Avid Bigfoot hunter Michael Hexum claims to have seen one on from a deer stand when he was 14 and has passionately pursued them ever since, often spending silent evenings in the woods of northern Minnesota listening for their calls.
By Evan Frost from MPR News:
Mike Hexum says he first saw Bigfoot from a homemade deer stand on Minnesota's Iron Range. He was 14 years old then, old enough for his father to send him alone into the woods with a sandwich and a rifle.
"He walked into a shooting lane 30 feet in front of me," Hexum recalls. "I thought it was a guy. A big dark guy with a prehistoric face on it. Of course I freaked out. I couldn't get out of the woods fast enough."
He told his father what he saw, and his father told him never to talk about it.
"He said it would embarrass the family," Hexum says.
So Hexum went on with his life. He got out of high school, moved away and got married. He had three kids, and he didn't talk about Bigfoot. For a long time, he says, he forgot what he'd seen.
But the marriage didn't work out, and a few years ago he was laid off from his welding job.
He moved back to a small cabin in the woods, near his childhood home and started watching TV shows about Bigfoot. Then one morning, he says, he saw Bigfoot again.
"The place I live, I didn't have any running water," he says. "So I had a ritual every morning of going down on the lake. I had a hole in the ice for getting water for dishes and washing and I'd bring some coffee and watch the sun come up."
He says a tall hairy creature was walking on the ice that winter morning, far out across the lake. That's when he started to remember his childhood experience — when he started to believe.
Now Hexum is one of Minnesota's most dedicated Bigfoot researchers. He spends his evenings in the woods, or behind a keyboard, chatting with other enthusiasts online.
And he's found a new purpose for returning to the very woods of his first sighting: He's scouting locations for the Animal Planet's "Finding Bigfoot," which will film an episode in Minnesota later this summer.