Eric has been fascinated by folklore and the paranormal from a young age and enjoys exploring controversial subjects and events.
Teddy Roosevelt vs. Bigfoot
There are quite a few odd myths surrounding Teddy Roosevelt and Bigfoot. One story is that Roosevelt killed Bigfoot during one of his hunting expeditions. Another says Roosevelt once had a face-to-face encounter with the creature, and some versions say he had to fight for his life.
If any of these things actually happened, there is no evidence. By all official accounts, Roosevelt never saw a Bigfoot, never tracked one, and never shot one. But he is responsible for one of the more interesting Bigfoot stories ever told, especially back in the pre-1950s era.
It’s tough to imagine a modern United States president discussing Bigfoot, at least publicly. But Teddy Roosevelt may have been more qualified than most presidents to weigh in on the big, hairy guy. Roosevelt was known as the conservation president, and he dearly loved all things outdoors. He was a naturalist, a hunter, and a student of zoology from a young age.
It really shouldn’t be surprising that such a man would entertain thoughts of a rare species of North American Ape living somewhere out there in the woods. He’d likely heard of such stories from Native Americans. Remember, back when Roosevelt was a young man the western states still had a great deal of mystery about them.
Did Theodore Roosevelt believe in Bigfoot? Might he have had an encounter that he never revealed to anyone? At the very least he told a great story, but to understand the full weight of it, it’s important to understand a little bit about Roosevelt himself.
The Teddy Bear and the Rough Riders
As a child, Roosevelt was weak, sickly, and suffered from severe asthma. But rather than allowing this affliction to sideline him, he embraced an active life. He learned to love exercise and fought to get stronger every day. He took up boxing and rowing at Harvard, in addition to hunting and hiking, and in spite of his doctor’s recommendation to avoid strenuous pursuits.
Roosevelt entered politics in his early 20s, and the legend of the Bull Moose began to form. During the Blizzard of 1888, when several feet of snow crippled New York City, Roosevelt stubbornly plodded his way across Manhattan to keep an appointment at the New York Historical Society. He became furious when he discovered nobody else showed the same fortitude in making the meeting.
Roosevelt’s leadership as Assistant Secretary of the Navy played a key part in preparing the U.S. for the Spanish-American War. But he wouldn’t sit on the sidelines as most politicians do and send troops into battle.
Wanting to test his mettle in combat, Roosevelt promptly resigned his post and formed a volunteer cavalry regiment. His force became known as the Rough Riders, and they helped to drive the Spanish from Cuba.
Roosevelt himself would earn the rank of Colonel, and be nominated for the Medal of Honor (though he’d receive it posthumously in 2001).
Theodore Roosevelt was indeed a tough guy, but he was also cerebral. While on a bear hunting trip as President, he and his party failed to land their quarry after several days. The hosts of the trip did not want to disappoint the President, so they managed to capture an old bear, cripple it and chain it to a tree for Roosevelt.
But Roosevelt felt sorry for the beast and refused to shoot the bear. This event was recounted by a political cartoonist and eventually led to the creation of the “Teddy” Bear.
More on Roosevelt's Naturalist Background
The Bauman Bigfoot Story
Looking back at Roosevelt’s life, he appears to have been a pragmatic man, not prone to nonsense himself and accepting little from others. He was an active outdoorsman and hunter, a student of nature, a combat veteran, a Harvard graduate, and a politician.
This was a guy who refused hospitalization after being shot in an assassination attempt, then delivered a 90-minute speech instead. While, by all accounts, he certainly knew how to spin a good yarn, he’d hardly be considered the type to give in to whimsy and fantasy. How is it, then, that Teddy Roosevelt is responsible for one of the more interesting Bigfoot stories ever told?
In his book The Wilderness Hunter, Roosevelt relays the story of a trapper named Bauman and his brush with what was apparently a Sasquatch. To be fair, The Wilderness Hunter was published in 1892, before Roosevelt was President of the United States. But he was still a professional man and politician with a strong reputation at stake.
According to Roosevelt, Bauman was a hunter, trapper, and frontiersman who had seen about all there was to see while living a life in the wild. In his younger days, Bauman and his partner had set out on a trapping expedition. After finding an area where they thought they’d have some luck, they set up camp and went off exploring for a while.
When they later returned, they found their campsite had been trashed. They assumed the culprit had been a bear, but upon inspection discovered by its tracks that this “bear” seemed to have been walking on two feet.
That night the men were awakened by noises, and what appeared to be a massive creature lurking in the darkness. They fired at it with their guns, but the creature ran off.
The next day they went out to check their traps, and once again returned to a smashed-up campsite. During the night the creature menaced them once more, and while it wouldn’t come near their fire it made a huge racket in the surrounding woods.
