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Sierra (Bigfoot) Kills: Justin Smeja and “The Driver” Speak Out

Submitted by on November 4, 2011 – 8:08 AM102 Comments | 16,761 views

Still traced to George Noory/Coast To Coast


I don’t know how many of you are following the Sierra Kills controversy but it’s been heating up lately. Maybe because the DNA results are allegedly close to being revealed or maybe because the shooter just can’t handle the guilt and wants to talk.

Either way, it certainly makes for interesting reading. I have had plenty of opportunities to post this article as I follow along over at Shawn’s Bigfoot Evidence Blog. In fact Shawn has posted at least 15 articles related to this incident.

To quickly review the story for those of you not up to speed, here’s the nutshell version:

In November 2010, a “bear hunter” from California who has since been identified as Justin Smeja, was riding in a truck with a companion on a canyon road near the Dixie Mountain Game Refuge. This is on the border between California and Nevada, although the hunters were on the CA side.

Rumor has it that several Sasquatch roam the area due to the protection afforded by the Game Refuge.

As they drove along, suddenly they spotted what appeared to be a very large bear standing in the road, waving it’s arms over it’s head. Knowing that a bear couldn’t possibly do this, they stopped.

The driver (who is still unidentified at the time of this article) immediately got out his binoculars to view the “animal”. Before he knew it Justin touched off a round that hit the creature who then crashed into the brush.

Before the men could get their bearings, two more, much smaller creatures stepped out and before the driver could stop him, Justin shot one of them.

After a heated exchange, both men hurried to where the smaller animal was laying. They had made it just in time to witnessed the unpleasant final breaths of what they now realized was an adolescent Sasquatch.

Yes, Justin had shot not one but two Sasquatch in a matter of seconds, a mother and one of her two young offspring. At the time Justin claimed that fear prompted the shootings but as you read on, this excuse begins to break down.

Apparently the two hunters decided it would be impossible to pack the creatures out that day and instead returned the next day to remove portions of the carcasses. From current information, the driver kept a sample for himself but Justin allegedly took part of the harvest and gave it to Melba Ketchum for DNA analysis.

Now, a year later and with a great deal of speculation, accusations and rumors being bandied about, Justin decided he was going to spill the story in his own words. Or at least what he wants us to know at this time.

It is believed that Bigfoot Forums member Tautriadelta is responsible for getting Justin to “come clean” as he accuses Justin of not even possessing a bear tag and purposely shooting the Sasquatch with intent. He goes on to essentially say that Justin realized he had possibly committed murder and panicked. He further states that Justin’s conscience is getting the best of him and that’s why he’s talking.

Justin Smeja

The following are Justin’s comments regarding the Sierra Kills incident as told on the Bigfoot Forums:

thats an interesting theory. that reminds me rwridley i think it was said something along the lines of ”did anyone check to see if justin smeja had a bear tag? if so he would have to turn in that bear tag if he was successful, after all some people say it was just a bear”. Well in CA DFG requires that EVERY bear hunter turn in their bear tag at the end of the year whether or not they were successful. So yes I had a bear tag and yes I did send it in at the end of the year. No I did not kill a bear in 2010.

Heres a bone for you all. I personally havent said much at all about the location of the kill. Lots of assumptions have been made and I’ve remained quiet about it. well here you go it was by Gold lake, CA. Maybe it was 2 miles away maybe it was 10 miles away. It really doesnt matter at this point, as time goes on I will release the exact location of the kill site more then likely in the book.

Of course I had a bear tag with me in my possession. I was bear hunting. Not squatch hunting. Your theory is far fetched taut.

I think it is silly what some of you must think a bear hunter does after he shoots something. Lets say its a medium size 300 pounder. Then you are going to take that home with you? REALLY? That sounds logical? well gee roy we gotta carry this 300lb bear 2 miles to the truck…. that sounds like a lot of work…………. I dont doubt there are people that do that. I live in ca i see people doing some pretty stupid ****.

