A far lesser known hobby I have is dealing with crypto-zoology (I have not dealt with this for years). However, recently I sat through a marathon of MonsterQuest to see how much new information cryptozoology has compiled. The only thing that I have learned is that the crypto-zoologists have all but disproved Bigfoot and all other land based cryptids with just one episode.
The main difference in the MonsterQuest pseudo-documentary compared to most other cryptid pseudo-documentaries I have seen is the use of trail cameras. A trail camera is a camera left in the wilderness for weeks to years taking pictures or video of anything that sets the motion detector off. Now, the episode of MonsterQuest that disproved land based cryptids is entitled “Lions in the Backyard” (episode 7: season 1). This episode deals with reports of black cats seen in the U.S., and of course, they were unable to show any black cats in the U.S.
However, how does an episode about black cats in the U.S. disprove Bigfoot and all other land based cryptids? Well, in the episode they eventually get to a section at ~21 minutes in where they talk to two actual biologists that use trail cameras. The two biologists explained that jaguars used to live in the U.S. (mostly the southwest) during historic times, but were now thought to be extinct in the U.S., thanks in large part to humans. Nevertheless, they were able to show, using trail cameras, three separate individual jaguars in Arizona; essentially proving that jaguars are expanding their territory back to somewhat historic ranges. Furthermore, they were able to prove this over an 8-year period.
Now, trail cameras are in use all over the U.S., not just by crypto-zoologists, but also by actual zoologists and hunters. Does anyone truly believe that something the size of Bigfoot, or any of the other cryptids crypto-zoologists love to talk about, could go undetected by these trail cameras for decades when they photographed several jaguars in 8 years? In addition, the photographs are not ambiguous, they were able to determine that two of the three individuals were male (the other remains unknown at the airing of this episode), that is how wonderful the pictures of these animals came out.
In every episode of MonsterQuest that dealt with a land based cryptid, trail cameras were placed in the areas the animals were thought to roam and yet no photographs of the cryptid were ever produced. I must point out that MonsterQuest only sets up these cameras for perhaps a month or two, but the actual crypto-zoologists, zoologists, and hunters have trail cameras that are in use for most (if not all) of the year, for years! One would think that if these cryptids were real, at least one of them would be captured on camera in the decades that trail cameras have been in use.
There are two things I learned from watching MonsterQuest; the first is that crypto-zoologists appear to be just as dogmatic as creationists are when it comes to their preconceived notions. I know that this information does not definitively disprove Bigfoot and his kin, but it seems to be very compelling evidence that any rational person should consider.
The second is I really want a trail camera now. Here in New Mexico there is a lot of wildlife that would be very interesting to photograph without human interference. Seeing the price tag on most of the trail cameras makes this dream something that will probably never happen for the simple fact that I do not think I would waste that much money on a hobby. However, one can dream.
Edited by Dean, 12/03/2013
Reason for edit: Grammatical corrections.