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Interview with series Peter Von
Puttkamer of "Killing Bigfoot" on Destination
I don't normally watch any reality shows, or any
non-fiction, and I rarely interview anyone from one, but
this sounded very interesting, so I couldn't resist. To my
surprise, this was a very professional and eye-opening
interview with the producer of this show about tracking (and
possibly killing) Bigfoot.
Here's a recording
of our interview. Here's the transcription....most of it,
1. Do you really believe in Big Foot?
well...believe...that's almost a religious question.
[Laughs] You know...I will say, since I've been doing this
work (and we did another show called "Monster Hunters" in
the early 2000's), I have met enough people and had enough,
kind of, close encounters with people in and around me that
I think there could well be something going on out there.
And thirdly, where we are in the South, on this project,
people are very afraid of this creature. Not just when the
cameras are rolling, but going into 7-11's and Subways,
talking to people. Everybody in these states that we've been
in, Louisiana, Texas, and these areas. Many people have had
2. There's more than one, though, right?
Yeah, there have to be because we see them across 30
states. Even skeptical scientists, in analyzing it...there
has to be at least a population of a couple of thousand
across North America.
3. The show is called "Killing
Bigfoot." Now, is that the preferred name, "Bigfoot?"
Yeah, well, "Sasquatch" is Canadian and "Bigfoot" is
American. (He talks about working with Native Americans in
Canada) When the first tracks were sighted in the late 50's,
in Northern California, it was kind of dubbed that by the
press. They didn't know how to describe it. A road crew was
doing a logging operation and started finding tracks all
over the place. That's when it hit in North America.
4. When they're referring to more than one, is it "Big Feet"
or "Big Foots?"
Ha, ha! I should know, after working
on proposals... It's a plural word. It gets used across
multiple ones, "20 Bigfoot were sighted."
5. Why do
they want to kill it or them?
We've been doing this a
long time. The key to this thing in the South...it seems to
be some kind of different type of Bigfoot. The way the
hunters describe it - the Gulf Coast Bigfoot Research
Organization - they think that the ones in the North are
bigger, the way that Siberian tigers are bigger in the
Northern climates. The ones in the south are sleeker,
faster. They can run on all fours, up to 30 miles an hour.
They're aggressive at times; some of them can be.
in terms of killing the animal...they're not really out to
shoot every Bigfoot that they see. They're really about
helping people. It's kind of like the "Ghostbusters"
situation. [Laughs] Some people are putting in these
calls....this is really going on. Like, if we weren't
filming down there, this is still going on. GCBRO comes in
and investigates. The setups and the searching is enough to
drive the Bigfoot off. What they really do is see themselves
as protecting the public.
The other part of it is --
the killing part of it is -- they look at it more
scientifically. They want to harvest a specimen. Just like
all through history, science has always demanded a body. As
long as no one believes it's real... the way the DNA these
days is... unless you have a CSI with you, there's going to
be contamination. Also, with Photoshop, it's too easy to
fake things. I think a lot of scientists have looked at
Bigfoot hairs and Yeti hairs. There's a lot of opposition to
this. You saw it on the clip, right?
6. How did this
show come about?
Because I've been working in this
field for some time, in cryptozoology, we kind of pioneered
this in the late 90's and early 2000's. I'm always talking
to people in the area, different experts. They were telling
me about a group that was going out with guns and hoping to
bag one for science. That was interesting to me. I first
contacted Jim Lansdale in 2009, and we didn't have any
interest in doing a show like this. There weren't any other
shows like this on the air. By 2014, people seemed ready for
it. That's when we submitted it again and got interest.
5. Besides yourself, I assume you have other people who
help you put the show together. Do you think most of the
people working on the show believe in Bigfoot?
you know what? We have a pretty interesting crew. Some of
the guys used to work with Greenpeace. Some of them are
outdoor loggers and people who've gone into the jungle with
me or have worked in the Amazon, or have worked with me in
Africa...we did a show on gorillas. I produced a show called
"Biggest and Baddest" for National Geographic Wild. They
have a healthy skepticism about it, right? A couple of
producers, and at least one producer have had encounters
that kind of shook that. We had a sighting close to one of
the houses that we were at. It's unusual because you don't
expect to see anything, while making the TV show. All the
crew and cast was off, working. One of the producers and her
assistant were back at camp, with one of the hunters, and
they were around on a property that's quite forested, and
all of a sudden the surveillance light came on, a dog
barked, and then they see this large form, which they later
figured out, measured up against the horse trailer, was at
least 8 feet tall, with a thick neck, and moving with speed
and with some purpose.
