Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Interview with a Bigfooter: Shelly Covington Montana

In the world of Bigfoot there are not that many female Bigfoot researchers that are as dedicated to the study of Sasquatch as Shelly Covington Montana is. This Texan vixen is a makeup artist by day and avid hunter and researcher by night. This past year she took weeks off away from her work and her family to go Squatching in the Pacific Northwest. She earned an award from the International Bigfoot Conference as a "Dedicated Researcher" and has begun speaking at Bigfoot get-togethers. Will she write a book about her work and adventures? What does Pro Proof mean? And what are some of the challenges she faces as one of the up and coming Bigfooters out there that walks the walk and talks the talk?

Thank you Shelly for taking the time to talk to us. We have done our homework on you and this interview might not be easy. It's your chance to speak. We must first begin with the cliché question... Why Bigfoot? 
When I was a little girl, I remember watching a the show “In Search Of” with Leonard Nimoy. It was the Patty/Bigfoot episode. I was so intrigued and glued to the TV. I remember the day well, my mother was sewing an outfit for me for a livestock show. I never expressed to anyone at the time how amazed I was with the subject, but it was always in the back of my mind. Then later in life, my husband confirmed with his possible Sasquatch experience what I had always thought was the most interesting and important discovery of our time. But, that took me 20 years to figure out what he was talking about.
You're a successful make up artist with an outstanding résumé. Why be involved with the search for Sasquatch?
I know it seems funny that my profession is exactly the opposite of what I do in my free time and what is my true passion. But balance in life is most important. Being a professional makeup artist is just something I am good at. I see faces as shadows, light and geometry. I specialize in working on tips and tricks for women who feel they need an instant lift. No matter how you look at it or feel about it, the world judges on first impressions. I love to help women and men feel their best. I work for a company that is cruelty free, and being a conservationist, it's important to promote this through cosmetics and skin care. I don’t think people understand how money driven the cosmetic industry is; in 2016 it generated 64 billion dol

lars. Animal testing is a constant battle. My life in all aspects is about conservation and preservation of all species…including the undiscovered. Sasquatch research is just that important to me; I know they exist, and I want to help prove they do. Sasquatch is that important!
Your husband, Don, told us about his possible 1982 encounter in East Texas, yet there was no visual sighting. Is Bigfoot in Texas? 
After all the work I have done in the field and the 1000s of reports, I believe it is highly possible, especially in the eastern parts of Texas. Don’s encounter with whatever circled his camp twice and broke branches was so intriguing to me that we talked and discussed it for 20 years before I could come to the idea it could have been Bigfoot.
Couldn't it have been a bear or a big wild boar? 
I won’t say no; I can’t prove it was or was not a bear or wild boar. I do know that my husband is not out to prove anything; he never talked about this to anyone but me. He is an expert outdoorsman, and has taught me most of what I know about wildlife and its behavior. But with that being said, I couldn’t figure out what would break large limbs in trees. Bears usually are vocal, the same with boars. Boar don’t hang around unless they want to charge and bear are only interested in what you have that they can eat…Either way, I finally asked him if it was a Bigfoot after 20 years of this story? He only said he didn’t want me to think he was crazy. I knew then I needed to find out what was going on in the woods. I was hooked and obsessed. I went on a full 12 hours a day, 7 days a week, 2 year internet “research” spree. I wanted answers for him and myself!

Was there any evidence of this being a hairy unknown creature?
No, not really, only the broken branches about 7 feet up in the trees. But, I know my husband; we have been married for 30 years and I have known him for 40 years. He is not a drama kinda guy. He doesn’t make up stories. I knew this had been something that bothered him since the early 80s and he needed answers. So did I as well!
You have quoted yourself as being just a simple girl from Texas, but we disagree. You're a hunter. That's not simple. You study ecosystems and go camping across the U.S. looking and hoping to find Bigfoot. Why do you downplay yourself?
A Simple girl from Texas is who I truly am…I want to always be humble in this field. Even though I spend more time in the woods than I do in my own home, I understand I know very little about the ecosystem and wildlife in general. I am learning every single day and that is soooo very exciting to me. I have learned this past summer that wildlife in general is evolving and adapting to its environment every day. Also, "Simple girl from Texas" also helps to assure to those witnesses that I am just like them. I am no one special, but I am only trying to find truth in the subject.
You have been quoted as saying, "Find your niche. Create something that you feel is going to bring value to the community." Can you expand on that?
Just like the Wildlife DNA kit I created, it is a simple tool. Basically seventh grade science if you will…I felt I needed that in the field. After 100s of hours of online research of what people considered Bigfoot evidence, I was totally shocked. At that point I understood that 99% of what was called evidence was just speculation. I wanted to help “myself” with what I could prove to be proof but most importantly what was not proof of this creature. I owed it to the species and those who wanted proof. Plus the kit would keep me from chasing a believe. I am not looking for believe I am looking for proof. The species, my family and science deserves that.

