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Sasquatch Population Estimate in Eastern Kentucky and the
Greater Appalachian Mountain Chain

I am Guy Luneau, the 58 year old (here in June 2021) retired chemical engineer from Arkansas who recently met Thomas Marcum for my first time ever and went into the Bell and Harlan County, Kentucky foothill forests with him on May 18-20, 2021 to search for Sasquatch evidence. In late May 2021, Thomas posted the field trip story I wrote, and it can be found here. I was stunned to have witnessed the fifty-plus Sasquatch footprints in the mud that we found from at least 6 individual Bigfoots in two locations in just 2 days of poking around in the woods, as well as Bigfoot stick structures and sapling snap-offs that we witnessed. I did not even mention in that story the aged, sparsely-constructed “hut”/game blind/loafing structure that Sasquatch built and that Thomas showed me and we studied for 10 minutes. Sasquatch sign was present in an astonishing abundance – much more than I had ever thought possible when I had asked him to take me on this two-day field trip. It set my brain to work in ways that I never foresaw putting my brain to work. Eye-opening. Riveting.  Tapping into things that I had not seen coming my way.

As a seasoned veteran woodsman who hunts and fishes to feed himself, as well as being a lifelong birder who has seen all but one of North America’s approximate 700 bird species, I quickly recognized that Thomas, too, is a seasoned veteran of woodsmanship. After we had seen all the Sasquatch sign that we put our eyes on in two days, including the numerous footprints of a family of four Sasquatches that took a stroll together down the old two-track logging road through the forest that he took me down, plus knowing that Thomas has performed more direct, on-the-ground, Sasquatch research than almost anyone on Planet Earth, I had an in-depth discussion with Thomas to determine if (1) we could make a reasonable estimate of the home range of a family of Sasquatches in these foothills, and (2) make a reasonable estimate of the Sasquatch population in the eastern one-third of Kentucky which is comprised of the forested foothills of the Appalachian Mountains and has a low-density human population.

I will cut straight to the chase here and give you my estimate of how many Sasquatches likely live today in 2021 A.D. in the eastern one-third of Kentucky.  More specifically, I am considering “the eastern one-third of Kentucky” as comprising the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, a landscape that contains no large cities and just a light scattering of human population – at least when compared to most areas of the eastern half of the Lower-48 states. Satellite photography clearly shows those foothills running on a SSW-to-NNE line from near Albany, KY in the south through Somerset, Mt. Vernon, and Owingsville to Tollesboro in the north. The straight-line distance from Albany, KY to the Ohio River north of Tollesboro is roughly 165 miles. To make the math easy with a rectangle, I drew a 100-mile line to the ESE direction and perpendicular to the line described above. This technique boxes in the eastern one-third of Kentucky, but it also includes some of western West Virginia, some of the western tip of Virginia, and some of Tennessee to the north of Knoxville.  The resulting rectangle is 16,500 square miles of land area (165 miles by 100 miles).

Doing the math, here is the likely Sasquatch population in eastern Kentucky (plus the pieces of the other 3 states described above):  2,640 Sasquatches.

Is that number totally unbelievable to you? That number is not at all unbelievable to me. I will soon describe why, using a series of logic and rationality, science, mathematics, plus using the principles and the facts of biology and nature.

Extending that estimate to the greater Appalachian chain of mountains and foothills from northern Alabama and northern Georgia northeastward to and throughout all of Maine, with that entire region containing very few large cities and mainly only a low density of human population among the heavily forested mountains and hollows, we achieve an eastern USA Sasquatch population only in the Appalachian region on the order of 100,000 Sasquatches.


If your answer is “Yes, I do not believe that”, then I say “Think again.”

100,000 Sasquatches in the Appalachian region. And this doesn’t even include Canada, Alaska, Florida, the other southern states, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, nor the western USA.
100,000 Sasquatches in the Appalachian region suggests to me that inbreeding is probably a rare issue for the species. This animal is packed into the habitat in the same manner that all species are packed into a habitat. Nature sees to it by her “laws” that that is the case. Keep reading.
And considering that most large predator species are a wandering species over long distances when it comes to the concept called “dispersal”, especially when it comes to teenage male Sasquatches, a few of them may undertake long journeys to or from, say, the western United States and Canada – much as some young male Mountain Lions are known to do. Nature sees to it that a few individuals of a large predator species undertake long-distance movements. It is likely nature’s way of keeping the gene pool vibrant and healthy.


