Carson, Washington native Datus Perry (who passed away in 1998) had claimed twelve sightings of Bigfoot, more than any living person. A former timber logger, engineer, and rancher, Datus Perry had spent most of his life outdoors in "Bigfoot Country" and enjoyed a close proximity to nature. It is probably due to this closeness to nature and his peaceful disposition that Perry had a unique opportunity to gather information about the life of the Sasquatch. In addition to his many sightings, the eighty-four year old Perry pieced together his own theories about the biology of Sasquatches, including physiology, eating habits, and general behavior.
(Photo: Datus Perry talking with Larry Lund 1997)
Some people didn't believe Datus Perry for various reasons. Perry would sometimes mix up his stories; he had a tendency to be a little long-winded and for someone his age, it would undermine his credibility. Of course: "Nobody sees Bigfoot twelve times in a lifetime." Although I never met the man I know people who have met him, I've watched him in a video of a lecture he gave at the Western Bigfoot Society in 1991, and I've read about him in newspapers and books. In doing research on Perry I was struck by his gentle nature, his peaceful and friendly disposition, and perhaps most importantly his utter sincerity. My own opinion of Perry is that he was telling the truth as best as he could recollect it and that we in the Bigfoot world could have learned a lot from him. (..had we listened)
Robert “Bob” Pyle, author of "Where Bigfoot Walks: Crossing the Dark Divide," described Datus Perry like this: "...a white-bearded old-timer with wild eyes and a jack-o'-lantern grin..."
"One person who has no lack of vision is Datus Perry, the resident Bigfoot guru of Carson, WA. A skinny Santa in olive drab and flannel, Perry hangs out in the canyons above the Columbia River where he spots Sasquatch almost at will. In 1937, he claims he saw one in full view at 200 feet on the Observation Peak Trail. In 1963 a Bigfoot followed him down from the saddle south of Gifford Peak and he saw it well from 20 feet. Since then he has seen them from Panther Creek to the Quesnet River in British Columbia, in every aspect from sunning to soliciting his favors. Anywhere else, Datus Perry might be considered merely an eccentric or worse. Around Carson, he is certainly seen that way, yet he is also revered as something of a Bigfoot expert. Situated at the confluence of the Wind River and the Columbia, Carson lies in the very heart of Bigfoot country. The town team is the Carson Bigfoots. One of several annual Bigfoot revels around the Northwest takes place in Carson's Bigfoot Trailer Park. And the locals have blessed both the proceedings and the beast that inspires them.” (Pyle)
In one of the Baylor University Lariat Newspapers, dated Sept 10, 2004, there was this article written about Dr. Chris Bader and Datus Perry: (Bader is a professor of sociology and an affiliate for the Institute for Studies on Religion at Baylor University)
"In the early 1990's, Bader met Datus Perry, a 79-year-old Bigfoot chaser in Washington. Perry is one of many Americans who dedicate years to chasing the mystical animal that was popularized in the late 1950s. Perry believes Bigfoot is a form of a nature spirit that can communicate with people and has psychic powers. Perry identifies with Bigfoot, sometimes attributing his own thoughts to the animal. There are different ideas on what the significance of that animal is, but the general consensus among these hunters is that Bigfoot is an undiscovered species. Perry claimed to have seen Bigfoot more than 20 times. However, Bader has never seen convincing evidence of the animal's existence in his more than 10 visits with Perry. Perry has evidence of the animal's existence ranging from rabbit cages that had been broken into to tape-recorded sounds of the animal's cry."
Datus Perry's Bigfoot Sightings
written by Datus Perry
1937: Saw a full view of a Sasquatch standing 200 feet away at Observation Peak Trail in Skamania County, Washington. It is in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest....
1963: Saw a full view within 20 feet after it followed Perry from the saddle south of Gifford Peak.
1974: Saw the legs of a Sasquatch approx 200 feet away; the dogs ran it into some brush a half mile west of Perry's home in Carson, Skamania County, Washington, which sits along the Columbia River Gorge...
1976: Perry has a full face-to-face sighting from a canoe within 20 feet on Quesnel River in British Columbia.
1976-77: Saw the body of a Sasquatch above Spring Creek Hatchery sunning itself on some rocks. Spring Creek hatchery, established in 1901 is located 4 miles west of the Hood River/White Salmon toll bridge on State Highway 14. It was one of several egg collection stations for the Bureau of Commercial Fisheries Clackamas Hatchery near Portland, Oregon.
1977: Saw a Sasquatch from the front about 1,000 feet away on the west side of St. Peter's Dome Rock Slide on the Columbia River Gorge, Oregon.
1978: Saw a Sasquatch Standing 600 ft. away east of Dog Creek Falls in some scrub oaks.
Despite its comparatively modest size, Dog Creek Falls is one of the most visible waterfalls along the Washington side of the Columbia River Gorge. Dog Creek has cut itself a fairly impressive canyon between Dog Mountain and Cook Hill...
