Texas Parks & Wildlife and Bigfoot

Posted by: Craig Woolheater on May 11th, 2012

With all of the recent controversy about Killing a Bigfoot in Texas, I thought I would revisit some previous conversations with Texas Parks & Wildlife from the past.

This took place when I was still with the TBRC, and before it was incorporated as the non-profit Texas Bigfoot Research Conservancy.

On November 7, 2002 I wrote a letter to Robert L. Cook, Executive Director of Texas Parks and Wildlife, concerning the remarks made on camera to Jonna Fitzgerald by Larry LeBeau (text excerpt below), wildlife biologist employed by Texas Parks and Wildlife, concerning evidence found (by the TBRC). Associate member (at the time) Larry Lesh continued the dialogue with Texas Parks and Wildlife. Here is the text of my letter with his response following, as well as Larry’s correspondence:

Robert L. Cook
Executive Director
Texas Parks and Wildlife
4200 Smith School Road
Austin, TX 78744

Mr. Cook,

I am writing in regard to news coverage of our group on NBC56 Tyler-Longview. Jonna Fitzgerald did a 3 part piece on our research and investigation of Bigfoot sighting reports in East Texas. She also interviewed one of your employees, wildlife biologist Larry LeBeau. (Link to article and text at bottom)
Larry refuted all of the evidence that he was shown on film that Jonna had filmed of ours. He stated that the 5-toed footprints that we have found and cast were nothing more than the rooting in the ground of feral hogs. He also stated that when people report seeing a large, hairy being, that they are seeing nothing more than growths of switch cane, with the wind blowing the leaves and giving the illusion of movement. I can assure you that these statements are nonsensical, as there have been many daytime sightings where the witness would be able to distinguish between plant life and a large, hairy, upright mammal. I don’t think that the switch cane would be able to cross the road in front of people as they were driving. I would be more than happy to provide you a copy of the interview with Mr. LeBeau for your viewing if you have not seen it. It aired on August 2nd of this year.

I am curious if Mr. LeBeau’s remarks are the official stance of Texas Parks and Wildlife, or merely Mr. LeBeau’s opinion. If not, what is the official stance of your Department concerning this matter? You may reference our website to see the many reports we have received of persons witnessing this animal.
It is our stance that we are dealing with an animal, merely a flesh and blood primate. Not a “monster”, the “missing link”, a shape-shifter from another dimension or an extraterrestrial. We have received over 100 reports from the state of Texas alone. While some may be suspect, there are only a few possibilities. Either the person is lying, hallucinating, being hoaxed by someone else, misidentifying a known animal or they saw what they say they saw. I feel that at least some of them fall in the last category. If this is the case, and even one report is factual, then there is something out there.

Craig Woolheater
Texas Bigfoot Research Center

Mr. Woolheater,

Thank you for your letter dated November, 7 2002 about your organization and about comments made by our employee, Larry LeBeau, concerning the existence of Bigfoot in Texas.

Mr. LeBeau is an experienced, valued employee in good standing with the agency. Whatever his belief or position on this issue is his own personal opinion. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department has no “official position” on this matter. The agency has no regulatory authority over such issues or creatures.

Robert L. Cook,
Executive Director
Texas Parks and Wildlife

Greetings Mr. Cook,

I couldn’t help but respond to your return letter to our Director, Craig Woolheater. I understand your position regarding Larry as I’m a retired senior NCO from the Air Force and now work for the Post Office in North Texas. I’m quite familiar with government agencies and bureaucracies. I’ve come close to an actual sighting of this species myself some decades ago in California. Also, I respect Larry’s education and experience with wildlife.

Craig’s stated opinion of our research center are the actual facts. The Discovery Channel on January 8th and 9th will run a special where the existing circumstantial evidence will be examined by an interdisciplinary group of scientists who will offer their opinions on this evidence. I request that you and Larry watch the program or tape it if need be for review later. You may wish to quietly pass a memo thru your system and ask your employees for their responses.
It’s the total amount of circumstantial evidence that has been accumulated over the last 50 years that’s so convincing. I can outline this evidence for you in a couple of dozen lines of an email and reference where to go to find the material if you wish.

The species Gigantopithicus blacki (the late Dr. Grover Krantz) will be identified in the near future by solid or irrefutable evidence. I do believe your agency should have regulatory authority to recognize and offer temporary protection to any unknown living species which is discovered to exist that might be in some type of danger. Our legislature meets next month and I submit you should quietly ask for such authority and define what evidence is acceptable to your agency.

