Animal Planet's 'Finding Bigfoot' hits January 1

Tune in alert for Animal Planet's "Finding Bigfoot," which stomps the TV on January 1.

For centuries, eyewitness accounts and colorful stories have fueled rumor that large, furry, human-like animals have roamed the forests in North America and other continents.

These legendary creatures have come to be known as bigfoot or sasquatch. The folklore around Bigfoot has many doubters and many true believers, and passionate groups like the Bigfoot Field Research Organization (BFRO) have formed to investigate stories, analyze evidence and strengthen their hypotheses of these elusive beings.

Over the course of 10 hour-long episodes, Animal Planet’s Finding Bigfoot returns for a brand-new season on Sunday, January 1, 2012, at 10 PM (ET/PT) for further expeditions to investigate reports of the mysterious bigfoot.

From small towns in the South to remote areas of the mountain West and dense forest of the Northeast and into Canada, four passionate, driven researchers and adventurers embark on one single-minded mission – to find this beast.

BFRO members Matt Moneymaker and James “Bobo” Fay, professional educator Cliff Barackman and skeptical biologist Ranae Holland engage in the ultimate quest in search of proof that Bigfoot really does exist – and that he or she is alive and abundant in North America.

By examining photos and videos of the creature, speaking to local witnesses, using new technology and luring the mysterious beast with the team’s squatch calls, the group uncovers startling proof of the legendary and highly intelligent enigma that has eluded capture for centuries and fascinated man for just as long.

During the series premiere, called “Baby Bigfoot,” the quartet of investigators head to the Catskills in New York near Poughkeepsie to provide in-depth analysis of 15-year-old video footage from 1997 that indicates a juvenile or baby sasquatch could have been in the area at the time.

“Even though this area of the Hudson River Valley is fairly populated and not terribly far from the urban New York City, there is still a lot of forest here,” explains Moneymaker, “and a lot of vegetation to support something like a sasquatch.”

“It is definitely a primate,” adds Bobo. “I think we’re looking at a juvenile sasquatch, which is quite amazing because [seeing] a baby is incredibly rare.”

Splitting up into teams of two and using infrared technology, the intrepid sleuths embark on a night mission that eerily is similar to “The Blair Witch Project,” poking around abandoned cabins and remote orchards to capture a sighting of bigfoot. They also talk to many locals and conduct deep detailed re-creations of sightings, all culminating with an evening adventure where they employ a baboon (borrowed from the local zoo) to assist with their investigation. But what do they find?

Throughout the new season of FINDING BIGFOOT, the team scours North America to follow up on compelling evidence, new and old, including visiting such popular outdoor destinations as Moose Lake in Minnesota; the Catskills Mountains in New York; Salt Fork State Park in Ohio; and Dunes State Park and Morgan Monroe State Park in Indiana. They also head to rural regions of Rhode Island, New Mexico, Kentucky, Virginia and Alberta, Canada.

“What I like most about the series is we all have our differing opinions, and I love that we get to go in the field, recreate to scale and determine if what we saw was real,” explains Holland.

Episode guide courtesy of Animal Planet

Finding Bigfoot: Baby Bigfoot
World Premiere Sunday, January 1, at 10 PM (ET/PT)

The investigators from the Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization travel to New York to investigate an incredible video that may have captured a baby bigfoot. When the team members uncover a shocking amount of bigfoot activity in the area, they head out into the wilderness and make an unexpected discovery. Later, the team employs a radical new-search technique, hoping to prove that bigfoots are breeding near the Big Apple.

Finding Bigfoot: Rhode Island
World Premiere Sunday, January 8, at 10 PM (ET/PT)

The Finding Bigfoot team travels to Rhode Island for the first time and investigates compelling video of a roadside bigfoot encounter. Later, at a local town-hall meeting, the team learns that this previously unexplored state may be a hotbed of bigfoot activity. Following the meeting, the team sets out to explore an isolated forest, and field biologist Ranae Holland goes stealth when the team makes its final push to discover hidden bigfoots.

Finding Bigfoot: Canada
World Premiere Sunday, January 15, at 10 PM (ET/PT)

The Finding Bigfoot team travels on an unprecedented, international expedition into the Canadian Rockies to investigate a unique bigfoot encounter caught on tape. Once there, further analysis of the video results in more questions than answers, and Matt Moneymaker embarks on a solo exploration into an unforgiving wilderness home to the most territorial sasquatches on earth. Later, the team speaks to local eyewitnesses and zeroes in on a search area. However, with unpredictable weather elements, the team battles nature in hopes of proving that bigfoots live in the Canadian wilderness.

Finding Bigfoot: Minnesota
World Premiere Sunday, January 22, at 10 PM (ET/PT)

In Minnesota, the Finding Bigfoot team travels deep into the wilderness investigating reported sasquatch howls caught on tape. Near the Canadian border, the team navigates marshy bogs where the recordings were captured while searching for additional evidence of the elusive creature. Later, they interview multiple eyewitnesses who claim to have encountered a massive bigfoot bold enough to venture out during the day. Then, the team investigates the epicenter of recent sightings and initiates a new technique in hopes of proving that bigfoots inhabit the Land of 10,000 Lakes.

Finding Bigfoot: Ohio
World Premiere Sunday, January 29, at 10 PM (ET/PT)

An intriguing piece of bigfoot footage emerges from Matt Moneymaker’s former home state of Ohio, and the team pays a visit to investigate. Matt, Ranae, Bobo and Cliff quickly discover they may be in one of the ‘squatchiest’ places in the country. Later, the team rounds up a group of volunteers to form a search grid. Can this method produce the evidence needed to prove bigfoots live in the Buckeye State?

Further Reading on M&C