Since I had no conclusive answer as to the validity of the information in the original article, I went on a quest to get the answers. After all, it didn’t sit well with me to splash the BFRO name all over the place even if I did make it clear that GT wasn’t accusing them.
After doing some research I finally contacted Craig Woolheater (many may know Craig from Crytomundo) who is the actual founder of Texas Bigfoot but resigned last year when they reorganized to form the Texas Bigfoot Research Conservatory.
In my mind Craig has cleared up the entire incident and I have no reason to doubt him. Furthermore, the TBRC admits to the shooting.
Quote Craig Woolheater:
The TBRC has identified themselves as the offending party:
The Echo Incident
Statements made or reported as being made by Honobia, OK, resident Charles Branson at the Honobia Bigfoot Festival on 1 October 2011, concerning incidents that took place the previous July, contain inaccuracies. The basic facts are as follows.
The TBRC was on Mr. Branson’s property with his permission as part of Operation Endurance (OE). The group in place at the beginning of July, designated as the “Echo” team, was the fifth of ten teams to participate in OE. Subsequent events experienced by that team are referred to as the “Echo Incident” within the TBRC.
On 3 July 2011, at approximately 6:15 PM CDT and under clear daylight conditions, Daryl Colyer, Board Member and Field Operations Director of the TBRC, encountered a sasquatch on the Branson property. The observation occurred as he, along with fellow TBRC members Alex Diaz and Travis Lawrence, were investigating a loud banging sound originating from the direction of one of the hunting cabins (referred to by the TBRC as the “West Cabin”), not far from where they and one other member of Echo team were based. The sound was consistent with others heard over the duration of OE and suspected of having been made by sasquatches.
Colyer moved down the path toward the West Cabin with Diaz following at fifty or sixty feet. Lawrence was out of their sight as he followed a nearby parallel creek bed. When Colyer rounded a bend in the road and entered a clearing in front of the West Cabin, he witnessed a large, brown, upright, hair-covered figure walking in front of him at a distance of roughly 25-30 yards. Colyer noted it had long hair on its shoulders and the back of its head, which was distinctly conical in shape. He saw it from the left side and slightly to the back; its front was not visible to him at any point. Upon later comparison with a 6’3″ tall TBRC member, the creature was estimated to have been both more massive and somewhat taller.
Walking to the south, the creature was momentarily obscured by vegetation and was then visible through an eight to ten foot opening in the dense foliage, still approximately 25-30 yards from Colyer’s position. Using his Remington 1100 Tac-4 12 gauge auto-loading shotgun, loaded with 000 buckshot followed by slugs, he attempted to collect the animal for scientific analysis, firing all the rounds in rapid succession. Colyer then approached the spot where the animal had been, reloading as he walked, but found no body. Within a few seconds he heard the faint sound of an automobile engine starting. When Diaz arrived at the location of the encounter, Colyer directed him to investigate the automobile sound. Diaz found a container of iced tea on the ground approximately 50 yards down the path, but he could not determine a source for the engine noise.
All four members of the Echo team attempted to track and locate the animal until it was too dark to see. Although the ground in the area was covered with leaves and other debris, the trail left by the animal was evident until it reached the nearby rocky creek bed. There were clear signs of its travel through the forest, including where it stepped on and crushed a fallen branch that was left unharmed when stepped on by the TBRC investigators. The slugs Colyer fired were all found embedded in trees near where he saw the animal. The team was unable to find any other evidence of the animal or its fate before losing daylight.
The team departed for home the next morning. Shortly after reestablishing cell phone coverage, Mr. Branson contacted the team and informed them that his nephew and his nephew’s girlfriend had driven to the site the previous day. The nephew left his truck parked at the property gate and had begun to walk up the path toward the cabins when he heard what he mistook to be machine gun fire. He ran back to his truck and fled the area, apparently damaging his truck in the process. Colyer never saw or heard the truck prior to its departure, nor did he see or hear the two people. Their position, relative to Colyer’s, was to the west through the dense forest, while the animal Colyer was attempting to collect was to his southwest. Neither they nor their vehicle was ever in the line of fire.