Deciding enough was enough, the men cut their trip short. Bauman went off alone to collect some of the remaining traps and returned several hours later to a horrible scene. His partner had been killed, and apparently flung around the campsite by a powerful animal. His neck had been broken and bitten, but apparently he wasn’t taken as prey as his body was still intact.
Bauman left the traps and supplies behind and immediately fled the mountain as fast as he could.
The full recounting of Teddy Roosevelt's Bigfoot story can be found in his 1923 book The Wilderness Hunter. Whether or not Roosevelt really believed in Sasquatch, he thought the story significant enough to include in his manuscript.
Does this Bigfoot Tale Make Sense?
Roosevelt never refers to the monster as Bigfoot in his book, but instead calls it a “goblin”. The name Bigfoot didn’t come about until the 1950s, so he wouldn’t have used that word. However, being an outdoorsman, Roosevelt likely did know of Native American stories of Bigfoot-like creatures.
Some Native American tribes even have stories of supernatural Bigfoot-type monsters that attack humans. The Wendigo is one such example. Did Roosevelt base this story around Native American legends?
Or, could it be an accurate account, at least in the eyes of this Bauman character? Aside from the alleged tracks that showed the creature walking on two feet, the beast that stalked these men may well have been a bear or a cougar. Is this just a case of an old trapper telling a tall tale, and Teddy believing it, perhaps simply because he wanted to?
Of course, the third possibility is that this story is true. But it definitely paints a different picture of Bigfoot than what we’re used to. We like to think of Bigfoot as some kind of gentle giant of the forest who would never harm a human. Truthfully, while they are very rare, there are accounts of Bigfoot attacks on people.
There are a few aspects of the story that line up better with our modern interpretation of Bigfoot. Bauman claimed the presence of the creature was accompanied by a foul stench, and that’s typical of many Sasquatch reports.
He also insisted the tracks were of a two-legged creature and there was no way it could be another human. Of course, if true, that rules out a bear or a big cat. The fact that his dead buddy appeared to have been thrown around the campsite might even be in line with what we’d expect from a Bigfoot attack.
Did Teddy Roosevelt Believe in Bigfoot?
Teddy Roosevelt was a fearless overachiever, a man who faced adversity with a certain kind of tenacity and never gave up. But he was also a dreamer who thought big thoughts. His progressive plans and ideals led to some amazing accomplishments in his professional life and the advancement of his country.
As an avid outdoorsman and naturalist surely he had notions that there could be undiscovered species of animals still lurking in the forests of America. During Roosevelt’s time, especially in his younger years, there was still much wild country left to roam.
While he prefaced his Bauman story with the appropriate amount of skepticism, Roosevelt must have thought the anecdote was fairly significant to merit inclusion in his book. But he never did come out and say he believed in Sasquatch, or the Bauman tale itself. After all, according to Roosevelt, Bauman was an old man by the time he recounted this event, and the attack had occurred decades before.
However, one more little bit of information makes this all more interesting: According to lore, Roosevelt may have had his own encounter in the mountains of California. While camped out in the depths of the forest one night he heard howls and growls which he admitted he could not attribute to any known animal.
According to the story, at the very least he appreciated the significance of these strange noises and recognized the possibility that they may have come from some unknown creature.
We’ll never know what Teddy Roosevelt really believed when it comes to Bigfoot, but his Bauman tale has gone down in history as one of the most intriguing Bigfoot stories ever told.
Bigfoot and the President?
DoesBigfootExist? on May 21, 2020:
I’m in between weather it exists or not. In my mind i think there’s no way an animal that large can exist and we don’t have any proof we don’t have bones, body, any real evidence. And why have all the sightings been only of adult Sasquatches? I mean they have to have baby’s to keep the species alive. But on the other hand, we haven’t explored the whole world and forests are pretty dang hard to explore. It’s possible that Bigfoot is as smart as a human and knows to stay hidden and stay away from any humans that come near. This story has definitely made me more curious and think more about if Bigfoot really is violent. It reminds me of the people of North Sentinel Island. They don’t want any contact with humans and turn violent if any outsiders come near the island. Could that be the case with Bigfoot? Bigfoot doesn’t want any “outsiders” or humans to come near? Maybe Bigfoot is just trying to protect itself.
Alison Price on April 02, 2019:
Yes, I believe he knew full- well it was bigfoot.
I'd read that story before, but did not remember that it came from Teddy.
The memory of it stuck with me.
elucia on June 01, 2018:
It was Roosevelt's testimony that turned me into a believer. I, too, once scoffed at the idea of such a colossal creature inhabiting the very little foresting that remains after the massacring of the colonists. However, I sat down, and had a good think about it. I realized that a creature so enormous would most likely inhabit an equally enormous territory. Cougars for example cover territories that often span from 10 to 200 square miles.
