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Media Article # 378
Article submitted by Kevin Henderson
Article prepared and posted by Kevin Withers

Wednesday, August 7, 2002

Ever hopeful, searchers remain on trail of Bigfoot

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Danbury - Despite the naysayers, a Minnesota hunter wanders northwestern Wisconsin in search of a creature no one has managed to bag.

Armed with a camera and a supply of plaster of Paris, Dennis Murphy hunts for the Sasquatch - a.k.a. Bigfoot - which has been part of Indian legends for centuries. The name is the English version of the Salish Tribe's word for wild man, or hairy man.

Murphy, 54, of Plymouth, Minn., believes he spotted two aging Bigfoots 30 years ago while searching for a fishing spot, but he kept the sightings to himself for fear of ridicule.

Murphy said he captured the image of Bigfoot with his camera during a recent foray into the woods near Danbury and discovered it only when he developed his film.

Murphy isn't the only person in pursuit of the creature.

The Bigfoot Research Project was launched 10 years ago with a $1 million grant from an anonymous benefactor.

The hunt for Bigfoot has involved a little bit of science and a great deal of bluster about supposed encounters with a North American ape.

According to The Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization, there are between 2,000 and 6,000 Bigfoots living in North America. And while the Pacific Northwest gets a lot of attention, there are many other prime homelands, including the Upper Midwest.

"It's been treated as a joke or a hoax, but increasingly there is serious study," said John Bindernagel, a biologist who has a PhD in veterinary science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources officials remain unconvinced that there is a huge, undiscovered mammal stalking the north woods.

"We've not had anyone, to the best of my recollection, claim to have seen Bigfoot," said Jim Bishop, public affairs officer for the DNR's northern region. There is a large bear population in the area, he said, and bears can weigh in at more than 500 pounds.

Of the footprint evidence collected by Bigfoot hunters, Bishop said, "A bear track can look very much like a human footprint."

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