Would You Shoot Bigfoot?

Posted by: Loren Coleman on May 4th, 2012

Hunting The Ape Man

This is getting serious. Outdoor Life interviewed me this week. I’m on the record about what I think. Now they have placed the ultimate question of the week online for hunters and outdoors folk.

Outdoor Life is running a poll to see if you would shoot a Bigfoot.

Find it here.

Gorilla photo source.

Loren Coleman About Loren Coleman
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading living cryptozoologist. Certainly, he is acknowledged as the current living American researcher and writer who has most popularized cryptozoology in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Starting his fieldwork and investigations in 1960, after traveling and trekking extensively in pursuit of cryptozoological mysteries, Coleman began writing to share his experiences in 1969. An honorary member of Ivan T. Sanderson’s Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained in the 1970s, Coleman has been bestowed with similar honorary memberships of the North Idaho College Cryptozoology Club in 1983, and in subsequent years, that of the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club, CryptoSafari International, and other international organizations. He was also a Life Member and Benefactor of the International Society of Cryptozoology (now-defunct). Loren Coleman’s daily blog, as a member of the Cryptomundo Team, served as an ongoing avenue of communication for the ever-growing body of cryptozoo news from 2005 through 2013. He returned as an infrequent contributor beginning Halloween week of 2015. Coleman is the founder in 2003, and current director of the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine.

43 Responses to “Would You Shoot Bigfoot?”

  1. muircertach responds:

    Absolutely I would.

  2. Pete Fischer via Facebook responds:

    What choice is there? You have witnesses, hair, scat footprints–what will it take to finally prove-beyond a shadow of a doubt? People are so closed minded about some of the most amazing things that just may exist in the world–it’s magic or unreal until someone explains the trick and takes that magic away. This is the price we pay for growing up.

  3. DWA responds:

    Nope, I wouldn’t. For confirmation you don’t need to; and what other reason could there be?

    If your main evolutionary ‘advantage’ is easy rationalizing, um, millions. Just none that resonate with me.

  4. Pete Fischer via Facebook responds:

    Note, I am not a fan for the destruction of any endangered animal and I pray that science CAN find another way to BELIEVE. But, I think “science” will continue to explain away and discount anything else researchers can produce.

  5. DWA responds:

    I should add that this topic getting currency in hook-and-bullet magazines may be a considerable boost to our chances of getting decent evidence.

  6. Eddie Medina EdMed Art via Facebook responds:

    If he was trying to carjack me…heck yea I would! 😉

  7. James Hayward via Facebook responds:

    No, I wouldn’t kill another, it stank and tasted like porcupine.

  8. Doug Warner via Facebook responds:

    The only way to prove their existence (if they do truly exist) would be to pop a cap in one and drag it out of the woods.

  9. Donnie Eslick via Facebook responds:

    Well,i live in FLA. and we have this lil thing you might have heard of… The “stand your ground law” just say’n

  10. Elizabeth Jury via Facebook responds:

    Yes. Preferably I would hit it with my car (covered with insurance).

  11. springheeledjack responds:

    That is one of those real questions I’ve wrestled with for the last few years.

    The pros: well it would prove that BF does exist.

    Cons: Actually would it? What if you shot one out in the middle of nowhere (which is usually where they show up)? Now, how do you drag a 3-500lb critter back to civilization–don’t know about you, but lugging a brute like that through woods would suck, if you could do it at all. OR, what if there’s others out there with you? You know, the ones in the trees you didn’t see…maybe you never make it back.

    Another con is a thought I had and mentioned before: up to now, there have been a few cases where BF has apparently attacked someone or threatened them, but if you shot one (and actually if you look at the BFRO site, there are several incidences of people actually shooting at them with minimal or no results), what’s the possibility that word may spread (with tree knocking, howls and so on, they have some form of communication, and maybe more advanced than we thought, even if it is just body language forms). What happens if shooting one leads to the entire population eventually takes the stance that humans are dangerous and need to be removed from their environment? So BF’s start actually hurting or killing hikers and campers, which leads to retribution by humanity, and so on?

