A tradition since 1990, the annual Bigfoot hunt in Elliston is a giant game of, if not drunken then definitely buzzed, nighttime hide-and-seek. Before the hunt begins, Bigfoot (spoiler: a volunteer in a Bigfoot costume) hides himself somewhere among the brush on a 10 acre plot of land owned by the original owners of Elliston’s Lawdog’s Saloon. Revelers begin to trickle in by mid-day eager to beat the 6:00pm registration deadline. When night finally falls and the full moon rises, the hunt begins. In addition to Bigfoot-whose capture will earn someone the $150 grand prize-Lawdog’s hides two human sized beer bottles-each worth an embroidered coat-and scores of balloons containing a total of over $250 in donated prizes.
The raucous and fun-filled good time is Lawdog’s only 21+ event, although, anyone 18 years old or older is welcome as designated drivers. The Saloon fetes the Designated Drivers, last year they provided over $300 in free hamburgers, fries and soda. Perhaps because of Lawdog’s emphasis on safety, Montana Highway Patrol didn’t have a single DUI from the event last year. In fact, MHP actually called the owners and commended them on their management of the event, a rare occurrence indeed.
A Big Foot hunting license costs fifteen dollars, and registration closes at 6:00 pm, although the actual hunt doesn’t get underway until nightfall. The length of the hunt varies considerably, the longest hunt to date took about an hour and a half. The Big Foot hunt has been an Elliston tradition for 25 years, and is one of the best ways to beat March cabin fever.