As we reported earlier, we broke the Sierra Kills story on the Internet. According to the story, two men, Justin Smeja and another man, were hunting bears on the Plumas National Forest west of Frenchman Lake when Smeja shot and killed two Bigfoots, a mother and a juvenile.
From this shooting, a slice of thigh was carved off the mother Bigfoot and sent in to a DNA lab for testing. The “Bigfoot steak” was very hairy and quite large and thick. It tested 100% human on DNA, but probably only the MtDNA was tested. Two men have recently implied that NuDNA testing showed that the steak was actually from a Bigfoot. Richard Stubstad and I took a trip up to the scene of the Sierra Kills last weekend, July 30-31, 2011. To my knowledge, we were the first on the ground investigators to investigate the story.
Richard’s account follows.
Hi, everyone … I’m back with more on the bigfoot shooting story, in spite of the fact I said I’d bow out of that one maybe a month or so ago.
Why? Well, Robert Lindsay & I finally decided that someone needed to do an on-site investigation of the story — meaning we drove all the way up to the Frenchman Lake area in the California sierras & we both scouted the terrain, flora and fauna, and we interviewed about a dozen folks in the area.
We also talked to my daughter-in-law (who lives in nearby Truckee, CA) and who is a self-described “empath” (I call her a psychic, which she says isn’t accurate).
Starting with her “take” on the incident, she was going to drive with us to the area, but she couldn’t make it due to her regular job. She stared at the pictures of the purported shooter that we had printed from the internet, and she described him as “not a nice person at all” and someone with a lot of “issues”, mainly of the “redneck” or “tough guy” condescending type. She definitely didn’t want these pictures & autobiographical descriptions left in HER house — so we took them with us.
Based on our lengthy visit with her (and my son, Paavo), she felt that “the shooter was definitely hiding something” but couldn’t pinpoint what it was. As far as my bottom-line question, “did he shoot a sasquatch or two?”, she said she didn’t have a strong feeling one way or the other.
The area directly to the west of Frenchman Lake (approx. 5,500 ft elevation) is an incredibly beautiful forested area with mainly non-deciduous tress & plenty of other flora and fauna. It is entirely wooded, with scattered meadows and streams. I really don’t know what “sasquatch habitat” should look like, but this habitat appears to be ideal for just about any wild animal, including the sasquai–with plenty of clean, flowing water and food, both of the plant-based type and wildlife galore.
There is even a herd of pronghorns towards the east, along with the usual Sierra Mountains “game” animals: deer, bear, bobcat, mountain lion, wild turkey, and even the occasional wolverine.
The only issue would be snow depth in the winter — it would be necessary, probably anywhere from 5,000 feet & up in elevation, for most large mammals to migrate down to lower elevations during heavy snowfall periods. Last winter, in nearby Truckee, the accumulated snow depth was maybe 25 feet, and all-in-all some 50 feet of snow fell during the winter season (probably somewhat less at Frenchman Lake — but still !).
The sasquai, to survive in such conditions, would have to learn to make skis or snowshoes to survive the winters in the area; therefore — if they exist in the area of Frenchman Lake — they simply have to migrate to lower elevations.
As a side-note, the fishing wasn’t all that great. The lake reportedly is populated with non-native rainbow trout and with native western slope cutthroat.
Out of the ten or so “tourist” or fishing type folks we spoke to, none of them whatsoever had even heard about the incident. A few believed in sasquatch as an existing hominid, while most just laughed about the idea of it — let alone a dual kill! I found this a bit strange, especially when 3 of the ten worked at the “local” general store, where groceries, hunting and fishing equipment, and God knows what else can be purchased.
We also interviewed three “officials” in the area: one was a forest service employee, one was a fish-and-game officer, and the last one was a deputy sheriff.
The forest service fellow also had not heard of the incident; however he had heard of a recent sasquatch shooting some 20 miles towards the north, closer to Susanville. He said this incident was reported about two weeks prior. He didn’t necessarily believe either of these stories, but he didn’t disbelieve in the possibility that the sasquai exist as a subspecies or “new” hominid.
The second person, from fish and game, had just recently heard about the incident. After he asked his supervisor if he should investigate it, his supervisor told him “not to waste his time”.
The third person, from the sheriff’s office, hadn’t heard about the incident either, and he checked to find out if anyone had reported the incident last year, at the time the shooter himself claims he reported it to the “authorities”. There was no such report, whether from last year or more recently, from the shooter or anyone else.
All in all, my conclusion is: If this incident actually took place, it did not take place where both the shooter, Dr. Ketchum, and Derek Randalls said it took place. Also, while the area to the west of the lake looks to me as ideal habitat, it is also a State Game Refuge where no firearms or even bows and arrows are allowed at any time of the year.
And, while there is a roadway that fits the general description supplied by Randalls and Ketchum, that roadway is entirely within the State Game Refuge and it would have indeed taken some balls (by both the shooter and the pickup truck driver) to drive in there, hunting bear or anything else, and escape without being noticed by anyone at all.
There was only one way in and out — the dead-end road that starts at the lake and goes to Dixie Mountain — and back the same way again.
My conclusion — if there was a shooting of one (or two) sasquai, it didn’t take place near Frenchman’s Lake. The Frenchman’s Lake story is at best a decoy. Duh.
No one to my knowledge, other than Dr. Ketchum herself, has seen any of the purported DNA sequencing on the “bigfoot steak”. I don’t know why she would have lied about this, but who really knows why she does what she does? I doubt that Derek Randalls himself has seen the sequencing; even if he had, how would he know how to interpret it anyway?
If Ketchum really has a bigfoot steak, this story — in my opinion — is a decoy and it never took place, at least not near Frenchman’s Lake. And, the “steak” may or may not have been provided by the purported shooter.
I’m 60-40 against the validity of the story myself; but if it happened, it didn’t happen in the area as described in these blogs, or originally on the Taxidermy.net forum.