Update: Sierra Kills Shooter Talks

Posted by: Craig Woolheater on January 4th, 2012

On October 8, 2010, in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, Justin Smeja and his hunting buddy allegedly came upon an adult Sasquatch and two young ones. Smeja says that In the confusion that followed, he killed the adult and one of the juveniles. Here is his story.ImpossibleVisits (Chris Noel)

The above paragraph is Chris Noel’s description of the interview that he edited down to 28:33 minutes.

Update: Transcript added

Transcript of the Justin Smeja radio show. Via Chris Noel:

Justin Smeja: It was October 8th of 2010, and we’re going bear hunting up by Golden Lake. It was just another day. We’d hunted most of the day – unproductive. We found one small buck, and we said, “It’s a young deer, let’s let this one grow up,” so we passed on that deer.

Then we ended up going into another area, and we’re coming around the corner. It’s probably 5 o’clock. We came around this corner…well, it’s not really a corner – it’s kind of like an open field, but it’s a blind corner because you can’t see past these trees. So it opens up into a field. We both look, and we see this thing at the same exact time.

The truck stops. I pointed my rifle at it, and I could see it through the scope. I had my scope on 16 power. I could see it pretty clearly. Everybody asks me, “Well what was going through your head? Did you think it was a bear?” I thought a lot of things. It wasn’t that I was a skeptic, it was more that I didn’t know that anybody believed in Bigfoot at all.

We saw this creature. It was walking on two legs, hairy. The best way I can describe it is it looked like a person in a suit. Probably 3 or 4 seconds had gone by, and it started to walk towards us, between 80 and 100 yards away…It had its arms in the air and was waving them, almost like, “Don’t shoot, don’t shoot!” Kind of a universal thing in any language. Anybody raises his hands – sign of surrender.

I didn’t know what it was. To me it was just a monster. I’m looking at this monster. By this time I have the bullet in the chamber, my finger on the trigger, and it’s coming towards us, slowly. It’s taking steps, waving.

A lot of people are saying I shot it in the back, but if you have a deer, and you shoot it behind the shoulder, then you’re going to penetrate both lungs. On a person it’s a hard area to describe, but it’s basically right under the shoulder where the lungs are located.

So maybe 5 seconds had passed, and my buddy says, “Don’t shoot, don’t shoot! It’s not a bear. Do not shoot.” And I’m still kind of locked in on this thing. To me it was a monster, that’s all it was.

You know the gun’s getting ready to go off. We’ve hunted together a lot over the years, and we both knew what was going to happen. Normally when we see something, the truck stops, both of us get out, and we’ve got our rifles on it immediately.

Well, my buddy was still using his binoculars because he didn’t know what to think. I didn’t know what to think. I’m looking at this thing, and I’m pretty close to pulling the trigger. I’ve just been squeezing this whole time. And he’s getting louder and louder, he’s like, “Hey bro, don’t shoot! Don’t shoot! That is not a bear! That’s a person in a suit! That’s a person in a suit! Don’t shoot!”

And I’m thinking, “Well, if that’s a person in a suit, then we’ve got a real problem here, ‘cause they’re walking around during bear season with a fur suit on.”

Something doesn’t add up about this. I’m halfway thinking in the back of my mind that somebody’s going to pull around the corner and it’s going to be like a film crew or something like that. I don’t know. My mind’s going a hundred miles an hour.

But I see this animal – this furry thing – and we’re here to hunt. We’re here to kill animals, and it was just a monster. So I pull the trigger, and you could see dust shoot off the side of it, like it obviously made a really good hit, definitely got it in the lungs. And it took off running.

Just then we see two…I guess you’d call ‘em kids or cubs or something, I don’t know. The big one’s almost out of sight, and these two come right out, and my buddy’s like “Holy fuck , really? There’s more of them!”

So we drive the truck into the field as far as we can, maybe 30 yards. Then we take off running. We heard the thing crash though. It crashed; it sounded like a car wreck. We knew we made a good hit. It’s very normal to shoot a deer and have it run 50, 60, 70 yards and expire. So we run up there, and my buddy doesn’t even grab his gun.

I mean we’re just running, trying to run over to this thing, and the cubs are just out of sight. And we run over there, and now we’re face to face with these kids – probably 10 yards away or so, and we can’t find the big one. So I decide I’m going to going to shoot one of the kids, and my buddy’s like, “No, do not shoot! Do not shoot!”

