TRBC’s Rebuttal to “Would You Shoot Bigfoot?”

Posted by: Loren Coleman on May 5th, 2012

The Texas Bigfoot Research Conservancy (TRBC) has posted a rebuttal to the Outdoor Life article that contained a discussion entitled “Would You Shoot Bigfoot?”.

Needless to say, I am as surprised as anyone that my resignation, in conjunction with John Kirk’s similar departure (which seems to have been forgotten) was elevated to a national media story. But in the telling, the media will have their way with the news, of course, like dropping the specific alignment I mentioned here that I was on the “Board of Advisors.” Therefore, I think it only fair to provide a full forum for the TRBC’s reply.

I asked Brian Brown, who posted the TRBC’s link to Cryptomundo as a comment if he or someone else could give permission for me to post the statement here as a blog entry. He wrote back: “Sure thing. I’m the Media Coordinator, so I’m the guy who can give you permission. You have it.”

Here is their statement, in full, without any edits:

In response to “Would You Shoot Bigfoot?”

On May 3, 2012, Outdoor Life magazine published an article on their Newshound blog entitled “Would You Shoot Bigfoot?” In it, there were a number of factual errors and misrepresentations of TBRC policy that needed to be corrected. Here is the TBRC response sent to Outdoor Life blogger Gayne Young today:

Allow me to correct a few misrepresentations that appeared in your article.

First, The Texas Bigfoot Research Conservancy is an IRS-recognized tax-exempt 501(c)3 non-profit organization with a board of directors elected by its membership in accordance to its bylaws. Loren Coleman is not and has never been a member of our group, let alone on its board. His only association has been as an honorary advisor. Even so, there has been no communication between Mr. Coleman and the group for several years.

Second, the TBRC is not “pro-kill.” Our mission statement says our purpose, among other things, is to “facilitate scientific, official and governmental recognition, conservation, and protection of the species and its habitat.” Our goal is to protect the animal, not to make them into a game animal so we can mount them to a wall. It is true that many of our members advocate the collection of a type specimen. How do we reconcile that with our mission to protect the animal?

In fact, we believe there is ample circumstantial evidence in the form of witness accounts, footprints, and some photographic examples to initiate a concerted scientific study, but after more than 50 years in our popular culture, that study has not taken place. Bigfoot is, to many, a joke. A myth. All evidence to the contrary, as far as “serious” people are concerned, bigfoot does not exist because, so far, no physical remains have been brought forward. There is an established scientific method for the recognition of new animal species. There are very few examples of an animal being listed through photographs or even DNA evidence alone. A specimen is required.

As the Animal Ethics Review Panel states in their article “Collection of voucher specimens“:

Conservation needs are impossible to assess without the ability to recognise and differentiate species. Thus, identification, although often taken for granted, is fundamental to any animal-based study and particularly important when studying native animals.

Our primary mission is to conserve these animals. They cannot be conserved until they are accepted as fact. They will not be accepted as fact until a type specimen is produced. It’s as simple as that.

Many of our critics are decidedly anti-scientific in their positions. They’re very emotional and hold romantic notions regarding what is clearly not a human or human-like animal. They assume that since it can walk on two legs that it must be human, but in fact, wood apes are not known to exhibit any other attributes commonly accepted as differentiating us from the other animals on earth. It is our opinion, based on years of experience, that they are intelligent animals, to be sure. Not unlike orangutans in many ways. But human, no. Not even close.

The TBRC is not “pro-kill,” it is “pro-science.” We are a group of citizen naturalists doing the work of science the best we can with our all-volunteer resources and training. We will only know success when the wood ape is listed among the world’s primates while critics like Mr. Coleman can only succeed if bigfoot remains on the fringes as a cultural oddity. We have divergent and incompatible interests. Severing our association with him was long overdue.

Brian Brown
Texas Bigfoot Research Conservancy
Board Member and Media Coordinator

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.

11 Responses to “TRBC’s Rebuttal to “Would You Shoot Bigfoot?””

  1. peteyweestro responds:

    Pro-kill or No-kill i don’t know , but what i do know is that the people that are involved heavily into the Bigfoot community are always talking about conserving the thing, or making it’s habitat safe. The thing i find funny is they have never needed our help to survive, in fact the opposite is true, they will do better without us, but yet every Bigfoot group out there wants to proove they exist to help protect them,lol yeah ok

  2. Desertdweller responds:

    I think the subject of the original blog item was initially concerned with the reason Loren resigned. Not if BF should be killed for whatever reason.