Following the conversation with Mr. Branson, team members made contact with Branson’s son, a deputy sheriff in the area, and related the events to him. He advised contacting the County Sheriff’s Office, since the nephew had reported that he had been shot at with a machine gun by “druggies.” After communicating with the sheriff’s office twice, the matter was dropped. Upon learning of the damage to his truck, said to amount to $1200, the TBRC offered the nephew $2,000 to help offset the cost of repairs. The check was cashed a few days after it was sent. Following a break of approximately one week, the TBRC resumed Operation Endurance to its planned completion.
In December of 2010, TBRC Chairman Alton Higgins clearly stated on the TBRC web site that the organization would “not stand in opposition to individuals—within or outside the TBRC—or groups supporting and/or actively pursuing efforts to obtain a specimen.” He went on to add, “As a field biologist I have always indicated that I supported collecting a specimen for documentation and study.” He went on to explain, “Biologists are trained to think in terms of, and to care about, populations. Collection of a voucher specimen is a way of protecting the population, from my perspective. It is not immoral, even if there are those who disagree for various emotional reasons.” Those interested can read the position statement in its entirety here.
The TBRC plans on publishing a more complete account of Operation Endurance at a later date.
Quote Craig Woolheater:
Here is the official word clarifying their stance of neutrality of no-kill versus pro-kill.
A Word From the Chairman
Few subjects, it seems, produce as much controversy among those with an interest in the sasquatch phenomenon as the documentation question. The TBRC has proceeded for years with the conviction that suitably compelling video and/or photo evidence can suffice to establish the existence of an unknown species of primate in North America. This is the rationale behind the TBRC’s Operation Forest Vigil. However, images alone cannot form the basis for naming or officially classifying a new species. A type specimen is required.
Unfortunately, regarding the question of obtaining a specimen, a spirit of elitism seems to separate those with differing opinions into irreconcilable, mutually dismissive, camps. Although there have probably always been individual members of the TBRC who supported the concept of shooting or capturing a sasquatch, the organization did not ever publicly advance the idea of collecting a type specimen and was generally viewed as supporting a “no-kill” position.
In the wake of a recent TBRC internal poll indicating overwhelming approval of the membership regarding the collection of a type specimen, the Board of Directors addressed the documentation issue anew. While stressing that Operation Forest Vigil remains the organization’s priority undertaking, the Board decided, after some months of discussion, to adopt a position of neutrality; that is, while the organization will not have as its stated objective the pursuit of a type specimen, it will not stand in opposition to individuals—within or outside the TBRC—or groups supporting and/or actively pursuing efforts to obtain a specimen.
This should not be taken as an indication that the TBRC will sponsor or approve large-scale “hunts” in the fashion of some groups. Within the organization, protocols regarding firearms in the field are now stricter than they have ever been: anyone wishing to carry a firearm on a TBRC operation must be well-trained and legally licensed. The safety of TBRC members is a paramount concern.
Speaking now outside of my Chairman role, as a field biologist I have always indicated that I supported collecting a specimen for documentation and study, although I have not personally pursued that objective. I don’t think sasquatches are people. Biologists are trained to think in terms of, and to care about, populations. Collection of a voucher specimen is a way of protecting the population, from my perspective. It is not immoral, even if there are those who disagree for various emotional reasons. Since this would be a new species to science, there is little question but that a specimen is justifiable. Here’s a link to guidelines and policies that have been worked out in the scientific community regarding the collection of voucher specimens.
Hopefully this note provides some clarity regarding the perspective attained by the TBRC Board of Directors; it does not represent a modification of the organization’s mission statement: “To investigate and conduct research regarding the existence of the unlisted primate species known as the sasquatch or bigfoot; to facilitate scientific, official and governmental recognition, conservation, and protection of the species and its habitat; and to help further factual education and understanding to the public regarding the species, with a focus mainly in, but not necessarily limited to, the states of Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana.”
Source: Alton Higgins-TBRC
I’d like to point out that I completely disagree with Alton Higgins but I’ll reserve my opinions for a different time.
Quote Craig Woolheater:
The current chairman of the TBRC, Alton Higgins, and the shooter, Daryl Colyer,
are both former BFRO members. They both formally became members of the
TBRC in late 2003-early 2004 and both resigned from the BFRO in September
Mr. Branson’s property had been used by the BFRO in the early 2000’s, as
shown in this report:
Report # 3199 (Class B)
Submitted by witness on Thursday, October 11, 2001.