1979: A rear view near Grant Lake. The Sasquatch was wearing a musk ox hide on its back. Grant Lake is located in Central Sierra Nevada Range, California
1981: A face-to-face viewing as the Sasquatch watched Perry cut wood and build a trail about a mile west of his home in Carson, Washington State.
1982: A full sighting at Panther Creek Bridge in the evening. In the car headlights, its eyes appeared red.
1985: A face-to-face viewing of a female Sasquatch. In Perry's own words: "She
followed me over half a mile to my shelter and stayed behind a tree while I
repaired the shelter. Then she came down close to the shelter and seemed to be
telling me she was available (as a mate) ...She was back a couple more times and
left tracks and droppings."
1992 Newspaper Article about Datus Perry
“The Search for Sasquatch”
Quest Continues for Carson Man From the Skamania County
Pioneer Bigfoot Edition #2, 1992.
After seeing his first Big Foot track at the age of 12, Datus Perry of Carson, Washington was hooked.
"That first track I saw grabbed me," Perry said.
Now 80 years old, he continues his endless search to find out more
and more about the elusive creatures.
"I've had 12 good sightings," he proudly proclaims. The first was in 1937 at Observation Peak Trail.
"I thought I heard a twig snap and I turned my head. There it was," he said.
The next sighting didn't occur for more than 25 years. Nevertheless, Perry never gave up his quest, which has turned into an obsession over the years.
He has sketches and graphs of tracks and sightings, but no photographic evidence. Perry pieces together theories about the Sasquatches with each new sighting.
"They won't get dangerous unless you pull out a gun or pick up a rock," he said from his encounters with the creatures. "Hold out a flower or part of a berry bush as a peace offering."
He described Big Foot as being an average 8 to 9 1/2 feet tall; the tallest he has encountered was 11 feet. Most are black with velvet looking fur on their faces. Perry has determined the ones that appear brown are actually wearing animal skins on their backs; that's also a possible reason many people report a foul smell when the animals are near, he said.
He said their eyes are generally red and their noses flat. Their ears are small and barely noticeable.
They communicate with a high pitched screechy chatter. "They have a scream that's something else," he said. "It's real loud."
He has found evidence of Sasquatches throughout the Gifford Pinchot Forest, the Mount St. Helens Wilderness Area and even next to his house. "But I'm not sure how authentic those tracks were," he said, weighing the credibility of his find.
Through his years tracking the Sasquatches in the forest, Perry said he has determined several usual routes the creatures take, but he did not want to reveal their exact location.
He theorizes that the creatures are related to prehistoric man that failed to evolve. And he believes they continue to migrate "way up into the Arctic".
In one encounter with a female, Perry said the creature attempted to take him as her mate. But he "got away just in time".
He said the Sasquatches are very quick and strong but he is not sure how long they live.
Perry is compiling his notes into a book he plans to call "How Big Foot Got Me". In one article he wrote: "They live a lot like chimpanzees. Shoot and clip or threaten one and you better look behind every tree getting out of there and before dark if you wan to be seen again."
He also suspects the creatures eat their dead, since no carcass has ever been found.
It doesn't matter to Perry whether other people believe his sightings, track discoveries or other compiled data on the creatures. He firmly believes in Big Foot and will continue to look for more evidence.
After almost 70 years of searching, he's not about to give up now.
Perry's Sightings in Detail
The following is a verbatim transcript of a story Perry related in a Western Bigfoot Society lecture in 1991. (Which explains why it's a little hard to follow; I am unwilling to alter it at this point to make it more readable.)
...I took a young man into the mountains one time. He was a friend of Lillian and I, and he took an interest in the rabbits Lillian was raising. He wanted to become a rabbit raiser. So, he showed up one day and I was just getting ready to go up into the mountains and stay overnight all night. He said, "I'd really like to know if there really was such a thing as a Bigfoot." I said, "You landed here just at the right time. I'm getting ready to go out and stay all night."
So we took off. I picked him up at his home, he had his sleeping bag and a can of soup, and we headed out. We left the car about a half mile from his place, a little farther from our place, and hit an old abandoned road, really a trail. There seemed to be no deer tracks on the trail and I said, "Look, this looks like a path, not like a trail, it's pat down, like Big feet are doin' it." Well, we could charge that up to bears.
What we planned on doing was make our camp and see what happens in the night. In the morning we'll scout around the backcountry back here and check out a few trails, then come back to camp and eat. Then we'll pack up and hit the trail back home. And then we'll walk along and suddenly flop down on the side of the trail and be quiet.
So we did all these things and we come back to the chosen spot and flop down and lay still for about five minutes and we started talking. It was an old road bed, it had moss on it, and there were short ferns about three feet high on both sides of the road. The road was sloping up on one side and down towards the river on the other.
