January 2, 2011

Grizzly Bear Cast

Grizzly Bear Casting
(click on each photo to view)

Some time ago I had the good fortune to take a trip through the Glacier National Park. I, we actually, started in Montana and traveled North into Canada. At St. Mary Lake where there was a campground where we pitched our tent there was also a gift shop that my friend and I decided to take a look through. It was in that gift shop that I found this casting for sale. What really stood out to me was the detail in the casting. Since the gift shop was willing to ship the casting to my home, I was riding a motorcycle and was worried about wear and tear on the casting, I bought it and told them where to send it.

After getting back home and having the chance to look up the fellow who made the casting I found out some more interesting things about this particular casting. The casting was made in the Bob Marshall Wilderness area on the bank of the North Fork of the Sun River in Montana. This fellow lived in Montana and was an avid hiker. He told me that since he did quite a bit of hiking he always hoped to get a clear, detailed cast of a Grizzly track and started carrying a casting compound during his hikes. As a side note, he also told me that his mother was an art teacher and that she had concocted the powder that he was carrying from several casting materials and he did not know what casting medium she used or what other additives she might have put into the mix, but she told him that her mix was made specifically to capture details. As we can see her mix worked very well.

The pads or skin of a bear's paw are like the pads of a dog's paw. the skin is more 'granular' if you will, in the way it appears rather than having dermal ridges and large flexion lines, though some flexion lines can be seen in this track.

As we talked he told me that when he found the tracks this particular one was the clearest and most detailed. He also told me that he had some concern about the bear still being nearby as they were obviously fresh tracks. Keeping his eyes and ears open he proceeded to mix and pour his secret formula casting agent into the track in the mud. He was fortunate to not have any problems with the bear that made the tracks and he was happy that he finally found a track that was very crisp and clean, in details that is. He knew that he would have to clean off the mud from his casting when he got back home and hoped that some of the details that he could see in the mud would show up in his cast. He was not disappointed.

You can see scars in the pad of the foot as well as in the toes. The fourth toe, counting left to right, in particular has a scar right in the center of the toe pad which is in the close up. The claw on the center toe shows a distinct wear pattern or chipping of the claw. All of the claws clearly show the concave underside. The overall length of the track is eleven inches including the center claw which is over two and a half inches long from the edge of the toe pad to the tip of the claw. The bear's fur can be seen around the edges of the track and especially behind the large pad.

There is even a flex crease that can be seen below the fourth toe, again left to right, and dimples in the large pad as well as the first toe. Keep in mind that this is a reproduction of the original and it is done with a resin. The original, I was told, showed even more detail than this reproduction. I did not go into detail with the fellow who made the casting as to what his methods for producing reproductions for selling were.

The texture of the mud can be seen all around the track, which has led me to wonder if casting an inch or two around the edges of a track would help in capturing not only any possible hair details but also as a way of being able to measure the overall depth of the track from ground level. The toes of this track are the deepest point in the track, and they measure a full inch deeper than the average surface area of the mud.

While many of the Bigfoot track castings do show a great deal of detail we can only hope that one day a track showing this kind of detail over the whole foot will be found by someone who has some good casting material with them when they find it. I wish this guy had the formula of the material he used, I'd like to have some to compare to common Hydrocal.


  • At 12:20 AM, Blogger Melissa said…

    Excellent article Mike, and proof of what is possible when we pay attention to proper casting methods.

    Awesome castings. :)


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