BFRO investigator hears loud footsteps and bipedal running (Show Printer-friendly Version)
DATE: 9/30/01 – 10/2/01
COUNTY: Le Flore County
LOCATION DETAILS: Land owners request that no directions be given.
NEAREST TOWN: Octavia
NEAREST ROAD: HW 259
OBSERVED: The BFRO sponsored an expedition to investigate a series of reports of bigfoot related activity in Le Flore County, Oklahoma. I was part of the BFRO team undertaking the investigation. While walking down a remote access road at about 9:00 PM on Sunday, 30 September 2001, all three team members present heard a loud pop against a nearby tree trunk. A rock had been thrown with considerable force and had hit high up on the tree trunk. We heard the rock fall to the ground after hitting the tree. We stood and looked intently with night vision spot lights towards a mountain just north of us, but saw nothing unusual. Although this was the only rock throwing incident I experienced, other similar occurences were experienced by different team members over the next several days. The local land owners had reported repeated incidents like this and recently had to clean a bunch of fist size rocks from the roof of one of their buildings located at the foot of that same mountain.
Nothing out of the ordinary occurred at my location during the next night’s observations. On the third night, however, I had a startling experience. We had been broadcasting bigfoot vocalizations provided by the BFRO, hoping to hear vocal responses. I was stationed about a mile away from the broadcast site, up a major creek in the area. At 7:54 PM and again at 8:20 PM, I heard sounds similar to the ones we had been broadcasting. We had heard numerous owls and coyotes, etc., and I had studied recordings of common animal vocalizations so as not to mistake them for bigfoot related vocalizations. The two sets of calls that I heard were very distant, but definitely similar to the bigfoot vocalizations the BFRO has recorded near Lake Tahoe, California.
At 9:30 PM, we began our sound broadcasting protocol for the evening. Before dark, I had deployed a primate pheromone chip supplied by BFRO curator Dr. Greg Bambenek. I was sitting about 30 or 40 yards away from that chip in an elevated observation platform about 15 feet off the ground. Suddenly, at about 11:30 PM, I heard heavy foot falls in the brush to my east. They startled me because they sounded as if they were only 20 or 30 yards away and I did not hear them approach. The animal moved slowly north and south, pacing back and forth. I strained in my night vision equipment to see something, but all I saw was brush. This behavior went on and on. It was just pacing back and forth, moving very slowly. Occasionally I heard big sticks breaking under the foot falls. My mind began to race. Maybe it was a bear, or was it a sasquatch? I turned off my radio. I did not want a radio check with the creature only yards away.
I kept sweeping the area alternately with night vision equipment and then natural vision. I watched for brush movement to indicate the location of the creature, but could see none. This was very puzzling since the animal sounded so close. Occasionally it would walk directly toward me. It sounded so close I leaned out and looked directly under my platform because I thought it might have slipped up to the base of the tree I was in. It did this 3 or 4 times over the next two hours. As 1:30 AM approached (the time the last series of broadcasts were scheduled to begin), I made up my mind that I would radio the broadcast team and ask them to walk up and escort me out when the broadcasts were finished. I realized the radios might drive the animal away, but at that point I considered it a safety issue because all I knew was that some large mammal had been intently watching me for hours.
I was still not sure if I was dealing with a bear or a bigfoot. The steps had been so slow and deliberate that no cadence could be detected to determine whether it was 2 footed or 4 footed. While I was talking to the broadcast team, the animal moved slowly south and then I did not hear it anymore. I waited through the last set of broadcasts, and after the last one, the team called and said they were on the way up. I had heard nothing for about the last hour, so I figured the animal had moved off, but I was not sure where it was. The team made a couple of radio checks on their way to my location. They were flashing a laser light in the tree tops and kept asking if I could see it.
After one of these calls, I heard a loud “Plooorp” sound about 40 yards behind me and slightly to the west. My first thought was that a bear had rolled a large rock near the water’s edge. After a few seconds, I heard a more “splashy” “plooorp” sound followed immediately by foot falls racing down the water in the creek bed about 25 yds to my west. It raced past my location and up the stream about 30 yards, and then I heard nothing. There were about 12 splashing footsteps that sounded DEFINITELY BIPEDAL over a period of about 4 or 5 seconds. Upon later investigation in the daylight with BFRO curator R. N., we discovered that the creek bed was covered with boulders from 6″ to 18″ in diameter. The distance from the only pool deep enough to have been the source of the original sound to the place where the standing water ends was a distance of about 70 yds. I can offer no other suitable explanation for this event other than bigfoot. It covered more rough area quicker than anything I can conceive. The area was scouted in the daylight, but no tracks or other evidence was discovered.
