Cryptid Hunting: What to Bring Along?

Posted by: Loren Coleman on May 25th, 2006

Making decisions about what you want and need to bring along on your next cryptid-seeking outing is not just about what you have available to throw in the back of the pick-up anymore. What do you take along and recommend to others? Carrying a good camera, so you can take pictures like this great one by Rick Noll, of hair caught on a broken branch, posted earlier on Cryptomundo, is a no-brainer. But let’s put some thought behind the other things to bring on your excursion, too.


Steven Titchenell, organizer of the WVBIG (West Virginia Bigfoot Investigations Group) Expedition has posted a checklist of items for his group to take on their forthcoming trek in search of unknown hairy hominoids in their area. One can find good lists of forensic materials that should be taken on expeditions throughout the net, and, for example, Rick Noll has lectured on the subject, of course.

Most treks are rather casual and not full of high-end materials that call for a great deal of money to obtain or a lot of technological knowledge to operate. Nevertheless, the days of going off into the wilderness with a notebook, disposable camera, and bag of plaster of Paris are gone.

Titchenell, for instance, ask for additional suggestions regarding his checklist, and has given permission to use his "starter’s list" as a jumping off point for a discussion of the topic here. I thought people might like to ponder what you would want to take on a relatively lightweight (equipment-wise) exploration into the woods. One can begin a discussion anywhere, so there’s no reason not to begin it with Titchenell’s list.

WVBIG Expedition Checklist An expedition party or an individual researcher should have the following equipment on an expedition: 1. Paper sacks & envelopes 2. Camera/video recorder (Preferrably with night vision) 3. Tweezer/tongs 4. Rubber gloves 5. Magnifying glass 6. Parabolic mic 7. Plaster of Paris 8. Tape measure 9. Log book


Some additional suggestions from me:

Bring a tape/audio recorder to record sounds from that parabolic microphone. Make certain you have brought blank tapes along, so you aren’t scrambling to decide whether it is your self-made Kenny Chesney or AC/DC tape in your truck’s cassette player that you are going to have to record over.

Have a few sterile collecting bottles or containers for fecal material samples and for urine specimens (for example from snow). It is recommended that urine samples not be collected from a live Bigfoot.

For DNA collection, you will want to have sterile latex gloves (make certain they fit you – remember O.J.), and bring along equipment to gather samples properly. If hair sampling envelopes are not available, place samples into small sealed paper envelope or zip lock bag (no brand recommended). Use a permanent marker or pen, clearly include all sampling information with each sample. This includes name of collector, time, date, assumed cryptid, human, or known species name, field tag number, gender (if known), age (if known), location including lat./long., Universal Transverse Mercator (UTM) or township. Hair samples should be kept and shipped dry, so don’t forget to put them in your dry vehicle, if possible, and not under that dripping redwood.

Definitely have a colored (e.g. yellow) rigid one foot ruler or fold-up meter stick for scale in photographs of tracks or other permanent material evidence. Product placement photos, like an empty from your Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Ale collection next to a footprint, are not recommended (even though we know they are exactly 7.5 inches or 20 cm long). Remember these photos may have a life far beyond your own group, so make certain your kid’s "Sesame Street" ruler with Elmo on it is what you really want to have pictured next to that track find of the century you have just discovered.

Blue Creek Track

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.

27 Responses to “Cryptid Hunting: What to Bring Along?”

  1. Bennymac responds:

    Loren, it’s like you’re reading my mind! I plan on doing some day trips to the Hock (Hockomock Swamp), and I’m in the process of getting a check list for my day-pack, this is great. Just picked up a new pair of water-proof binoculars, a must have!

    Also, any advice in regards to the Hock, I believe you know a thing or two about the place?

    May I also suggest that any single searching crypto searcher tell someone where they are going, just in case you don’t make it back!

  2. Freelancer responds:

    Yes. Definitely tell someone where you will be & when you intend to be back. I’m a photographer & I advise models to always do this. Especially when working with someone new.

  3. greywolf responds:

    As much as I hate to say it you should protect you self in some way. a Handgun or rifle in your gear. It may help if you get in trouble…and be alert the Meth cookers and pot growers are out there and you might run into them so becareful…

  4. Tabitca responds:

    I would suggest a piece of clear plastic foldable sheeting. When the weather deteriorates it can be put over foot prints to preserve them whilst you record them.It can be used to wrap things in and also rigged as a tempoary shelter.
    Also, although it can get quite warm slogging through forest and no one likes to smell, don’t wear strong aftershave or perfume. As you get hot it will get stronger and all the wildlife for yards around will know you are coming.