When the animal goes down it goes something like this and this remains the same if its a deer hog or bear. So I’m usually in the back country on foot if I’m further then 100 yards from the truck I usually still do it this way tho. It hits the ground I get on the radio to whoever I’m hunting with give em my gps location and tell em to come help me pack it out. I through the animal on its back skin front side then use the skin as a blanket to keep the meat clean. Then I cut the meat off. I load it in a trash bag then into my back pack then load up my buddies pack. Then we take the skull (to present to DFG and have them pull a tooth) and the cape/fur if its worth saving we carry that by hand. It all goes down in about 1.5 hrs (it blows my mind some people spend that long just dragging the animal the last 200 yards to the truck). Then once i’m home its vaccum sealed and thrown in the freezer. Thats about it. Theres no Crains or special equipment to move such a large animal that I’ve ever used or seen used. Personally I would probably move that 300lb bear about 20 ft and give up. That would be a lot of work….

I dont really feel like addressing the whole ”why didnt you grab the little one” again again (thats once again the problem with this thread/way of forum layout. no i dont have a better suggestion). In short. I just dont know. No excuses here. I just wanted to get out of there.

Julio, no i do not worry about being prosecuted for this. There is a lot of people out there who TELL ME I should be and theres others who have said I’m ”shakin in my boots” about the whole thing. Thats not the case. Yes something terrible has happened. I’m not making light of the situation BUT really…. I’ve seen the justice system and how it really works… This would be ruled as nothing more then a hunting accident. People get killed every year in CA while deer hunting with their best friend because somebody took a stupid shot they shouldnt have. Nothing ever happens to the best friend. In fact last week a few hours from my house 2 brothers were deer hunting. one heard a noise turned and shot into the bush and killed his brother. Terrible story. Its simply a another hunting accident. In the real world I do not believe anyone will stand trail for killing an imaginary creature….

Jerry, My hounds name is Cammi. She is a black and tan blood hound and yes she has tracked and hunted bears. That part of her life is over with due to my wife. She was always afraid cammi would come back missing a face or not come back at all. which obviously happens from time to time. now she just sleeps in bed with us and spends her days chasing squirrels in the back yard. That breed is very popular in russia for fox hunting. I believe they call them ”fox hound” out there. They are all around good hunting dogs….. but they dont always come back when you call them.. like any hound. Randles knew of the blood hound but was more going for a summary of the story. Many details were left out. It would take a whole book to write them all like slim said…

Source: Bigfoot Evidence-Sierra Kills-Justin’s Story

Here’s a quick summary of the above comments:

1. The approximate location is at Gold Lake, CA
2. Justin Smeja is writing a tell-all book
3. They did cut out a piece of steak from the Bigfoot
4. According to one comment, Justin THINKS he has photos of the steak in an old cell phone.
5. According to Derek Randles, he already knows the DNA results, “I know the results, and I trust her completely. Those are the facts. Everything I’ve said on this form is true, and I’d take a lie detector test right now, tomorrow or whenever”

Also, here are some statistics gathered from Bigfoot Forum Members about the hairy creature:

1. Bigfoot Youth — “rounded” mouths like humans, with no tusks or fangs, enlarged but not long canines, similar to a gorilla’s.
2. Bigfoot Youth — black hands, with palms padded like a dog’s paw, with fingers of same proportion to palm as in humans.
3. Bigfoot Adult and Bigfoot Youth — omnivores.
4. Bigfoot Youth and Bigfoot Adult — smarter than any other animals in the wild.
5. Bigfoot Youth — around 40 lbs.
6. Bigfoot Youth — communicated, “talked” like humans, in the vocal way of the deaf, with no ape like grunts.
7. Bigfoot Adult and Bigfoot Youth — “Bad body order x 12 mixed with a coyote.”
8. Bigfoot Youth — eyes like humans.
9. Bigfoot Youth — looked very different than the Bigfoot Adult.
10. Bigfoot Youth — dark brown hair.
11. Bigfoot Youth — appeared unafraid yet worried and panicky.
12. Bigfoot Adult — color of a pale coyote.
13. Bigfoot Adult — no “cone-head”.
14. Bigfoot Adult — “8’ tall and was hairy and walked like a man.”
15. Bigfoot Youth — facially “somewhere in the middle between human ape and boxer [dog].”
16. Bigfoot Adult — compared to Roger Patterson’s film subject, “it was so much like that but totally totally different and not even close in appearance” and it looked “as different from patty as chuck norris and the cable guy.”
17. Bigfoot Adult — 600 lbs.
18. Bigfoot Adult — not muscular looking, not fat, not as wide as generally portrayed in recreations.
19. Bigfoot Adult — when shot, it ran on two legs, and then on all fours, then on two legs, then on all fours before it left view. (this part was in Randles’ recounting).

