Would you buy a license to hunt America’s most elusive creature? It seems that may soon become a legitimate question in the Sooner State. 

Oklahoma Bigfoot Bill

Oklahoma State Rep. Justin Humphrey, R-Lane, recently introduced House Bill 1648, which would set an official Bigfoot hunting season in Oklahoma. This would be a boost not only to hunting license sale numbers, but also outdoor-tourism dollars in another Covid-affected year that sees states struggling to attract visitors. 

Humphrey’s House Bill 1648 states: “The Oklahoma Wildlife Conservation Commission shall promulgate rules establishing a bigfoot hunting season. The Commission shall set annual season dates and create any necessary specific hunting licenses and fees. This act shall become effective Nov. 1, 2021.”  

The timing is perfect, with November coinciding neatly with other Oklahoma hunting seasons that put hardcore hunters out in the remote country and densely forested lands. While Sasquatch sightings abound in the most tangled and remote regions of the United States, Oklahoma has been home to more than the average reported sightings of the hairy beast. 

Thus, it’s a natural location to draw in Bigfoot-seekers. However, before debating which type of firearm and caliber is best for taking on a creature of this stature and fame, it’s important to note that under the proposed bill, Bigfoot is not actually in physical peril. 

Legal to Kill Bigfoot?

Will Oklahoma actually allow hunters to slay this mythical hide-and-seek world champion? Not quite. In fact, what is listed as a potential Bigfoot hunting season is actually more of a live-trapping endeavor. For clarification, the bill simply permits trapping – not killing – Bigfoot. Successful Bigfoot “hunters” will be slaying the legend, if successful – and pocketing some serious cash. 

The stakes are greater than being the first to prove the creature’s existence. In fact, Humphrey proposes the state set aside a $25,000 bounty for the first hunter to “bag” the large-pawed trophy. That’s bound to be more than enough cash to generate some great adventures, blurry trail camera photos, and grand legends about Bigfoot. 

The extent to which license buyers might go in fashioning traps, setting baits, and luring the fur-covered biped have yet to be seen. But if Humphrey’s bill becomes reality, not only will Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation have to set a few regulations, but cunning hunters will have to formulate some of the most creative hunting and trapping plans ever seen in the fur-bearing outdoor world. 

Oklahoma’s Sasquatch History

Just when you’re thinking politicians ought to have better things to do amid a pandemic, think again. Humphrey’s move is a surprisingly well-thought-out plan and not without local history. In fact, in Honobia, Oklahoma – a town in Humphrey’s district – there’s a well-attended annual Bigfoot Festival

In a recent interview around Bill 1648, Humphrey indicated that outdoor activities are perhaps the most important tourist draw in his home area: “Establishing an actual season and issuing licenses for people who want to hunt Bigfoot will just draw more people to our already beautiful part of the state … The overall goal is to get people to our area to enjoy the natural beauty and to have a great time,” he said. “And if they find Bigfoot while they're at it, well hey, that's just an even bigger prize.”

Humphrey’s bill is more intended to drive tourism to his home area of southern Oklahoma than to actually bag the furry Sasquatch. But there’s no denying that hunters across the country would likely join an online queue to purchase the state’s official Bigfoot hunting license, even if it’s only to frame it for the wall. Either way, tourism and hunting dollars end up in the pockets of Oklahomans. 

Bigfoot, Beware

Though no numbers have yet been announced, one can assume that an approved Bigfoot season would come with bag limits, limited license sales, and cooperation between multiple agencies. Some hunters will take it seriously; others will buy the license as a novelty. Live traps will be set. Folks will explore southeastern Oklahoma, and tourism will spike. It sounds like a win all around – unless you’re eight feet tall, covered in thick hair, and have been keeping a low profile all these years. 

Cover Image Provided by Creative Commons: "67/365 - Bigfoot Sighting" by Loimere is licensed under CC BY 2.0

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