hiflier

Let's Talk Caves and Sasquatch

160 posts in this topic

I know as well as anyone how it's possible to be surprised if you're in the wild, relaxing.  In your home crib, it's easy to relax your guard, and not pay as much attention to approaches as you should.

 

If - if these things are as clever as they seem to be - they'll have a place that's not easily approached - and they may very well have listening posts of sorts around their location.  If so, even if they have a cave, overhang, or constructed, semi-permanent shelter, they'll also probably already prepared a quick egress track.

 

We've heard a couple narratives where these things, or things similar to them have been surprised and cut off while in caves.  The narrative of the Paiute and nearby tribes deciding to wipe out the red-haired giants - caught up to them in a cave, burned them out and wiped them out.  In the Soviet Union, I recall a narrative of a military patrol looking for opponents when they came upon a cave - and this wild man came out and they shot it to death.

 

These stories seem to be the exception - not the rule.

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Ok, so I joined the NSS and will purchase the bulletins detailing cave locations and maps in WV. We cannot make the locations public according to our terms of use.

 

We will propose a survey of animals entering caves by placing camera traps at the entrance of selected caves. If approved, WVFooter and I will place cameras and service them for an extended period of time, we're committing to two years. We should be able to get permission from the National Forest Service (an NSS member)  and provide data to the NSS twice per year, maybe publish a "bulletin" with the results.

 

We will not be entering the caves, just monitoring the entrance. This will ease concerns of cave contamination and facilitate a permit.

 

There are hundreds of caves in WV, over 1000 known in the state and about 500 around our research area.

 

I personally do not think any evidence of BF will result from this, but I'm willing to leave no "stone unturned". The caving guys and gals have been all over these caves and found nothing, as far as we know. Maybe they're holding back...  we'll see.

 

Aside from the BF angle, we might discover an animal which uses the caves and carries the WNS virus into the caves. A win-win.

 

 

 

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Fingers crossed, hopefully it's all positive. Good luck !

 

Pat...

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All good points in favor of you and WVfooter gaining permission for the study. And I agree- no stone unturned. As PBeaton said, all positive. And we all understand the non-disclosure elements of such agreements. Besides it will take time (maybe NOT ;) ) and effort to determine the end goal. That's a lot of caves. Just picking out likely candidates will require a lot of thought and research and hopefully not be a total hardship to maintain the cameras. It's winter of course and tracks alone if there are any could determine much. but it also makes access difficult and possibly dangerous.

 

Maybe use this time for research and set things up in the Spring? That way any creatures may get use to the devices by the time Fall approaches. Patience may be the hardest thing in order to keep disruptions down. One thing good about registering with the NSS is that if member cavers see the cameras they will leave them alone because they should be made aware of the program through the NSS newsletters and even where the devices are positioned just to be thorough. 

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On occasion, I'm called in to "find" things.

 

If I were wanting to seek undiscovered caves - or old, old mines, I'd try to obtain the greatest extreme of temperatures - usually in the early morning, or in the early evening - and use my thermal to detect on hot days where cooler air is coming out, or on cold days where warmer air is coming out.

 

These things won't use easily accessible  caves, caverns, or overhangs.  They'll be non-obvious from normal human trackways, and for humans, somewhat difficult to see or get to.  

 

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3 hours ago, FarArcher said:

If I were wanting to seek undiscovered caves - or old, old mines, I'd try to obtain the greatest extreme of temperatures - usually in the early morning, or in the early evening - and use my thermal to detect on hot days where cooler air is coming out, or on cold days where warmer air is coming out.

 

Excellent, FA.

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Great news gig!

 

Just curious, what is your criteria for determining which caves to monitor?

 

Also, as you get "known" within the organization, and you meet others there, you might start to hear a few whispers or stories about "stuff", totally off the record of course....

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Just took the first step, joined and got access to the info.

 

We have no detailed plans yet, wide open to suggestion and advice. In fact, please proffer your insights so we can develop a comprehensive plan to present to the NSS.

 

I have a feeling we'll have one chance, and one chance only, to succeed getting a permit, so we want to take our time and do it right. We want to craft a proposal that has a high probability of getting approved.

 

We can monitor six caves max, depending on the difficulty of getting to them. We're hoping to get a key to the gates of the forest service roads. Our justification would be that we have to carry all the equipment deep into the woods and need motorized access to do so, it would be impractical/impossible to hike in with the equipment.

 

Some of these caves are in the very, very "deep woods" with no civilization around for many, many miles. No cell towers, roads, etc.

 

Thanks

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The NSS or FS may offer you this info but if they do not then I would take the high road and the initiative of requesting where known bat colonies are in order to stay away from them and the risk of cross contamination of the White Nosed Syndrome virus. But you know this already. The colonies are so delicate in the winter months as bats only store about a pat of butter's worth of winter fat reserve and some of the maternity caves can last into Summer. The hibernation caves and the maternity caves are not always the same thing as different temperature is critical for each of the two phases. And they are never really dormant- just their metabolisms are slowed way down. You will find all of this out through the NSS anyway.

 

Really glad you are doing this g. Kudos to you :)

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That is a great pointer. Thanks.

 

We certainly will not be going against any prescribed protocol. I do think that they will agree, that our approach of not entering the caves at all will suffice to put any concerns at rest. At least I'm hoping they do.

 

We are after the same same goal anyway. We would love to be the ones who discover the culprit for spreading WNS!!!

 

Can you imagine? What if we discover some critter (racoons, foxes, squirrels or whatever) that frequent the caves and are the carrier of WNS? We would solve a long time mystery that has a  huge impact. I'm almost more excited about that than the BF angle, almost.

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Good luck on the survey. I'm guessing you're just setting a trail cam pointing towards the entrance if possible? That's a lot of caves to look over and decide on only 6.

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Good stuff indeed, gigantor. Sounds like your approach to this should be successful and very well received. Also see if you can be privy to caves where there is any monitoring already set up if possible. I might also be cool if anyone with extra trail cams could spare one for the project although 6 is already a pretty tall order as you won't be placing them near each other?

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Well, I got access to the caves inventory and it looks like the Forest Service has closed all caves in West Virginia and Virginia year round for an indefinite period.

 

I was very wrong. The idea that not entering the caves would facilitate a permit, seems to be not practical because the protected cave areas include 1/4 mile buffer zone of the mouth of the cave. In addition, they fear cave cross-contamination, so the fact that we would be visiting several caves is actually a big problem. If a bat were to contact the equipment or pee/poop on it, then it becomes contaminated. If a strap or other piece is moved to a different cave....  it would spread WNS fungus. They don't want to take the chance and I completely understand and agree.

 

Project Over - Dead on Arrival.

 

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Sounds pretty serious. I could say that other wild animals won't be respecting that quarter mile buffer zone. I don't know the difference between a boot, a hoof, and/or a paw as far as cross contamination is concerned but who's to say. Animals stay local to a given cave and Humans don't? That certainly could be the reasoning. It still makes me curious about what kind of camera monitoring does go if any though.

 

He, you made the effort and are to be commended for following through. What you found out is valuable to other researchers and have you to thank for the info. The policies may very well be in place in every state? Maybe that is something you could investigate as it might save someone a real headache of a day for not knowing any of the necessary protocols. As far as it seems, none of us knew until now- at least where WV is concerned. 

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At least you got access to some potentially valuable research tools and hopefully can use them in the future.

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