“Okay, okay, alright. We’ll find the big one, we’ll get it and we’ll leave.”

So we end up looking for 15 minutes or so.

Meanwhile the kids…they’re looking for the parent obviously. They are walking around looking for their parent. We knew we were looking in the right area then…I’ve made the mistake of shooting a sow, and then the piglets come running out, and they always know right where their mom is. They take you to the body. So we knew that it was right there; we just couldn’t find it. It’s an extremely brushy area. I mean, we could have looked for 2 weeks and not found it.

So there’s blood on the ground. We’re kind of looking at the blood. We’re walking around. We split up probably 10 or 15 times. He’d go one way – I’d go the other way. And the kids would do the same thing. They’d walk into the center of the open field, and they’d say something to each other. It sounded like deaf chatter, they’d say, “Wawwa Wo!” They’d say something to each other, then they’d split up.

Then about a minute later they’d come back, almost like they were saying something like this to each other, “You see anything? No, okay. Did you look by that tree, did you look by the stump? Yeah I looked by the stump, did you look by the tree? I’ll look by the other tree.”

They didn’t care that we were there. They were not alarmed at all. They were just there. And so, maybe 15 minutes goes by or so, and I keep deciding that I’m going to shoot one of the little ones. I say, “We’ll shoot one of these, throw it in the back, and we’ll figure it out.”

And my buddy’s like, “No, no that’s terrible. Don’t do that. There’s no reason for that. There’s absolutely no reason to do this.”

So at the time everything’s running through my head, I’m thinking if we don’t get one of the little ones, nobody’s ever going to believe us. It’s just going to be a crazy story. We just need to find the big one, and we need to get out of here.

So eventually me and my buddy are split up, and I’m down this hill, and the little one is almost like straight uphill maybe 15 yards away, maybe 20, it’s is starting to approach me.

It’s getting closer…it’s getting closer, starting to make some noise, like the deaf chatter thing…it’s getting closer, and I was thinking, “I don’t know what’s going to happen here, but he’s going to get too close, it’s way too close for comfort. Screw it, I’m going to shoot.”

So I shoot it directly in the neck ‘cause I didn’t want to mess up the skull or the face. And it rolled down the hill and actually…it hit my feet and started bleeding on my boots. It’s still alive. So I pick it up, and I’m sitting there looking at it, and I’m starting to feel bad. I’m starting to realize, “What have I done, what have I done?” And…that went on for a couple minutes. There was a lot of stuff that happened then, but to summarize it and make a long story short, it died.

And then my buddy walks up and he’s like, “What have you done? Seriously, really?” And I’m like “Fine, forget this,” so I throw it on the ground, and I start walking back to the truck. Then I look back, and my buddy’s holding it, just holding it, sitting there staring at it.

So…I walk back to him like, “Dude, we gotta get out of here. Somebody just heard a shot, you know that somebody’s going to show up – Fish and Game. We’re going to get in so much trouble. We’re going to go to jail. We need to get out of here. This is crazy. Let’s go.”

He says, “Okay, okay, let’s hide this, and we’ll come back for it later. We’ll come back.”

So we take it into the bush, get it as deep as we can, throw a bunch of stuff on top of it, and then we leave, not saying a word. We actually drove out of there probably 60 miles an hour on that dirt road. It doesn’t make sense but we were just afraid we were going to get caught or get in trouble, something like that.

We drove down to Sierraville, and we stop there. Both of us quit smoking in like the last 6 months. Gross habit. But we both walk in, get a pack of cigarettes without saying a word, and we drive all the way home without saying a word. We both smoked the whole pack. Then he dropped me off.

A couple days later I get on Taxidermy.net. I’ve got a few friends on there, and I’m trying to think if there’s some way I can talk about what happened, so I make a post titled, If You Saw Bigfoot, Would You Shoot It?

That’s all I said, and everybody’s going back and forth. Taxidermists are outdoor people. They’ve got a fascination with wildlife. They’ve hunted all their lives. There’s a bunch of guys on there who were like, “Oh no, I seen one, I seen one, I know they’re real.” And it turned into this really long topic, so maybe 20 pages goes by. And I get on there and I say, “I’ll tell you what, you can call it bullshit if you want, I don’t care, but I shot something that walked on two legs.”

[Word soon reaches Derek Randles, long-time Pacific Northwest Sasquatch researcher and co-founder of The Olympic Project. He got in touch with Smeja.]

