Some of you may remember the article I wrote a few years ago about my epic hunt for a West Texas jackalope. Well, after a couple of years I began to feel the itch to hunt another of the Lone Star State’s great game animals.
This time I decided on the rare and dangerous chupacabra.
Again, the first order of business was the work of figuring out a suitable gun and cartridge for this dangerous Texas denizen. To outline the needs of such a weapon we need to understand the natural history of our quarry.
For those of you who do not speak Spanish, chupacabra is the Spanish combination of words chupa and cabra that mean “goat sucker.” As the chupacabra began to appear in Mexico, the most common prey of this animal was the Spanish goat that is seen in every small village and ranchito in Mexico.
The chupacabra, mamonus sangrelitus, is in reality a naturally reproducing mutation of the common coyote. It originated in the U.S. State of Nevada, in and around what is now known as Area 51.
The best guess is that the mutation was caused by a combination of exposure to highly toxic chemicals and the fallout from the many tests of atomic bombs. At any rate, since Nevada had almost no prey for this voracious creature, the first of its type migrated south into Mexico.
The physiology of the chupacabra is such that it is almost invulnerable to any type of projectile, which explains the documented fact that not one, until now, has ever been taken by a sport hunter. The animal is almost hairless and the skin is thought to be composed of a combination of titanium and plutonium, thus explaining the bluish color so often described by its observers.
I intended to take my chupacabra by using a predator call, so the range would be short, less than 3,000 yards. For this reason I decided on the standard varmint caliber of .224. However, to penetrate the super-hard hide a heavy, extremely hard projectile at moderate velocity was indicated. I figured a 220-grain bullet at around 4,200 feet per second should get the job done, so I began my quest for the right gun and cartridge.
I tried a number of different combinations but eventually decided on the 4 ¼-inch four-bore British Express cartridge necked down to .22 caliber. The rifle was a hand-built, greatly strengthened Walkenshaw Fabrique Mk XXII action with a 42-inch Flashenrore barrel. The entire rig, with a 6.5 to 36X Waffenglas Vertigua scope, tipped the scales at a modest 60 pounds.
The load I eventually settled on was a 220-grain spitzer boattail of depleted uranium over 235.3-grains of Hodgdon’s Universal Clays sparked by a CCI Magnum primer. Chamber pressure is only around 350,000 psi.
I had the bullets made by having 20mm cannon bullets turned down on a lathe. The bullets were spent rounds picked up in Iraq and shipped to me in packages disguised as cigar boxes by Ahmed Nebelwurfer, the half-breed, Iraqi black market arms dealer.
Sighted in an inch high at a hundred yards the bullet was only two inches low at 2,500 and four inches low at 3,000. That gave me a trajectory that would allow a dead-on hold to as far as I was likely to shoot. Now I was ready for the hunt.
I had access to a small ranch of 142,000 acres near the little town of Miranda City, right in the heart of chupacabra country. I am a pretty good varmint caller, but this time I wanted the best. So, I conned, er, persuaded my old varmint-calling buddy, Wyman Meinzer, to do the calling while I did the shooting.
I gave Wyman my custom four-shot revolver in .470 Nitro Express for defensive purposes, in case one of the feisty chupacabras decided to charge. The 500-grain, metal-cased bullet at 2,100 feet per second might not kill it, but it might turn the charge and give me a chance to put in a killing shot with my rifle—I hoped.
Just after deer season we met on the ranch, put our duffels in the bunkhouse and settled down to relive old times until the next morning. Wyman and I have been friends since the fifth grade, so we have plenty to talk about. Some of the stuff we did is so weird and so secret, we can discuss it only between us, so the time passed quickly.
The next morning we were in the pasture before daylight. We were set up to call by the time the sun began to hemorrhage across the eastern horizon below the shaggy mesquites. I sat down on a handy patch of prickly pear while Wyman picked a nice, thick cat-claw bush to hide in. He would be using a mouth call that sounded like a nanny goat.
Wyman began calling as soon as it was light enough to see. Within a couple of minutes we could hear heavy footfalls coming through the brush toward us. I was all set to shoot when a huge jaguar burst from the brush. Jaguars are illegal in Texas, so I chunked a rock at the beast, and he faded back into the brush.
A few minutes later I saw movement. Something was stealthily stalking us. Once again I was ready to shoot when I saw through the scope the head of a big mountain lion. This old lion was a hoss. I guessed his weight at about 400 pounds. I had always wanted a life-sized mount of a cougar, but shooting this one would spoil the stand, so again I chased the big predator away with a well-aimed rock.
Wyman is a virtuoso with a varmint call, and he was working this one for all it was worth. I was looking in the wrong direction when I heard Wyman whisper, “Steve, on the left.” I slowly turned my head and looked into the eyes of a gigantic chupacabra. It was standing at the edge of a patch of granjeno, its bright red eyes glittering in the morning sun, and its four-inch yellow fangs dripping poisoned saliva like Pavlov’s dogs.
The range was only about 400 yards—much too close. If it charged from that range, there was no possible way I could get it in the scope and make the shot before it was on us. I moved the gun so slowly that anyone watching would have thought I was petrified with fear. Finally, I could see the crosshairs in the crease just behind its shoulder. At that point I touched off the rifle.
As the rifle roared, I blacked out for a second from the recoil and the pressure wave. Then, I heard a distant metallic sound like a mad major league batter hitting a steel plate with a 10-pound sledgehammer.
Still groggy, I struggled to my feet, fighting to get another round into the chamber before the chupacabra could turn us into furry grape jelly, but there was no need to worry. The shot had gone true.
Where the chupacabra had been standing was a hole about 50 feet across and 10 feet deep. A small mushroom-shaped cloud was slowly drifting away on the breeze. Scattered around the crater were shards of blue metal and a few ribbons of intestine festooning the surrounding brush.
I had been expecting to make a longer shot.
At this close range the bullet, turning up just under 90,000 foot-pounds of energy, had reacted with the plutonium of the beast’s skin causing a small nuclear explosion that completely disintegrated the chupacabra.
The blast was later estimated by the Atomic Energy Commission as about 1/10 kiloton. Still, I had done something no other sport hunter had ever done. Our hunt was a resounding success.
As I write this, mounted on the wall of my shop is a three-inch square of bluish metal hide, the proof of my conquest. As soon as Wyman gets out of the ICU, I am going to relive this hunt with him.
The doctors say Wyman’s eardrum transplants are taking, and the flash burns on his face and hands are healing nicely. He should be back to normal—well, normal for Wyman—in a few months. Then we can begin planning our next expedition.
I think it’s time that someone brought in a trophy Texas bigfoot. This time, I think a double-barreled .900 Nitro Express should get the job done.
—story by Steve Lamascus