Now we have to the driver who just yesterday (11/03/11) decided it was time he told his side of the story. Follow along as he is questioned about his involvement by Bigfoot Forums Members:

thedriver: Hey y’all new to the forum just got the Internet, interesting reads.. Just wanted to say what’s up.

bipedalist : Welcome, you mean, Thedriver as in “Sierra Shootings” driver? If so, sounds like a wild ride. Welcome to the forums

Thedriver: Thanks

TimB: I’m really looking forward to another here-to-for participant extending the conversation. Should keep things moving until the new year…Tell us all about yourself “thedriver”!

slimwitless: Ever been bear hunting in the Sierras?

Jodie: Are you “The Driver” that doesn’t have internet and is shying away from the public? Or did you read the thread and become a fan of the missing link in the story and decide to join us to liven things up a bit? Either way, you are welcome, look forward to the pot stirring. We can’t let this stew sit for too long you know.

Thedriver: I bleed red white and blue, I love hunting, fishing, budweiser, my family, and a hard honest day of work trying to make a living to keep a roof over our heads and food in our mouths and in the middle of all this I had a crazy ride… Jodie I’m that guy, the generals buddy, the same guy you talked to when he was in la

HOLDMYBEER: So Driver, are you a part of all the secrecy or are you able to speak for yourself?

Thedriver: Speak for myself? I’m not looking to get attacked on here but in writing for myself right now on my new smart phone

HOLDMYBEER: I don’t attack anyone. Just wondering if you bought into all the Non disclosure Agreement stuff or if you are able to shed any light on the mystery of the alleged shooting.

Thedriver: Well unfortunately I’m not into all the jazz of all the stuff that happens after and y’all know that cause I have been “quiet” but I was there I know what happened on October 8 2010 in my truck with Justin on what I thought was going to be a regular hunting trip

Tautriadelta: Hello Driver,.. Welcome to the BFF.

Thedriver: And I’m not saying you attacked me that was for everyone who wants to talk to me cause I won’t add to the bull or take any from anyone

HOLDMYBEER: Well, good. With not much to go on, a lot of people just start guessing about the facts, and you know how that can go. Why don’t you tell us your side?

slimwitless: Welcome to the forum, driver. We’d all like to hear the story from your perspective.

Thedriver: What do you want to know cause that’s a long long thing to write what I can say is Justin has told the story as it was the facts are the facts and the only thing that differs is what seat I was in and what went through my mind when it all went down and If you want me to be able to poetically give you and nail biter story that will be difficult seeing as it was over a year ago last month and alot has happened in my life since then that has nothing to do with that day of Bigfoot in general but facts are facts

slimwitless: I understand. What did you think you were looking at when you happened upon the adult?

Thedriver: Honestly my first thought was a person in a bear suit

HOLDMYBEER: Yeah, I guess I would have thought the same.

Tautriadelta: That certainly is a reasonable reaction. Hard for a person to wrap their mind around.

slimwitless: Were you looking at it with binoculars? When did you realize it was something else entirely?

Thedriver: Yes I had my binoculars that is what made it even more strange they were set up for classing mountain sides so it was fuzzy at first but when I cleared them it felt like my heart sank and I did not realize what I was looking at I would say it took a double take but I couldn’t take my eyes off of it

slimwitless: Do you have any regrets? Did you guys bring back any physical evidence from the scene?

