Today Gizmodo did God’s work by publishing an article on the warring factions between Bigfoot hunters: to kill, or not to kill. The feud, long-simmering within the Bigfoot community (of which I happily claim myself to be a part) was finally given the proper attention it deserved today, and according to my friend Jason, who follows these sorts of things more closely than I do, is fanning the flames amongst the factions.
In one corner, you have Jim Lansdale, co-founder of the Gulf Coast Bigfoot Research Organization, who not only wants to kill Bigfoot, but has thought a lot about how he would do it:
“You would need a heavy-duty rifle[…] I would suggest a 30-aught-six or better; .458 or something like that. Maybe a seven-mag’. But it’s all shot placement and you’d have to shoot him in the head. You can’t body-shoot him. They’re too big.”
If you too consider yourself a part of the Bigfoot community, you’ll recognize Lansdale from the Destination America show Killing Bigfoot. (Spoilers: they have yet to kill a Bigfoot, and the show has now aired for more than a year.)
On the other side is everyone else with a bit of common sense, who realize that traipsing through the woods with guns to shoot a large humanoid isn’t very responsible and that killing Bigfoot is akin to homicide:
“I am avowedly on the no-kill side,” John Kirk, President of the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club, told Gizmodo. “The notion of killing a possible relative of humans is tantamount to homicide.”
Lansdale is not swayed:
“The bleeding-hearts—they don’t really don’t know about the animal itself,” Lansdale said. “They’ve got this beat into their head that this is a human-type hybrid. And it’s not. It’s some type of primate that we have—a North American ape that’s been here forever. There’s people that claim there’s only a breeding population, that there are only two to three thousand. They’re not out doing what we do. They’re sitting behind a desk. And we’re out in the woods.”
Apparently, there are people in this world (at least one of whom is named Jim Lansdale) that when faced with a yet undiscovered and fabled species, their first impulse is to shoot it dead. Don’t be that type of person.
If you believe in Bigfoot (which again, I most certainly do) you know that there has yet to be a documented case of Bigfoot attacking a human. If they are not a documented threat, why must we shoot what we don’t understand?
Benjamin Radford, the deputy editor of Skeptical Inquirer thinks he understands what motivates both sides of the argument:
But over the years, as Radford has watched this debate evolve and even spawn a TV show, he believes he understands what’s driving it. He thinks the people on the “kill” side want definitive proof that they’ve been right all these years—proof they’re not crazy. They want vindication.
As for the people advocating for Bigfoot safety, Radford believes they are hoping to preserve something more elusive than a mythical beast. “For a lot of people, Bigfoot is not some abstract entity out there. It’s not a monster. It symbolizes innocence and the wilderness and a free spirit—the better angels of mankind who aren’t weighted with the pollution and politics and all the strife,” Radford said. “When you understand that, you realize why a lot of people get so upset about it. To them it’s not just like killing an armadillo or an elk—it is a symbol of purity.”
I’m not sure if Radford is accurate in his assessment. As someone who is far more ‘Mulder’ than ‘Scully’, I find it comforting that the world can still be vast, strange, and unexpected…that there is a possibility of Bigfoot’s existence that somehow defies rational thought and what we understand of science. I would much rather live in a world with the possibility of Bigfoot than without it, because it means that there’s still wonder to discover. We haven’t solved for everything yet. I also think that if you ever get the rare opportunity to encounter Bigfoot, the ethical and humane thing to do is try to get a selfie with it in the background, perhaps get attacked in the process of doing so, but to leave the damn creature alone.
Ok, sure, at this point if you’re a non-believer this entire argument about Bigfoot may seem silly, but it’s not.
There’s something fundamentally wrong about anyone who would actively seek to shoot and kill a creature that defies all scientific and logical explanation. That when confronted with the natural mysteries of the world their inclination is to destroy rather than preserve.
It’s not something I understand, nor care to.
So, to answer the question posed in the title, it’s not OK to shoot Bigfoot and you’re an asshole if you think it is.
Image sources (in order of posting): Getty, Mariah Carey, Mariah Carey, Mariah Carey