November 24, 2006

Men in Bigfoot Research; John D. Pickering

*All scenery photos and game cam shots, provided by John D. Pickering*

Most researchers know who the subject of this article is, but for those who do not know.

John D. Pickering is a Bigfoot Researcher in the Pacific Northwest. He searches for evidence of this animal in what I think is the best place to look for this animal.

John is a down to earth, and friendly guy - but he does take this research seriously, I respect him for his ability to stay objective. I have been wanting, for a very long time, to get an interview with John, as he is someone I pay attention to when he posts on various forums. John is very down to earth, and always willing to discuss the issues of this research.

Mr. Pickering gives this blog a unique perspective on the Skookum Cast - as he has seen it "in the flesh". That is not something many can say. He has actually sat and studied the cast. This is an issue we discuss during this interview, and I am so glad he was willing to discuss his opinion of the cast.

I would like to thank John D. Pickering for allowing this interview, and I hope to speak with him again in the future. I hope everyone enjoys John's approach to this issue, as much as I do.

Men in Bigfoot Research: John D. Pickering

Question: Please tell the readers about yourself.

John D. Pickering: I was born and raised in Grays Harbor out on the coast of Washington State. Lived here for 41 years and have never wanted to live anywhere else. I'm employed at a local paper mill and have been for over twenty years.

My first wilderness experience was at eight weeks of age, my parents took me fishing, and being in the outdoors has been my main interest every since. Can't say that I remember that first trip but I'm told it started to rain and they put me in a cardboard box to get me out of the weather.

Hiking, hunting, fishing and general exploring the outdoors has always occupied the best of my off work time. Luckily I live in a location that allows me to step out my backdoor and be pretty much out in the woods.

Question: Are you a member of any Organized Group(s) or are you an Independent Researcher? Or both?

John D. Pickering: Right now I'm pretty much an independent researcher though I'm part of the North American Ape Project. Past membership in the WSSSG and BFRO stopped when I left those groups.

Question: How long have you been active in the field of Bigfoot Research?

John D. Pickering: I've been active in Bigfoot research for about nine years. Before that there was a strong interest in the subject.

Question: Have you noticed any changes in this field of research over the years?

John D. Pickering: One of the things I noticed pretty quickly about Bigfoot research is how competitive some people and groups are. How everyone appears to be trying to outdo the other person or group. It really has been frustrating at times. If anything it has gotten worse in the past years. Though I do see some hope with the new groups.

Follow up Question: Why do you think that is?

John D. Pickering: I think it really comes down to human nature. We're dealing with a subject that hasn't been proven to even exist. The big prize, for many people, is to find the evidence that proves Sasquatch is real. They feel that with that discovery will come fortune and fame. It is kind of a race to see who comes up with the prize. In that race you don't want the other guy knowing what you think is information that will get you to the prize before them. I feel it has gotten worse because of the internet's ease of communication. More people are getting involved.

Question: What has been your primary focus, in this field of study? Please explain.

John D. Pickering: My first love has always been the outdoors so doing fieldwork was a natural for me. Searching for sign of a Bigfoot was just another reason to go into the woods. I started working with remote cameras after I met Dr. Meldrum and joined the NAAP. I ran remote cameras full time for several years for the project. I still use remote cameras now and then in areas that capture my focused attention. My main focus for the past couple of years is to try and determine what local areas have the greatest chance of having a Sasquatch or a group of Sasquatch living in them or using them. Looking for things that may set the areas they appear to use apart from the areas they don't.

Follow up Question: Being a member of NAAP gives you access to Dr. Meldrum the way many researchers do not. What are your thoughts on Dr. Meldrum and how he approaches this field of research?

John D. Pickering: Dr. Meldrum is a true scientist. He looks at things with the background and knowledge that brings.

His approach is much the same as any scientist's would be studying any animal that little is known about. I have a lot of respect for him. The great thing about him is that he is very approachable.

Follow up Question: Have you seen the Skookum Cast? If so, what is your impression of it?

John D. Pickering: I've been able to sit down and look at the Skookum cast a couple of different times. Because of my NAAP connection I have also been able to see pictures of the impression, and information, of how it was obtained early on before I was able to look at it. The first time I had the chance to examine it was the best. I had plenty of time to look it over and ask questions.

Rick Noll, being the man of few words, let me just look it over and really didn't say much other than to ask what I thought after I had looked at it for some time. Then Owen Cady sat with me and talked about its features and what they had found in their examinations of the cast. I will say the first thing that came to mind when I looked at the cast was elk. It looked very much like an elk lay.

But, there were things that didn't look right to me. Some things just didn't fit if it were from an elk. Hoof marks were not in the right place. The tendon impressions were totally wrong to be that of an elk. I felt that the impression was either a hoax or very possibly the imprint of the lower half of a Sasquatch. I knew the people who found the impression and felt sure that they would not try a hoax. I don't know what the lower half of a Sasquatch looks like, but I do have a good working knowledge of what elk look like, and how their joints move. I don't believe it is elk. If it is elk then someone altered the impression. I can't say that it is Sasquatch. I just don't know. One other thing that didn't fit for me with it being elk is the few numbers of hairs that were found. Elk hair like many other mammals changes with the seasons. Animals that have this changing coat loose a lot of hair.