I end up telling Derek the whole thing, and he says, “Alright, I need you to get back up there and I need you to get either the body of the little one or the big one. We’ve got to get this done.”

And I’m like, “I don’t think so, man. I don’t think I’m going to go back there.”

And he’s like, “You don’t understand. We’ve worked so hard for this. We need your help. We need to get up there. I’m going to drive down there. How ‘bout I’ll drive to your house. I’ll drive you up there.”

“What, you’re going to drive 12 hours?”

And he’s like, “Yeah, this is really important. 27 years of research, and this is as big as it gets. This is the holy grail.”

So eventually I end up saying, “All right, fine, I’ll drive up there, and I’ll get it, then you can drive down and pick up the body.”

So I put it off, maybe a week or so. I’m busy with work. I didn’t really get what had happened, and Derek’s calling me up every day saying, “Seriously, you’ve got to get up there. You’ve got to get up there. Just call in to work. This is so important. There could be money involved. But more than that, we’ve been looking for this thing for so long, and now there’s one sitting there.”

So I talk to my buddy, and we’re like, “Well, let’s go get this thing.” So we get a bunch of trash bags – black contractor bags. We get up there, and there’s freakin’ 3 feet of snow on the ground. So…we couldn’t find it. I had my bloodhound with me. She’s usually pretty good at tracking. She’s a hunting dog. So I take her out there, and she’s acting like she just shit the bed or something. She’s acting so embarrassed. She’s acting very timid. She’s very bothered by the whole thing.

So eventually we decided to gauge where we would dig, ‘cause we’d been digging for 5 or 6 hours…we figured out there were 2 or 3 areas the dog really didn’t like. She’d walk in a straight line, then all of a sudden she’d turn around and walk the other way. So we based where we dug off of the dog.

We find this flesh sample. It looks like a piece of hide. Some people say there’s just no way that something like that would be there that long without the animals getting to it. I say that’s ridiculous, ‘cause if I shoot a deer, take it to my house, shear it, take it back to the woods, drop it off, and a month later I’ll go back up there and you’ll still see…bones, pieces of hair, hide, blood, all that stuff.

So we find it, and end up sending a small portion of it – I don’t know, maybe an eighth of it – to Melba Ketchum. And here we are today.

If you were to weigh it, the whole sample, it might be 2 pounds, but that’s really pushing it. We ended up taking the rest of the sample, wrapping it in paper, and freezing it in a block of ice. It’ll be exactly the same 20 years from now. No air can get to it; there’s no chance of freezer burn.

We’ve probably been back up there 20 times, maybe more. We went with a group of researchers, and we looked and looked and looked, and we couldn’t find anything. I’ve heard about the theory that maybe they bury their young or something. I don’t know. I don’t know what to think. On one of my trips, we found some tracks of a larger one that had a younger one with it. I have pictures of those tracks.

The one question everybody asks me. They corner me and ask, “Why didn’t you put the little one in your truck?”

[Very agitated.] I don’t know! It bothers me every day. I’ve got no idea. I’m so tired of that question. If I could go back in time…you’re telling me that I had a winning lottery ticket, and I burned it. But…I lose sleep over it. It bothers me. I don’t know. I don’t know what was going through my head. I was sitting there thinking, “We gotta get out of here. This is nuts. This is crazy.” It was like a bad dream, actually it was very much like a bad dream. We felt like once we got out of there, it was over.

There was a while where it was really, really traumatic. And then…you lose sleep enough, and you kind of forget about it. But every once in a while I’ll see like a little monkey or something in a zoo, and I’m like, “Fuck man, what did I do?” Recently, I saw this boxer dog, and it had this face that was really kind of similar to the young one’s face, and I was just sitting there looking at this dog just thinking, “Oh my God…what happened?”

The kid looked like a little black kid. Its face…human eyes, but it had the snout of a boxer, and the lips of an ape. It very closely resembled the snout of a boxer but pushed in a little bit more.

J.C. Johnson: Were the young ones walking on all fours or on two legs?

Justin Smeja: 50/50. They spent as much time on all 4s as they did on 2 legs. They were a drastically different color than the adult. The adult was the color of a pale coyote, and the kids were cinnamon-colored, quite a bit darker.

Abe del Rio: Were they faster on all fours?