One of the reason to rule out
hoaxes is that, if you show up on one of these properties in
a fur suit, there's a good chance you're going to get shot.
So basically, it would be a suicide mission, to be wandering
around in a fur suit, by themselves. So that's a pretty good
reason for rulling out hoaxes. So they saw something, for
sure. It was dark, but they could see the shape of it, and
it was huge.
We got something on a GoPro camera as
well, by accident. We weren't expecting it. Something showed
up on a hunter's GoPro. We were waiting for some
eyewitnesses to show up. There was a church where an
encounter had happened the day before in the woods behind
this church, and it was adjoining a property that one of the
key eyewitnesses, who had a dog - actually, the largest
German shepherd that I'd ever seen. It had been thrown
through the air and had its jaw dislocated, at night. Not
something a cougar or coyote would do. It's an unusual kind
of accident. Guests won't stay there any more. I sent two
guys in, informally. One of them had a GoPro on his head.
The other one went off with another cameraman, but they were
quite separate. When Don, who had the GoPro on his head,
came back, he said, "I heard SOMEthing. It seemed to be
tracking me. I'm not sure what it was." Later we looked at
the footage, and sure enough...it's a big wide shot because
it's a GoPro - one of those portable cameras you can stick
on your head. When you blow it up, you see a bipedal form -
so someone with 2 legs, sloped shoulders, and an ovoid head.
It stopped behind the tree, just waiting. It's waiting for
our guy to move. As soon as he moves, it steps forward, and
he walks out. You can see the split in the light as he walks
out out of the woods, into the next area. So, is it
definitve proof? No. But it's unusual, and strange, also
given the fact that people have seen someone they've
described as white-haired, and ape-like, moving in there the
6. So how do you know it's not an escaped
gorilla, or a bear, or something?
Yeah, well, it
definitely wasn't a bear. That's for sure. We ruled out
fellow cast members because they weren't there. So could it
have been a person? Yeah, it's possible that it could be a
person. It'd be a really weird person. Most people come up
to us, and ask, "What are y'll doing?" Whatever this was, it
was hiding. Basically, with all of the vertical lines in the
woods, if Bigfoot stood still, you'd never see him. So this
thing was poised behind the tree, and then going ahead and
moving. They don't have bear caves in Louisiana, so, once in
a blue moon, you could get a bear, but they're not common,
let's put it that way.
7. The reason I asked that is
because the description for the episode says, "Several
locals have reported seeing a small orangutan-like creature,
monkey-like, near the woods" so I was gonna ask, "How do
they know it's not some kind of monkey" but that's not the 8
foot one you mentioned.
You're right. That's kind of
the fun part of the show, like "What the heck is going on?"
Because we know about Bigfoot sightings, but what's this
about monkeys? It's bizarre, right? Consistently across
three eyewitnesses there, had referenced... there's a skull
that shows up, a small ape-like creature, and it ties into
something they call a Devil Monkey in lore across the south.
We get into a lot of that, an escaped circus animal and all
kinds of ideas about what it could be. It's unusual. Is it a
baby Bigfoot? One lady describes an orangutan-like creature
at one point.
8. Why are there so few clear Bigfoot
Well, I've done shows on feral hogs. There
are 8 million of those in the U.S. now, between domesticated
pigs that have escaped as well as the descendents of the
wild boar that were brought here in the turn of the 20th
century. You don't see those. You'd never know they're
there. They only move at night. Unless you specifically go
hunt them with dogs, you're not going to see a feral hog.
The idea with Bigfoot is that he or she's mostly moving at
night. By the way, they've talked about different varieties
(3-toed, 4-toed and 5-toed). They think there's some kind of
in-breeding going on. They think the ones that are 3-toed
are more aggressive. There's a whole school of thought about
it, with the GCBRO. Based on 20 years of research about it.
It's one of those things, like, "Have you ever seen a baby
pigeon?" You don't even see dead bear carcasses...bears that
have died of natural causes in the woods. If there are just
a few of them, and they're moving at night, and they're
cautious...then, it's possible.
9. How are Southern
Bigfoot different than ones in other areas of the US?