The next night I climbed the very same tree, but had no unusual occurrences at all except a whinnying noise we had heard before and which we had concluded during the day to be a screech owl.
My sense of the situation is that the animal that walked around me may have been drawn to the area by the sound blasting, or that it may have simply happened by. Once in the area, it probably was stopped by the pheromone scent. It may have detected me while looking for the source of the pheromone scent. I also had the zip lock bag ( that had contained the chip ) on the platform with me. It was still quite pungent. The creature was obviously able to move stealthily since I did not hear it until it was very close. Maybe it made noise for so long trying to draw me down from my perch, who knows? Having departed to the south, it took up a position straight downwind of both me and the pheromone chip.
I made a serious mistake by picking a tree directly downwind from the chip. Perhaps if I had chosen a position 50 yds cross wind, I would not have been seen or scented. I would do it differently in the future. At any rate, this animal took up a position directly behind me, placing itself in my blind spot behind the tree I was in. It was also in my back track; maybe it hoped I would leave the same way I came. I think it waited there, still watching me, until it heard the team approaching it from behind. Then, having an unknown presence in front of it and behind it, it panicked and ran straight up the rocky creek bed where it would leave no tracks.
This behavior indicates an animal that is extremely intelligent, curious, and observant. It apparently had acute night vision. It also was not afraid of me, even after hearing radio communications, a very unnatural sound. I believe it was waiting for me to come by. There is the possibility that two different animals were involved, but that would not be my first guess.
Perhaps others will be able to draw more from these events. I submit this record with the hope that it will prove helpful to future efforts.
ALSO NOTICED: Vocalizations, rock throwing, and other bigfoot related activity had been reported in the area for a long time. Immediately after we left the area, the land owners noted a marked increase in rock throwing.
OTHER WITNESSES: Two for rock throwing incident. They were walking
an access road.
No other witnesses for the footfalls.
OTHER STORIES: The property owners have experienced vocalizations, rock throwing, and other unusual incidents that are unexplained by any known possible source.
TIME AND CONDITIONS: It was full dark with a full moon. The weather was clear and cool.
ENVIRONMENT: Although the moon was full, I was in a densely wooded creek bed between 2 steep grades on either side. Shadows were very dark. The creek bed was broad, 100 yards or so.
Follow-up investigation report:
The investigator, an experienced hunter and outdoorsman, pastors a church in Alabama. He was part of a BFRO team assembled from six states.
Source: BFRO Reports
Quote Craig Woolheater:
When Higgins and Colyer left the BFRO, the property was used by the TBRC.
I have no idea if Mr. Branson knew about a change in organizations that were
using his property as the main contacts for the research there stayed the same.
As I had stated, I never accused the BFRO of any wrongdoing regarding this incident. However, I feel compelled to apologize for my part in sensationalizing the possibility of their involvement.
In an effort to get a story out I made some critical mistakes typically reserved for amateurs.
After reading the transcript of Steve Kulls interview with Charles Branson I should have waited for some sort of conformation. Instead I got antsy and decided to go ahead with the article.
Sure enough, it wasn’t long after that when Steve Kulls got back to me and prompted me to further investigate the allegations as well as the TBRC. Now, I could have easily figured out enough from the article to go to the TBRC website prior to writing the article, but I didn’t do it.
After receiving the input from Craig, I knew I had to retract from the original article and explain my stupidity.
While I don’t agree with a lot of the policies of the BFRO, I certainly am not going to perpetuate a fallacy about them. To them I extend my sincerest apologies.
I’d like to thank Craig Woolheater, Steve Kulls and Loren Coleman for assisting me in clearing up this mess.
Update: The TBRC has come forward to defend it’s standing and provided their side of the story. Suffice it to say, there are some possible inconsistencies involved as they see it and they have every right to defend themselves.
We are still working out all the loose ends but we may see an article forthcoming that will focus on them as well as some possible as yet unpublished details of their current operation on the Branson property.
I look forward to a clearer picture of the past two days.