Shot of the Week
Washington State, March 15, 2004
Thirteen year old Allison Skahan serves as the test subject as she directs
the positioning of a photo trap mounted
beneath a tree branch.
Allison and her father, Mel Skahan, are investigating incidents on a property
near the town of Battleground, Washington. Last week they began installing
Morty traps in order to photograph the tall animal repeatedly seen there
at night by residents.
Mel Skahan is a forestry management employee from the Yakama Indian Reservation
in Washington State. His confidence in the existence of sasquatches stems
from his own sightings near the reservation.
In the upper left you can see parts of Mel's legs on the ladder. Closer
to the camera, tied to the end of pink ribbon (surveyor's tape), are some
sticks of Brad Mortensen's addictive maple almond brittle -- the bait
used with the Morty trap.
These photo trap kits are currently being used and tested by Mel and
Allison, and others who going to deploy them in other states. The kit's
use of bright flourescent ribbon (called "surveyor's tape")
was Mel's idea, based on his experiences before he ever investigated any
In the course of his regular employment Mel often has the task of setting
out and retrieving insect traps from remote pine forests. He attaches
these ribbons directly to the insect traps to make them easier to find
During the period when he had witnessed a sasquatch for himself, in that
same forest area the insect traps and ribbons were being yanked out of
trees by something very strong and very tall. The insect traps with no
ribbons attached were rarely bothered, but they were more time consuming
to find after being set out.
Mel began to set the traps with ribbons ever higher up into the trees,
and afix the lower ones ever more securely. A pattern emerged after a
while -- the only traps that were never ripped down were those
placed at least fifteen feet from the ground. That's why Mel now places
his Morty traps at least fifteen feet from the ground, but allows the
ribbon to hang down several feet. If the pink ribbon is pulled by an animal
at night, with at least a pound of tugging pressure, it will trigger the
camera to take a flash photo of the animal tugging the ribbon.
If the animal is a sasquatch, Mel and his daughter will have a very unique
possession -- the only authentic close range photo of a sasquatch ever