Based on what Jim Lonsdale and Bobby Hamilton from the
GCBRO are saying, it is a very different creature. The
eyewitness descriptions, the ones that we've interviewed, as
well...talk about something sleeker, streamlined. Red-haired
or silver-haired, which was really unusual, I thought. I'd
never heard that red-haired thing before. And the fact that
they can drop to all fours and run through the thickets
because that's the big thing down there. The jungle is very
dense. I worked in Africa, and the Congo, and I've worked
many times in the Amazon. When we get in those thick woods
in Louisiana and Texas, it's just as tough as any of those
other environments I've worked in. So the creatures would
have to drop to all fours to move at high speed. That's what
the theory is; that's what Jim and the others believe. They
have reports of them running at speed on all fours.
10. We see a lot of places where people have encroached on
animals' habitats. Is it possible that's what's happening
with the Bigfoot?
Yeah, exactly. That is a good point
because the funny thing is...the hunters refer to themselves
as rednecks, but they're the most environmental rednecks
I've ever met. They really are concerned about fracking and
over-logging, over-foresting. It's bad for all of the
habitats and wildlife. They're hunters, traditional hunters,
not trophy-hunters. They're woodsmen. They respect the
forest and the animals. They shoot an animal, they skin it
and eat it. So, yeah, they think the habitat is shrinking
and the Bigfoot are coming more into the places with human
contact. Especially these places we go to, which are on the
edge of the forest. Many of the places we went to were like
the area in Texas called the Big Thicket where you've got
200 or 300 miles of wilderness. We have reports of wolves or
panthers, and other large predators there. So, yeah, it
could definitely be attributed to habitat destruction. (He
speaks some more about talking with native Americans and how
they believe in the Bigfoot as if it were any other
11. A lot of the Bigfoot lore seems to
consider them some kind of mystical beast. Do you think it's
possible that it's just some kind of animal that we haven't
Yeah, that's a part of the big debate
between these different groups. One side says you can't kill
one because it's humanlike...it would be murder." Then GCBRO
says, "No, it's a big ape." It lives in holes in the ground
and doesn't have tools. It fits the description of animal in
most people's minds. The group we refer to in the show, one
of the main spokespersons (a psychologist) feels that you
should not treat Bigfoot aggressively. He was with the GCBRO
but changed his mind about it. So now they go into the woods
and want to treat Bigfoot like a tribal people. This is
really interesting to me as a filmmaker. I had no idea this
was going on down in the South. There are people who go into
the woods and they leave food for Bigfoot. They want to
commune with Bigfoot. They feel that there's a psychic
connection, in many cases, between humans and Bigfoot. To
the GCBRO, this is all craziness. They don't believe in any
of that. They'd rather just get a specimen, once and for
all, and then maybe it can be protected. They said that in
the show. Maybe it can be protected in a national park or
something. But you gotta know it exists...unlike science,
government... no one will believe it.
12. Can't they
shoot it with a non-lethal weapon?
another good point. I've been in Africa tranquilizing lions.
In fact, we had one wake up early and we had to run to our
cars. It was kind of crazy. You don't know the dosage for an
animal this size. When we're in Africa, and we've got a
veterinarian with us, and we see them, visually. They're on
a big plain. You can go, okay, that's a 400 lb. animal, and
it's a cat, so I know I need this kind of medication. But
when you're dealing with an unknown animal, and then there's
the idea that once the adrenaline is pumping...you don't
know how effective it's gonna be. That kind of thing has led
to people almost being eaten by hippos. They still don't
know what the dosage is for a hippo. It changes depending on
its mood. It's not a hunting gun. You can't go hunt an
animal with a tranquilizer gun. You can't have 20 pretend
guns out there. It's not practical. You're trying to find
this animal and it's right on top of you. If it is there and
it does indeed exist. That would be very difficult to do.
13. That makes perfect sense. And I didn't know that
hippos eat people or attack them, either.
Oh, my God.
We were going to do a documentary about this. There's
footage of a guy in the water, and a hippo about two feet
from his leg, with his mouth open, and the tranquilizer
wasn't effective. Hippos kill more people in Africa than any
14. You mentioned Sasquatch and Yeti.
Do they have Bigfoot all over the world, then?
The sightings of these animals...hairy giants, human-like,
ape-like, are on virtually every continent. In Russia,
they're called Almas; in China, they're called Yeren. In
Vietnam they have one...you know, recently...this is an
interesting thing. You've heard of the Wild Men of Borneo
and that sort of thing? About ten years ago, they found some
bones in a cave in that part of the world, in
Indonesia...they couldn't believe it because it looked like
a fully-formed, tiny human. Then they found more. Some
scientists argued that they had a disease, they're not
fully-formed people, etc. But in the end, they decided that
this was a new type of human. They mostly refer to it as the
Hobbit people. They think that as recently as the 1600 or
1700's, these tiny humans... all different species of human
beings... existed in the islands. They were very small, like
3 foot-something, and they hunted. They have a pigmy
elephant there, and a giant forest rat (a rat the size of a
dog, and an elephant the size of a large dog) Then they have
komodo dragons, which would have been like real dragons to
these tiny people. So it's a whole fantasy world come true.