Justin Smeja: They were definitely faster on all fours. They had very long arms, and they had huge heads. They basically had an adult-sized head on a kid-sized body, which is really hard to wrap your mind around. And their hands were huge. Well, they were the size of mine, but if you put that on a little frame, it looks oddly proportioned. And they were calloused. I’ve been saying that they have paws. They’re hands, but they’re so calloused, they look like paws. It looks like a pad, like two little pads on each finger, and a big pad. Their hands were very cushioned.

[Justin’s buddy, the driver of the truck, comes on.]

Driver: When I first looked at it [through the binoculars], the first thing I ever said was it looked like a person in a bear suit. Someone that had a bear suit on, but then where’s the bear’s face would be, it was not there, instead it looked more human. I didn’t even really think it looked ape-like at all. It looked a lot more human, but it looked a lot more hairy in the face than a person.

Unknown host: You actually lifted up the little one. How much would you say it weighed?

Driver: 35 to 40 pounds.

Unknown host: And about how tall?

Driver: I would say 3 feet. The little ones were extremely vocal while we were searching for the big one. The best way to describe it is like when a deaf person is trying to talk. They were loud. They talked a lot. They would come back to each other. They would start making noises, then they would run off in different directions. And they did that probably 5 or 6 times.

Unknown host: They weren’t communicating in English, nothing you could understand, right?

Driver: Correct, yes.

The adult looked very similar to the one in the Patterson Film because it looked like a person in a suit. I personally felt like it would have been a female because of the 2 younger ones. I can’t tell by looks whether it was a male or a female.

[Compared to “Patty”] it was more flat-chested, well, muscular. I felt like it was carrying a lot of weight around with it, like it was more thick than “cut up” or “ripped.” I could tell that by the way the sides shook when it got shot.

I watched the shot enter the body of the big one, and I remember the way the side…looked like Jell-O. The shot rocked its side. You could see waves in the side of the body. And the picture that sticks with me more than anything else was when the bullet entered the big one.

About Craig Woolheater
Co-founder of Cryptomundo in 2005. I have appeared in or contributed to the following TV programs, documentaries and films: OLN's Mysterious Encounters: "Caddo Critter", Southern Fried Bigfoot, Travel Channel's Weird Travels: "Bigfoot", History Channel's MonsterQuest: "Swamp Stalker", The Wild Man of the Navidad, Destination America's Monsters and Mysteries in America: Texas Terror - Lake Worth Monster, Animal Planet's Finding Bigfoot: Return to Boggy Creek and Beast of the Bayou.


65 Responses to “Update: Sierra Kills Shooter Talks”

  1. William responds:

    @kittalia – if this story is true he may have some regret but based on what type of person it would take to do such a non-sporting type of kill of a baby anything, I would have to say his biggest regret would be not taking the baby’s body along as he would be an instant millionaire celebrity had he done so as he would have proven Bigfoot exists once and for all.

  2. AreWeThereYeti responds:

    Just suppose for a moment that instead of returning with (only) a disturbing tale, Smeja & his buddy WERE able to locate the adult he’d shot and brought it and/or the body of the juvenile back and presented same to the BFRO. Would we now be rejoicing that “proof” had finally arrived?

    While you can count me among those who find the whole account – if true – extremely deplorable, I can’t help but ask what we can expect if the only concrete proof we will accept of Bigfoots’ existance is “a body on a slab?” There are no two ways about it; if we demand “a body” then somewhere, sometime, whether by intent or misadventure, a Bigfoot will have to die.

    Of course I would have preferred hearing Smeja recounting how he came across an aged Bigfoot peacefully breathing its last in a field of clover; instead he relates a much more horrific account. Either way, had he returned with a body, the end result would be the same; we would have our “proof.”

    While the details of the alleged story are repugnant, consider for a moment what we demand as “proof” and ask yourself: do the ends justify the means?

    Just something to think about…

  3. CDC responds:

    @Kittalia

    If you take this seriously at all, I suggest you go back and listen to the interview…reading it doesn’t sound as bad as hearing it…plus a few quiet comments are left the transcript above.

    Justin Smeja clearly states the “little kids” were walking around him for several minutes…within 10 yards or so, making sounds looking for their parent. They were stated by the “Driver” to be 3 feet tall and between 35 to 40 pounds. “IF” you are bear hunting, you have the resources to contain and bring back a little animal that small…meaning he didn’t have to “KILL”it at all.

    Two adult males could manage to control 40 pounds of Bigfoot a yard high. Killing it would be the stupidest thing possible, so either Justin Smeja is very stupid or he is making this story up.