HOLDMYBEER: I’ll bet it was pretty hard to forget.

arizonabigfoot: Welcome to the forums Driver. I might as well get a question out of the way while I can. It’s been floated out there that you may have a sample yourself. Is this the case? Did you keep anything from that day, or did you ever go back?

PacNWSquatcher: ‘TheDriver’…Do you ever regret not grabbing the bodies, and becoming millionaires many times over?

Thedriver: Honestly I have two regrets first off I wish it had dropped where it stood because I know either way it died and it would have changed everything and second I wish the kid was never shot because it was unnecessary and I’m not about just the fun of the kill it’s more to me than that it’s an experience and that turned the day sour for me, and no we did not take any physical evidence home THAT DAY

HOLDMYBEER: Driver, something like that experience probably follows you around. I know it would me. When thoughts about that day come into your mind, what do you remember the most. Was it the view through the binocs, or the shooting of the kid or what?

slimwitless: Did you believe or even think about bigfoot before this happened? At what point did that thought occur to you?

Thedriver: I can tell you that a million is not what in after I work hard every day and come home to my loving pregnant wife and my son and I feel great putting in a honest day of work im not looking for handouts if I was I would go on foodstamps, unemployment, and welfare I wasn’t raised that way

arizonabigfoot: Do you have anyone advising you on what to say and what to avoid? Are you being coached up or just coming straight out with your version?

Thedriver: Bigfoot is something I believed was a great story but nothing more and I remember most when the big one was shot seeing the two children run out feeling like I had done something wrong but I did not see them and if I did we all would have nothing to talk about cause that shot would have never been taken

Bigfoot is something I believed was a great story but nothing more and I remember most when the big one was shot seeing the two children run out feeling like I had done something wrong but I did not see them and if I did we all would have nothing to talk about cause that shot would have never been taken

Nonnobis: Wow, Thedriver, what an astonishing adventure. Have you felt like you had to keep this story to yourself, mostly? I can only imagine how traumatic the whole thing was.

Thedriver: I’m a grown man and nobody can put words into my mouth I believe in what our country was founded on and I have freedom of speech and can say whatever I want to

arizonabigfoot: When the children ran out, did they remind you of human kids, or were they more like ape like?

HOLDMYBEER: When the children ran out, did they run after the adult or did they run towards you or how did that play out? Did they make sounds?

slimwitless: Thanks for talking about this driver. Is there any truth to the Ken Walker version that you threatened General after the little one was shot?

Thedriver: It’s not that I wanted to keep it to myself Justin talks to y’all and we talk to eachother and that has always worked out just fine for me

So the kids ran on all fours unlike the adult untill it was shot and the chased the adult, and I don’t know who Ken is but I never threatened him we exchanged words like wtf why would u do that but never threatened him

slimwitless: Do you still have your half of the flesh sample?

Thedriver: I do have my part of what we recovered I’m holding onto it

slimwitless: Thanks. How do you guys know the sex of the adult?

Thedriver: They ran DNA tests and came to the conclusions they came to I don’t know how all that goes down I have seen nothin just what Justin tells me

TimB: Did I read it correctly- the young creature was shot for the fun of the kill?

HOLDMYBEER: So Driver, what is next for you? You said your life has changed a bunch since the shooting. You have plans to do something with Olympic Project or something tied to sasquatch?

slimwitless: Okay, thanks. How many times have you been back to the site? Are you actively involved in the investigation or the book?

Thedriver: Right now I plan on calling it a night getting up for work in the mornin and going to work like I do everyday bf was not my life and is not my life and as of right now I’m going to keep spending my time on work and family that’s what my priorities are and try to make ends meet.

Source: Bigfoot Evidence-Sierra Kills-Driver’s Story

Now, I don’t know how true any of this is but it’s been poked with some very big sticks for a year now and the only changes have been additional information as it becomes available.

The biggest questions from a human standpoint (if it is real) are regarding ethics, morality and issues of the law.

