Residents in Florida have shared stories about a giant “Skunk Ape” — some say it’s the state’s version of “Bigfoot” or “Sasquatch” — for years, and a new episode of Fox Nation’s “Monsters Across America” released this week examined the phenomenon.
“You could see that it was big,” Mike Falconer, a native of Sarasota, told Fox Nation’s Kacie McDonald as he recalled his encounter with the Skunk Ape in 2013, which he claimed he saw in a field near a road.
“And when I say big, I don’t mean eight foot tall. You could just tell it was massive [in size] and thickness – just large,” Falconer added.
The sighting was certainly a surprise to Falconer, but he also said he was stunned by what happened after he posted pictures of his encounter online.
“My office started getting phone calls, people asking for me,” he remembers. “Within a week, I had five Bigfoot hunters from all over the country staying at my house.”
He went on to tell McDonald that since first spotting the large creature, he has gone back “every single day” to the same area searching for any evidence of it existing, including footprints.
Dave Shealy, a cryptozoologist with the Skunk Ape Research Center, told Fox Nation that he’s been tracking the creatures in the Everglades since he was a fifth-grader.
Shealy said when he was 10 years old he saw a “hairy” and “pretty stocky” creature he believes was about seven feet tall standing in tall grass. He noted that whatever it was, it wasn’t as big as Bigfoot, another alleged creature that is native to the Pacific Northwest.
“But they don’t really need to maintain the bodyweight down here” in Florida,’ Shealy said. “We don’t have long winters. So the fact that a Bigfoot-type animal would be smaller is very realistic.”
After the sighting, Shealy’s interest was piqued, leading him to spend the next 30 years looking for “Skunk Apes.”
He was “talking to people, out in the woods, finding tracks,” he told Fox Nation. “So I knew something was there.”
Shealy captured “compelling” video of a “Skunk Ape” in the early 2000s, which, he adds, has never been dispelled.
The legend of Florida’s ‘Skunk Ape” has been around for decades:
The Skunk Ape is considered the big foot of Florida. Early sightings of the creature began in the 60s in suburban and were described as a massive ape man who smell horribly of the swamp. pic.twitter.com/5pq4Jy35YH
— Tales Of Earth (@TalesofEarth) October 11, 2019
Meanwhile, a state lawmaker in Oklahoma is pushing to create a ‘hunting season’ of sorts for Bigfoot-like creatures, though the goal, he says, is not to mount a trophy on someone’s wall.
“I want to be really clear that we are not going to kill Bigfoot,” said Rep. Justin Humphrey, a Republican, in an interview with The Oklahoman. “We are going to trap a live Bigfoot. We are not promoting killing Bigfoot. We are promoting hunting Bigfoot, trying to find evidence of Bigfoot.”
His legislation does not specify that, however. According to the text of the bill, it instructs the Oklahoma Wildlife Conservation Commission to develop rules, licensing fees, and dates “establishing a big foot (sic) hunting season.”
Humphrey added in an interview with NBC affiliate KFOR that he would work with the commission on the rules, which will include a $25,000 bounty for anyone who captures a live creature.
That said, officials with the commission did not seem to share Humphrey’s enthusiasm.
“We use science-driven research, and we don’t recognize Bigfoot in the state of Oklahoma,” Micah Holmes of the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation told ABC affiliate KOCO.
Nevertheless, Humphrey said the scheme would also be a tourism draw.
“Having a license and a tag would give people a way to prove they participated in the hunt,” he told KFOR. “Again, the overall goal is to get people to our area to enjoy the natural beauty and to have a great time, and if they find Bigfoot while they’re at it, well hey, that’s just an even bigger prize.”
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