It was pitch black. We couldn't make a sound. And all we had to protect us were vision cameras, sticks, and a few chicken wings.
We heard a splash that made us jump.
HuffPost Weird News went on a Bigfoot hunt in the pine wilds of New Jersey with Cliff Barackman and Tyler Bounds of Animal Planet's "Finding Bigfoot" -- and conditions were perfect.
The weather was calm at the Franklin Parker Preserve, where we had exclusive access for the night. Some ambient light gave us a farther sight distance. We started our trek with a simple tactic: The "knock," which consists of banging sticks against trees.
"Bigfoots knock. I don't know if it's knocking, I don't know if it's clapping, I don't know if it's [making sounds] with its mouth -- but they make noise," Barackman said.
"By us starting with those noises, it gives the possible Bigfoot the least amount of sensory information that maybe we're a Bigfoot. If it thinks we're a Bigfoot, sometimes it'll answer back."
When knocking doesn't work -- and let's be honest, most of the time nothing works -- Barackman and his crew turn to guttural screams and hollers. "Whooping" involved long and short howls across a field we were hiking next to. Barackman even showed us how to whoop (video above). Bigfoot didn't respond, but an owl did.
PHOTO: Franklin Parker Preserve, New Jersey (Story continues below):
Barackman carried some high-tech equipment with him, including motion-sensor cameras to leave on the property and thermal gear. Later that night, he would set up the camera and fling chicken wings around as Bigfoot bait. But we had our own night vision scope attached to a video camera (in case you're wondering, it was N-Vision Optics' LRS monocular). We were stumbling through a field, night vision as our only guide, when we heard a splash.
We turned to see this moving through the water:
If you guessed beaver, you guessed right. Night-vision beavers are awesome, but they aren't proof of Bigfoots. We didn't find any proof that night.
We did look pretty cool whooping, however:
Searching for Sasquatch in the backwoods of Jersey may seem odd, given the mythical beast's legend in the Pacific Northwest. But a recently published Bigfoot sightings map and several recent reports of Bigfoot sightings prove that there's plenty of Squatching to be done on the East Coast.
"Bigfoots are 100 percent geographic, not demographic," Barackman said. "Wherever you find suitable habitat, you find reports. In the Pacific Northwest, everywhere is suitable habitat, that's why there are so many reports."
Maybe next time, we'll find Bigfoot. Maybe next time.