    You see where I’m going with that, and yes, there’s a lot of supposition on my part, but those are the questions raised when you talk about this. We know very little about BF behavior (though we’re learning more with every passing year), psychology, intelligence, and so on. What we do now, may affect the population itself based on our actions. IS it an animal, and even if it is JUST an animal, does that mean we don’t have to respect it?

    Another point is that we know little next to nothing about its reproductive rate. It’s been theorized that there aren’t a lot of these creatures anyway and killing one may have a huge impact on the population for a given area, region or even for the continent…especially if you accidently kill a female. What then?

    For me, the number one reason people are gung-ho to kill a BF is to prove without a doubt that the species is REAL. People are impatient on getting absolute proof, and honestly for some of the scoftics out there, only a body will do. So is that the bottome line for killing one…and justification? Just so we can shut the scoftics up and say, “Hah, I told you we were right!” Is that really justification, and does it make it okay?

    Again, that’s something you have to decide. I have wrestled with the question myself–and I’ve gone back and forth on both sides. But when I break it all down, the only reason I could come up with for killing one is exactly that: to stick it in someone’s face just to prove I was right and they really existed. Is that a good reason or even a sufficient reason for killing something?

    There have also been plenty of reports of people with high powered rifles that have had one in their sights and they haven’t been able to shoot one. Why not? Most of these particular people have been hunters–they’re used to killing game, have been doing so for years. So why just not shoot? It makes me think there’s something more to these creatures than just being dinner for your evening meal (and I know there’s more to hunting than just that–I’ve hunted too), and maybe it’s something that brings them a little closer to us as a species.

    Either way, put me in the wilds with a rifle and give me a free shot at BF…and I’m not going to take it. If for no other reason than out of respect for them. But there’s so many other implications of shooting one, and so many unknowns that the act of shooting one could start into motion that it is just not worth the bullet.

    I can live with the scoftics rolling their eyes and so on. I’m bigger than that, and I can wait for the day when we can prove without a shadow of a doubt that they do exist to mainstream science and the zoology texts. Without shooting one in the head and dragging its carcass back out of the woods to parade to the rest of the world.

  12. Richard888 responds:

    Thank you for posting the top picture.

    If the author of Patterson-Gimlin Film: A New Tall Tale wanted to add veracity to that story he could have said that this picture is a frame from the missing as well as shocking and disgusting footage that shows a bunch of men dragging one of the lifeless bodies and placing it on a tarp or a pool cover and then cutting it up. I know he doesn’t mention hanging it upside down from a branch but this could have been a preparatory step to the stated scenario.

    As to whether I would shoot Bigfoot or not, probably not. In my view, Bigfootology, a subcategory of Cryptozoology, is slowly changing the conservative views people have on North American wildlife and sooner or later primatologists and other “experts” will respond by going out to look for those creatures. So the physical evidence brought about by a dead body may not be necessary scientists to become mobilized due to the paradigm shift.

  13. AreWeThereYeti responds:

    @ DWA re “…and what other reason could there be?”

    Well, self-defense, for one.

    Although the sighting reports generally do not support hyper-aggressiveness on Bigfoot’s part, plenty of people do go off into the wilderness each year never to be heard from again. Could Bigfoot be the cause of some human fatalities in the wild? I can’t say so with certainty – but neither can you categorically deny it. And, let’s face it, a fatal run-in with Sasquatch kinda rules-out one’s ability to file a report!

    Assuming the creature exists, do I really think there’s a greater danger of Bigfoot killing a human than vice versa? No, but the possibility exists.

    So, would I shoot Bigfoot? If I genuinely felt my own, my family’s, or another member of my party’s life was in danger? You’d better believe it!

  14. Pat Mccray via Facebook responds:

    I don’t know if I really would. It would make me a lot of money. I really think anyone can shoot it. But the getting away part would be difficult.

  15. Susan Stevens Daulton via Facebook responds:


  16. FunkyBunky responds:

    Only in self-defense.

  17. DWA responds:


    Well, let me just say: none that resonate with me to the extent that I will pack just specifically against that possibility. I can take my chances with that.


    “But when I break it all down, the only reason I could come up with for killing one is exactly that: to stick it in someone’s face just to prove I was right and they really existed. Is that a good reason or even a sufficient reason for killing something?”