Here is the background and discussions as to how I, with Thomas’s assistance, arrived at those population numbers. Again, I utilize a series of logic and rationality, various science principles, mathematics, and some principles and facts of biology and nature.
I began the discussion with Thomas right there at Sasquatch-ground-zero in the midst of footprints in the mud from a family of four Sasquatches in the gorgeous east Kentucky hardwood-dominated forest on May 19, 2021 by asking him, “Regarding this family of four Sasquatches that we know moved down this trail just recently, and in deference to what you have learned in all the decades that you have been closely studying Sasquatch in the east Kentucky woods, what do you think the size of the home range of this family is?” After some discussion, I asked Thomas, “Is their home range 10 miles by 10 miles?”  (That would be 100 square miles.)  Before I let him answer, I asked “Is it more like 5 miles by 5 miles?” (That would be 25 square miles.)  Before I let him answer, I asked “Is it more like 2.5 miles by 2.5 miles?” (That would be 6.25 square miles.) You can tell my technique easily. I was cutting the length of each leg of the square down by half on each question, which cuts the surface area in square miles down to one-fourth each time.
After much more discussion, Thomas said, “I feel like 5 miles by 5 miles is likely about right for a family of four Sasquatches in these hills and hollows. They probably have all the food, water, and shelter resources that they need in a 5-mile by 5-mile chunk of these mountains and hollows.”  I replied to him by giving my gut feel, “That seems very reasonable to me. With all the vegetation, deer, turkeys, coyotes, and other wildlife as food, plus available water from streams that flow at the bottom of every hollow, plus the fact that another very large omnivore, the Black Bear, is present here in abundance, then five by five miles sounds very reasonable.”  Thomas concurred.
Even though I am a degreed engineer, a mathematician, and a seasoned outdoorsman, when I hear the term “25 square miles”, I struggle to grasp what that looks like. So, my brain quickly takes the square-root of 25 to come up with 5.  In other words, 5 miles by 5 miles. I can easily grasp what 5 miles by 5 miles looks like.
If we are driving our car at 60 mph, we traverse 5 miles in only 5 minutes. My mind has trouble grasping the “size” of that 5 miles from my seat in the car. BUT, when I am on my feet in the woods and I walk 5 miles in more-or-less of a straight line, it takes me 2 HOURS at a steady pace to walk that 5 miles. In this instance, I am very much in tune with how far 5 miles is. I am cognizant of how many valleys and how many hills I have traversed. I am cognizant, to a degree, of how many individual TREES I have walked past and how many huge boulders I have had to circumnavigate. I am especially aware of how many of my favorite eastern U.S. tree, the Pawpaw Tree, I have walked past.  If it’s springtime or early summer, I am aware of how many singing Red-eyed Vireos, Scarlet Tanagers, Worm-eating Warblers, American Redstarts, Wood Thrushes, Acadian Flycatchers, Indigo Buntings, etc., that I have walked past. (The answer to that last one is “A LOT” of every one of those bird species.) And by the time I’ve walked 5 miles in the woods, I’m not only thirsty but I’m hungry too.  I.e., 5 miles is a lot of ground to cover on foot in rugged terrain for us slow, clumsy humans.
But that 5-mile walk is only one leg of the 5-by-5 square that I must walk in doing the perimeter of that square. There are three more 5-mile legs to walk! Bottom line: LARGE area. And even the 8-hour walk necessary by a human to traverse the 20-mile perimeter of a 5-mile by 5-mile chunk of land has done nothing to penetrate the vast interior of that 5-by-5 square!  