    As I understand it, Loren was on an “Advisory Board”, yet was not asked for an opinion on the shooting of BF. If that was the case, Loren’s resignation was understandable and completely appropriate.

    I do not agree with Loren’s opinion on shooting BF, but I don’t think that was the issue here.

  3. maslo63 responds:

    Sounds like the TBRC has a logical grasp on the situation, I agree with them on all fronts.

  4. hoosierhunter2 responds:

    I don’t know what Loren and the TBRC relationship was and I respect Loren’s decision to separate himself from that group. However, I think that given the decades of fuzzy evidence TBRC’s position is understandable. I am reminded that no one believed that the duck-billed Platypus existed until a specimen was finally brought in. The loss of one creature did not send the others into a tailspin. It might be that the sacrifice of one Bigfoot could, in fact, save the rest.

  5. krs9864 responds:

    Odd… When did Loren become a “critic” of the existence of Bigfoot?

  6. Loren Coleman responds:

    I say with all sincerity, I am happy to see that some readers at Cryptomundo are able to grasp the words here with full comprehension of their meaning.

    Desertdweller wrote: “I think the subject of the original blog item was initially concerned with the reason Loren resigned. Not if BF should be killed for whatever reason.”

    This is true.

    Desertdweller wrote: “As I understand it, Loren was on an ‘Advisory Board’, yet was not asked for an opinion on the shooting of BF. If that was the case, Loren’s resignation was understandable and completely appropriate.”

    This is another true understanding of what happened and why I resigned.

    Krs9864 wrote: “When did Loren become a ‘critic’ of the existence of Bigfoot?”

    This is another insightful statement by a reader. Such a false conclusion conveyed in the rebuttal from TBRC makes no sense.

    Indeed, the main theme of their statement, from the projected existence of a “wood ape,” to it definitely being “human,” to more, seems to be a response that goes far beyond me resigning due to my membership on an advisory board. The rebuttal was used to express some foundation true believer points, unfortunately.

    Organizations have advisors an advisory boards to gain advice, but when those advisors are never asked to advise, then their roles are without purpose.

    As most people realize, advisors are picked to give credibility, leadership, advice, visibility, and promotional value to an organization. Such roles are filled on a volunteer basis and for free, as was mine for the TBRC.

    For an organization’s spokesperson to state “Severing our association with him was long overdue,” is just bizarre. How can this be when there is little history here? They wanted me for my name, the truth be told, and it benefited them. My membership on the advisory board was a friendly gesture, a way to give back to the field I consider worthy of my time and energy. To find their statement, instead, concentrates on Bigfoot’s existence and its species alignment, and avoids the main issue for the resignation – no advice was asked of an advisor about a change in a policy to kill Bigfoot – was a surprise.

  7. windigo responds:

    Let me start by saying that I have never had any affiliation or association with the TBRC. Also, when commenting about any one particular organization I think it’s proper to separate the members from the operational goals of the organization. Personally, I would never align myself with an organization that is, “pro-kill” in it’s stance. However, I’m aware that there are many members of the TBRC that are fine field researchers who have contributed over the years towards the objective of ethically documenting this creature to the scientific community.

    After reading the statement of Mr. Brown, I believe he failed to separate the TBRC from the controversy that it finds itself in, or make any logical sense in his explanation of the organizational position on the topic. He stated, the TBRC is not “pro-kill,” it is “pro-science.” Therefore, according to this way of thought, utilizing efforts in the field that are less than lethal are contrary to scientific methodology? Is it an impossibility to prove the existence of this creature without executing one? Without going into great detail, it is an absurd notion to believe that killing one of these majestic creatures is the only way to validate it’s existence. The discovery of fossilized remains of species that existed before the dawn of the modern world validate that it is possible, and there are many more scientific efforts that support the position that it is possible to prove the existence of a Sasquatch without actually killing one. I personally believe that habitualization is the approach that yields the most promise, when considering the viable alternatives. The problem with this approach, and many others, is that they involve potentially many years of investigation, planning and preparation. It involves respect for the species and isn’t swayed by the path of least resistance. All of which the TBRC appears to be no longer interested in, which leads me to my conclusion.