The BLM employees are well aware of the controversy surrounding Sasquatch. Also, they’ve quietly taken up the issue among themselves and are prepared to immediately act upon the submission to them of solid or irrefutable evidence about this species. As you’ve very clearly stated in your letter to Craig you have no authority to act to recognize and protect the Sasquatch species or any unknown species in the state of Texas. Sir, I submit to you that you need to immediately remedy this situation by an addition to the Codes of Texas.

Thank you for your time with these matters.

Respectfully yours,
Larry Lesh

Mr. Lesh;

Mr. Cook asked me to respond to your recent email.

To clarify what Mr. Cook said in his letter, until a verifiable specimen of Sasquatch in found in Texas, our agency has no authority. Our authority is not limited because of a lapse in Texas Parks and Wildlife Code or other state laws – it is limited because there is no verifiable evidence that such a species is indigenous to Texas. Our agency only has authority over wildlife that is ‘indigenous to Texas’ (TPWD Code 67.001). Circumstantial evidence is not sufficient.
If at some time, a new species is identified in Texas by some “by solid or irrefutable evidence”, we do have the authority to act and protect the species as necessary.

Thank you for your letter and your interest in Texas wildlife.

John Herron
Branch Chief, Wildlife Diversity
Texas Parks and Wildlife

Mr. Herron,

Thank you and Mr. Cook for replying to my email. Your response mentions two types of evidence and I wish to clarify the type of evidence that you and Mr. Cook would accept.

My informal contacts with the BLM indicated they would accept the type of evidence that law enforcement or a court would accept so long as it isn’t just circumstantial. By this I mean a photograph either on film or digital with sufficient resolution and detail to allow the viewer to clearly see the figure of a sasquatch analyze visual details. To date such pictures haven’t been taken but this may change in the near future. Tests exist to verify the credibility of any photographs.

Also included in this is biospecimen material that when collected by researchers and analyzed by credentialed labs and scientists is reported as belonging to a species that is primate in origin but of a species unknown. It is given that this evidence falls within normal scientific testing parameters and protocols.
If you insist on a specimen body you’re giving official sanction to the killing of one of these creatures. Anyone with a Texas exotic game species hunting license can then kill one and doesn’t necessarily have to report that fact to you. We ask that you not do this because there’s a general consensus among bigfoot researchers that this species is self aware. They possess enough intelligence to dodge homo sapiens for more than 50 years.

The specimen body is insisted on by scientific groups for taxonomical classification. They occasionally do accept photographs for this purpose but most likely will not in this case. Our feeling is that if we obtain solid evidence and they insist on a specimen they can go obtain one. I for one will tell them where we got our evidence but I won’t be directly responsible for the killing of a species member because it isn’t necessary.

The reason I ask about this it that with the new generation of cameras and flashes it may be possible to obtain a picture of a bigfoot at 50 feet or less. Such a picture if properly exposed should have enough detail and resolution for analysis. I’m presently conducting my own tests on this subject.

Thank you again for your time with these matters. It’s necessary though for us to clarify your position. This will avoid any misunderstandings should we in the near future obtain solid evidence of this species existence. My best and Merry Christmas to all.

Larry Lesh

Mr. Lesh;

Thank you for your email, asking me to clarify what kind of evidence Texas Parks and Wildlife would need to determine if a new species, such as Sasquatch, existed in Texas.

The evidence would have to be more than hearsay or reported sightings. Sightings are unreliable – we get reports from many individuals who cannot tell the difference between a mountain lion, bobcat, dog or feral hog. Good photographs would help; fur samples or materials for analysis would be considered also.

This evidence would have relate to the occurrence of the species in Texas – as I stated in my earlier email, we have no authority over species not found in Texas.

John Herron
Branch Chief, Wildlife Diversity
Texas Parks and Wildlife

Excerpt referenced above:

NBC56, Tyler-Longview, Texas
Special Report: Bigfoot
Part III
By Jonna Fitzgerald, News Anchor, August 2, 2002

But there are skeptics…..Wildlife biologist Larry LeBeau with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department is one of them.

He says, “We can drive right down here and we can show you a lot of that that we’ve got just all over.”

In the Sabine River Bottom, LeBeau shows switchcane which he says can “take on the appearance of a hairy man, or a hairy Bigfoot. And when the wind blows, these little leaves blow and it takes on the appearance of a hairy Bigfoot creature.”

He says that he thinks a primate could survive in East Texas, but “whether they’re here and exist — they don’t.” He continues,”…we just have not ever had any credible evidence whatsoever to substantiate or prove that Bigfoot is living in the area.”

LeBeau says that the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department would know if an animal like Bigfoot was in the area. “In all our efforts on our spotlight count research activities, we’ve never documented or seen or been able to justify any type of Bigfoot,” says LeBeau.