Consider that I briefly stop during my 5-mile walk for a moment and assess the question, “How many Whitetail Deer and how many Gray Squirrels have I walked past on my hike?” Someone on the walk with me, say a person who is not seasoned in the woods and is not in tune with how animals conduct themselves in the forest, might answer that question with, “Apparently none, because we haven’t seen or heard any.” Unh-unh. I/we have walked past LOTS and LOTS of Whitetail Deer and lots and lots MORE Gray Squirrels.  In the eastern U.S. forests, these abundant mammals are proverbially “everywhere”. Yet when a human is walking, these animals hear us or see us coming and they go stone-still and quiet. And we humans blow right past them without ever knowing they’re there. They don’t move a muscle when we are walking nearby. They know that we cannot see them or otherwise detect their presence.

Now, if we were to stop walking again for a minute, and if we just happen to stare in the direction of where an unseen Whitetail Deer happens to be stone-still, that animal might get a sense that we have detected its presence. If that deer reaches the point of feeling that “my cover has been blown by this predator”, it pushes the panic button and bolts away in an attempt to save its life. It is only then that we humans can say, “Look!  A deer!  We’ve been walking for 4 miles and that’s the first deer we’ve seen.”

True. But how many dozens of Whitetails have we blown past? The answer is: MANY dozen.

Now I turn to biology. Biologists use the term “carrying capacity” in regards to a given ecosystem’s (or a given biome’s/habitat’s) land area. Consider an average, everyday acre in eastern Kentucky’s rolling, arguably mountainous, Appalachian foothill hardwood forest with a small percentage of conifer trees mixed in. For the sake of argument, let’s say that the acre in question has a “carrying capacity” of 2 whitetail deer on a year-round basis. In other words, the acre supports the life of 2 whitetail deer throughout the year. This means that that acre can feed, shelter, and water 2 deer year-round. But if a third deer enters that acre, a strain on resources develops. That third deer can get food and water for a few days without much of an adverse effect. But soon, something has to give. One of the now 3 deer must move off that acre. Nature sees to it that that happens. Because if it doesn’t happen, then 1 deer will either starve to death, die of thirst, or die from lack of proper shelter. It’s a “fixed law” of nature that in this scenario, one of the deer must move off that acre.

That same acre can also support one breeding pair of, say, Northern Cardinals plus their offspring year-round.  That same acre can also support, say, a breeding-season-only pair of Swainson’s Warblers plus their 3 offspring from late April through September. But those warblers migrate to the tropics in late September and thus are not a “drain” on that acre’s resources from October through the following April. That same acre can also support one pair of Gray Squirrels plus their 4 offspring – at least during the summer and maybe autumn months for the 4 offspring. But at some point, 4 of the now 6 squirrels and all but 2 of the adult-plus-offspring Northern Cardinals must move on and try to fit into surrounding acreages that are not already at their carrying capacity for each of those species. And the only reason that a nearby acre might have a “vacancy” is that a Gray Squirrel or a Cardinal had recently died. Thus, one of the 4 squirrels that is seeking a place to fit in can fit into that acre. But the other 3 have to keep moving and “tiptoeing through the tulips” until they find an area that has a vacancy. Again, it’s a “fixed law” of nature that that happens.

This same thing happens to all species of animals, from microbes to earthworms to Black-throated Green Warblers to Striped Skunks to Black Bears.

Does that sound like a struggle? You better believe it’s a struggle for the individual animals. It’s just a part of what nature demands so that a “balance” is achieved among all the complexity of an ecosystem – an ecosystem that can support only so many residents of each of the hundreds or thousands of microbial, plant, and animal species that are adapted to that ecosystem/habitat type.

I hear people talk about nature as a “Garden of Eden”. I am quick to ask, “I beg your pardon. Where did you get the idea that nature is a Garden of Eden?” The response might be, “Listen to the birds! They are singing joyfully, the landscape is green, we’ve been getting regular rain, and everything is living in peaceful harmony!”

Oh yeah?

I agree that bird song is beautiful to my human ear. And I agree that a green landscape is pleasing to my human eye. But behind that cloak of beauty and pleasing sounds, a stark and harsh reality exists.

Those who observe nature really closely and carefully know that nature is no Garden of Eden with things living in peace. There is, however, a delicate balance in nature. But peace? Nature is essentially the diametric opposite of peaceful harmony. It’s the proverbial dog-eat-dog world out there – every second of every minute of every hour of every day of every year. And not just for a year or two. This has been going on in the past for as long as life has been in existence, it continues today, and it will continue for as long as life exists.

