Sunday, March 29, 2015

That Gut Feelin' ...

My buddy David Riojas; a big man with a big heart!
     Howdy!  As both a member and investigator for the North American Wood Ape Conservancy, I’m startin’ to hear more & more accounts of possible wood ape encounters from folks; namely, folks I know and trust.  Friends, family and huntin’ & fishin’ buds who used to snicker at what I’ve said about Our Encounter now seem to be more relaxed about tellin’ their own strange experiences while runnin’ ‘round out there in them woods.  The following account came from a friend of mine, and he was comfortable with me sharin’ it with y’all, so here goes …

     David Riojas is a mountain of a man, and I’ve known him for quite some time.  At almost 6’4” and just under 300 lbs., you’d think a man of his stature wouldn’t be afraid of much.  He hunts and fishes hard; as a matter of fact, harder than almost anyone I know.  And even though he’s a hard-workin’ family man first, he has always been 100% hard-core outdoorsman.  A father of three, he’s had all three of his daughters out in the field or on the water with him shortly after they were out of their diapers!  Not only a hunter, he is a true harvester of wild game and one of the best cooks that I’ve ever met!

     David, along with his brother and his father maintain a sweet huntin’ lease that backs-up to part of The Big Thicket in Jasper County.  I won’t go into too much detail on the locale; however, it is extremely dense, thick and full of game that can easily disappear into the bottoms along the Neches River.  There are a couple of other leases in that same vicinity which all share an access road, as well as a common area where they discard their deer, hog and other harvested game carcasses affectionately called “the gut-pile”.  Late one November evenin’ a couple of years back, David went out there and was met with somethin’ that he couldn’t quite explain.  I’ve heard this account from him twice now, and his story never changed.  Here’s how it went down:

     In November of 2013, the Riojas’ were at their deer lease.  One of his daughters had killed a hog; so after David finished field-dressin’ it, he had thrown the carcass into the back of his truck to discard it at the gut-pile.  No big deal … nothin’ out of the ordinary, just a quick truck-ride down the road and back.  A couple of his friend’s young kids who were visitin’ the lease took the dark ride out there with him.  It was pitch-black and after the three of them made the turn-around, David backed his truck to the edge of a berm borderin’ the gut-pile and parked.

     David and the young boys exited the cab, and walked to the back of the truck to let the tailgate down.  At that point, he said that they were immediately greeted with a very low but loud, guttural growl … none the likes of anything he had ever heard.  He said that it came from the opposite side of the gut-pile about 20-yards out, and was deeper and louder than any boar or big cat would emit.  David immediately went for his gun in the cab, and to his horror watched the two small boys brazenly tryin’ to shine a flashlight on whatever was makin’ the roar.  Gun in hand, David yelled at the boys, “Git in the truck, now!”  He then said that as he stood there waitin’ for the boys to get into the cab, whatever was on the other side of that gut-pile let out another growl and walked-off on two legs into the darkness.

     Upon hearin’ this, I immediately asked David if he could see the animal … in which he replied, no.  I then asked how he knew that this animal walked off bipedally … to which he replied, “Because I could feel it.”  Puzzled, I asked what he meant, and he described that he could both hear and feel this animal as it stomped-off into the darkness as a man would, on two legs.  As David demonstrated this, I could actually feel the ground vibrate when he stomped.  Now, since I wasn’t there … I could not verify this nor could I verify how far this animal actually was from the witnesses.  But like I said, I’ve known David for quite some time and he seemed extremely sincere, as well as bein’ a little worked-up on both occasions that I’ve heard him tell me about this incident.

     Bottom line is, somethin’ definitely got this man rattled, and my gut feelin’ is that it possibly could’ve been a wood ape.  This account happened well over a year-and-a-half ago, so findin’ any kind of evidence just ain’t goin’ to happen.  But, as an investigator, I am goin’ to pursue lookin’ into this shortly; as-in, David and I will be takin’ a drive out there real dang soon!  This area has a rich history of “wildman” and “booger” sightings, so boots on the ground is the only way either one of us is goin’ to figure out what this mystery animal was.  This is shapin’-up to be an awesome year, and I just can’t wait to get out there!  That gut feelin’ tells me to bring my camera, but common sense tells me to carry my new Henry .45-70 out there as well.  One never knows …

Friday, March 20, 2015

Preachin', Teachin' & Outreachin' ...

     Howdy!  As a member and investigator for the North American Wood Ape Conservancy, I feel the need to point out that one of our team’s goals in the ongoin’ quest for this yet undiscovered, mystery animal is community outreach.  I feel that public awareness as well as reportin’ only the facts is extremely important, especially since most folks seem to view what we do as a “fringe science”.  This is a real, livin’ species … a genuine flesh and blood animal.  Period.  But in these days & times of mass-media, “surreality TV”, pseudo-documentaries, mockumentaries and internet hype … “Bigfoot” has become a fad as well as the cryptozoological mascot for mass conjecture and skepticism alike.  I’m not askin’ anyone to “believe” in “Bigfoot”; however, I do feel the need to educate everyone with the truth about the North American wood ape.  The truth must be based on facts and backed by evidence.  Hopefully one day very soon, that evidence will be presented to science and the world in the form of a type specimen.

     The North American Wood Ape Conservancy is not a social club.  We are a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt non-profit scientific research organization, as recognized by the Internal Revenue Service, comprised of volunteer investigators, scientists and naturalists.  What that means, is that we are not tryin’ to sell y’all anything.  Period.  Our goals are sincere, and our motives are not profit-driven.  Our mission is to investigate and conduct research regardin’ the existence of the unlisted primate species known as 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 understandin’ to the public regardin’ the species …

NAWAC investigators Daryl Colyer and Travis Lawrence
answerin' some questions for the Baytown crowds in 2014. 
     Since joinin’ the NAWAC, I have personally been involved in only one event as far as any public outreachin’ goes; back in November 2014 I had the privilege to volunteer for the Nurture Nature Festival held at the Baytown Nature Center.  With over 2,500 folks in attendance, the NAWAC provided the general public answers to any and all who asked about these animals.  But that was just the tip of the iceberg as far as the NAWAC’s public outreachin’ goes; members speak for such groups as Legacy Outfitters, local schools, colleges, outdoor and sportin’ expos such as those held by Bass Pro Shops and Gander Mountain.  The largest of such events is next Saturday, so if you would like to see for yourself what-all the NAWAC has to offer, take note of the upcomin' event:

     The Texas Wildlife and Woodland Expo will be held next Saturday, March 28 from 10:00 A.M. to 4:00 P.M. at the Lone Star College-Montgomery in Conroe, Texas.  This will be our fourth year in attendance for this awesome, free family event, which had over 5,000 folks in attendance last year!  The Texas Wildlife and Woodland Expo & Spring Fling teach families about the land on which they live – and how to best take care of it – through hands-on clinics, live demonstrations and activities for the youngin’s!  Visit the Family Adventure Zones offerin’ hands-on educational activities such as kayakin’, archery, rock-climbin’ and live animal exhibits.  Exhibitors and experts will be offerin’ one-on-one and small group demonstrations continuously all day long in their booths!

     I would urge anyone to come spend the day and learn all about nature at this wonderful, free family event!  To learn more or get directions, visit their Web site at  And while you are there, stop on by and visit the NAWAC at our booth!  Members and investigators will be on hand to answer your questions, share our experiences and discuss our ongoin’ field research in our quest to discover this elusive mystery primate.  For information on the North American Wood Ape Conservancy, please visit the NAWAC Web site or our Facebook page to learn more.  Hope to see y’all there!