This brings up the Kill/No Kill question. which has been hotly debated for years. In fact, I can still remember a big debate on Cryptomundo a few years back and I know there have been many before and since.

What do you, the GT readers think? Should a Sasquatch be killed in the name of science?

The other big factor in all of this is the elusive DNA. If we are to believe this all really happened, then there must be plenty of DNA to test, right?

Well, apparently there is and at least one sample is in the possesion of Melba Ketchum who has let snippets of information bleed out of her camp from time to time. However, nothing official has been released regarding Sasquatch associated DNA as of yet.

Justin is writing a book on the incident, Ketchum is holding back for some reason and several others including the Erickson Project has had a rumored association.

Personally, I don’t understand why this all has to drag along like a daytime Soap Opera. The longer it goes the less believable it becomes in the minds of some.

And what of the Sierra Kills themselves? What happened to the other adolescent Bigfoot? After all, it was clearly still in need of its mother. Those of us who know the harshness of the wilderness can only assume that the little Tike succumbed either via starvation or a predator. Then again, if we are to believe that the creature we call Bigfoot is a lot like us then maybe an aunt or cousin took over caring for the kid.

Then there’s Justin’s motivation for shooting the Sasquatch in the first place. Is he a cold blooded killer looking to gain fame and fortune? Or is he just a victim of his own stupidity in a split second rash decision?

There are so many questions and I could spend all day listing them, but this article has to end somewhere and this is a good place I think.

Let the record show that we at GT are by no means passing judgment regarding Justin Smeja, “The Driver” or the Sierra Kills incident as a whole. We are merely providing the available information. It’s up to you the readers to debate and reach your own conclusions.

Note: Although I pulled much of this content from Shawn’s Bigfoot Evidence Blog, most of the original content linked content came from The Bigfoot Forums and I wanted to thank them for the input.

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I grew up in rural NWPA, surrounded in forest. I took an early interest in cryprozoology and sharks and have read many books on various crypto subjects such as Bigfoot and Megalodon over the years. I am not a professional writer or a journalist, but I do the best I can. I have a quirky, obscurely dry and sometimes sarcastic sense of humor than can get me in trouble. Some love me and some hate me, but I am who I am.

  • bruce

    I believe sasquatch is real.this creature exists.I would hope that “enough” evidence is now available to satisfy the skeptic.DO NOT put a bounty on this creature!
    The worst thing could happen would have anyone with a gun hunting the creature.Remember a Grizzly Bear wounded will attack,dont think a big gun would not have the same affect on Sasquatch!why kill something not understood yet.
    There are many stories of people who have tracked,surveyed,photographed,video,of Sasquatch and pretty much all have said the same thing;This creature deserves protection,further study in its enviroment,dont allow it to be hunted/killed
    Killing one is not the “Big Prize”The big prize goes to the one who has proof of this creatures existance without killing it.

  • crybaby

    I am trying hard not to judge and remember that we are a free people with the terrible responsibility of freedom of choice. I pray with my heart and soul that the story is all fake. Not wishing bad on the tellers please don’t misunderstand. I just hate to think about the terrible painful and fearful death of a creature and her knowledge that she could not protect her offspring. I know that I have a very Polly Anna out look. It’s just this story made me cry. This is the first I had heard about it. Obviously I know there is more to it…I just pray that people could become more enlightened and not have to kill other living things this way. It’s just too much hurt and not necessary. Brightest blessings to you all.

  • LORI

    I also wish this were a false story, but believe it is True. I think it was an error in judgement and that these animals should be protected from nervous hunters who cant control their trigger finger. No-One has the right to take a sentient life and that is what J did. Their children are rare and I pray that he (J) feels somekind of remorse for killing something he didnt understand. Dont get me wrong, if one is attacking you, then you need to defend yourself, but that was clearly not the case.
    God Bless You~

  • Robert Delk

    I find this believable but if there are in fact dna tests the results should be made public.It is regrettable that they were shot but the knowledge gained should not be lost and let the deaths be in vain.This might just be the incident that gives them the protection and study that they need.

