Did you hear about Rick Dyer, the man who supposedly shot a Big Foot in San Antonio and is offering the carcass as proof of the famous cryptozoological marvel? In fact, you'll be able to see it yourself as Dyer prepares to take the show on the road, offering you the chance to gander at a dead Gigantopithecus for a small fee soon at the Alamo Drafthouse as part of a Sasquatchploitation film festival. If that last bit makes you think that Dyer might be a charlatan asshat, then congratulations on your basic cognitive functions!
Dyer pulled this stunt previously in 2008 by saying he had stumbled across a Bigfoot corpse, and had it in his freezer. Upon thawing out, his creature turned out to be a rubber ape costume. We talked to author and cryptozoologist Ken Gerhard, our regular expert source of information on the subject, and he responded with:
"While I have investigated a few Bigfoot reports on the fringes of San Antonio, the area where Rick Dyer claims to have shot his specimen is within 2,000 feet of a Starbucks. That fact...along with his dubious participation in a Bigfoot hoax during 2008, should make things pretty obvious. It's just a matter of common sense. I mean, the odds of shooting a Bigfoot are probably akin to winning the lottery. So then, what are the odds that 'the boy that cried wolf' actually accomplished it? Besides, if someone actually had a body, it wouldn't be going down like this."
Still, maybe Dyer is your hero. Even people whose mothers drank when they were pregnant need heroes, I suppose. Do you want to charge off into the wilderness to cap some mythical beasts? Well, here's your handy-dandy field guide.
Many thanks to three friends who taught this hippie about guns for the purpose of this article.
Wampus Cat: The Wampus Cat comes down to us from Cherokee legends of Tennessee, though sightings of similar large feline cryptids are not uncommon in Texas. Supposedly the Wampus Cat was originally a woman who spied on her husband wearing a lion skin, and was sentenced to wander the Earth as a cat forever as punishment.
The animal is described as larger, faster and more powerful than a mountain lion, though not by much. Some reports say it walks on its hind legs, others that it walks on either all four or possibly six legs. Occasionally, the beast is claimed to be able to regenerate quickly from wounds.
Hunters I consulted suggested a .470 cartridge with an English bespoke double barrel rifle like a Purdy's as a primary armament, with a .500 S&W Magnum as a back-up should the regeneration abilities prove hard to overcome with your first shot and the creature close distance. As much initial damage as possible will be important, as long-range incendiary rounds or explosives will be harder to apply or even acquire for the average hunter.
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Chupacabra: Seen all over the Southern United States and fairly common in Texas is the famous "goatsucker," the chupacabra. This dog-like creature kills farm animals and drinks their blood; has bulbous, hellish eyes; and sports spikes down the raw and irritated-looking skin on its back.
It's a fairly recent cryptid, with sightings only dating back to the 1990s, and in almost every case carcasses claimed to be the creature turn out to be coyotes afflicted with mange. Since that's the closest we have for a solid physiological basis, we'll proceed from there.
A .223-ish or bigger will be fine with .308, 30.30 or any other common round being up to the task. Even your average pistol will probably do the trick, making chupacabra a good beginner monster-hunting target.
The Lake Worth Monster: First sighted outside Forth Worth in 1969, the monster has many conflicting descriptions. Supposedly it is the size of a man but bears goat-like features such as horns and white fur. According to reports, it is aggressive and has the ability to leap from trees onto the hoods of passing cars. It is also strong enough to hurl tires further than a human with its strong arms.
Hunting the monster is not all that dissimilar to tackling a large man or a small bear. Though whatever rifle choice you make for the Wampus Cat is also acceptable here, bear in mind that in most sightings, the monster saw the witnesses before they saw it, and was able to get into close range very quickly.
This makes a handgun a much more important weapon this time around. You'll want a Long-barreled pistol such as a low-range Blackhawk .44 Magnum, or a Cassull .454 if your manhood is tied up in this hunt or something.
The Ozark Howler: As its name implies, the howler is more common east of Texas, but like its cat-like cousin the Wampus Cat, it has been known to venture into the state and as far north as Missouri. The general description is of a large cat the size of a brown bear, sometimes described as having horns, though it is more likely they are extremely pointed ears like a lynx's.
The Ozark Howler is one of the biggest of the Texas land cryptids, though it's not known for being aggressive. Still, with the size involved, you will want to exercise extreme caution. The experts I contacted recommended a .308 in a semi-auto, or possibly a specialty round like a .338 Federal, .358 Winchester, .35 Whelen, or even the old 30-06.
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The Houston Bat Man: Our own Bat Man hasn't been seen since it was originally front page news in the 1950s, though like the similar Spring Heel Jack, some subsequent assaults and other encounters have possibly been loosely linked to the terrifying specter. Standing more than six feet tall with enormous black wings, when first seen, he appeared to be dressed in a heavy leather outfit like a paratrooper and he emitted a bright, radioactive glow. Whether he can actually fly or not is a matter of debate, but he is capable of quickly disappearing in an unearthly and mysterious manner.
Now, there was all sorts of advice I received about taking down the Bat Man, but after a short talk with the legal department on how wise it was for me to suggest people take to the streets with high-powered weaponry shooting at every black shadow they see in hopes of netting a monster, I am going to suggest non-lethal means of attack.
Your best bet is probably Taser XREPs. The massive shells can be fired from any shotgun, and offer a range of almost 100 feet. The spiked tips are sharp enough to penetrate the Bat Man's leather outfit, and deliver the standard electric shock of other Taser devices. It's an expensive option, mind you. Five rounds will cost $800, but no one said monster hunting was cheap. That's probably why Rick Dyer freezes ape costumes and charges people to look at them instead.