Jim Lansdale has Bigfoot's number. The Vietnam veteran and co-founder of the Gulf Coast Bigfoot Research Organization (GCBRO) has a very specific and controversial mission -- to find and kill a Bigfoot in order to prove its existence to science.
"The body of one adult male is the only way our government will admit these creatures do exist," Lansdale says in "Killing Bigfoot," a special that will premiere Friday on Discovery's Destination America channel.
(Spoiler alert: If you're hoping the show ends with "Bigfoot on a slab" as GCBRO co-founder Bobby Hamilton puts it, don't read on.)
"Killing Bigfoot" follows the men of the GCBRO as they receive and follow up on reports of Bigfoot sightings in the thick woods and swamps of Texas and Louisiana, often from spooked locals, including at least one couple who invited the GCBRO onto their property to stake out and hunt Bigfoot.
"We're the first line of defense to protect people and their farm animals from Bigfoot," Lansdale says.
Of course, this approach to stalking the legendary Sasquatch is controversial within the Bigfoot research community, to say the least.
"To me, hunting and trying to kill a sasquatch is rank insanity," says John Kirk III, president of the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club, who is also featured in the show. "What gives you the right to do that? You know, the police, law enforcement agencies, conservation officers, I don't think they take kindly to the notion of people running around forests with guns trying to stalk a bipedal, hairy hominid. There are dangers to other people."
While "Killing Bigfoot" is being called a one-off special right now, it sure seems more like a pilot, because the 45-minute program ends with shots fired but no Bigfoot on a slab, which you may have guessed since there have been no recent news of the scientific Sasquatch breakthrough (well, except for this unrelated"specimen" of dubious origins).
So the hunt continues for now. After watching the whole show (see the trailer below), I asked Jim Lansdale why he and his team have been unable to kill Bigfoot so far, especially with technologies like infrared and night vision available today.
"The hunting in this area has to be on private land with the land owner's full permission to hunt for harvest," he told me in an e-mail. "Technology has come a long ways the past few years and we have some excellent equipment to hunt at night, which is the time we generally go to make sure no one else is on the property. Getting a good shot can be a challenge in the thickets where we hunt, and it always gets back to having the right target remain long enough for a debilitating shot."
Ten years ago, Lansdale says he believes the GCBRO did land a shot that wounded a Bigfoot. He claims resulting blood samples from the scene indicated that the animal belonged to the great ape family.
"With any sort of species discovery, scientists always need an actual dead specimen to test everything for it to be accurate," he told me. "DNA samples can be unreliable. This means we're looking for something specific, a male in the 7 to 10 foot range."
Sounds like a big enough target, but one that apparently remains elusive for now.