“Eat or be eaten.”  Everything alive wants and needs to eat. But nothing wants to be eaten. Survival.  It’s all about survival-of-self and successful reproduction in nature. “I must survive minute by minute, day by day, until the next breeding season. Then I play my role in cranking out some progeny to replace myself, because the inevitable will occur: I WILL BE EATEN.”  It’s not a matter of “if”.  It’s “when”.  Again, this is all a “fixed law” of nature.

It sounds harsh and brutal to those who don’t go outdoors and see for themselves and/or for those who didn’t pay attention in biology class. Every single member of every single species has to have food.  And when something eats, it means that something died. The thing that died could be a cluster of grass or a tree leaf that an insect or a Whitetail Deer ate, a seed from a spent wildflower that a Goldfinch ate, an earthworm that a Brown Thrasher ate, an insect or moth or butterfly caterpillar that a Hooded Warbler ate, a Hooded Warbler or Goldfinch or Brown Thrasher that a Sharp-shinned Hawk ate, a Sharp-shinned Hawk that a Red-tailed Hawk ate, a Red-tailed Hawk that a Great Horned Owl ate, a Great Horned Owl that a Black Bear ate, and a Black Bear that a Sasquatch snapped the neck of with one deft and mindbogglingly powerful, swift twist action using its monstrous hands outfitted with what is likely an opposable thumb. Then that leviathan Sasquatch threw the bear over his shoulder as if the bear was a rag doll, carried it home to its family up the steep mountain that humans can climb only with specialized, manmade climbing gear, and with his family watching he ripped each of the bear’s four limbs from its torso with what looked like only a gentle tug, and then he said in Sasquatch language, “Dinner is served. This should feed us all for several days.” And the Sasquatch family feasted like....well....Sasquatches for several days on the rich protein and fats from the Black Bear to go along with the carbohydrates from cattails, ginseng root, duck potato, and you-name-it from the vast and diverse vegetative community.

Does it sound harsh and brutal to some readers? Maybe so. But it’s what is happening all day every day in nature. Realism almost always trumps emotion for me.

Bottom line, “carrying capacity” sets a limit to the populations of each and every species large and small on that acre, and again on the surrounding acres, and on and on across the entire surface area of the given ecosystem/biome/habitat. When we extend that to all the various ecosystems on Planet Earth, then we have achieved the worldwide limit to the populations of each and every species on our planet.  Period.

The following discussion is an example to demonstrate the concept of the “laws” that biology and nature operate on. It applies to every species of microbe, plant, and animal in an ecosystem. I will use one of my favorite birds in the example, the Yellow-billed Cuckoo – a real oddball of a bird species whose ways and means of its style of life has been an intellectual playground for me for the better part of my life. But the principles of this example apply to all living things out there – from, say, Rhyzobium (a nitrogen-fixing bacterium in the soil) to Big Bluestem grass to Mosquitoes to White Oak trees to Poison Ivy to Earthworms to Zebra Swallowtail Butterflies to Largemouth Bass to Eastern Woodrats to Raccoons to Whitetail Deer to the Black Bear. You name it. The principle applies to it.

And before I begin with the example, my example is as brief a summation as I know how to give on the “laws” of biology and nature. Entire books have been written about the subject matter. I just hope I am able to do some justice to it in a few short paragraphs. My apologies to any true biology expert if my explanation turns out lame. So, here goes:

