to hide, and that there is no such thing as a ‘bigfoot expedition’ as everybody is out there with no real pre-conceived idea of just what to do, so they make it up, doing the best they can. Having a complaining camera man to drag along must have made it excruciating for Matt, and I’m sure next time he’ll leave them at home.

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