  5. bartecox responds:

    I second the vote for a firearm, but I never go camping without one. Just make sure it is a caliber that will properly protect you if attacked by something BIG.

    Also a GPS would be important for documenting an exact location of evidence as well as finding your way back to your car. Also bring plenty of extra batteries.

  6. Berkastler responds:

    I wonder what caliber gun would bring down something eight feet tall that weighs about 800 lbs and is twice as strong as a man?

  7. fuzzy responds:

    Here’s my DayTrip List:

    GAS ~ OIL ~ WATER etc

    EYEGLASSES (on lanyard)
    SUNGLASSES (Polarized)

    GOOD BINOX on strap
    CAMERA on strap
    CAMCORDER on strap

    DAY-PACK on your back:
    NITE-VISION on strap

    Anything else?

  8. Ranatemporaria responds:

    Its wierd hearing talk of guns! Here in the UK I have followed up sightings of large alien cats, possibly pumas/cougars with nothing but a stout pointy stick!

  9. fuzzy responds:

    Looking at my List, I realize that I don’t always carry EVERYTHING!

    Once I forgot the toilet paper!


  10. fuzzy responds:

    Ranatemporaria ~ Bear spray and a hiking staff would probably suffice, but you never know ~ here in the Pacific Northwest, we have bears and mountain lions and boars and feral dog packs and there’s even a rumor of…no, I can’t repeat it.

  11. Bennymac responds:

    I’d rather have a gun and not need one, then need a gun and not have one.

  12. Loren Coleman responds:

    Ooops, I forgot to mention leech socks.

    And in Maine, one does have to have black fly repellent. Elsewhere, use the appropriate insect repellent that does not have a fragrance. Or natural sweat beyond one week or so of no bathing/showering.

  13. Tabitca responds:

    Thanks to Loren I now have a new theory about skunk apes Lol
    Remind me never to go hunting bigfoot with you lot without a peg for my nose!

    Ranatemporaria, as we can’t even carry a knife in the UK ,we are quite defenceless I suppose. The option I’d thought of was a personal attack alarm as the noise would startle anything long enough for you to get away and attract attention if anyone is around.
    To quote an old TV programme..BE careful out there.

  14. Ranatemporaria responds:

    Yep Tabitca, thats not a bad idea. Though i often thought a few claw marks to the face or arm could be great proof of dangerous big cats in the UK, god knows we have had every other type of evidence and its all been ignored by DEFRA!

  15. elfis responds:

    Loren pegged my own recommendation … no deodorant / anti-perspirants or bug sprays with fragrances.

    Of course, an unwashed human smell might be as much of an alarm as the smells of gun metal or women’s perfume.


  16. Tabitca responds:

    you can get unscented products, deoderant, talc, lotion etc. With a few unscented wipes and a cup of water you can have a bath! If water is short combing unscented talc through your hair will get rid of the grease.You might look a bit greyer mind!
    I just hope in future cryptozoologists aren’t known by their smell!

  17. DWA responds:

    Well, Rana, this is the USA. We’re in love with cars and guns (neither of which I carry in the woods; the former I try never to carry at all 😉 ).

    You know my biggest question with regard to bringing evidence-gathering equipment? It’s: do I really want to help bring Homo sapiens down on this poor guy….?

    If you guys want to do it, though, I’m sure staying tuned! And you bet I’ll be excited. 😀

    One thing you might want to consider in remote country is a waterproof/breathable bivy sack. If you’re not planning to spend the night out, it’s the only overnight shelter you should need. You’re talking survival, not the Hilton. Or, as Yvon Chouinard once said: if you bring bivouac gear, you will bivouac. (He meant a ton of it. He’d have no prob with my suggestion I bet.)

    If you can’t fit the bivy: ditch the toilet paper. I only use natural substitutes. 😉

  18. lamarkable responds:

    Knowing what to do if I found one. Indispensible. Have fun kids.

  19. Chymo responds:

    Everyone has been doing this wrong! 😀

    The first thing to realise is that you SMELL.

    Don’t wear clothing with any kind of scent. Don’t use scented soap. Don’t use any kind of deodorant or lotion/aftershave.

    Bigfoot can smell you a mile away.

    I have an extensive theoretical plan drawn up, based on my own excursions in search of the Thylacine & mystery big cats down here in Australia. I also worked as a hunter for CALM for some years. The best thing you can do is clad yourself in unworked hides or skins, if you want to get close to your cryptid quarry. I’m telling you that even a kangaroo can smell your Brut & the chemicals in your acrylic-cotton shirts from a kilometer away. A creature adapted to stealth & avoidance, more so.