That's just in the last ten years, and we didn't even know
that they existed. So it makes you think about things like
Bigfoot or the Yeti.
15. So why do so many scientists
just dismiss it as folklore? Is it just because there's no
Yeah, they need a body. They need
to see it [Laughs]. Obviously, to them it's in the realm of
UFO's and that sort of thing. Blurry photos...I mean, the
best evidence remains that Patterson footage from 1967. 16mm
film shot by two cowboys from Yakima, Washington. That
footage...if it's a suit, it's the best damn suit that
anyone's ever made because they tried to copy it and no one
looked anywhere near as convincing as that footage. It's
never really been disproved. They can't figure out how it
was done, particularly of that "Patty" as they called it, is
female and has breasts. When she turns to look at the guy,
the breasts kind of sway. You go, "If you were gonna hoax
something, why go to all that trouble to make it female?" So
it's unusual, the details in it, and it still hasn't ever
So scientists are really waiting for
that definitive proof. The body or a piece of it.
If the series is successful, do you think you'll have enough
for a second season?
Well, we'd all love to do a
second season. Of course, yes. We'd love to do more. I've
already been talking to the guys, and there's so many more
cases coming in all the time. Every month, each of them gets
probably half a dozen reports. Out of those, probably 2 or 3
they feel are really worthwhile to follow up on. We met some
very interesting and compelling people on our expedition
down there. People are quite credible in their descriptions
of what they're seeing and what the behavior of this
creature was. Then our crew's close encounter with something
weird. It made us think that there is something really going
17. Anything else you'd like to tell people
about watching the show?
Well, the title is kind of
out there to get people interested in it, but it's not
really a hunting show, and it's not a show all about guns.
These guys aren't murdering, cold-hearted people. They're
really good guys, family guys. I think it's important to
know that these are all professionals. You've got
land-surveyors, engineers, geologists, some ex-law
enforcement, combat veterans, and ex-National Guard. These
guys are very capable and intelligent. They're moving in an
interesting world that they inhabit, exploring Bigfoot and
responding to people's calls for help. It's not like they
just woke up and decided to do it. They've been committed to
it for 12 years. Bobby Hamilton, the founder...he had an
experience as a child that kind of shook him to his core. A
Bigfoot creature came to his window as a kid. He was so
traumatized by it that he's kinda made it his life's mission
to find and prove the existence of this creature. The guys
are really interesting. They're a pretty cool bunch of guys.
They're not just out there, having a good time. There's no
drinking allowed or even smoking on the hunts. They're very
professional about it.
'Killing Bigfoot' on Destination
America to Premiere February 4
DESTINATION AMERICA’S ALL-NEW SERIES “KILLING
SEARCHES FOR THE LEGENDARY CREATURE, DEAD OR ALIVE
Spring, Md.) – Deep in the heart of Texas, Bobby Hamilton
has been on the hunt for Bigfoot
ever since encountering the monster as a child. Decades
later, the world still doesn’t have definitive proof of
Bigfoot’s existence. That’s where
Bobby, his friend Jim Lansdale, and their team of monster
hunters, known as the Gulf Coast Bigfoot
Research Organization (GCBRO), have decided to take matters
into their own hands. Down south, the hunters believe a
sleeker, faster and more aggressive type of
Bigfoot is attacking people’s homes, farm animals and
pets. In the all-new series KILLING
BIGFOOT, GCBRO is on a mission
to help families terrorized by Bigfoot
and prove once and for all that the fabled creature exists
by killing one specimen – and providing a body of definitive
scientific proof. The six-episode first season of KILLING
Saturday, February 4 at
10/9c on Destination America.
Bobby and Jim’s leadership, the members of GCBRO come from
vastly diverse backgrounds including civil engineering, IT
and corporate technology, and private investigation and
surveillance. The team also includes former cops, National
Guard and military veterans, a medical tech, and even a
coroner’s “body removal specialist.” GCBRO’s main goal is to
help those frightened by alleged recent encounters with
Bigfoot, but however
well-intentioned GCBRO’s mission may be, their extreme
objective to kill even one Bigfoot
puts them at odds with many in the crypto-zoological
community who do not want to see one dead.
season of KILLING BIGFOOT includes
the following episodes:
Saturday, February 4 at
members of GCBRO speak at the Honobia
Bigfoot Conference in Oklahoma, where they meet angry
resistance from those who want Bigfoot
left in peace. The team is called away to Louisiana, where
new evidence has been unearthed following an alleged
Bigfoot hit and run: a tiny
primate-like skull with teeth, which they send to a DNA lab
for testing. Several locals have reported seeing a small
orangutan-like creature and hearing monkey-like sounds near
the woods. GCBRO organize a night hunt during which they
have a frightening close-encounter and then possibly capture
footage of Bigfoot itself.
