Putnam County residents Tyler Vance and Austin Hutchison started researching the legendary Bigfoot mystery after meeting in the eighth grade. The boys quickly became friends after being assigned to sit next to each other in a science class.
After many hours of research the group officially formed in October 2004. There have been countless volunteers, but Vance and Hutchison have been the only two permanent members.
"We're the only two members," explained Vance. "We've done 90 percent of the research."
Although there are many discrepancies on whether Bigfoot is in fact real or just a myth, the pair believe 100 percent that he is real and that there are in fact 3,000 or more all over the United States.
"You don't have room to judge when you haven't stepped foot in our shoes or attempted to learn anything about it," Vance said.
Although, their efforts have been subject to much disapproval, they stand by their beliefs.
"They haven't sat down and researched it at all," Hutchison said. "I'm still kind of confused as to why people are constantly joking around about it."
According to Vance and Hutchison many people do not understand what exactly Bigfoot is or what he looks like. However, the pair have spent hours researching the species. They believe the species came to America from Central Asia via a land bridge shortly after the dinosaurs. They are also believed to be around 8 feet tall and to migrate during the winter months.
"Most people think it's half-man, half-ape," said Hutchison. "They have behavior of both humans and apes."
The behavior of this half-man, half-ape is not said to be dangerous. In fact it is due to their shy nature that they are rarely seen, only becoming aggressive when their territory is compromised.
"You mess with it or go into its territory it may become aggressive," explained Vance. "It wants to ignore you and stay in cover."
After many weekends of spending nights in the woods in hopes of finding anything that could lead them to Bigfoot, the two have found hairs, footprints, and even a sound recording of tree knocks, which is believed to be how the species communicates between one another.
"We have pretty much all the evidence you could want except a body," Hutchison said.
The two may not agree on what works and what doesn't to lure Bigfoot in. They do however, set out bait traps as well as participate in wood knocks.
"We try and have those lucky encounters," said Vance. "It's pretty much like a camping trip for us."
Shooting down the idea that because no body has been found it must not exist, they explain that like many other species Bigfoot is said to bury their dead. As with anything in the forest nothing sticks around for long.
"We've been out in the woods a ton and we've never found a full body of anything," Vance said. "A lot of people think that bigger animals, if they're sick or dying, will go to a certain place to die."
The team will be featured in an upcoming Animal Planet television show, "Finding Bigfoot." They hope to take on more members after the new year, which is when they will begin researching again.
For more information or to join their team, email firstname.lastname@example.org.