    Don’t take anything but the barest essentials. Even extensive electronic equipment may be a no-no, as we don’t know what kind of EM fields they give off or whether animals are sensitive to these. Any wireless or transmitting device is giving off not only EM radiation in a quite significant amount, but is making *noise* at subsonic & ultrasonic frequencies that humans, particularly older humans, cannot hear.

  20. fuzzy responds:

    Indications are that S’quatch can see in pitch black, which prob’ly means they can see infra-red Nite Vision Illuminators.

    They also seem to be capable of broadcasting a super-low (or perhaps super-high, or some combination or harmonic?) frequency blast which creates “instant fear” in some (not all) nearby creatures!

    So who knows what frequencies or sounds or smells or other sensory signals they can detect ~ and even simple batteries radiate!

    That leaves us with manual film cameras, windup watches, matches and candles, paper maps, whispers and whistles…and rocks!

    But when you realize that most S’quatch encounters are witnessed by totally unprepared folks who have almost no hi-tech gear on them, maybe that ain’t so bad. Probably wouldn’t get to use it, anyway!

  21. lamarkable responds:

    There has to be a very large disclaimer and warning in all this. You do so at your own risk. Your safety-the safety of others comes before what field gear to bring. I understand it a fascinating pursuit but thats exactly what it is- a hunt. Before even putting on your shoes, consider this. How close do you come to the flame before you get burned?The air of danger can be addictive-so can the sense that one is participating in something larger than oneself. This should never be under any circumstances a solo venture. This is not a movie or a game-its very real.

  22. fuzzy responds:


    Deer in our area vanish when Hunting Season opens. How could they know?

    The mob of crows ornamenting treetops across the pasture behind our home erupt in alarm the minute I step over the wire fence into the pasture with a long-range rifle in my hands.

    They control their reaction until I walk halfway across the field when I am empty-handed, but wearing a shorter-range scope-mounted .22 Magnum Six-gun on my hip. Still, they fly.

    When I am totally unarmed, I can stroll right into the trees below the crows before they even stir.

    So maybe it is US radiating a combination of threat attitude and behavior that alerts the native fauna?

    I notice I unconciously switched from “walk” to “stroll” in describing my approaches above ~ what if I had tried it with a rifle-shaped stick, or an empty cylinder in the handgun (but what about the 20 rounds in the belt ~ no immediate threat there, but still…).

    What if I had walked across the field backwards, or in a clown outfit, accompanied by my tiny granddaughter? What if her mother came along, in a dress, carrying flowers? What if we carried a transistor radio, playing Mozart? Rock & Roll? Rap?

    What is it animals (we?) can sense at that range? Mental & physical attitude? Metal? Electronic radiation? Quantum belligerence? Cosmic intent?

    And how can we effectively deal with it? What kind of expedition would it be without any conceiveably threatening gear at all?

  23. Tabitca responds:

    I was wondering about the age of people who read the’s just all this talk of guns worries me.We wouldn’t want to influence any teenagers to go off bigfoot hunting with guns.If they panic they might shoot each other by mistake.I know we don’t have the same ease with guns as the states but I was brought up in a hunting, shooting , fishing family so had to learn to shoot birds etc. I still feel ill at ease though at all the gun talk…

  24. Jack D. responds:

    A buddy. Not a good idea to go alone. A cell phone.

  25. Jeremy_Wells responds:

    re: #6
    Not that I come down on the “kill” side of things. But since you asked, and since in areas remote enough to support BF, one might also encounter large predators too.
    I’d imagine anything that would bring down a bear. Actually even anything that you could use on a deer. A .30-06, .35 Remington, .30-30. I’d want something with knock down power like that as opposed to a .270. I’d just sacrifice that extra range because you aren’t going to need that so much if you are just trying to protect yourself.
    I’d say a .12 guage slug would probably do the trick too.

  26. twblack responds:

    I am a hunter and I never go into the woods unarmed. Personal protection should be at the top of any list. GPS is another thing I would highly recomend the days of the compass is past and GPS is very cheap for the advid outdoorsman.

  27. SwampHunter responds:

    Hey, fellow Crypto

    Me and an out-of-state buddy of mine are also planning a trip to the Hock sometime soon.

    Here are some things you should plan to take along with you:

    1) an effective tick repellant. Remember, this is Lyme Disease country!

    2) a strong, sturdy walking stick. Hockomock Swamp is chalk full of peat bogs, sinkholes and quicksand (yes, for real). A walking stick serves two purposes:
    (a) to check the stability of questionable ground
    (b) to use as leverage/something to sit on if you find your boots sinking down into the mire

    3) some decent rope

    Be safe – have fun!!

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