    Exactly. I read a reference once to killing one to “throw it at the feet of science,” like it was a slam dunk followed by victory dance.

    I’m not buying it. I know the scoffers are bereft of evidence for their position. If you have no evidence, I care not what you think.

  18. RandyS responds:

    You actually asked two questions.

    Would I shoot one? Yes, assuming I had a gun, a clear shot, and a reasonable chance of hitting it in the vitals.

    Would I kill one? Well, that’s the thing. Lot’s of reports of shots being taken at them, but only a few claims of a kill (and, as yet, no definitive proof that any of those stories are true). I don’t think killing a creature that size is as easy as one might think.

  19. mandors responds:

    The problem once again is faulty thinking. The orthodoxy among skeptics that “no body, no proof” is ridiculous, and has largely contributed to the present debate. There are all kinds of alternative “proofs” that could establish the existence of Bigfoot short of slaughtering one. A lengthy, crystal clear video; a capture; tooth and other bone samples; good DNA, any of these would be on a similar level to having to kill a specimen.

    We knew the existence of the giant squid for years without seeing one in the wild. The scarring of sperm whales, beak remains in their digestive tracts, carcasses washed ashore, even studying the DNA of baby giant squid, all of these established the presence of the creature, and similar evidence can and would establish the existence of a Bigfoot.

  20. whiteriverfisherman responds:

    I have asked myself that same question many times. I do not think I could even if I wanted to; unless of course I had to defend myself or something. In the state of In. one cannot hunt with standard rifle ammo. The only long guns allowed for deer are shot guns and rifles chambered in hand gun loads. Anything from .357 mag up to .500 smith and Wesson, or a muzzle loader .45 cal and bigger. I carry a .50 inline muzzle loader during muzzle stuffer season and a .44 mag lever gun during rifle and shot gun season. None of which has enough punch for animal that size. Therefore it would be pointless for me to shoot at a Bigfoot. I know in some states hunters can use whatever caliber rifle they can handle. So it would be possible to knock down a Bigfoot for those deer hunters. I wouldn’t recommend trying unless the shooter was packing at least a .300 or 7mm mag. As for going hunting specifically for a Bigfoot, nope not interested. I don’t need the hype and I do not want to be responsible for what would happen because of it. Life would be over as they know and understand it for both the Bigfoot species and the shooter. No thanks.

  21. Peter Von Berg responds:

    Absolutely not

  22. PoeticsOfBigfoot responds:

    Nope. No way. I’m not killing anything larger than a cockroach.

  23. cryptokellie responds:

    All this comentary assumes Bigfoot exists. The bigger issue here, whether Bigfoot exists or not, is that someone in a bigfoot costume is going to be shot.

  24. krs9864 responds:

    No. I have seen one thru a rifle scope and there is something that just SAYS, don’t shoot.

  25. thylo responds:


    if i read you right, and apologies if i have not, that you believe the bigfoot massacre story and feel that top most picture is proof of that, you might want to hold your breath.

    I have seen a break down on that photo before that shows it was an old photo of a hung black bear carcass, retouched to make it appear more anthropoid by modern means.

    nevertheless, you can see odd definition to the edges of the carcass itself, not to mention some blurring as well. it is spurious/ not genuine. 🙂

  26. Ragnar responds:

    In general, I won’t shoot anything unless its a threat to me or mine. So if Bigfoot was walking down the street and pulled a knife on me and threatened to kill me, yeah, I would shoot him. But if I see the big guy in the woods and he’s minding his own business, no.

  27. Ali Pockney via Facebook responds:


  28. red_pill_junkie responds:

    I’ve never held a real fire arm in my life, so this is not even a question I should be asking myself.

  29. KickAChicken79 responds:

    First off, I’d like to say to those who would attempt such a foolish thing as to shoot a 300+ animal, standing erect upwards from 2 meters high is that i would not want to be around if it only pisses him off. Would you think you can outrun a animal that size? I mean considering it being in an extremely agitated state… the outcome would not favor the average (or any) would be hunter in the woods.

