"A lot of people don’t believe in Bigfoot, but a lot of people do."
Oklahoma State Rep. Justin Humphrey, R-Lane, may be surprised to learn that a lot of people in both of those groups believe a new bill he proposed establishing a Bigfoot hunting season in the Sooner State is something they vehemently disagree with, despite his arguments to the contrary that House Bill 1648 would be good for the state and not necessarily bad for Bigfoot.
"Tourism is one of the biggest attractions we have in my House district. Establishing an actual hunting season and issuing licenses for people who want to hunt Bigfoot will just draw more people to our already beautiful part of the state. It will be a great way for people to enjoy our area and to have some fun."
In response to the immediate uproar surrounding the bill he proposed, Humphrey issued a statement saying that he “doesn’t want people to actually kill Bigfoot” and now proposes adding a $25,000 “bounty for the first person to trap the creature.” That doesn’t appease those who note that he equates his Bigfoot hunting season proposal with deer hunting, which everyone knows does not end with the deer being trapped. He also tries to rope the Oklahoma Wildlife Conservation Division into the controversy by saying it will “promulgate rules establishing the annual dates of the season and creating any necessary specific hunting licenses and fees.” Micah Holmes of the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation had this to say to the media about that:
“Uh, surprised we haven’t heard that proposal before.”
“We use science-driven research, and we don't recognize Bigfoot in the state of Oklahoma.”
On the Bigfoot believers side is D.W. Lee of the Mid-America Bigfoot Research Center, who has been studying and searching for Bigfoot for decades and had this to say about what it is and what he thinks about the proposed bill.
"A mix between an orangutan and a human. I’ve had 26 encounters that I can say was actually a Bigfoot. The efforts of the people out there actually being serious about this – it really hampers us.”
Commenters in general on a Reddit feed about the bill ranged from the ridiculous to the articulate, with most indicating disagreement.
"First of all, this is, as they say, 'plumb dumb'. Secondly, if such a creature does exist, they are obviously very intelligent, as they've been able to elude humans for centuries, and should not be subject to hunting."
Rep. Humphrey said in an interview that the responses he’s received in person were stronger.
"I had one lady just scream at me that she is going to make sure I will get beat because of this and told me I've lost my mind. I don't think they (critics) understand what we are trying to do to promote our area."
He then compares his proposal to Bigfoot festivals held in many other states (including in Honobia, OK) and the Bigfoot merchandise sold in Hochatown in southeastern Oklahoma. However, there’s scant evidence that any of the festivals and the Bigfoot enthusiasts they attract have anything to do with actual Bigfoot hunting seasons, licenses and fees – all official indicators that Humphrey has hunt-to-kill on his mind, no matter what he says.
"They want to buy a license because they want to frame it on the wall. Anything that could be a revenue creator is something we ought to look at and definitely entertain.”
Seriously? Does Humphrey know anyone who purchases a deer hunting license just to frame it on the wall? Even he himself doesn’t seem to buy his own argument.
"If we get this passed, I can promise I am going to be on one of the first hunts, and I guarantee you we will have fun, and that's what it's all about. That is what we are trying to promote."
Sorry, Rep. Humphrey. Based on the negative responses you’ve received and the defensive posture you’ve assumed, very few people are liking the possibility that Oklahoma will be complicit in killing what may be a close human relative, a humanoid, a visitor from another dimension, an intelligent life form or a creature beloved enough that they’d pay good money for a T-shirt or a coffee mug with its picture on it. Time to backpedal yourself all the way back to your desk and withdraw this bill.
Bigfoot will appreciate it.