  • Laura

    The guy in this photo is Jason Smeja…his brother is Justin

  • AaronD2012

    I totally agree, Tom. But one thing I often wondered is if our wonderful government doesn’t confiscate evidence to keep us guessing; therefore, make eye witnesses appear to be story tellers. They seem to be doing that with UFO’s And they definitely have done it with cancer cures…

  • Keith Hunter

    Lose the “Im an All american Beer Drinker, Hard Woker” Crap from the witnesses.   Unless someone is hunting for food or to control over population than they shouldnt be allowed to kill animals.  These guys are nothing but rich, gun toting, murderers with NO moral compass.   Im no city slicker either.   I Own a farm and raise cattle and have spent my share of time camping and hiking in the back woods.  Get a new hobby you idot hunting evil men.   What you did killing this mother and offspring was just plain wrong. 

  • AaronD2012

    Keith, I think what you just said is the exact reason it has been taking waaaay too long for the DNA analysis to come back. If it comes back human, or hybrid with any human, then he is a murderer punishable under law. They are making darn sure that’s the case before they release the deal breaking information…IMO!

  • http://www.facebook.com/mommylovesjackson Whitney Johnson

    This son of a b***h!!!!!!!!!! If I ever have the chance i’ll spit in his face!!!! He should be in jail, along with his driver!! If he frequents this area, i’m sure there would be other opportunities to shoot a BF that wasn’t carrying an infant!!! This man is evil!!From what witnesses say, these creatures have very human eyes, so really this a**hole shot a baby after looking it in the eyes!! He could do this to a human too!! And all for money and fame!! He’ll pay either in this life or the next!!!!!!!!!!

  • California Hunter

    The game warden doesn’t care if hunters know the law regarding shooting from the road, or not. He does. And he’s always watching. Somewhere.

    Imagine yourself a prospective bigfoot hunter, standing on an isolated dirt road, flagging down a passing game warden. “Hey warden, I just shot a large mammal, out of season, that I didn’t have tags for, and then wanton-wasted the carcass.”

    If the warden doesn’t stroke out with apoplexy, you’ll have your meals provided for you, by the state. I’m told that its Beanie Weenies, and green bologna sandwiches.

    The warden will seize your truck, your rifle, your hunting dog, and YOU.

    WEEEEEeeeeeeee! I’m now a major felon!

    Any person who thinks he will be congratulated for casually shooting bigfoot, is in for a rude shock.

  • beaware

    Even if the DNA come back as hybrid of human/whatever there still could be no criminal charges. If the creature is not all human then there cannot be any criminals charges. There are primates that shares certain parts of DNA in common with humans. And I don’t not believe that these men should be punished for anything they did. Even though it was a youth it was big enough to function on its own and walk and communicate clearly with its sibling therefore the term youth may not be correct. this could have very well been a young adult or an equivalent. You cannot compare them to humans except for looks and possibly behaviors. But they are not human!! I do believe in the squatch. And I Believe that the reason it is taking so long for the DNA to be released is that they do not want to release it until everyone stops talking about it and someone else can claim the find. Or arranging a cover up of the situation. Or maybe hey have not released the dna yet because there are no definite results due to degraded evidence. who knows.

  • http://GhostTheory.com/ Henry

    Really, none?
    He admits to poaching, which is a crime. So there should be no charges.

    He admits to shooting an animal for which he had no permit, which is a crime. So there should be no charges.

    He admits to shooting an adult with young, which is a crime. So there should be no charges.

    He admits to shooting a juvenile animal, which is a crime. So there should be no charges.

    “Even though it was a youth it was big enough to function on its own and walk and communicate clearly with its sibling therefore the term youth may not be correct.”
    Smeja himself refers to the juvenile he shot as an infant. Get your facts correct.

    He admits to fleeing the scene of his own admitted crimes for fear of prosecution, which is a crime. So there should be no charges.

    The only way none of these things are crimes is if he is outright lying, which is entirely possible. AND YET, he is still out there with the express intention of repeating his actions.

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