    In response, my answer is a definite no. However, I would consider using a powerful tranquilizer gun in order to “prove” he exists without having to kill such an elusive creature. Having said that, one can even inject a tag in him in order to finally track his habits, range and other such valuable information that any one knows you won’t get from his carcass. Its also unethical if he is a hominid rather than a descendant of Gigantopithecus, but even on the grounds of its rarity. Wouldn’t one think that to be more of the holy grail for any true enthusiast of this mythic creature?

    In closing, I wouldn’t shoot a great ape either, nor any other cryptid that would better returned to the wild to live out its life. Tracking it with gps is far better, and therefore renders the debate to be rather stupid and useless IMHO.

  30. maslo63 responds:

    Since bigfoot likely doesn’t exist if I shot one I would probably be shooting a man in a costume and I certainly don’t need that kind of blood on my hands. Now if I absolutely knew it was a bigfoot without a doubt I would shoot it. I wouldn’t like doing it but I would. Aside from finally confirming its existence do you know what we could learn about these things from a body? There is no way I could turn down that scientific knowledge. I don’t care about proving scientists wrong, I want the scientists to study it so we can know what it is we’re dealing with.
    Also, I’m not worried about getting the body out of the woods due to weight. People remove heavier animals from the forest all the time. I’m also not worried about retaliation from other sasquatch because…seriously? If need be I guess I would shoot them too.

  31. Piltdown responds:

    Only if my life were threatened or he was downloading music.

    Remember, Bigfoot murdered Bruce Wayne’s parents, started the Chicago Fire and exterminated the mammoth. He sells drugs in the schoolyard, shoplifts Pez and tears the tags off of furniture (the ones that say “Do not remove under penalty of Law.”) for sheer fun.

    A decadent, debauched and dangerous beast, this Sasquatch, this great slouching hominid.

  32. Jakki Harris via Facebook responds:

    no i wouldnt, humans have caused the extinction of enough spiecies that we knew exsisted without starting on the ones we cant proove exsist. W hat if people go out all gunho and shot someone just goofing around in a suit and if they did kill a bf what if it was female with young. there is so many senerios none of them good. proof of bf will eventually be found without having to murder one.

  33. PhotoExpert responds:

    Would I shoot a BF you ask?

    Hmmm, YES, with a camera!

    And NO, absolutely not with a gun or any other weapon.

  34. Desertdweller responds:

    Yes, I would. Especially if it were threatening me or others.

    But even so, I would probably do it anyway, just to put an end to this argument. It appears to me that the only way this animal will receive proper protection is to present a killed body as evidence it exists.

    I would only do it if I had a way of immediately recovering the carcass. This, to me, means a 4X4 truck, an ATV, or a tractor handy. I strongly suspect that a dead Bigfoot left in the woods would be gone by the time a person could return with something to move it with.

    As far as shooting a costumed human goes, I don’t think Bigfoots look like humans in Ghilley suits. They may look a lot like a human in a gorilla suit. This leads me to ask, “what would a person be doing wearing a gorilla suit in Bigfoot country?”

    It is important for anyone who would shoot a Bigfoot be sure that is what it really is. It would also be important for that hunter not to put himself in a position where he may have to kill more than one to protect himself.

  35. Hapa responds:

    Would I kill one? Yes, yes, yes there I said it three times! Type specimens can include dead bodies, living creatures, major parts of bodies, drawings (well done, not the type you can pull off by catching mere glimpses of the beast in question) and with the Kipunji, photograph/footage. However, for the latter two “type Specimens”, neither are good enough to prove a controversial cryptid like Bigfoot/Sasquatch (if they where, the P/G film would be the type specimen, and declared such back in the 1960’s), and the vast majority of species discovered have been done so by physical remains, not polaroids (and also, if memory serves m correctly, the Kipunji is the ultimate exception instead of the consistent rule, i.e. its the only one that has had footage/film used as a type specimen).

    Is there risk? You bet. But it has to be done, sooner or later. Those that set out to do so must take every precaution to make BIG TIME DARN TOOTING SURE that what they fire upon is neither a human being or a Bear (certain tech like night vision combined with thermograph goggles, particularly latter ones as clear or clearer than that featured in the Movie “Predators”, in order to better distinguish what you are targeting). They need not get too trigger-happy. But a true physical type specimen must be found, and whether you capture or kill one, it leads to the same thing: discovery.