I personally feel that an elk would have left a lot more hair in that mud if it had rolled around than what was found. Numerous hairs were found of several different animals but none in the number I would feel should be present if the impression was made by an animal that sheds it's hair. Even during the fall when it would be growing its winter coat. Just my opinion.

Question: What keeps you asking questions?

John D. Pickering: There are so many unknowns about Bigfoot. Everything we think we know is just a best guess. Every time I go out in the field I find things that cause me to have more questions that answers.

Question: What do you think about the growing numbers of women becoming active in this field?

John D. Pickering: The growing number of woman in the field is great. Dr. Leakey didn't pick woman to do field research on the great apes by chance. Women have a great eye for detail. Men tend to be bound by their macho attitude. I don't need to read the directions! I know what I'm doing! Women take the time to check things out and do it right the first time. I hate to say it but many of the women that are doing Bigfoot research now are not near as afraid of the dark as many of the men are.

Question: Have you had a sighting? If so please explain.

John D. Pickering: I can't say that I have had a sighting. I did see two dark upright figures in my headlights one night. They were large and fast but I didn't see them good enough to say for sure what they were. It was in the same area that I had been roared at, heard some wood knocking and had found some possible tracks.

Follow up Question: Is that kind of situation more frustrating? Seeing "something" and just not knowing what it was for sure?

John D. Pickering: It drives me crazy! It's like your so close but just to far away. The worst thing was that, that night it rained like crazy, and destroyed any tracks that may have been present.

Follow up Question: Can you discuss the situation when you were "Roared" at? What happened?

John D. Pickering: A hunting partner and I were heading back across a large logged off area to my truck that was parked at a gate. The area is walk in only. He was on a small ridge parallel to me when something roared at us for about five seconds. It came out of some timber that was a good six hundred yards away. It was so powerful that nothing I know of could have made the sound. In my opinion it would have taken a concert sound system to produce the sound with that much volume and power. We stopped looked at each other and he asked "What the hell was that?" Just then it came again for about three seconds and again for about three seconds more. When we got back to the truck my partner said that he didn't want to know what made the sounds. I had a good idea what I thought had made them.

Follow up Question: What is your opinion on "Wood Knocking" viable research tool? If so, why?

John D. Pickering: Even though I was shown doing wood knocking, I don't really practice it in my research. If these animals exist, I believe they do, and if they do what we call wood knocking. Then they must do it for a reason. Without knowing what that reason is we are more likely to scare them away by trying to imitate their behavior. On the other hand you never know. It just may make one curious enough to answer back. We're not doing too good at sneaking up on them!

Question: One piece of equipment you think is the most important?

John D. Pickering: A good camera. Far too often things are found and not documented. I've done this myself and really feel stupid when someone asks. " Did you take pictures?" You can't document something to well.

Question: Most researchers have one Report that "Stands Out" in their minds, is there a report that still "stands out" for you?

John D. Pickering: I guess it would be a local man who had a fairly mellow daylight sighting of a large creature cross the road in front of him. This man had worked for the Forest Service for years. Talking to this man it became very clear that the sight of this creature changed his life. It really shook him up. When he saw it he didn't want to accept it. When he did he realized that for so many years he had been in the woods and thought he was alone only to find out he wasn't. The look in his eyes and the sound in his voice brought that feeling through.

Question: What questions would you like researchers to ask witnesses?

John D. Pickering: Don't know that I want them to ask a certain question as much as just let the person tell their story and not to lead them with the questions they do ask.

Question: What you would like people to know about you.

John D. Pickering: Can't think of a thing.

Follow up Question: What do you think is the best, single piece of evidence, for the existence of this animal?

John D. Pickering: I don't know that there is one single good piece of evidence. That is the problem. There is a lot of evidence that is compelling. I think the track casts that have been made represent the most solid evidence. For me the number and complexity of them makes it hard to believe that they are all a hoax.

Question: Do you have any advice for a new researcher?

John D. Pickering: If you want to do this kind of research sit down and really think about why you want to do it, and what your trying to accomplish. Stick to those things and don't let others sidetrack you.

*Again, many thanks to John for allowing this interview, I hope we hear more from him in the future*


  • At 6:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    hey melissa great new interview its very informative. thanks bill :)

  • At 11:23 AM, Blogger Melissa Hovey said…

    Thank you Bill. I do enjoy hearing the opinions of others in this research.

    Also, the pictures Mr. Pickering provided are of his research area and game cam photos. John was very accomidating, and I cant say thank you enough :)

  • At 11:45 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Hey John, I'm a former Infantry LT and know the woods well. I once had face to face with one down in the swamps near FT Benning GA. The sun had just set and I surprised it as it was walking though a creek toward a small lake-GOOD PLACE 4a TRAP-. It was about 10 feet tall and over 800 lbs because I atually felt the ground shake. I ran as it came within 10 feet of me.

  • At 12:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    That day I had been practicing dead reckoning and noticed a bad smell like a wet barnyard dog. The trees were thick until I hit a logging road that crossed a creek at a lake. I smelt it then heard its huge feet splashing as it walked through creek. I suprised it because it couldnt hear me over the water and I was downwind.


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