Bigfoot investigation is a huge undertaking, it involves so many aspects of true scientific research. One cannot do it all. I have learned that finding what interests you the most about the species and its behavior, or morphology is what can turn around what we consider Bigfoot Research as "citizen scientist". Creating a tool and trying to focus and perfect one aspect of the research can only better us as a group that only has the best of intentions for the discovery of Sasquatch.
As a citizen researcher what do you bring to the scientific/forensic science in regards to Bigfoot? (Bigfoot commentator Rictor Riolo told us about your DNA kit which he claims is second to his. Is it your custom-made DNA kit? Hands-on approach? Go get 'em attitude?)
As a citizen researcher my goal is to be true to the species and the proof for scientific recognition of the species. I am just trying to be an example of how a “simple girl from Texas” or any average Joe can help in the discovery and proof of the existence of Sasquatch.

Rictor’s DNA kit is 2nd to mine. His is not exactly up to sterile human standards, but he gets credit for trying. LOL!

Yes, my kits are custom made. After trying to find a kit online, I realized they were extremely expensive. Mine are up to human standards and are actually overdone. I was able to create the kit for around $40 and one has everything they need plus instructions. They are simple to use and fun. It gives the researcher or enthusiast a hand in the proof of what they are looking at and leads one to do more. And it's just fun to expand on what to look for and where to find it. Got get 'em attitude is exactly what this kit is about. A tool can truly lead to other tools as well. I actually have a new idea for another tool in the works as we speak.
How can Bigfooters step up their game with effective DNA collecting techniques?
Just using it number one!!! Practice, practice, practice. Collecting any hair or suspect evidence is fun and key. Finding out "What is not Bigfoot?" is just as important. Video recording your collection is key and also important. Documenting the whole process is going to be expected by any scientist. And isn’t that what the Bigfoot community screams about? So many of these folks complain that science isn’t giving the attention to Sasquatch, but that is because we don’t give them anything to work with, in my opinion. Slapping science with true evidence will be the only way to get this species protected and recognized.

