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.
Also on HuffPost:
This still image taken from a 1977 film purports to show Bigfoot in California.
A film still shows what former rodeo rider Roger Patterson said is the American version of the Abominable Snowman of Nepal and Tibet. The film of the tall creature was shot by Patterson and Robert Gimlin northeast of Eureka, Calif., in October 1967.
Ohio Bigfoot Encounter -- April 2012
As a motor biker was driving through the Grand River area of Ohio in April 2012, an alleged Bigfoot ran across the road and was caught on videotape.
Depicted is an illustration of a creature reported to inhabit the Kemerovo region of Siberia. Scientists from the U.S., Russia and other countries have yet to find one of these creatures known as the Russian Snowman. In early October, researchers claimed to be 95 percent certain that the animal exists.
An alleged footprint of a Yeti, or Abominable Snowman, appears in snow near Mount Everest in 1951. Now, scientists are setting out to find evidence of a reported unknown, hairy, bipedal creature known as the Siberian Snowman.
Bigfoot or bear? Impression left on the driver's side window of a pickup truck owned by Jeffrey Gonzalez. The bizarre image was left by an alleged Bigfoot in California's Sierra National Forest over Memorial Day 2011. DNA samples of the impressions will eventually determine the identity of the animal responsible for them. (See next slide for a close-up of the paw-like impression.)
Close-up of the "paw" print image. The impression was reportedly left by Bigfoot on the window of a pickup truck in the California Sierra National Forest over Memorial Day weekend 2011.
Bigfoot or bear? Pictured is a second impression left on the rear side window of the same truck from the previous slides. According to forensic/law enforcement photographer Mickey Burrow, "What you're seeing is a swipe mark. It looks like a small hand, swiping to the left, leaving another impression, and there's hair within those areas -- you can see where the hair would be."
This footprint was found over Memorial Day weekend, 2011, near Fresno, Calif. by a group of campers who were on a Bigfoot-hunting expedition. The print, measuring approximately 12 inches, was found near a truck where possible DNA evidence was left behind by more than one Bigfoot creature.
This footprint was found in 2008 in the Sierra National Forest near Fresno, Calif.
Thomas Byers snapped this photo of "Bigfoot" along Golden Valley Church Road in Rutherford County on March 22, 2011.
Bill Willard is the leader of a group searching for evidence of a Sasquatch or Bigfoot creature, spotted by, among others, his two sons in Spotsylvania County. He is shown on May 19 in Thornburg, Va., with a plaster cast he made from a suspicious footprint several years ago.
This still frame image from video provided by Bigfoot Global LLC shows what Whitton and Dyer claimed was a Bigfoot or Sasquatch creature in an undisclosed area of a northern Georgia forest in June 2008.
This October 2007 image was taken by an automated camera set up by a hunter in a Pennsylvania forest the previous month. Some said it was a Bigfoot creature; others believed it was just a sick bear.
A preserved skull and hand said to be that of a Yeti or Abominable Snowman is on display at Pangboche monastery, near Mount Everest.
Idaho State University professor Jeffrey Meldrum displays what he said is a cast of a Bigfoot footprint from eastern Washington in September 2006. Some scientists said the school should revoke Meldrum's tenure.
Joedy Cook, director of the Ohio Center for Bigfoot Studies, talks to a visitor to his booth on Oct. 15, 2005, at the Texas Bigfoot Conference in Jefferson, Texas. The event, hosted by the Texas Bigfoot Research Center, drew enthusiasts and researchers of the legendary creature.
Ken Gerhard of Houston, Texas, holds a duplicate plaster cast footprint Oct. 15, 2005, at the Texas Bigfoot Conference. The event, hosted by the Texas Bigfoot Research Center, drew enthusiasts and researchers of the legendary creature.
Josh Gates, host of Syfy TV's "Destination: Truth," holds a plaster cast of what Malaysian ghost hunters said was a Bigfoot footprint in 2006.
Al Hodgson, a volunteer guide at the Willow Creek-China Flat Musuem in California, holds up a plaster cast of an alleged Bigfoot imprint in 2000. The museum houses a collection of research material donated by the estate of Bob Titmus, who spent his life trying to track the creature.
Costume maker Philip Morris, who does not believe the Bigfoot legend, claimed the Patterson-Gimlin film showed a person wearing a gorilla suit that he made.