Monday, May 07, 2012

Killing Bigfoot: Texas, Yes....Tennessee, No....Your State?

Below are two recent articles explaining the laws in Texas and Tennessee:

Cryptid conservationists, be on the alert; it's officially open season on Sasquatch. According to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, if you can find Bigfoot in the state of Texas, you can kill it.

A Cryptomundo reader sent a letter to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department about whether it would be legal to kill Bigfoot, and apparently department Chief of Staff L. David Sinclair replied that killing an indigenous cryptid would be legal since it isn't listed as a game animal:

The statute that you cite (Section 61.021) refers only to game birds, game animals, fish, marine animals or other aquatic life. Generally speaking, other nongame wildlife is listed in Chapter 67 (nongame and threatened species) and Chapter 68 (nongame endangered species). "Nongame" means those species of vertebrate and invertebrate wildlife indigenous to Texas that are not classified as game animals, game birds, game fish, fur-bearing animals, endangered species, alligators, marine penaeid shrimp, or oysters. The Parks and Wildlife Commission may adopt regulations to allow a person to take, possess, buy, sell, transport, import, export or propagate nongame wildlife. If the Commission does not specifically list an indigenous, nongame species, then the species is considered non-protected nongame wildlife, e.g., coyote, bobcat, mountain lion, cotton-tailed rabbit, etc. A non-protected nongame animal may be hunted on private property with landowner consent by any means, at any time and there is no bag limit or possession limit.

An exotic animal is an animal that is non-indigenous to Texas. Unless the exotic is an endangered species then exotics may be hunted on private property with landowner consent. A hunting license is required. This does not include the dangerous wild animals that have been held in captivity and released for the purpose of hunting, which is commonly referred to as a "canned hunt".

So apparently, as long as you hunt Bigfoot on private property with the permission of the property holder, you are allowed to kill it. I'm a bit surprised, however, that spotting a previously undocumented animal doesn't automatically transform it from a nonexistent animal into an endangered one. Then again, I suppose rare evidence isn't evidence of rarity.

Given that Bigfoot is generally considered a Pacific Northwestern cryptid, however, I'm much more interested to hear what Oregon or Washington have to say on the matter. Do their game and wildlife statutes similarly allow you to shoot non-game animals that aren't recognized as existent? - io9


Betsy Phillips of the 'Nashville Scene' saw that Texas has officially declared that the law does allow people to kill Bigfoot in Texas, if they want, if they happen to find one.

So, she asked herself, "Hmm, I wonder if I could legally hunt Bigfoot in Tennessee?" And, yes, perhaps I'm not the best person to answer this question, since I don't hunt. But I set out to find an answer.

In short, the answer is "no." In Texas, they have a sweeping "non-protected, non-game species" category of animals, and any animal that falls into this category — like Bigfoot, should it exist — you can hunt any time as long as you're on private property and have permission of the owner.

Tennessee's hunting laws, which are so Byzantine that it seems like every hunter needs to be an amateur lawyer to figure out what he can shoot when, seem to operate under the opposite philosophy. Whereas Texas is, "if we haven't told you you can't kill it, you can," Tennessee is all, "if we haven't told you you can hunt it, you can't."

It seems that Bigfoot would be protected by the same rules the Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency has for alligators. Much like Bigfoot, some folks are certain alligators have made their way into Tennessee, even though sightings of them are still very rare. About alligators, the TWRA says:

There is evidence that alligator populations are expanding north along the Mississippi River into Tennessee. Species which expand their ranges into Tennessee (such as alligators) are protected and may not be taken until a hunting season is proclaimed.

That's pretty clear. No shooting at things until the state has had a chance to rule on whether you can hunt it.

But there's a further bummer sentence for amateur Bigfoot hunters — "The taking, killing and/or illegal possession of hawks, owls, songbirds, endangered species or any other species for which a season is not set (e.g. snakes) is prohibited." Since we have no Bigfoot season and won't have a ruling on whether there will be one until Bigfoots are proved to exist, not only can't you kill a Bigfoot legally in Tennessee, you can't capture one and try to bring it back alive (unless you're a scientist).

This is quite the conundrum for Bigfoot hunters. You can't legally capture or shoot a Bigfoot in order to bring the carcass back and prove it exists until someone has proved it exists and they decide if there's a Bigfoot season.

I guess you'll just have to stick to blurry photographs and grainy video. Just be careful when you go into the swamps to get those images. Apparently there are alligators lurking.

NOTE: In my opinion, the National Wilderness Preservation System (NWPS), the U.S. Department of the Interior and the U.S Congress need to take action sooner than later in order to protect these hominids. This should not be a state issue...but, instead, a federal mandate and law forbidding the capture or murder of these human-like creatures (even if they are alien). Lon

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