A Montana man who was out target-shooting became a target himself when another shooter unloaded a barrage of gunfire toward him after mistaking him for Bigfoot, authorities said.
The 27-year-old target shooter told authorities that he was putting up targets outside Helena on Sunday when bullets started flying toward him, Lewis and Clark County Sheriff Leo Dutton said, according to the Idaho Statesman.
One round came within three feet of the victim and another whizzed by even closer, he told police. The man said he behind nearby trees for cover and eventually confronted the shooter, who was driving a Ford F-150 pickup truck.
“I thought you were Bigfoot,” the victim says the shooter told him, according to Dutton. “I don’t target practice – but if I see something that looks like Bigfoot, I just shoot at it.”
Once the man assured the gunman that he wasn’t Bigfoot – an ape-like creature said to inhabit wooded areas in the Northwest – the shooter advised him to wear an orange vest in the future.
But Dutton noted that “there was some question about the veracity of the report” because the victim spoke to police a day after the alleged incident couldn’t provide a physical description of the shooter.
Police checked the area but didn’t find the pickup truck, ABC Fox Montana reported.
After local media reports of the man’s story, a woman came said she had a similar experience where she had been shot at by a man in an F-150 as well.
“We’re working to find this person,” Dutton said. “It is of great concern that this individual might think it’s OK to shoot at anything he thinks is Bigfoot.”
If the reports are true, the shooter could face charges, Dutton said.
But the chief said he didn’t think the public at large was in danger, noting that “it seems to be a localized event to one geographic area.”
According to the Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization, there have been 46 Bigfoot sightings in Montana since 1978 – the most recent being in 2016 when three backpackers spotted a large, massive upright animal running on two legs through the Gallatin National Forest.