  36. KickAChicken79 responds:

    @maslo63, though the point you make is valid, in which I wholly agree with you in regards to the value of having a specimen on hand to study. But if proven to exist, could we not wait for one to expire if we were merely to track one? You still lose valuable knowledge in terms of mating and social habits, and the chance of one leading you to more than one, perhaps even a social group to study in order to see if they are social like us, and how they communicate. Chances are you can wait for any being tracked to expire on its own, and voila… there’s the body to study.
    So yes a body to examine would give us a wealth of information. what is there digestive tract like? Their brain capacity and structure? How is their muscular anatomy differ from ours and other primates and extinct hominids? etc. just like we’ve studied every other species on earth, this has proven to be the method of 21st century biology.
    If contact is made within the next decade, its how it will likely be done anyhow, because the questions to ask are far to valuable to leave unanswered.

  37. springheeledjack responds:

    Self defense is one of those sticky issues too. What constitutes being threatened? Screaming at you, tossing a rock or actually charging you?

    I think it was Finding Bigfoot this season (now don’t start on me–you know how I feel about that show too), there was an incident where a boy was walking and happened upon one. It yelled at him and all that, and I believe (if I remember the account properly) he dropped to his knees and covered his head. ANd, it went away.

    If BF’s are indeed large primates, then most likely they’ll follow the usual patterns and if you go submissive in the presence of one, avert your eyes and all that business, the likelihood is that it will walk away and leave you alone. Of all of the accounts I’ve read recently across a dozen states or more, there’s only been one account I’ve come across where a BF actually did harm to a person and the details were sketchy on that one. Most encounters include accounts of a BF screaming at them (intimidation), or throwing rocks (ditto), and following someone until they vacate the area.

    That is not the behavior of a violent animal. It’s a predator no doubt, but we’re not its prey or there’d be a lot more people disappearing in the woods. I have little doubt that if a BF wanted to hit someone with one of those thrown rocks, it would have been right on target–there have been too many encounters where a rock landed just close enough (again to intimidate) or ricocheted off a tree near someone’s head, which tells me that it hit what it was aiming at.

    I’m with everyone here when they say, “If my life was in danger I would act to protect myself or my family.” I’d do the same, without a doubt. However, in this instance, I don’t believe that BF’s constitute a threat to people directly–unless someone injures one, invades its territory and antagonizes it or takes that first violent action.

    BF’s are not violent critters by nature. They may kill animals to survive, or even to protect themselves, but that’s not aggressive violence. That’s survival.

  38. Grasshopper responds:

    My immediate response is “NO”. For those of us who believe Bigfoot does exist, either by an actual encounter we have individually experienced ourselves, or by faith and/or belief of the mounting evidence and countless stories that add up to be too many to be denied, would a dead body make any real difference? Do we really need to feel validated and jump up and down and shout, “Woo Hoo, I knew I was right, see? Now here’s proof!”

    If you ran across God/Allah/Jesus/etc. in the woods, would you shoot him/her and haul him/her out, call the press, scientists, anthropologists, et al, to show the world that He or she is the real deal? For me personally, I think any reason one could come up for doing so, would still (no matter how one rationalizes it) be undeniably steeped in ego and ultimately would probably be the death knell for Bigfoot. They have survived and thrived apparently, because to the majority of people, they are just a myth. Make them a reality and their number will surely decline.

    If proved, many will at first be enthralled with the news. Some may be inspired to go hunt them as trophies for their walls, others may want to hunt them just for sadistic pleasure or curiosity. Some may want to put them in a zoo to “protect” them and to allow the public to observe them behind iron bars or glass walls; some scientists may want to do “valuable” research and use them as specimens. Others will want to take them out of the woods and “civilize” them and educate them. Still others may want to put them in a circus. Then here come the lawyers to jump into the fray to “protect” them (you know, equal rights for Bigfoot, right?) And how about the ACLU? I mean the Bigfoot that live here in the good ol’ USA are considered Americans, right? Or would they fall under the protection of the American Wildlife Foundation?

    See where all this could lead to? So many ripples in the pond, just from one single dead Bigfoot. I’d personally rather see a live “myth” continue to exist and hopefully prosper, than witness a dead “reality”.


