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Monday, January 02, 2012

Behind Finding Bigfoot

By now we have all become familiar with the show Finding Bigfoot and the characters on the show. 
We make fun of Matt saying "I do think there's a Squatch in these woods" and Ranae's yodeling "Yoo Hoo"... we tune in every week because finally researchers are getting some overdue recognition.

The show is entertaining, but as with all television productions, there is a lot going on behind the scenes.
The show has to travel to a new location every week and although first class airfare would be cool, someone has to transport all of the camping gear and research equipment.

This brings me to the unknown cast member, the 5th Beatle if you will, Tyler Bounds.  Who is this behind-the-scenes man of mystery?
Tyler hails from northern Washington state and as many people of the PNW, he has had a fascination with Bigfoot since he was a wee lad.
In 1992, Tyler went on his own personal expedition to Bluff Creek where he camped for days, alone in the wilderness.  He didn't find any evidence of Bigfoot at that time but in true Tyler fashion I quote, " I drove down there and spent days camping all by myself. I had no clue what I was doing, but it was rad."
It wasn't until 2009 that Tyler met Matt, Cliff and Bobo at the Yakima Roundup.  He then went on the BFRO Olympic Peninsula Expedition later that same year where he met Ranae Holland.

When the Finding Bigfoot production filmed at Salt Fork State Park in 2011, I drove down to visit with Cliff and Bobo.  Unfortunately it was Bobo's turn to camp out with Tyler, and they were trying to avoid the masses of enthusiasts who were flooding the woods that evening.  We talked and sent texts back and forth.  I was curious as to who this Tyler fellow was and Bobo assured me that Tyler was one of the most awesome people one would ever meet.  I decided to interview Tyler and find out some more about him.

SL: When were you invited to join the Finding Bigfoot team? 
TB:  I worked on the first season- the Georgia, Oregon and Washington episodes. Cliff and Bobo insisted I be part of the crew, and Day 2, I found those footprints in GA. Then I was the golden child after that. They needed someone for Season 3 that could camp out without being afraid, without complaining, and trusted and experienced enough to be left alone for days at a time. Plus, they had to be a bigfoot nerd, know how to work nightvision, thermal, trailcam, parabolic, etc etc etc
SL: Have you ever had what you would consider a Bigfoot encounter?
TB: I've had several "encounters"- knocks, screams, pebbles thrown at my tent, rock clacking etc. and I saw  3 of them east of Mt. Rainier in 2009.

SL: how far away? what were they doing? what were you doing?
TB: The first one I saw had paralleled me for 30 minutes, knocking and raising a ruckus 20-25 feet away from me in the dense forest, then I saw it with Gen3 nightvision when I reached an area that was more open. It was 80 feet away from me, 8 1/2-9 feet tall, male. There were 3-5 juveniles in a deadfall not far away, I could see their eyeshine, so I think it was trying to distract me from discovering them. The next two I saw were the next night, myself and 13 other people watched 2 of them standing in the road 100 yards away, 1 large and 1 smaller. They stood in the road watching us for 3-4 minutes before bolting when we began to approach them.
I may have seen another one later that year on the Olympic Peninsula, but I can't be sure, it was dark and my eyes were fried from accidentally watching lightning through a night vision, and I don't want to claim something I'm unsure of.

SL:  What are your duties with the Finding Bigfoot production?
TB: My job duties? Uh...fixer. Production assistant. Cameraman. "Bigfoot expert". Driver.  Camping expert. Tent technician. Finder of lost shit. Trailcam setter-upper. Bait station creator. Parabolic listener. Tracker. Hiker.

SL: What is the most rewarding feature of being with this production and do you mind being on the road away from home so much?
TB: The most rewarding thing for me is the travel, the adventure, and making my friends look like rockstars. And no, I'd rather be on the road than at home. If I could take my dog, I'd never come back. I was home for 1 hour before I was bored.

SL: What kind of dog do you have? What is his name?
TB: Mojo is an Alaskan Magic Mountain Mutt.
SL:  Have Mojo and Mountain Monkey ever met?
TB: no. Mojo and Monkey haven't hung out.

 SL:  What do you want to be when you grow up?
TB: I'm gonna open up another brewery before 2012 is over
 SL: another brewery? you had one before?
TB: I was a brewer in AK for 6 years.
SL: apparently you like cold weather!
TB: I'd rather be in 0° than 100° any day 

SL:  Will we be seeing more of you in 2012?
TB:  Where? on TV? Probably not...