    Thankfully, this is all probably a lie, and no one will ever has to ask Justin Smeja why he simply didn’t use the cell phone he took the picture of the “Bigfoot Steak” with to take a quick picture of the rarest animal in the world.

    Look into this and you will see there may be a book deal in the works…which will explain a ton of why he is sticking to his story.

    Remember the Georgia Bigfoot boys and Tom Biscardi? They stuck to their story all the way through the press conference.

    The truth will come out here soon enough, I am betting he will fess up, run away, and hide, much like those Georgia boys. Hmmm, what ever happened to them?

  4. William responds:

    @CDC

    I agree totally with your last post on this subject. You have nailed it!

    One other thing to add to the pile to discredit this story. As a hunter, I know that a 25:06 (or any 25 caliber rifle for that matter) is a very “light” big game rifle. It is more suitable for hunting small varmits or at the most, a deer. It is not suitable for bear unless you are good enough to head shoot them. Ergo, bringing down a sasquatch with a lung shot IMO is highly questionable without shooting it multiple times. As such, if his story is believable, it would have taken a while for the animal to die and it likely would have been suffering and in agony making cries. I don’t recall him reporting anything of the sort.

  5. Redrose999 responds:

    @ CDC,

    You’ve hit the nail on the head.

    @ William.

    Thank you for the information. I think a lot of folks are naive to hunting. They just think bullet, and can kill anything, rather than, what kind of bullet is used, and what it CAN kill.

  6. William responds:

    @Redrose999

    You are welcome. I have never personally hunted bear but have a good friend who has killed many (he lived in Alaska for years). He used nothing smaller than a 7MM Magnum and he said even with that big of a caliber that a Big Brown Bear was hard to kill. He said even with a well placed shot they would sometimes expire slowly and claw the ground while doing so to the extent it looked like a backhoe had dug around their carcass. The reason being they have a very slow heart beat. I also stand corrected that you could easily kill a bear with a shot to the head using a 25:06. Perhaps with a small Black Bear but an Alaskan Brown or even a Grizzly has a very thick skull and it is highly possible the bullet would just make them mad!

  7. Redrose999 responds:

    00;

    Wow,

    not only did he shoot a creature that “looks like a little kid”, he’s selling it’s meat with Tom Biscardi. If it is true (and the more convoluted it gets the more hoax it screams), it is so twisted on so many levels that it boggles the brain.

  8. DWA responds:

    William:

    My understanding is that those who have killed charging grizzlies say: forget a head shot, with any caliber. You might have to go through an eye to stop the bear, and good luck with that. You’re aiming for a triangle below the head, encompassing the heart, and…um, good luck with that one too.

    Many with a gun and the chance to use it on a bigfoot have thought: one shot and I make history. (Then there are all the reasons they didn’t shoot.) Then there were the ones that held fire because – OK, among other reasons – they were totally not confident of the ability of the weapon on hand to stop the animal.

  9. kittalia responds:

    @CDC

    I admit that I haven’t listened to the interview. I have a desktop computer without speakers, and when I tried to listen to it on headphones there was so much static I could barely make out the words. I was thinking of a personal experience I had when I was about twelve. I was horseback riding with my brother when I saw a cougar only about twenty feet in front of us, right by the road, poised to spring. I completely panicked and fell off the horse. I think if I were in his position, I would have never thought of trying to capture the animal. That shock from seeing something I knew was in the area and had seen before, if only from a car, was so overwhelming and irrational that if I was in his position, I would probably have had a nervous breakdown, instead of losing my head and killing the baby. If I get a chance, I will try to listen to the interview, though.

  10. darkhb responds:

    I’ve been a hunter all my life and that account is about the most distugusting and disturbing thing I’ve ever read. If this is true, this person needs to be investigated by California Fish & Game or whatever agency in California has that jurisdiction.

    What kind of individual shoots at something that could easily be a person in a suit, and then justifies it by blaming it on them?

    “Well, if that’s a person in a suit, then we’ve got a real problem here, ‘cause they’re walking around during bear season with a fur suit on.”

    “Gee, I guess they get what they deserve if they’re stupid enough to do that” – seems to be his attitude. It’s morons like this that give hunters a bad name. Then, to just kill what he describes as a juvenile in the way that he did it – this person is an absolutely sick individual that needs help.