    The TBRC decision to take a, “pro-kill” position has nothing to do with science, and everything to do with fame, prestige and money. It is all about being the first to stamp their name on the product, and reaping the bountiful rewards that are sure to follow. It forgoes the concepts of patience and the will to endeavor to persevere in our quest, and it yields to greed and self-indulgence. The TBRC should be ashamed of giving in to such principles. Hopefully, they will reconsider and reenter the community of organizations and individual researchers that believe to kill for such reasons is morally and ethically bankrupt, and devoid of what should be the true spirit of cryptozoology.

  8. Hapa responds:

    Wow. That was a cutting remark on Mr. Coleman by Brian Brown in the last paragraph of the TBRC response!

    Aside from the contention there I definitely agree with Brian Brown’s Position. Emotionalism is definitely killing Bigfoot and taking science out of Cryptozoology, and the argument against Sasquatch being “Human” are dead on. However, to be fair, Mr. Coleman isn’t against a Physical type specimen, just against one that is shot. He views a live capture as better and more appropriate than a dead shot. Nevertheless the easiest, absolute method to attain a type specimen is by shooting one, and either should be done (with a heavy emphasis on shoot to kill. It is far, far harder to capture such a creature alive than killing one).

    I back the TBRC on this one, no offense to anyone here.

  9. Novelhawk responds:

    To me the most glaring part of the statement from TBRC isn’t the “severing ties is overdue”, it’s the part where they say “while critics like Mr. Coleman can only succeed if bigfoot remains on the fringes as a cultural oddity.”

    This implies that Mr. Coleman’s REAL purpose is merely to profit from the idea of bigfoot being real, not the actual fact. As if Mr. Coleman would not surely be boosted to the national forefront even MORE if such a creature existed, since he would be one of the foremost authorities on it given his decades of research and multiple books (and a museum) dedicated to it and other cryptids.

    It seems like a pretty boorish reply from a non profit research organization that seems in most ways to be well respected and honorable. It is unfortunate that in a field of study like cryptozoology, where every interested party is invaluable to verifying the truth and researchers are hard to come by; there should be infighting and division.

    I have considered in the past looking up the TBRC, since I’m in the neighborhood, but I think I’ll hold off awhile longer.

  10. DWA responds:

    Another unfortunate Personality Circus in the hunt for the sasquatch.

    It doesn’t help the mainstream’s attitude to see all this internecine sniping.

    I consider the TBRC criticisms off base. They should have just left well enough alone.

    That said, there is no better group on this case. Let’s just leave the personalities out of it. Loren’s reason for leaving was sufficient. If you believe that killing one is an essential tool to have in the kit, it’s a legitimate difference of opinion. Many disagree, but I would hope no one would demonize anyone for it.

  11. Don Frew responds:

    I have to differ with the TBRC statement that:
    It is my opinion, based on majoring in Physical Anthropology at UC Berkeley and on decades of field experience working with the Bay Area Group for Bigfoot Research (including seven sightings of the creatures myself), that Bigfoot, while not “human” in the strict sense, is sufficiently “human-like” to be given the benefit of the doubt until more is known about the creature. Yes, I have had the “romantic” experience, shared by many who have looked straight into their eyes, that there was something “human” looking back. But more than that… I have heard them use what can only be considered language, to the extent that I have used my (limited) knowledge of their methods of communication to fool them into thinking I was one of them (at least for a short while). I have found tools that they have dropped that show definite signs of modification of natural resources (bone, stone, wood, etc.) to be more efficient. I have observed cooperative behavior that was quite complex.
    The Bay Area Group – founded by George Haas and including Alan Berry & Archie Buckley – always had a “no kill” policy based on giving the creatures the benefit of the doubt. They may not be of the genus “Homo”, but they are certainly of the sub-family “Homininae”. If we kill one and it turns out to be as close to us an Australopithecus or even a Homo erectus, will that be murder? I don’t know. Until I do, I have to opt for “no kill”. To hold such a position, under such circumstances, is anything but “anti-scientific”.
    Don Frew

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