Thousands Of People Are Hunting For The Yowie And They Reckon They’re Onto Something
In July, the Sunshine Coast Yowie Research page posted this update:
The team — sometimes up to a dozen people — were chasing reports that birds had been viciously killed on farms across Queensland’s Sunshine Coast. Over the next few months, they would head out on evening expeditions across inland national parks, catching sight of Yowie footprints, and taking photos of broken tree branches that could only be the work of the Yowie.
The Sunshine Coast Yowie Research Team
For group founder David Taylor, this was more than enough evidence to keep him searching for answers.
Some breaks we found around glasshouse MTS today, while on a bushwalk. There was some wind around yesterday, but I took…
Ever since Dave’s first Yowie sighting back in 2008, he’s been hooked. He works alongside Yowie hunters who have been on the search for more than 40 years — and they’re dead serious about it.
The Yowie is Australia’s version of Bigfoot. The ape-like creature was originally a symbol of the Indigenous Dreamtime, before settlers joined in and began reporting sightings of the animal from around 1870. Depending on who you ask, the beast is between five-and-a-half and 12 feet, very hairy (or only a little hairy), and known to be hyper aggressive (or unsettlingly calm).
The Yowie Is Back
In the past few months, Yowie sightings have made a surprise resurgence. A recent one caused a stir in the local community.
“Two months ago a farmer saw someone walking along a road and thought it was a person in overalls,” Dave told Junkee. “When he approached, he realised it wasn’t, and the thing bolted on him. We went and had a look — the track it left was just huge and there were broken trees and branches everywhere.”
“So we went out last Saturday night to have a look out the back of Woodford. We got to one location, and we got out to have a look, got 500 metres along the track and we noticed a child’s footprint on the sand a little off to the side. It had hit the sand and sunk big into the ground. We realised that when we jumped from a nearby bush onto the sand that we sunk almost as deep, so we realised that it must have jumped — you know, from the angle and everything. This was at about nine or ten o’clock at night. [The footprints] were really, really fresh, and who lets their kid out that late at night?”
This was the footprint:
But when Dave and his team were examining the footprints, they suddenly heard something.
“We started hearing howls. They were similar to a dog, in a way, but they were also different — higher pitched, and they go a lot longer than a dog. When you hear one, you’ll never forget it.”
Dave is 47 years old. He spends the rest of his free time chasing storms, and trading shares on the stock market. He thinks Bigfoot exists too (“he’s a relative to the Yowie”) and that UFOs are probably real.
It’s Not Just The Sunshine Coast
And he’s not alone. Dave and his team get reports of sightings along the Sunshine Coast — the most popular area for Yowie sightings — every day. The larger, Australia-wide version of Dave’s group runs a classic 2000s-esque internet forum — YowieHunters.com — which has tens of thousands of posts, and is active every day. There’s a monthly Yowie magazine. Books and podcasts speculate about the Yowie. And the Sunshine Coast Daily runs so many pieces on sigtings that it has its own Yowie story tag.
Why Are There So Many Yowie Hunters?
“I think it’s the fascination of it all. And knowing that it’s true,” Dave answered, “There’s something going on here. And in the end curiosity kills the cat, do you know what I mean? And also there’s been a lot more sightings recently… you’ve got mobile phones with more reliable cameras and stuff like that. It’s making the news more, the radio more, and more people are feeling comfortable coming forward.”
Dave is aware of the Yowie skeptics and recognises that there are many who believe the beast is a myth. But his way of rationalising it was just to say that we believe in undiscovered things all the time.
“I think it comes down to opinion. Some people believe in God and the Bible, some people don’t, people believe in UFOs, people believe in Bigfoot. I think it comes down to how open-minded the person is.”
A Split In The Yowie Hunting Community
Yowie hunting is a lonely business.
The Australian Yowie-hunting community is split. There are separate groups in Western Australia, the NSW Hunter Valley, the Blue Mountains, and the Northern Beaches of NSW. According to Dave, these groups don’t often communicate with each other.
Despite his dedication to the cause, Dave isn’t a fan of the Australian Yowie Researchers — the mob that runs YowieHunters.com. He suspects that many of them are just in it for fame and media attention, and that the evidence they offer up is misleading or false.
Junkee contacted several other Yowie hunting groups, but received few responses. Many of the groups are wary of being publicly ridiculed.
But tensions within the Yowie community are tiny compared to the groups’ common enemy — anyone who doesn’t believe the creature exists.
One whole section of the Australian Yowie Hunter’s website is dedicated to hating on non-believers:
“You’d have to be rather arrogant and self opinionated to say thousands of people who have seen these creatures are wrong,” it reads. Alright, good start.
“There are a few out there who like to tell lies about us, [they] say that we and others fake footprints and fake encounters. Not true. But that’s the kind of dribble little skeptic people like to say because it adds substance to their meaningless and miserable lives.”
They talk a big game, but just to be clear — the Yowie has not actually been caught on tape, despite these many hunters’ best attempts. Not yet, that is. When we asked Dave if he thinks there’s a chance he’s wrong about the existence of the Yowie, he was unequivocal.
“No, absolutely not.”