    Maybe it’s different in CA, but here in NH you cannot ride in a vehicle with a loaded rifle or shoot from a vehicle during hunting season as this guy seems to have done. Did he even have a license for deer or bear? First he’s out bear hunting, then talks aboout deer hunting also in the 1st paragraph. Does the deer and bear season run concurrently in CA as it does here in NH?

    If I were a CA CO or Game Warden, I might be knocking on this guys door.

  11. nnnslogan responds:

    I’d like to postulate a few ideas. I’m not advocating them. I’m more or less thinking out loud here.

    In 1924 a man named Albert Ostman was kidnapped by a group of Sasquatch giant hairy people in the wilderness of British Columbia. He described them in great detail. He didn’t describe them as animals or as apes, but as giant people with hair all over. You can read the account in BFRO report #1091 if you’re not familiar with it. This was also the first witness report of “chatter” or the actual use of apparent language by sasquatch, later corroborated in many reports.

    Check out the audio of “samurai chatter” attributed to Sasquatch in the Sierra Nevada mountains in California:

    Among the details of Ostman’s physical description of his captors: “The soles of his feet seemed to be padded like a dog’s foot, and the big toes was longer than the rest and very strong.”

    Justin Smeja: “And they were calloused. I’ve been saying that they have paws. They’re hands, but they’re so calloused, they look like paws. It looks like a pad, like two little pads on each finger, and a big pad. Their hands were very cushioned.”

    Like many many other alleged witnesses, Justin Smeja describes them as having very human looking faces. Albert Ostman seemed to consider them to be giant hairy humans, not apes. There is a common belief that these are apes like an orangutan or mountain gorilla, but actual eyewitness reports support the much older belief in a sort of “missing link” between ape and human, sometimes called “the last caveman”.

    Now let’s rewind to the “Bugs” story, apparently told by radio personality Ed Hale of Wellington, Texas. He claimed to have shot Sasquatches, which he believed were too human looking, and that he could have been tried for murder, so he buried them in the wilderness. He also described them as being of a rare breed with six toes, but that’s neither here nor there. An important element of his story is the allegation of government agents collecting all his evidence, and forcing him to show them where the bodies were buried and then collecting them to be secreted away somewhere.

    If you are already aware of the government cover-up going on concerning extraterrestrial contact, this concept fits in perfectly with it. Smeja claims government agents came looking for the bodies? Not surprising. These are intelligent indigenous life capable of using language and making very limited tools. This is not only the final nail in the coffin of creationism, but also could be evidence of something more. What if these are the remaining members of an alien race now cut off from civilization like the native Americans (or First Nations if you’re Canadian) were cut off from the roots of Chinese civilization many thousands of years ago? What if they’re the seed race humans were bred from hundreds of thousands of years ago? What if the government routinely intercepts many valid stories of captured or killed Sasquatches and hides the remains, and that’s why there are no bones or bodies found?

    On a final note for all those who are judging Smeja and calling him a killer, let me remind you that hunters kill animals. That’s what they do. If you want to protest against hunting, fine, but don’t single out one guy for being a hunter. A lot of troops are coming home from wars with bloodlust in their hearts and they want to kill PEOPLE every day of their lives, but can’t in civilized society. If you eat meat, but judge people who kill animals, you’re hypocrite. Period.

    Try killing your own hamburgers and chicken nuggets for a change and see what it feels like to be a killer.

  12. Opalman responds:

    I made numerous points in my original post on this site when account was first described by Smeja. I invite all to go back to my first post and note the many reasons why, from a firearms and hunting point of view that Smeja shoots himself in the foot. When measured against my own experience with deer and bear hunting Smeja’s tale is total BS, his own narrative illustrates this.

    No experienced hunter goes bear hunting with a 25-06. The ballistics coefficient for even the heaviest load (most powder driving largest available bullet in weight) is just not adequate for making reliable kill shots one any big game animal. The round was specifically developed as a varmint round for animals like coyote, fox, crow woodchuck and prairie dog. It has great accuracy over relatively long distances but the bullet (projectile that leaves the barrel and enters the quarry is just too small. Its only .03” larger in diameter than a .22 cal. bullet. The maximum weight of bullet available for the .25-06 is 120 grains. A middle of the road deer round like the .308 Winchester’s largest projectile weighs 180 grains. The .25-06 is a bad choice for deer and a completely imbecilic choice for any size bear. No experienced hunter would use a 25-06 for big game hunting; period! I own a beautiful Kimber® bolt action in 25-06 and about all I use it for is woodchuck. Could it humanely kill a deer or even a bear…yes with perfect shot placement but I wouldn’t attempt it unless I was lost in the wood, starving and had no other option, and even then I doubt it would be a humane, (instantaneous) kill. All my Bear hunting was done either with a .30-06 with a 165-220 grain bullet or in the case of large brown bears a .375 H&H Magnum and I am typical of most experienced hunters—99% of any other experience d hunter you ask will come back with the same or ballistically equivalent choice for these animals. I believe that an adult sasquatch would be a very tenacious customer and that something more on the order of a .458 Win. Mag or 460 Weatherby would be in order.