Everything was quiet, and we could hear the river running down about three hundred feet from us, our camp was out that way (pointing) about four hundred, nothing happened, he started losing faith in the plan. So, after talking for a while he decided he was going to go home, he hadn't seen his dad for quite a while, he decided to go visit with him. It was quite a ways, and I said, "Listen, you're going through this timber alone; it might be kind of rough you never know. It's going to be hot when you get down into the valley so why don't you just wait a while and go down with me when it gets cooler."
"Aw, the heck with it. I don't think there's any such a thing as a Bigfoot. I'm going on down and seein' my Dad."
"OK," So we're both sleepy 'cause were up all night keeping vigil but he bids me goodbye. I decided to stick around, Bigfoot might think that everyone had left and come around checkin'.
The boy came back, and said, "You know, I think I'll wait and come out with you like you suggested."
"I can be quiet." So he laid down quiet fifteen minutes and what do you think happened?
Right down behind those logs, within about five feet of the dogs a limb--sounded like a fir limb about that thick around (gestures three inches or so) it was dry--broke with a big bang. We hadn't see a fern move, we hadn't heard a twig snap, we hadn't see indication of anything putting pressure on that fir limb right there, right behind the dogs. The dogs didn't even move. And when that snapped, and I had to warn him about this, we had this sort of thing happen before, whenever that happens. Just lay there and be quiet. And then we did.
Not that sounds rather funny but it's not that hard to teach a dog not to go after Bigfoot. They get that idea all by themselves.
Anyhow, I said, "There he is, jump up and look at him." And I didn't want him to see it without me looking at it, and he'll be telling me about it, so he jumps up, he looks around, swirls around with a big smile on his face, and motions for me to come, and I said, "No, you go ahead and see this, you're going to be the one to tell me about it. What was it, a bear?"
"Oh, no it was upright. And it went around that tree, I just saw it go around the tree."
"Well, go around that way fast and you'll see it go around the next tree."
So he did go over and he did see it go around the next tree, and I told him to quick come back over here and he might see it again.
And he said, "Yeah, there it goes, it's going down by the river."
And I said, "What way up the river, up the river or down the river?" I figured it might go up the river and check out our camp.
"Yeah, it's going up the river."
"What is it, a bear?"
"Naw, it's tall, man-like, it's got legs and arms and a head." Then the boy turned around and said, "Isn't that something, I got to see a Bigfoot, and I know they're out here now."
(At this point Datus presents a signed statement by the young man to the effect that Datus took him up to northwestern Carson, on the Wind River, and showed him a maneuver that showed him a Sasquatch. The statement is signed, Chad L. Garder.)
"I've been told by people that you cannot take somebody out and show them a Bigfoot. Well, I have done it. So, that's that story."
Well, if I had got up and looked that'd been my thirteenth sighting, but I didn't.
Datus Perry on Bigfoot
The following is information culled from various sources (Datus' lectures, books, back issues of the Track Record, newspaper clippings) that Datus has collected on Bigfoot. (Mizokami)
Question: "What does Sasquatch eat?"
Answer: "All kinds of foods", broken down below:
"Fruits: Herbs, berries, fruits, nuts, grass (the tender part) wild ginger, salal berries (for iron) , blackberries (all kinds), Oregon grape berries and new leaves of the Oregon grape, huckleberries, cherries (always swallowing the pits and stems), apples, peaches, pears, apricots, pits, stems and all. Seldom eat red berries except strawberries and -ingle berries and salmonberries."
Vegetables: "Squash, melons (that they can get from people's gardens), corn, grain, and wild rice (from marshes). Carrots and potatoes from abandoned gardens. Wild wheat, blackberries, tender shoots, goldenrod, wild ginger, termites, and large angleworms."
Animals: "Deer, birds, rodents, rabbits, mountain beavers, and regular beavers, some lizards and snake meat, frog legs, fish, salmon, freshwater mussels, freshwater clams, crawfish".
Question: "What do you mean when you say you trained your dogs, they don't even move?" (Asked during WBS lecture by audience member.)
Answer: "They don't move, they lay under my sleeping bag in the blinds. I was in there sleeping around midnight, sasquatch broke a limb outside the blind by stepping on it, the dogs wanted to go and they exploded and wanted to go right out and eat him up, and I caught 'em and had 'em right there (gesturing with his hand), and I says, "Get back under there and stay there. Don't you ever go after one of those things again." And they never did. And when they come around, they come to me and scratch my legs, and let me know" something's in the area. And I couldn't figure it out for a while and then I finally see one.
"After they seen a Bigfoot, they're not too anxious to go out chasing anything. They get awful scared of Bigfoot."
Written by Kyle Mizokami, 1999
Revamped by Bobbie Short in 2009
Photos added courtesy Larry Lund in 2009
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