SL:  I look forward to meeting you in person, Bobo speaks very highly of you!
TB:  He lies. But Thanks.

As you can see Tyler has a very dry wit about him.  He is down to earth and is a real, in the woods, in your face Bigfoot researcher.  Look for Tyler to appear in a Carhartt ad for Backpacker Magazine in the near future!


  1. Thanks for a great article. ... Linda Newton-Perry of Bigfoot Ballyhoo

  2. I find it hard to be entertained by a production which leads so many sincere and potentially interested people to view cryptozoology and—in this instance Sasquatch research / field studies as just another weird, “out There” topic.
    Like with UFO’s and ghosts stories; the topic of sasquatch is now further relegated to the fringe—the very outskirts of what normal people find interest in, thanks to the ridiculous antics and claims of Matt Moneymaker and his band of buffoons.

    I’ve found many reasons to like much of what I’ve seen here on Sharon’s blog, but…Frankly; I hold her to a higher standard. One that sees through the glint of stardust and the groupie mentality so often blinding folks to the not-so-pretty reality of what the production (Finding Bigfoot) is really all about (egoistic celebrity)—and what a negative effect it is having on the efforts of so many to establish this being as being real and deserving our immediate protection..

    According to the huge majority of folks I’ve discussed “Finding Bigfoot” with; they don’t take anything they see on this program seriously. Some people have told me that; prior to ever hearing about Matt Moneymaker and Tom Biscardi they were definitely open minded regarding the sasquatch issue. That open-mindedness has quickly evaporated though, even as last season’s first episode aired. Most of the folks I associate with or even know as acquaintances seem to have more common sense as to believe that this F/B group of urbanites can travel the country coast to coast and have definite sightings or find irrefutable evidence with almost every outing. Most folks can tell when their being “taken” and resent any attempt be tricked or taken in. Unfortunately when people think about or discuss sasquatch; the very first thing they think about is that episode of “Finding Bigfoot” they watched, and the show producer’s attempt to dupe them.

    People: this “Finding Bigfoot” anomaly is not good. Publicity for publicities sake is never good. We need adroit, highly educated spokesmen with respectable scientific credentials like Jeff Meldrum, and Jane Goodall to do our bidding. We don’t need phonys or even well meaning people without believability speaking in pseudoscientific palaver—holding themselves out as experts, making braggadocios claims about having discovered woodknocking etc. Enough now. People need to speak up on this importsnt issue. I think most of us want a positive outcome and soon. “Finding Bigfoot” promised to do noting but postpone if not curtail serious research opportunities.

    I think, in this case guilt by association is warranted. You either stand against that which is not good for sasquatch or you don’t. No one can correctly justify an attitude that “its only entertainment” and think of themselves as sasquatch proponents. The cast, its members, the producer, director: all individually and as a collective are propagating mythology. All of them! I have personally watched as family and friends distanced themselves from conversations with me about sasquatch; all the result of their watching a few F/B episodes.

    “Finding Bigfoot” has had a huge impact on people in general who may otherwise have found the creature’s possible existence fascinating enough to warrant their purchasing a good book like Meldrum’s, or perhaps joining a even keeled website devoted to the factual reporting and discussion of the subject. Finding bigfoot has provided many with all the evidence needed to decry the entire topic as a waste of time.

    I would be amiss should I not mention that not all of Matt Moneymakers efforts are detrimental to Sasquatch research. The BFRO has amassed what must be the world’s largest database of reports and their particulars. I personally have found much utility in the database. For that Moneymaker must be applauded.

  3. Great Interview...Tyler Bounds was on my first expedition with the BFRO in NC just this last October...he was great and informative and in places really funny!

    I, unlike the person who commented before me, think the Finding Bigfoot show is a great show and has done a lot to build an awareness of theses illusive creatures. Frankly I do not understand putting Matt Moneymaker into a category of being unbelievable or fraudulent. I don't see any evidence of that and his show is wonderful and what made me decide to go on one of their expeditions....which was the best and most exciting time!

  4. I disagree also that the Finding Bigfoot series detracts from research, when Academia refuses to accept the possibility the creatures exist, and won't leave their laboratory to investigate. At least Finding Bigfoot is out beating the brush trying to find concrete DNA evidence!