    Enough said regarding the ballistics of Smeja’s story. In reading it over several times I come to the conclusion that Smeja is no experience hunter. According to his own account he doesn’t act like one. He certainly doesn’t talk like one and obviously doesn’t have the type of kind heart experienced hunters always develop as a direct result of taking beautiful creatures. There’s a certain special respect for wildlife that non-hunters don’t understand and paradoxically this only comes with the taking of animals for sustenance or other justifiable reasons.

    In my opinion Smeja is truly a wacko if he is reporting facts. He’s truly a wacko if he made it all up.
    I think he’s a liar and a fraud and that he probably doesn’t know which end the round comes out of on his .25-06.

    @scaryeyes, I think you might find his account “unsettlingly convincing” because you probably haven’t been a part of the hunting community.

    @william: For the record a 7mm Mag. is also way too small for large bear. I know of large Alaskan Brown bear that took 8-12 well placed shots with very large caliber weapons (larger than 7mm Rem Mag) to anchor them for good. Yes; the venerable 7mm Rem Mag is an outstanding round for any North American game animal, except the big bears. There are many good books written on the subject from authors like Stephen Herrero, check them out.

  13. Opalman responds:

    Wait just one moment! Many on this site (most) vehemently declare the sighting in WV by the two girls in a car an total fabrication without any evidence for making such a fantastic claim, yet this Smeja guy reports at great length his supposed killing of what would likely be sasquatch juveniles and parent including all kinds of implausible claims in his report and a large segment of this community believe him.People like trapper9990 have been totally bamboozled by this psychopath is the only explanation I can imagine, that and not knowing enough about guns and hunting to catch the whoppers. I’ll one more time list the red flags; many of them leave only one explanation; A Total fabrication.

    1) He claims to have been shooting a 25-06. Nobody hunts bear with a 25-06 caliber rifle. Its a very small caliber suited for varmints and target shooting. Folks sometimes use it for whitetail deer but soon switch back to a far more suitable caliber for any large quarry, being dissuaded by the cartridge’s lackluster performance on anything larger than a 75 lb deer. Perchance a hunter does hunt large game with such a caliber he is breaking every hunting ethic, mainly the wounding of animals that aren’t recoverable because they travel too far to be located after being wounded. A lot of suffering for any bigger than coyote sized animal.

    2) He claims to have killed the juvenile at close range with his scope adjusted to 16 power (16X magnification) any target closer than a couple hundred feet away would be nothing but a blur (out of focus and without the necessary field of view.) It would be totally impossible excepting a once in a million lucky shot to hit the creature at close range using a scope as described. Smeja relates the distance at which he shot the juvenile in the neck;

    “So eventually me and my buddy are split up, and I’m down this hill, and the little one is almost like straight uphill maybe 15 yards away, maybe 20, it’s is starting to approach me.

    It’s getting closer…it’s getting closer, starting to make some noise, like the deaf chatter thing…it’s getting closer, and I was thinking, “I don’t know what’s going to happen here, but he’s going to get too close, it’s way too close for comfort. Screw it, I’m going to shoot.”

    This part of the account is easily disprovable for any of you out there:
    Go to your friendly neighborhood gunshop and ask to look through a sixteen power scope and look at something closer than his stated “Closer and closer” from 15 yards; as he reported his shot was taken from. You’ll see that the image is wildly shaking and impossible to sight with. Crosshairs won’t be discernible.

    3) a 25-06 would not make muscular tissue wiggle like “jello” I have shot coyotes and ground hog with my 25-06 and this never happened even with hollow-point ammo.

    4) If Smeja studied the creature from the truck at the range indicated with a sixteen power scope he would have seen very plainly that the creature was not a bear. He would have seen it in great detail at 16X.

