McCurtain Daily Gazette Idabel, October 27, 1989
A Bokhoma area forest man — coon hunter, who some say may have had such an opportunity, that might be risky. The lamentable paradox is explained by Grover Krantz, one of the best known trackers in the Pacific Northwest of an elusive, disputed creature that is in many ways unlike other animals — and that Science says doesn't exist. Krantz said in an interview with the Gazette-News Saturday that he believes that Bigfoot exists and so would surely be a rare, endangered species, with perhaps 5,000 to 10,000 left on this continent. But he says there is no way to declare it an endangered species when according to the scientific community it's not a species at all, but a non-entity.

"If you were an official and proposed a sasquatch reservation, they wouldn't wait to throw you out of office not election. You would be kicked out immediately, and probably sent off to a nut house," Krantz said.

Krantz said most scientists reject evidence he has collected and presented at scientific conclaves — even footprint casts that world fingerprint experts agree is genuine, as well as recordings of its "voice," hair samples, photographs, movie footage, etc.

"I've been through all this," Krantz said, noting that as far as the scientific community is concerned, bigfoot is a non-entity, and the only thing that convince them otherwise is a physical specimen.

Specifically, a top official at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C., reportedly put it to Krantz like this, "If you will just put the head of one of those Sasquatches down on my table, I'll believe it."

The same general feeling was expressed by several representatives of state and federal wildlife agencies in McCurtain County contacted by this reported about persistent stories of sightings in the county.

"When I see it in the back of my pickup, I'll believe it," one wildlife ranger told this reporter Friday. He added, "I try to keep an open mind about things like this, but it's hard to believe based on the accounts I've heard."

Eye-witness accounts of the sighting of a large and strange beast were reported recently by the Gazette and since then, others have told the newspaper of sightings in different areas of the county. The latest accounts were given to this reported by Joe Atwood of Bokhoma and P.J. Dagenhart and his brother, John, of Pickens. Atwood, contacted by the newspaper, said he has seen a big creature on two occasions, both while coon hunting at night along dim roads and both times in the company of other hunters, who he named.

He said he shined a flashlight at it both times, and the eyes didn't glow in the dark like most animals. Also, he described its departure as "nonchalant" and said that's not like typical animal behavior. Atwood said it has a "peculiar odor that is somewhere between sour mild and a dead animal. It's got an out-of-the-way smell of its own — nothing like I've ever smelled at a zoo." Also, the scream it makes is distinctive — "a squeal, like something being tortured — the closest thing to it I'd heard before is a panther, but this is so much shriller." He said the creature make one holler only, and usually dogs that hear it, and especially that smell it, stop hunting and come back extremely fast. "When they smell that smell they shut off and come to the truck," said Atwood, 42, who says he's been coon hunting about three nights a week year-round for most of the last 30 years.

Strangely, the animal is nowhere in evidence in the day, said Atwood, who works for a timber company at Bokhoma and is in the woods most days as a timber cutter or cruiser. He said the sightings have been along the old North America Road south of Shinewell in the Cancy Creek bottoms, and south of America in the Parker Creek bottoms. Atwood said he has heard of other sightings in the Chili Flats area east of Tom. Becky Dagenhart called the Gazette reporter about her two sons' experience because she needed a reliable source of information on the danger of the animal being aggressive and violent. She said P.J., 10, and John, 8, were about 100 yards from their house near Silver Creek at old original Pickens two weeks ago. While building a fort in the edge of some woods, John looked up and saw the big creature staring at him. He told P.J. he thought its nose looked like a hog. The older boy said he saw the thing and said, "That's not a hog, it's a Bigfoot," and ran to the house, with John in hot pursuit.

"They came running and screaming, 'Mama, Mama, get the gun, shoot it, shoot it,'" Becky Dagenhart said. "It took me an hour to get them calmed down." She said her husband, Darrell Dagenhart, has looked but not found any signs of the animal. Becky said she is a native of the Pickens area and had never hard of any such animal in that area as her boys described. "They know what bears look like and they said that's not what it was."

She said most people she had asked in that area made light of it when told of the sighting. Independent of Atwood (who the Pickens family doesn't know), they gave precisely the same description of a smell that accompanied the sighting — "Like something dead."

P.J. said the animal seemed curious as it watched them intently, and made no aggressive moves. The 10-year-old said it had a "flat nose with two holes — not much of a nose at all," was over six feet tall, dark and hairy with reddish colored streaks in the hair.

She said the boys had not heard much of Bigfoot except in a popular movie, "Harry and the Hendersons." She said she had thought of the possibility they were faking but is convinced that "they were too frightened for that."

So frightened, she said, that the boys won't go near their fort construction site now. Atwood said he believes the big and elusive animal "beds up in the thickets," moves at night and has been seen by several others besides himself in creek bottoms of the Little River drainage area and always in thick growth vegetation and remote places. But he said the fear his dogs have of the creature is very real. "I've got this big bluetick hound, 70 or 80 pounds, and he was scared to death of it, and went immediately to the truck." Atwood said that, plus the obvious size based on tracks he's seen ("heel like a human, five toes without claw marks") makes him very cautious and ready to give the animal plenty of space. "I'm not going to crowd it. If I could be in the right situation."

As far as shooting it, Atwood points out that a wounded animal can be very dangerous — citing a bear for one example. Krantz said all the characteristics described by McCurtain County witnesses are consistent with reports from about half of the states in the U.S. He said there are probably "100 bears for every sasquatch" and said if the creature is spread out like he thinks it is, there may be 5,000 to 10,000 in North America. He said fairly reliable reported sightings from Russia and China are also very similar.

Krantz said it is possible that the animal has moved into this area from some other place, noting they seem to cover a fairly large area. The possibility that its wilderness habitat is being gradually reduced and the willingness of news media to report sightings is one possible reason for the increased reports. As for the notion that there should be at least be one dead Sasquatch found somewhere, Krantz said that may sound logical, but in fact isn't. He said that rarely can you find wounded or dying animals. They go to remote areas, often in thick vegetation, and in reasonably short time nature covers them over with dirt and new vegetation, and the remains are never seen. He said probably the most valuable thing you could recover from a dead sasquatch would be the bones. "Organs would be nice, but bones are the ideal evidence," he said. He said contact him (currently at the anthropology department of Oregon State in Corvallis) about suspected Sasquatch bones, as he is an authority on bones and reconstructing what the bones tell about the dead animal. If anyone does turn up a real sasquatch, dead or alive, it will be "the biggest scientific breakthrough in 50 years," Krantz said.

© McCurtain Sunday Gazette.

Article contributed to this website with grateful appreciation to Mr. and Mrs. Luke Gross, Texas 23 February 2001

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