Nature sees to it that every niche is filled. But not overfilled.  But also not underfilled. As it pertains to the Yellow-billed Cuckoo, this means that a pair of that species sets up shop on a certain, let’s say, 5-acre tract that is roughly the eastern U.S. forest ecosystem’s carrying capacity for a pair of Yellow-billed Cuckoos and their summer offspring. (The area may in reality be a bit larger or a bit smaller than 5 acres for this species, but let’s use 5 acres for the sake of the argument.) Nature cannot support, and thus does not tolerate, a second pair of Yellow-billed Cuckoos on that 5-acre tract. Nature DOES tolerate – and, in fact, nature DEMANDS -- that the 5-acre tract to the east, the 5-acre tract to the south, the 5-acre tract to the west, and the 5-acre tract to the north each be utilized by neighboring pairs of Yellow-billed Cuckoos. Nature thus packs that landscape with Yellow-billed Cuckoos to its ecosystem-wide carrying capacity for Yellow-billed Cuckoos across that entire eastern-U.S.-forest ecosystem, but without overfilling it AND without underfilling it with Cuckoos. Certain individual Yellow-billed Cuckoos occasionally die from predation, disease, accident, or other reasons, leaving a temporary, but small in the grand scheme, Cuckoo vacuum. But that vacuum, on a year-in and year-out basis over the long haul, is filled by an excess Yellow-billed Cuckoo that was either living on the fringe of the species’ range and was probably not mated and reproducing, or with offspring from another Cuckoo pair somewhere throughout the species’ breeding range/ecosystem.

Again, the principles of the example above apply to all living things, from microbes to plants to animals. (Of course microbes and plants can’t walk or fly to a new location. But fret not. Nature has its ways of getting them there when they are needed to fill a vacancy.)

It’s the way nature works. Nature sees to it that niches are filled, but not overpopulated. And nature sees to it that niches are not underpopulated. When an individual of a species dies, nature sees to it that is replaced – because “nature abhors a vacuum”. 

Another way I look at it is this: Let’s say the total population of Yellow-billed Cuckoos in the eastern USA forest ecosystem is 2,000,000 (2 million) individuals. If there was just one more 5-acre tract of suitable eastern forest available in the eastern USA, then the population of Cuckoos would be 2,000,002 (2 million and 2). Nature would ensure that 2 Yellow-billed Cuckoos would inhabit that additional 5-acre tract.

Yet, as we all know, not many animal species can live on asphalt, concrete, and other human-manipulated acreages. As humanity expands its “footprint”, many individual animals that once had habitat don’t have it any more. The refugees can often relocate, but it’s only temporary. Nature sees to it that when the carrying capacity is exceeded, those displaced refugees die and are not replaced. That’s because nature has zero tolerance for overpopulation of any and all square feet of an ecosystem. And thus, many wildlife species’ populations are on long-term declines as humans continue to manipulate natural environments for our own use and not for that of the wildlife individuals that were once on that acreage.

And like it or not, the laws of nature and biology apply equally to our continent’s top natural predator – the Sasquatch. The Sasquatch species is packed into the ecosystem to its “Sasquatch carrying capacity” just like all other living things large and small are packed to their carrying capacity in the ecosystem.  Nature demands that that be the case. And as that regards the eastern one-third of Kentucky and indeed the entire Appalachian Mountain chain, Sasquatches are “copied and pasted” by nature herself across the landscape/ecosystem/biome in the same way that Scarlet Tanagers and Mockernut Hickory Trees and Eastern Chipmunks and Black Bears, etc. are copied and pasted across the landscape. This results in the approximate 100,000 Sasquatch population estimate that we calculated early in this story for the greater Appalachian Mountain chain.

To clearly and concisely recap the bases for this population estimate, nature sees to it that (1) Sasquatches reproduce, (2) Sasquatch average family size is four individuals (arguably fewer, arguably more), (3) nature packs Sasquatches into the forest ecosystem like she does all other species of all life forms, and (4) the average home range of the Sasquatch family of four is 25 square miles in the Appalachian Mountain/foothill ecosystem (arguably less than 25 square miles, arguably more than 25).

