South Carolina police have appealed for residents not to shoot Bigfoot, following reports of a sighting in the state.

A local group that investigates Bigfoot sightings, called Bigfoot 911, reported seeing "a large bipedal animal covered in hair" in the southern's state's McDowell County.

No one was injured, but the group reported that something threw rocks at them as they left the area.

But police in nearby Greenville said on its Facebook page: "If you see Bigfoot, please do not shoot at him/her, as you'll most likely be wounding a fun-loving and well-intentioned person, sweating in a gorilla costume."

Bigfoot 911 is one of a handful of groups in the US that investigate the whereabouts of ape-like creatures, called Bigfoot or Sasquatch, they believe roam the nation's backwoods.

John Bruner of Bigfoot 911 said the sighting occurred last week when he and a team of seven people were scattering glow sticks in the woods. The group believes these creatures are attracted to the light.

"I turned on my headlamp and saw a large bi-pedal animal covered in hair," said Bruner in a Facebook post.

The animal ran off, and Bruner said he took off after it, eventually catching up to the creature next to a dead tree.

Shaggy all over

"Its face was solid black, no hair on it. The hair looked shaggy all over," Bruner said.

The creature then ran off again, and Bruner was not able to catch up with it. He said it was the best sighting he's had in years of searching for the animal.

There have been a number of Bigfoot sightings in the region in recent years, including the release of a 2015 video that purported to be a sighting in North Carolina.

There is a wealth of circumstantial evidence backing the existence of Bigfoot such as eyewitness accounts, blurry photographs and mysterious footprints.

But there remains no hard evidence in favour of the creature, leading scientists to insist that sightings are often misidentifications of other animals, or people joking around in gorilla costumes.

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South Carolina police have appealed for residents not to shoot Bigfoot istock