See that image up there? That is Justin Smeja, a man who claims to have shot two bigfoot, and fatally wounding one of them. A small juvenile in fact. In the image he is posing for a reenactment of the event.
And for some, that image absolutely infuriates them.
Why is the subject so heavily argued? It seems on the outside a simple difference in opinion. Either you feel that science requires a body as proof, or you feel a body is unnecessary.
The reason for the on-going argument doesn't actually have much to do with the topic itself however. It goes deeper than that, to a personal level. It goes back to what most debates within this field are about, personal motives. What drives the individual. Why they have a particular interest in the subject of bigfoot.
On one side it is fairly simple and straight forward. They want answers. They want proof. They want the mystery solved. Science has made it clear that the best way to accomplish that is with a specimen. No one can argue against a body laid out in front of them to study. Nothing else offers substantial proof the way a physical specimen does. One could argue with the modern day methods of DNA analysis, that perhaps a body is not needed. With the right sample, DNA could be all the proof we need. That is however a two-sided coin. While yes, it could prove that something out there has DNA never seen before, that would just be the beginning. Science would still require a specimen. There isn't a living creature on the planet that doesn't have a specimen on record somewhere. So we are clear, by specimen I mean there's a dead one sitting somewhere for study.
Another thing to keep in mind that is if a body were to be brought in, that would by no means be the end of it. A single specimen would not be enough. The scientific community would want a male and a female to study I'm sure, and just because the Smithsonian has one doesn't mean Germany or China doesn't want their own to study as well. That's just the way the cookie crumbles.
On the no kill side one could simply argue that they don't need nor want to prove their existence to anybody. My response to that is then why are you in this community? Why do you research them? For your own personal benefit? How could you possibly learn more about them than what science could do with a specimen? By observing them in the wild? Good luck with that. Not to discredit the works of absolute legends such as Jane Goodall, but chimps didn't care if they were observed by humans. Chimps didn't go out of their way to remain hidden. Goodall and others were able to gain their trust, and truly habituate them, as in the chimps eventually ignored the fact that she was there. That is what habituation is. Not the incorrect definition individuals in the bigfoot community use to support their seemingly endless and special knowledge of these creatures.
Another red flag reason that some proponents of the no kill philosophy use is that they want to protect the creatures by keeping them a secret. They do not want the bigfoot to be discovered. While this seems at times as a noble and respectable reason, you then notice that these same individuals constantly put out information about these creatures and talk about them openly on a daily basis. They post images of supposed evidence, even images of supposed bigfoot (although there's usually nothing in the image that is bigfoot related). They talk about their almost daily interactions with these wonderful and peaceful race of misunderstood giants. If you truly want to keep them protected and a secret from the world, then why are you constantly talking about them and exposing their supposed behaviors to anyone who will bother to listen? The best way to protect them and keep them undiscovered would be to never talk about them, and act like you don't even believe they exist. Not by doing the exact opposite.
Which brings me to my point. There's always an excuse as to why they don't have photographs. Why they don't have video. Why they don't have any samples of hair or tissue to submit for DNA analysis. It has nothing to do with protection of the species, or keeping them hidden. It's because they are most likely lying about their relationships and interactions with these creatures.
But if they are being untruthful about this, why do they care if someone else is pro kill? Or pro specimen as I prefer to say. This is where those personal motives kick in. The reason they are so against the possibility of someone killing one, or their existence being proven, is because then their fantasy world would come crumbling down.
The reason these type people are in the bigfoot community has nothing to do with the creature, it's so they have a place to socialize. It's so they have a place to be someone important, someone special, an escape from their real life. Without this fantastical delusion to live within, they would no longer serve any purpose in the bigfoot community. They would no longer be "special". The fairy tale would come to an end, and the book would be closed. By grouping together, supporting one another's stories, following the guidelines they have set of what these creatures are, and what they do, sticking with the script so to speak, they can keep the fairy tale going, and remain the Kings and Queens of this fantasy world they have built up around them. They feed off the attention and admiration they receive from their peers, like ticks growing fat on a dog, remaining just out of reach of it's teeth and paws. In this case, the teeth and paws being reality.
If the truth was ever known about these creatures, years and years of continued lies and false information would be exposed. Who would have the most to lose? Who would want to prevent the truth from being known? The person who just wants answers, regardless of what they are, the person who may be right or wrong in their theories, or the person who has been telling lie after lie to give themselves a false sense of self-importance?
I do of course realize that not every individual falls within these categories. There are some out there who do not believe killing one for the sake of proof is justified. However, those individuals usually have no argument against the pro specimen idea. They would just prefer a body be found, or DNA providing the answer as opposed to killing one in cold blood. There are also some individuals who truly do not care if it is proven or not, they still find it interesting. None of these individuals however occupy the sides of the majority. That is why the reasons stated above, are in my opinion the true reasons fueling the debate between kill or no kill.