To address a contrary argument that a naysayer might bring up in regards to these facts of natural “law”, I ask:

Why would a family of Sasquatches live, say, in a certain area of eastern Kentucky forested hills and hollows, yet neighboring families of Sasquatches BE ABSENT FROM the nearby, bordering hills and hollows that not only look the same but also are comprised of the exact same species of every other native, adapted form of life – plus the fact that each and every other species is at essentially a consistent density on every hill and in every hollow? Human-generated arguments to the contrary, like this one, do not hold water. Nature doesn’t give a rip about what unobservant humans think of the way she has been running things for millions upon millions of years. She was running the show long before we humans entered the picture with our generalized and overbearing arrogance. She “copied and pasted” virtually-identical hills and hollows all throughout eastern Kentucky and “filled” each one of those hills and hollows with all the species that she adapted to live in her handcrafted ecosystem. Then she got a little crazy and made some of those hills into a string of higher mountain peaks that we call “the spine of the Appalachian Mountains.” She added a few microbe species and a few plant species and a few animal species that are adapted to those higher, cooler heights, but most species of microbes, plants, and animals are present in both the highest and lowest elevations in that Appalachian ecosystem. Sasquatch included. Earthworms, Timber Rattlesnakes, Blue Ridge Dusky Salamanders, Kentucky Warblers, Bobcats, and everything else we can think of that is adapted appropriately.

And she remains the master of all masters at her craft today in 2021 A.D. at the job she has been doing masterfully for mindbogglingly millions of years.

One last thought along these lines:  Some people say that certain species “can live only in true wilderness.” The species that quickly pop to my mind when I hear someone say that are the Golden Eagle, the Wolverine, the Polar Bear, the Ivory-billed Woodpecker, ...and I’m sure I’m forgetting a few others. Without me doing any research on the subject, my own personal observations debunk such a notion. A strong case can be made that the only needs of any living creature – from microbes to plants to animals – is that they have appropriate habitat.  Also known as an appropriate ecosystem or an appropriate biome. “Wilderness” is just a human-generated term that conjures up (1) landscapes far from man, and (2) the follow-up, erroneous thought that some animal species can live only far from man. I don’t buy the propaganda of “wilderness-only wildlife species” in the way that humans generally define “wilderness”. If appropriate habitat begins at your back yard fence, then the animals suited/adapted to that habitat are present right at your back yard fence. Which explains why Thomas Marcum and I saw a Sasquatch footprint in the dry sand beside the creek that is just a stone’s throw from his back yard fence. At his back yard fence, nicely-manicured lawn instantly turns into native, wild Appalachia. And this explains why some of the few surviving Ivory-billed Woodpeckers in modern times have been seen at the woodland edges of rural house lawns, including one Ivory-bill that was seen perched on a power pole above the lawns between two of those houses. And this explains why Golden Eagles build their nests on any suitable cliff face in the western USA, even if a modern-day ranch house is placed right up next to that cliff and only about 150 vertical feet below the eagle’s nest!  The eagle recognizes the cliff and the surrounding square mileage for what it is:  suitable habitat -- with or without the ranch house down below. (The roof of that house and a parked vehicle or two might make for suitable airborne “target practice” by the two adult eagles and their two growing youngsters, if you get my drift!  Even birds apparently “get their jollies” every once in a while.)

I now close out this story with these thoughts as it pertains to Sasquatch: If you have a fenced, or unfenced, back yard bordering an extensive native forest on the North American continent, and if you have an apple tree in your back yard, or if your family pet – I'll name that pet Fluffy for dramatic effect here -- spends time in your back yard, then I’d say that in a very real sense, you have extended “suitable habitat” for the Sasquatch species INTO your back yard. Sasquatch is real. Some will tell you he is just a myth. A legend. Not only is the species real and existing in 2021 A.D., the species is astoundingly abundant in number on this continent.

Just “food for thought” regarding your apple tree or Fluffy in the back yard. No pun intended. The only thing intended is realism...realism delivered by nature herself and put into words in this document by this Arkansas country boy of the outdoors to his “blood brothers and sisters” around the world who are also steeped in the outdoors and who pay close attention to what really goes on out there. “Out there” is no Garden of Eden. Instead, it is, as observed by the seasoned, careful, outdoors observer, a harsh, stark, brutal, dog-eat-dog, eat-or-be-eaten world. If there is any such thing as a true reality show, this is it.

Guy Luneau, June 2, 2021

This post by Guy Luneau, Guy is a retired chemical engineer, outdoorsman and avid bird watcher. In fact, Guy can identify well over 600 birds by their songs alone. Guy has had a growing interest in Sasquatch for numerous years now.

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