Saturday, February 11 at
comes in to the GCBRO of a terrifying
Bigfoot encounter on the Dyess family’s 5,000-acre
wooded farm in the swampy Sabine River area of southwest
Louisiana. Family members have heard mysterious screaming at
night and taken casts of huge, unidentified animal tracks
found on the property. GCBRO steps in to try to bring peace
to the Dyess farm and, in the process, has a possible
nighttime encounter with Bigfoot.
Meanwhile, GCBRO has a run-in with their old
teammate-turned-rival Dr. Web Sentell, a neuro-psychologist
and Bigfoot no-kill advocate who
wants to prove he can find one of the creatures using a
gentle, alternative: flute playing and food offerings. The
benefits of killing or not killing Bigfoot
in the South becomes a major argument between Sentell and
Saturday, February 18 at
cases flooding into GCBRO headquarters, Jim is intrigued by
the reports but overwhelmed by requests for assistance. They
need new hunters if they want to keep up with the demand.
While Jim and Don Don visit a biker whose family had a
face-to-face encounter with Bigfoot
deep in the Mississippi woods, the process of interviewing
new recruits begins: culminating in a series of challenging
tests. The candidate search might be just as difficult as
finding Bigfoot itself, but a night
hunt with the most viable recruits shows off the talents
they could bring to GCBRO.
Saturday, February 25 at
gets excited by a report from a woman in east Texas, Anna,
who claims she shot at Bigfoot in
her backyard to protect her daughter and save her dog. A
wounded monster should be easy to track down. GCBRO races
down to meet her and check out the game camera photos she
captured. Anna shows them an unidentified hair sample she
found attached to her shoe that is sent away for DNA
analysis. Before embarking on their night hunt back at
Anna’s property, the team visits a nearby sighting
eyewitness who leads the team to possible
Bigfoot nests. That evening, the hunt reveals
Bigfoot trails, tracks and some very
Saturday, March 4 at 10/9c
member Don goes on a local TV show to reach out to the
public to come forward with their Bigfoot
sightings in the Mississippi area. GCBRO receives a report
from a frightened rural family that claims
Bigfoot killed several of their dogs and even
attacked a young man. The team to meets Minnie and her
family in a rural farming community, where they will conduct
a series of night hunts to get to the bottom of the attacks.
The hunt is on when another of the owner’s dogs goes
missing. A hair sample is brought to
Bigfoot forensics expert M.K. Davis.
Saturday, March 11 at 10/9c
and her physically challenged husband Bret live in a heavily
wooded area of Texas. They say they’re being terrorized by
Bigfoot pounding on the walls of
their house, and screaming and wailing in the night. Bret
also believes he saw a huge Bigfoot
run in front of his car, and so he calls GCBRO to try and
locate the creature that is frightening them. The team finds
tracks around the house, including a huge handprint in the
mud that’s twice the size of a human hand. The final night
hunt of the season sends GCBRO in search of a giant, rogue
is produced by Gryphon Productions/Monster Hunters
Productions for Destination America. For Gryphon
Productions, Peter von Puttkamer is executive producer and
Sheera von Puttkamer is producer. For Destination America,
Fay Yu is executive producer, Jane Latman is general
manager, and Henry Schleiff is Group President of
Investigation Discovery, American Heroes Channel, and
only network that celebrates the people, places, and stories
of the United States Destination America is an inclusive
network targeting Adults 25-54 and is available in 56
million homes. From spine-tingling campfire tales to
uncovering history’s greatest mysteries, the network’s
original series showcase the curiosity and adventurous
spirit at the heart of being American, with original series
like Paranormal Lockdown; A Haunting; Mountain Monsters;
Ghost Brothers; Ghost Asylum, and more. For more
information, please visit
Destination America is part of Discovery Communications
(Nasdaq: DISCA, DISCB, DISCK), the world’s #1 pay-tv
programmer reaching nearly 3 billion cumulative subscribers
in 220 countries and territories.
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