    @Redrose999 and CDC; I believe you guys have offered a very compelling hypothesis for the seeming veracity in Smeja’s audio interview. I don’t understand though why people aren’t looking at the forensic aspects of his account, (3) of which I outline above.

    Something else that any police detective would catch immediately is his frequent and quick change of topic when certain questions are asked. Example:

    “They were definitely faster on all fours”. Followed quickly by nervously sounding: “They had very long arms, and they had huge heads. They basically had an adult-sized head on a kid-sized body, which is really hard to wrap your mind around. And their hands were huge. Well, they were the size of mine, but if you put that on a little frame, it looks oddly proportioned.” etc (he wasn’t comfortable with the bipedal / quadrupedal topic at all)

    I’m of the opinion after hearing this interview that Smeja is no hunter. He may be a clumsily inept road poacher who primarily shoots after dark using a high power spotlight which causes animals to freeze in their tracks, but sportsman or hunter…never! Even a properly licensed novice would have been easily able to follow the described spoor and recover the creature.

    I am perplexed by people like the trapper9990 poster who believe this dribble and publicly validate such a sicko. I am perplexed by the fact that the companion attests to Smeja’s story. Am I to understand the Ketchum is a player in all this?

    If per chance this story is as he reports it is ample evidence of the depravity so-called human’s are capable of. If it is true a multi-count murder indictment is in order. He is a hideous monster even in the way he reports the imagined and hoaxed story. Maybe a psycho badly in need of attention maybe a sadistic psychopath without any sort of empathetic heart. Who knows?

    I’d say that if true or not Smeja’s karma just got unlivable.

  14. vigilante responds:

    Smeja will pay for what he has done. He knew exactly what he was shooting at. He made sure not to shoot baby in the face so he would not ruin it for taxidermy. Yes that’s right he has the baby stuffed and now we wait………………………….drip…drip…

  15. EriduSerpent responds:

    I have read this interview and listened to it, at first like many I was very dubious.
    A lot went through my mind, especially on WHY would a man shoot an animal which he was unsure of, why then shoot the smaller one.
    I then joined his FaceBook page and actually spoke to him on a few occasions.
    This man is not proud of his actions, he does sound shocked.
    As to why he did it, all you have to do is look at his photo page…this man enjoys the kill. He has so many photos of himself posing by a deer, one photo is no different from the other (to us). But obviously they matter to him, the fact he has killed them.
    So it is possible that he killed merely because he could but then after his human side kicked in and he felt ashamed of it. Maybe he even disbelieved what had happened?
    Either way I recommend you have a conversation with him.
    I am open minded, I hope it did not happen, I hope they do not get found BUT in another way I hope they do so they can be protected from this sort of thing happening again. IF this man did not shoot these beings why put his self in the firing range of people like you and I? WHY go to the trouble of telling people when he had no proof and comes over as an idiot for NOT taking the small ones body? He has not made loads of money from this claim, he has made a lot of enemies and false friends however, he has been taught a hard lesson…even people you think you can trust will stab you in the back.
    This man kills, it is his pass time, look at his Facebook page and much of his interview will become clearer to you. I am an animal protector, an activist, a carer, a saver…I hate hunting but I except that not everyone has my views towards animals. This guy shoots and eats what he culls, stuffs it, enjoys it, disgusting to me as it is, it is how he lives his life.
    Look at loads of the articles, he is the one gaining less out of this than anyone. Everyone else is making documentaries, releasing papers, reports, books etc
    He was told to keep quiet, his own admission of guilt changed that.
    This man I think is a naive man, a simple living man who seems to have got caught up in something he wishes he could change. Yes he said he shot the “being” he said it could have been a man in a suit but he was MILES out so that would of been of small chance. Then I suppose his killing instinct kicked in, then took over, he enjoys it, enjoys the challenge, the feeling. But when confronted by the truth after the apparent human likeness his feelings changed. He did say it looked like a black kid, but he did not say he shot it for that reason. He is saying it was hairy all over, so he knew in his mind it was not a black kid. This is a story which we will not get to the bottom of, as with most of them we will stand on either side of it. I personally have an open mind and even after speaking with Justin I still do. Try it, talk with him, try to get to know him, then decide. I found him easily on FaceBook, he is NOT advertising that he is the Sierra shooter, he does not really mention it on his page. He is just Justin Smeja, a guy who hunts and kills as a hobby (yes he seems a tad overly enthusiastic at it but that is all).




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