  39. AreWeThereYeti responds:

    @ KickAChicken79 re, “I would consider using a powerful tranquilizer gun in order to “prove” he exists without having to kill such an elusive creature.”

    Assuming it exists, what makes you think your – or Bigfoot’s – chances of surviving the encounter would be any better with a tranquilizer gun?

    Despite what many movies show, getting hit with a tranquilizer dart does not instantly render the victim unconscious. The dosage must be carefully calibrated to the creature’s size, weight and physiology. Too much of the drug puts the subject to sleep for good; not enough and you’re left with a large, powerful, disoriented – not to mention scared and/or enraged – individual that’s just been “shot” by you. Even if you get your dosage “just right,” it takes several minutes for the drug to take effect; again, giving the target a window of opportunity to place itself, or you, in danger.

    I might also add that, assuming Bigfoot is a social animal, you might have a difficult time persuading its companions that the mother/father/child (etc.) you just “shot” is “only sleeping” and will be “ok” in a few minutes…!

    IMHO, better bring along a “real gun,” just in case…

  40. hoosierhunter2 responds:

    Opalman pointed out on another thread that there is a “dark side to Bigfoot”. I agree.
    We know next to nothing about it. While some Bigfoot may be peaceful creatures, there is no reason to expect that all will be. There are many reports of Bigfoot attacks.
    I do believe there is a lot of anthropomorphizing of Bigfoot on the internet. People like to believe he’s just a big misunderstood human-like being with feelings and emotions and maybe even thinks just like us. We could be terribly and tragically wrong! Even if that were so, there are incredibly evil humans and it is possible that there are equally evil Bigfoot out there. Besides, we don’t know what “triggers” might enrage or provoke a Bigfoot to attack. The point is, carrying a firearm is just smart. I would shoot without hesitation in self-defense. Would I kill one for no reason other than curiosity or to prove once and for all it is real? I don’t know. I could justify shooting it and I can justify letting it go.
    My point is: Do NOT assume that every Bigfoot wants to live and let live or that you could somehow establish a rapport with it. Even the best and most knowledgeable bear lovers get eaten occasionally!

  41. scaryeyes responds:

    No. I am absolutely opposed to encouraging anyone to take potshots at bipedal man-like creatures in the woods, because I think there is a genuine risk of a gung-ho hunter intent on bagging Bigfoot accidentally shooting one of those other bipedal man-like creatures that inhabits North America – a human being. Whether that be a human being in an ape suit, a hunter in a ghillie suit, or just a hiker in bad light. We’ve all seen enough scratchy videos that could be any of the above. It’s one thing to shoot film when you’re not sure what you’re looking at, quite another to shoot a gun.

    I also don’t think proving their existence is so urgent that we have to kill one right now. Proving it exists tomorrow might vindicate a few egos, but that’s not a reason IMHO to kill a rare living creature if you’re lucky enough to be confronted with one. If they do exist, real evidence will inevitably be discovered with time.

  42. maslo63 responds:

    @KickAChicken, of course I would prefer tracking one until it expires but I don’t personally have the technology to track on and the question at hand is “would YOU shoot a bigfoot”. Besides, we have tracks and no bigfoot so apparently tracking one has not been all that successful.

    I actually agree with Grasshopper a lot. Nevermind the God analogy (this is a scientific discussion as far as I’m concerned, not religious) but my biggest fear in proving bigfoot exists would be the exploitation that would follow. But at the end of the day this creature would be of tremendous importance to science. I don’t care about egos or fame, I care about knowledge. Just think at what we would learn from such a creature. If killing one is bad for the population as some have pointed out than I’m afraid they’re doomed anyway, the death of one animal shouldn’t hurt a population unless that population is on its way out. If bigfoot really is endangered without us even knowing about it than what hope is there to save it unless we have one to study and prove its existence? It is a necessary but unfortunate requirement to get a hold of a body.

  43. Ulysses responds:

    I don’t want fame and fortune( fortune is nice though. I could bequeath a good donation to the Cryto Museum ) . All I need to know is that i know it is real. In todays’ day and age even if the Four Horsemen of the Apocolypse showed up , it would look like CGI. Look inside and know there are more things in Heaven and Earth not dreamed of in your philosophy. .

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