One cougar that had been tagged in South Dakota was discovered dead in Massachusetts. Gorillas only existed in mythology up until the 19th century, and people like Jane Goodall were mocked as conspiracy wackos because they also have a colossal territory which means their settlements are very few and far in between which renders any encounters from human beings extremely rare!
Gorillas are social animals and vegetarian therefore their territory is not as big as predators that are strictly carnivorous. Bigfoots have been observed hunting down prey or eating meat therefore according to those accounts bigfoot is not strictly vegetarian, meaning their territories would have to be absolutely enormous. it has been speculated that the average bigfoot weighs around 650 lbs, more than twice the size of a male gorilla. Gorillas inhabit terrorities 16 square miles on average, which is why it took humanity so long to verify the veracity of the claims by indigenous tribes that a manlike creature existed in the African mountains.
People have theorized that Bigfoot is either a specimen of "Gigantopithecus" or a more evolved direct ancestor of them, and while they existed up until recently we have only managed to find a handful of their fossils! Therefore it is safe to assume that even when they were "in existence" according to those scientists they were very few and far in between! We can safely assume that bigfoot are extremely rare and elusive creatures.
Scientists have claimed that our ancestors preyed ongigantopithecus which means they probably evolved a healthy fear of us so in order for them to continue their survival they had to evolve a very efficient elusive nature. I am not by any means a diehard believer, but I think it is very possible. I also believe that dogman could exist because we have canine-like species that have five fingers such as raccoons, and their elusive and rare nature would render encounters incredibly rare. This should excite everyone as it does for me to recognize the fact that we still have so much more to learn and discover!
karadog on July 05, 2017:
The pictures that Roosevelt drew of that attack are on display at Colorado Hotel in Glenwood Springs, and a great deal of Teddys early life, he wrote for Liberty Magazine. Why dont you call and ask to fax a copy of the pics to you. he is a diff species of Bigfoot.
Richard Holcomb on February 18, 2016:
I have done a lot of research on this I think could every body be telling a lie there has been thousands of sites I know how fast things can spread if it fake it's the bigest conspiracy of all I don't believe in the alien an bigfoot theory all I can say is keep sasquatch ing
Eric Dockett (author) from USA on September 11, 2014:
Very true, klidstone. Teddy was an interesting character for sure!
இڿڰۣ-- кιмвєяℓєу from Niagara Region, Canada on September 10, 2014:
Wouldn't it have been something to delve into his brain and find out what he really thought? This must have appealed to TR tremendously, as you have said, because of him being such an avid outdoorsman and naturalist. Interesting hub. Thanks.
Dale Anderson from The High Seas on August 17, 2014:
Interesting! I'm a BIG fan of Teddy and always like to hear stories about him. Great topic for a hub.
Eric Dockett (author) from USA on October 30, 2013:
Science's official take on Bigfoot: There is absolutely no real evidence of a species of North American Ape, or so called "Bigfoot", and any belief in such a creature is based on pure fantasy.
What scientists really think: Gosh I hope Bigfoot is real and someone proves it soon!
Learn Things Web from California on October 29, 2013:
Interesting hub! I definitely don't think a belief in bigfoot was too crazy back then at all. Science has pretty successfully debunked the idea of the Loch Ness Monster. I'm not aware on science's take on Bigfoot but it would be something interesting to look into.
Eric Dockett (author) from USA on October 25, 2013:
It was a little more reasonable for Roosevelt to entertain thoughts of Bigfoot than perhaps a President today. There were a lot of discoveries still being made in the world back then, and the idea of a North American Ape maybe wasn't so crazy. Roosevelt was an explorer and outdoorsman, so he was probably hoping to find something new every time he went into the woods!
Nathan Bernardo from California, United States of America on October 25, 2013:
That is very interesting. Roosevelt has kind of remained idealized and a bit of a legend in American culture and it's interesting to read about him in connection with one of the other prevailing legends of the US, Bigfoot. Here's a little interesting thing to note: Roosevelt practiced Jiu Jitsu.
Eric Dockett (author) from USA on March 12, 2013:
Thank you, Larry. I find Roosevelt a fascinating figure in his own right, and I think the fact that he seemed intrigued by Bigfoot lends some credibility to Bigfoot lore. He was an interesting guy! Thanks for reading!
Larry Fields from Northern California on March 12, 2013:
Well done, Eric! Although I haven't followed this stuff as closely as you have, I don't think that we have a conversation stopper yet. I do think that the very short P/G film is the strongest evidence so far. And the story from TR's book is a contender for second place. Voted up. interesting, and shared.