Within the Bigfoot phenomena, there are several controversial topics. I'd say the three most controversial include the debates over "giant ape" vs. something else, paranormal/inter-dimensional vs. strictly flesh and blood, and the kill/no kill view.
I'm not that interested in the first of the three; it is what it is in that regard. And if Sasquatch is a paranormal/inter-dimensional entity, (which I believe it is) the other stuff is moot. But one thing I'm absolutely positive about is the kill/no kill debate. Regardless of what Bigfoot is, I support, without hesitation, a "no kill" stance.
Recently, cryptid researcher Ken Gerhard was a guest here on Binnall of America. As usual, the interview was great; Tim did a fine job of interviewing, as he always does. Gerhard is knowledgeable about his topics, he's done the research, and he's a good speaker. To my surprise, he supports the idea that Bigfoot is a paranormal type being. Too much weirdness going on that can't be dismissed, he says, and this goes for similar creatures the world over, such as Australia's Yowie.
Gerhard also supports a "kill" philosophy. That surprised me, only because he also accepts the paranormal view. I don't know of other researchers (though they may be some of course) who support both views concurrently. I was also surprised that Tim himself agrees with Gerhard. As Tim said, he used to support a "no kill" philosophy, but, as he's given it thought, he's moved away from that to supporting a kill.
I don't mean to pick on Tim, Gerhard or anyone else who supports a kill, but this is a very important thing here. We're talking about the intentional, pre-mediated killing of a creature. And for, in my view, what amounts to nothing more than ego gratification. I realize that researchers who support this view don't see it this way, and, in fact, believe strongly a kill would serve science and all aspects of Fortean, crypto, etc. research well. I understand that. I don't believe, however, that that is reason enough.
Gerhard said in the interview that he believes Bigfoot is close to human-like. While we don't know of course exactly what Bigfoot is, it's a safe and educated assumption to have that Bigfoot is highly intelligent, far more intelligent than any of the great apes (and they're damn intelligent) and that the creature is closer to us in many ways. Given that, I find it horrifying that one would still support a kill, knowing that this creature is possibly more close to human than not.
Either way, it doesn't matter if Bigfoot is close to human or not, if it's paranormal or not, if it's "just" an ape or not. It's a creature that deserves to be left alone. Just because we can, doesn't mean we should. What makes some think we have the right to kill a Bigfoot?
For those that have seen Bigfoot, it exists. No proof is necessary. For those who haven't, like myself, but who think, based on the evidence, that it does exist, no proof is necessary. Not for me. I'm either right or I'm wrong. I don't care enough about being proven either; I don't need to prove either, and a dead body of a fantastic and magnificent creature won't make me feel any better about things. In fact, a dead body -- certainly one that is dead due to the fatal gunshot of a Bigfoot hunter -- would make me feel terribly, terribly sad.
Gerhard brought up some interesting thoughts on the so-called conspiracy theory that the government is keeping the existence of Bigfoot a secret. His view was that, if Bigfoot was known to exist , its habitats would be the site of lawsuits and dragged out battles between citizens, government agencies, and corporations (logging, etc.) concerning environmental and habitat protection. One side on the side of Bigfoot, one on the side of government and corporations. I found it a little confusing that Gerhard would then support a kill policy; for a dead body would prove they exist, and so the battles will begin. The hope that the location of the Bigfoot who suffered its murderous fate would be kept secret is naive; surely that would come out sooner or later.
Science has ridiculed the idea of Bigfoot and the few scientific based Bigfoot researchers, such as Dr. Jeff Meldrum, have had a tough time because of their interest in Bigfoot. We all know the only thing that will shut science up is a dead Bigfoot body. I'm fine with letting science continuing with their "noisy negativism" (the term UFO researcher Stanton Friedman uses for UFO debunkers) when it comes to Bigfoot. I don't care what they think about Bigfoot. My priority is to protect Bigfoot. If that means it will never be "proven" to the world at large it exists, I can live with that. I prefer to live with that, if it means Bigfoot will be left alone.
What gives us the right to think we get to kill a Bigfoot, simply because we want to?
Some places have passed laws protecting crypto creatures; for example, Vermont and New York have laws in place, since the 1980s, protecting "Champ" the water creature in Lake Champlain. It is illegal to harm Champ in any way. As to Bigfoot, Skamania County passed a law back in 1969 that will earn you a $10,000 fine and a five year jail sentence if you kill or harm a Bigfoot. Laws like this are criticized for being publicity in order to attract tourism. No doubt, and, so what? The laws are in place, and that's all that matters.
There's another reason laws are helpful in protecting Bigfoot from harm: stupid humans. When the residents of Millersburg, Oregon, heard of a white Bigfoot type creature on the loose in their small town in the early 1960s, trigger happy humans descended on the banks of the lake where the "monster" was seen, and took shots at anything that moved. Bullets just barely missed the heads of two young boys who were in their boat fishing on the lake. And if the Conser Lake creature, or any perceived Bigfoot, does turn out to be a hoax (meaning a fool in a furry Bigfoot costume) he or she just might end up badly hurt -- or dead. As Loren Coleman commented once: "I'd like a law passed that says if something out there looks like a man covered in hair, don't shoot it."
What is the intent behind killing Bigfoot? To prove to science and the world it exists. What's the intent behind that motivation? A big "See, told you so?" A "Ah, now the mystery is solved! We can move on." A "Wow, cool, how about that?!" So? That's it? The world will still turn, we will still have to go to work, pay bills, there will still be illness and war and poverty. Dead Bigfoot body in the lab freezer won't change any of that.
Some may think my view means I can't let go of a mystery. Bull. I can deal with the mystery; that doesn't't mean I need the mystery. There are plenty of mysteries to go around; a dead Bigfoot body won't put a stop to the high strangeness that swirls around us. After peeling back the layers of the argument, it gets down to one thing: personal gratification. Killing a creature, and one that is clearly as powerful, intelligent, and awe-inspiring as a Sasquatch, isn't enough justification. Giving the world and science "The Proof" Bigfoot exists isn't enough justification either.
Dan Rafter: Protecting Bigfoot: A handful of imaginary species are protected by real laws May 23, 2006 http://www.grist.org/news/maindish/2006/05/23/rafter/
Tim Binnall Interview with Ken Gerhard, February 9, 2009 http://binnallofamerica.com/boaa2.9.9.html