(Sasquatch Chronicles)

Because if you’re loaded for deer and Bigfoot comes along, you better be prepared.

Though he hasn’t been in the news lately, rest assured that Bigfoot is out there and many hunters are prepared. It makes sense. If he exists, after all, chances are slim you’re going to run into him (or her, or their children) at a midtown Starbucks.

It’s hunters and woodsmen who make the best sightings, and because they know their woods, you have to give them a little credence. The Detroit Free Press recently profiled hunters who run a “Sasquatch Research Association” in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, one of the best hunting areas in the world and a likely home for Bigfoot if he exists.

Michigan has had a run of Sasquatch sightings over the last year, according to the Free Press. In May, a possible Bigfoot was seen on a camera mounted above an eagle’s nest in a tree in Beulah, near the Platte River State Fish Hatchery in the northern Lower Peninsula. It made news all over the world.

“Then there was the photo of a Bigfoot-looking something, taken by a trail cam mounted on a tree in the western Upper Peninsula this fall, as the mystery creature was combing through a campsite,” the Free Press reported.

“In the U.P., we’re all pretty tight-lipped up here. We don’t like to share a lot anyway,” Rich Meyer, founder of the Upper Peninsula Bigfoot/Sasquatch Research Organization, told the Free Press. “And with the stigma that’s been with Bigfoot over the years, you got a lot of older people who think, ‘People are going to call me crazy,’ so they don’t like to share unless they see a bunch of other people sharing.”

How did Bigfoot come to be?

Legends about a Bigfoot-type wild man is in the folklore of just about every culture in the world. It’s part of the mythology of several Indian tribes in both North and South America. The name “Sasquatch” is derived from the term for “wild men” used by tribes in the Pacific Northwest.

In 1967, the famous Patterson-Gimlin film (see below), the most famous Bigfoot evidence so far, sent the myth into popular culture. It shows a hairy creature on a leisurely stroll through the California woods. Ever since, there’s been an explosion in reported sightings all over the country, including in most Michigan counties.

In general, Bigfoot is described as covered in fur, standing 8 feet tall or more, walking upright, making only fleeting appearances in eyewitness accounts, blurry photos and a lot of shaky videos.

Is it human, a remote species like a surviving Neanderthal? Some people believe it’s something between man and ape with peculiar characteristics. Reports have it sometimes leaving woven stick gifts for homeowners near its habitat in exchange for things like marbles. Others claim that it communicates by howling or banging sticks on trees. And it reportedly stinks, hence one name for it: “skunk ape.”

All that Bigfoot hunters lack is an actual body. Or the piece of a body. Or anything.

That makes it probably the most elusive creature on the planet, since even dinosaurs left behind plenty of bones and even offal.

“We don’t have a body yet,” Meyer said, summing up the plight of the Bigfoot believers community in general. “Once there’s a body, or evidence where it shows someone being somewhere and a Bigfoot is right next to them — where it’s irrefutable — then the scientific community will jump on board.”