TPWD referenced what they would consider to determine a new species, such as Sasquatch, existed in Texas.

Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Fort Worth, Texas
Sasquatch watch
By DAVID CASSTEVENS, October 31, 2005

The Texas Parks & Wildlife Department requires more than anecdotal evidence before the state agency will take Sasquatch seriously.

“To conclusively prove … Bigfoot in Texas, we would need an image that included details to show us that it was not a doctored or edited image in any way, or we would want a body itself,” said Duane Schlitter, who oversees the TPWD’s Nongame and Rare and Endangered Species program.

“The latter would be the extreme, but many doubters will be hard to convince. As a romantic scientist, I would like to be around when and if one is ever found anywhere.”

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.

4 Responses to “Texas Parks & Wildlife and Bigfoot”

  1. Novelhawk responds:

    Thank you for posting this, Mr. Woolheater. I missed it the first time around and it is very interesting correspondence between a bigfoot group and a government entity. Texas Parks & Wildlife took the correct stance in the letters (though the interview answers were somewhat disappointing). Sort of a “if it’s there and we can verify it, we’ll protect it, but until then, we don’t recognize it.”

    I am a native Texan and spent a lot of my youth hunting in the woods and national forests that cover much of east Texas. I never laid eyes on any animal I couldn’t identify, and the most exotic thing I ever found were bobcat tracks. That’s not to say something wasn’t out there, but I didn’t see it.

    I do wish the TBRC luck in their search though, since it seems they have a pretty solid group of dedicated researchers and if bigfoot is in Texas, it should be identified and categorized by science.

  2. Hapa responds:

    Wishful thinking. Texas Parks and Wildlife might accept a new species on a basis of small biological remains (hairs) or silly photographs (oh, those CAN’T be faked!) for usual new species, but not one that is as controversial, as ridiculed, as folkloric, as hoaxed, as Sasquatch.

    We’ve been down this road before. The P/G film should have been the type specimen if films and photos are the ultimate “Smoking bullet” (oh, nobody would believe a CORPSE, but a PHOTO or a FILM! Oh my giddy aunt we can prove it with THOSE!). But it didn’t happen. Neither have the hairs that have been found, the tracks out the wazoo, the films and pics out the wazoo, the historical and archeological and folklore evidence, none have done squat. Even a pic or film as clear as the one about the Cross River Gorillas would not convince the scientific community, and if (ROFLOL), if the Texas Park and Wildlife folks dared accept a clear film/photo as fact, they would be beetle-browed by the skeptic elite and TPTB into disregarding it.

    Look if you don’t believe in killing it then you should believe in capturing it alive, or getting something more substantial than anomalous hairs and spit and blood.

    Don’t want it killed to be proven? Then capture it before someone does kill it to prove it. And don’t doubt that no one will ever kill one, whether discovered or not (the Mt St Helens episode recalls a killing of a Squatch, just not a retrieval of a corpse).

  3. graybear responds:

    The late Dr. Carl Sagan said that “extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof,” which is exactly the case for Bigfoot. The existence of a large, hairy, bipedal, North American primate (not to mention all the other variations reported world wide) would require vast and far reaching alterations in the way anthropology looks at our own selves, our ancestry and our place in the world. Many scientific disciplines would need to invent entire new paradigms to allow our towering cousins room to sit at the known primate table.

    Many scientists resist the idea of Bigfoot simply because we don’t have the extraordinary proof necessary to upset so many years of incorrect assumptions. For this reason, as the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, we need a body or a significant portion thereof. I don’t like it, but my (or anyone’s) like or dislike of the necessity makes no difference. We need the extraordinary proof a body would provide.

  4. DWA responds:

    There is a very very simple way to protect an animal unknown to science from being shot: make it illegal to kill one.

    This can be done by a very simple expedient, used by many states: prohibit the shooting, trapping or taking by any other method of any species for which a season and limit are not specified in the state game laws.

    If you are not specifically told that you can take the animal – specified by name – then you cannot.

    It would be just like TX not to do this (apologies to those Texans rightly offended). But given the gun-toting TX tradition, the state might want to do it soon, before a bipedal primate known to dress up in costume fields a bullet or six.

    If one insists on limiting Texans’ rights to kill stuff as little as possible, one could simply add a provision against shooting bigfoot, sasquatch, or anything on two legs that isn’t a currently accepted game species in Texas, to the laws. I mean, we are talking about people in gorilla suits here. Unless we want to see that shenanigans stop, by any means necessary, but you didn’t hear me say that.

Sorry. Comments have been closed.

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