 How is your wildlife DNA collection kit different from other forensic DNA kits?
The cost is probably the biggest difference. Most kits run into the hundreds of dollars. Mine is around $40 dollars. Also mine comes with a Buccal swab so the collector can collect his DNA for comparison so not to be discounted in case of possible human contamination.
What does your quote "pro proof is truth" mean?
Poof of what is or isn’t Bigfoot will be the last word. It will help the researcher to know if he or she is or isn’t on the right path. The DNA kits are not about proof of Bigfoot, but proof of what is just known wildlife. Who the hell wants to spend their time chasing a belief? Not me!
You have spent a lot of time in the field and many people especially women, live vicariously through you. What are some of the challenges you face as a female researcher in a field that is predominantly male?
Let me start out by saying, most of the time, I don’t think about being a woman in this field. I think of it as my responsibility of being true to the work and demonstrating being discipline-minded about the task at hand. I am 99% of the time asked to visit an area by males. I always focused on hard work in the area and the folks that have been involved. Most of the time I am treated with the utmost respect. BUT! Men and Women both are in 80% of areas don’t want a true workup of your findings, or the lack of. They simply want confirmation. But, I do find men tend to try to write me off very quickly if I put forth wildlife activity and behavior they are not familiar with. People get complacent about their areas and belief they know everything about what happens with wildlife behavior and natural occurrences. I am usually researching deeper after leaving an unfamiliar area to find answers. Wildlife is adapting all the time; not being familiar with an area helps me to search for answers of what is or isn’t happening. I usually find possible answers most don’t want.
How are your efforts any different from the likes of archaeologist Kathy Strain? Paranormal investigator Montra Freitas? Stocking Hominid Researcher Diane Stocking Neiss? Those women have been doing this a lot longer than you have, yet playing as Devil's advocate, none have proven Bigfoot is real. So what do you bring to the table that's different than them? 
All the ladies mentioned have been nothing but supportive of my efforts. I have not actually worked with any of them in the field, and I would be 100% there when or if they requested my assistance. All of them are gems in this field and I would be honored to work with any or all them. I don’t know that I bring anything of true importance to the table. I am just trying to be true to the species and its discovery; honestly at the end of day, I think new blood is needed just to bring different ideas to the table and to keep the passion going. We need all the science-minded folks we can get. I am 54 years old and someday I won’t be able to do this. I am truly excited about the youngsters of today that are excited about Sasquatch discovery; honestly they have tools and a different way of thinking than we older folks. I believe in our future Bigfooters that they will have the tools and ideas we never had access to. I learn so much from the next generation in this field.
You have audio recordings of rocks being thrown at you in the woods. Yet you don't see what's throwing them at you. Critics and skeptics may claim you're jumping to conclusions by implying it's Sasquatch. Even you yourself have said the same thing on Night Callers Bigfoot Radio. You skirted it by saying, "It's how I feel" and "It's my journey" -- but that's not proof. That's not evidence. It's only opinion and emotions. Do you see how this can be confusing? What we're getting at is, it might appear to be hypocritical because you stated that you want people to stay true to the details and not how they feel. Yet you say this is how you feel. Can you elaborate?
I totally get what you're asking. Yes, my feeling of what happened was only my speculation, but I had a collective amount of recordings six days before in this exact location and a sighting of what myself and another gentleman thought was a Sasquatch also. I asked him not to tell me what he saw but to draw it the next day, and I did as well. Our drawings matched. It took me two years to even admit it might be a Sasquatch, but this is exactly the point. I am sure I saw, heard and recorded many of events of something I can’t explain with more than one witness. My point was that the need for proof is utmost important. My suspect encounters really only are about possibly being on the right path. Being discipline minded is hard to stick to in the field. We want to believe, but what is after that? Don’t we want proof? How do we go about it? Sasquatch research is not easy. Leaving emotions at the door is hard to do. But it is a must for proof.
You say you hate the word researcher. Why?
Researcher: a person who carries out academic or scientific research. I don’t believe I deserve that title. I don’t have a degree in Science. And don’t we have to have a proven baseline to research from? Bigfoot isn’t a proven species so how can we research it? I don’t give myself a title because people involved in this field will assign my title for me! Good or Bad. LOL
Would you instead be more comfortable with the title as Bigfoot advocate?
That’s cool. I don’t mind what people refer to me as. I go about my business no matter what the title. What is important is my integrity and how I go about my work considering the subject. If one scientist finds me worthy about what I do, I am doing the right thing.
Why do you bring knives and guns with you while out looking for Bigfoot?
First of all I carry guns and knives everywhere I go, as long as it’s legal to carry. We live in a crazy world, and I would hope I would never have to use them in a time of defense. Plus it's not only my American right to carry but my responsibly to defend myself and anyone that comes in danger. My husband and family expect me to carry. I expect to always be aware of danger and my surroundings. Now, being in the woods with or without Bigfoot, I will always no matter what carry. I have actually had people come into my camp in the middle of the night, and they were up to no good. I am alone a lot and thousands of miles away from my family. It's just common sense for me to have protection at all times, especially when in the woods and alone. Ask Timothy Treadwell what he would have changed about his adventures in the woods.
*Editor's note: Timothy Treadwell was eaten by a brown bear in 2003 while trying to live with the bears in Alaska. His girlfriend was eaten too.

