Last season on Expedition Bigfoot, Dr. Mireya Mayor, Bryce Johnson, Ronny LeBlanc, and Russell Acord came ever so close to a close encounter with Sasquatch, only to be chased away from the investigation site by a wall of flames, surging through the forest.
Luckily, the fires have been extinguished, but the team is still hot on the trail of Bigfoot, and it appears that the third season may be the most revealing yet. Dr. Mireya Mayor, Bryce Johnson, and Ronny LeBlanc spoke to us about the upcoming season (beginning all day on March 20 on discovery+ and at 10:00 PM ET on Travel Channel), what it is like to be close to danger, and what the third season has in store in this exclusive interview.
Last season you needed to abandon the search for Bigfoot due to dangerous wildfires. What was it like having stop the investigation at that point in the search?
Bryce Johnson: We’ve never been as close as we were at that point. Russel’s cameraman saw something move behind the river and then we found that incredible footprint. It was heartbreaking to have to stop due to the forest fires, but luckily we were able to go back there again this season.
Dr. Mireya Mayor: It is always tough to end an expedition, but because we were able to return to the exact locations, we were able to pick up where we left off.
In the past two seasons, you have broken up the group, with Mireya and Ronny going in one direction and Russell going in another. Why do you think it is necessary to do so?
Mayor: When you are on an expedition, it is important to be as stealth as possible and we also had a limited amount of time to cover a very large area, so it was essential that we divided up the space. We each have different skill sets that we can provide and we come together as a full group when needed, or when something requires the combined skills of the team.
Ronny LeBlanc: There is a real sense of anxiety when the clock is ticking like last season with the fires, especially when you are so close to a discovery, so sometimes you have no choice other than to spread out.
In terms of anecdotal evidence, do you continue to hunt for it this season?
Johnson: Absolutely. Many times the witnesses hold the key to the mystery. And what you have to remember, these witnesses do not have a lot to gain from sharing the stories about Bigfoot encounter, in fact they actually have a lot to lose. They are honest, hard working people that help us immensely.
The “New Evidence” pre-show (airing at 9:00 PM ET on March 20) features a conversation with world-renowned primatologist Dr. Jane Goodall. How did you get her to appear on the program and share her opinion on the topic of Bigfoot?
Mayor: Jane and I have been friends for more than a decade and people forget that when she started her work with primates, she faced a lot of scrutiny over things like naming the chimps she was studying. Before Jane’s work, you were only supposed to refer to the chimps as a number. She went against many established scientific standards.
Jane believes that the existence of Bigfoot is certainly possible, primarily due to all of the stories she has heard from people living in the regions that she has worked in. As Bryce said, eyewitnesses certainly have a lot to lose when they come forward with their stories.
Jane validated what we are doing on these expeditions, and I often keep her advice in mind during them.
Many times when you are investigating, you come close to having very “up-close and personal” encounters with Bigfoot. Although you are always pushing to get a sighting or evidence, do you ever feel that you could be in danger, or at the last minute, that you need to back off?
LeBlanc: It is the reason we are there, to have a face-to-face encounter, but you don’t want to put yourself in jeopardy either. These are obviously animals that can kill you if they want to, and sometimes when I have rushed forward in the past, I have put myself and others in harm’s way when I shouldn’t have.
Mayor: It is a calculated risk. When I was working with silverback gorillas, you know how to push the boundaries, and you known when you need to pull back. With Bigfoot, it is a bit different because you are dealing with an unknown. There is no real way to predict what will happen, so we have to rely on our knowledge of other primates when we push hard to get close and then pull back. It is a tricky one.
What do viewers have to look forward to this season?
Johnson: We are coming back bigger and bolder in season three with 16 full episodes. All I’ll say is we get closer than we ever have before.
Season three of Expedition Bigfoot debuts on the Travel Channel and discovery+ on March 20. You can also check out our previous interviews with Johnson and Acord and Mayor for more information about Expedition Bigfoot.