Yeti hunters form their own group
By Susan Denley,
March 27, 1974 -- Lucky K Ranch - Here in a remote part of
George Kelly, owner of the Lucky K Ranch and his family recently split from the St Petersburg based Yeti Research Society to form a new study group that he says is using more scientific methods to study the man-beasts that he and many of his neighbors believe inhabit the thick woods of Hernando County.
Reports of sightings of yeti-like creatures have come from all over the world. Known as Sasquatch in
Yetis reportedly are large with a height that can reach 8 feet and a weight of as much as 1,000 pounds; they have heavy body hair, an overhanging brow and feet 16 to 19 inches long. At times the yeti emits a foul odor witnesses say.
Kelly's goal is to get a photograph of one and he thinks he is getting close to fulfilling it.
For four months, he and his group - which includes his wife Nancy, son Shawn and Daughter Debbie O'Neil and her husband Mason and their friends Ramona Clark and Duane Hibner -- have been tracking yeti and trying to observe them in their natural habitat.
"We disagreed with the way the other group was doing it," Kelly said.
They have been trying to have a team in the field every night between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. prime time for yeti sightings.
"We've gotten closer to them this time than we ever have before," Kelly said.
Mrs. Ramona Clark says she had the best look at a yeti. A researcher who came to the Lucky K from
George Kelly's group believes it had been following a "family" of the creatures and says the yetis are so familiar to them now that they are thinking about naming them.
Apparently the animals are beginning to feel more at ease around the Kelly family too. In recent weeks they have been coming in closer to the ranch to feed, in several instances climbing the fence, the Kelly said.
The Kelly's neighbors have reported yetis coming in close. A yeti reportedly chased one frightened woman into her house and another woman "has one appearing regularly at her cookouts," Mrs. Clark said.
Another neighbor reported seeing a yeti playing with the wheel on a child's tricycle in her yard. Women seem to see yetis more frequently than men do, the Kelly's said.
"Maybe they think men are more competitive," Mrs. Clark theorized.
Yetis apparently are quite strong. Shortly after the Kelly's moved to the ranch three years ago, an animal - they now believe it was a yeti -- tried to break into their rabbit cages and bent sturdy metal hooks. None of the Kelly men have been able to duplicate the feat.
The Kellys also have found the bodies of small animals that have been torn apart in a manner that leads them to believe that the creature responsible must have some degree of manual dexterity.
At one time, the Lucky K residents carried sidearms at all times outdoors, Kelly said. Now they have eliminated that practice and have lost some of their fear of the creatures. "You would think you'd be frightened the first time you see one, but actually the first think you think is, "My God, how big it is," Mrs. Kelly said. "And if you see it alone you try to talk yourself out of it."
Right now the Yeti Evaluation and Technological Investigators are looking for financial backing to help them carry on what they want to be a scientifically sound study of the creature.
Although they say they don't want "sightseers," and idle curiosity seekers involved, they would be willing to include reputable researchers.
"If a science professor from the
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