You have been very fluid with the pro-kill and no-kill debate. Sometimes you've been known to say you would like to blast Bigfoot out of the woods. Some would consider that to be controversial with that pro-kill approach to Sasquatch. Does it all fall down to whether or not Sasquatch finds you on a good day or a bad day?
Well, I would have to admit my frustration of how social media and the Bigfoot community has made things worse in the existence or idea of what Sasquatch is, does and its behavior, has led me down the road of pro-specimen. Most people tend to believe a simple DNA sample or a hand or foot would prove the existence of Sasquatch. I think that would not be the case. Today Bigfoot has lost it’s true identity. When insanity met the internet, Sasquatch research went to HELL!!! With the help of fantasy-minded folks, hoaxers and attention whores, we have lost the goal of what I think the researchers of yesterday were hoping for. The subject of Sasquatch has gone so far left, the scientific community would not accept just a DNA sample or video at this point for proof. I would be a liar if I said in the right place and perfect conditions I wouldn’t take a specimen. But, with what I have learned, I don’t think anyone will be able to take a specimen. I believe we can only hope to find a body that has expired form natural causes. Most likely I believe one will probably be hit by a car or logging truck, but then it has to be brought to the attention of the general public. But, I doubt proof will come to the surface before I die.
You have found suspect 6-inch long hair and you said at the International Conference that you sent it off for analysis to a woman who would analyze it for free. Did anything come of it?
No, not as of yet. But she and I also suspected it to be Elk hair or ungulate hair.

A common criticism about Bigfooters is that they're busy making Facebook or YouTube videos and catering to their social media while out looking for Sasquatch, which you have done as well (hence your dinnertime slaughter of slugs in a frying pan video). Some may perceive you're doing this for attention. Is it all an audition reel for the History channel's "Alone" reality show? (Which we think you would be perfect for). What's your goal?
LOL! I love my Facebook page. I didn’t start posting my work in the field until this last two years and it was for the simple fact my lifelong friends ask me to keep them updated on my adventures. Wildlife and Bigfoot alike. I spend more time in the woods than at home or work so it only makes sense to post on my page. That is exactly what I do. I just had a 30-year drill team reunion and all I heard all night was about Sasquatch encounters from my girlfriends I hand’t seen in years. I post things for those I love and who enjoy my adventures. The Slugjita Series was because I just wanted to eat a slug. I am a survivalist and practice it when I can. Bigfooting is boring most of the time. We don’t have a lot to work off of, so I work on my bushcraft and survival skills all the time.
The guys in the PNW knew I was going to eat a slug for about two years and I had to video it. So why not post it as well? If the world goes to hell in a handbag, I know I will survive…how about you? Now for “ALONE” BEST SHOW EVER!!!! I would love to do that show. But the last season was not ‘ALONE” BUT “TOGETHER”….I WAS UPSET. I have actually spoken with the producers about the show, but my work in the field has keep me too busy to really send in a video. I have been approached by a handful of shows but who hasn’t? I don’t expect anything and don’t pursue TV time. But, if it was the right type of genre and true to what I do, I would be open to the opportunity. Sasquatch exploration is EXPENSIVE and I could use the coin.
The reason we asked that question is because you are a very visible Bigfooter. You have worked with the BFRO, you have associated with the Olympic Project, you did a blogtalk radio show called Crypto Logic, and have appeared as a regular on the Cryptomundo podcast The Crypto Cast. At the end of the day, you're all over the place. Pretend this is Oprah Winfrey asking you this question for Super Soul Sunday: What is your core? What is your home? Who is Shelly Covington Montana?
My core is being the best me…I believe in truth, love, compassion and never giving up. You can do anything when you believe in yourself. 
My home is my family and the wilderness.
Who is Shelly Covington Montana? My children say I never do anything half ass and call me a Renaissance woman, my husband says I don’t have a mean bone in my body and my friends call me a renegade. I still think I am just a simple girl from Texas trying to do the right thing.
Have you considered writing a book and what would it be about?
My good friend Nick Redfern has suggested I write a book, and we have discussed it on a number of occasions. But I would not have much to write about. The best so far is WHAT IS NOT BIGFOOT, but most of nobody would want to read that. But maybe someday.
What advice do you have for the next generation of women out there that might be reading this?
Be true, detailed and discipline minded about what you bring to the table. QUESTION EVERYTHING! EVEN YOUR OWN EXPERIENCESDOCUMENT! DOCUMENT! DOCUMENT! Find your niche and make yourself an expert on that subject or tool. Keep emotions out of the work. They will only lead you down the road of fallacies.
What's next for Shelly Covington Montana?
Doing what I can to move me towards truth in the subject of The Great American Sasquatch!
Thank you for taking the time to talk to us. We wish you more success and being a trendsetter. Advocate. Researcher. Whatever you want to call yourself. We prefer to call you a Leader.
Thank you so much. Pro proof is truth!
Twitter: Cryptochic 

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