Everything Is Normal In Oklahoma
After January 1 of each year, state legislatures around the country open for business.
And that is when the crazy starts.
State legislators have arrived in Oklahoma ready to tackle the big issues. Among them is Republican State Representative Justin Humphrey, who has introduced House Bill 1648, which would create a new hunting season in the state ... for Bigfoot.
Yes, you read that right.
The time of year dedicated to Bigfoot season and the cost of a Bigfoot hunting license isn't specified in HB 1648 — instead, it directs the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation to establish the dates and create the necessary hunting licenses and fees.
The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation seems less than thrilled at the prospect, with Assistant Chief of the Information and Education Division Micah Holmes telling KOCO News, "We use science-driven research, and we don't recognize Bigfoot in the state of Oklahoma."
"Serious" Bigfoot hunters, too, are concerned about the idea. D.W. Lee of the Mid-America Bigfoot Research Center says he has "had 26 encounters that I can say was actually a Bigfoot," and he is none too pleased, saying stunts like Humphrey's bill harm "[t]he efforts of the people out there actually being serious about this – it really hampers us."
So this is an actual thing members of the Oklahoma legislature are going to have to deal with.
Humphrey doesn't seem to actually believe in Bigfoot, but he is happy to pander to those who do, saying,
"I have been in the woods all my life and I have not ever seen any sign of Bigfoot. [...] I have never heard Bigfoot, but I have some people that I know that are good, solid people who I will guarantee you 100% have said they have had experience with Bigfoot. So, I know there are people out there that you will not convince that Bigfoot doesn't exist."
Well golly gee, Justin! If people think they have seen a Bigfoot, we should probably sell them hunting licenses! A bunch of people in the woods for state-sanctioned hunting of a fictional creature in the rough shape of a human being! What could possibly go wrong?
Not to mention that, if a creature this elusive and mysterious really did exist, hunting it would probably not be the best idea. But why let messy things like facts and science get in the way of things like drafting laws?
Although this appears nowhere in the bill, Humphrey also emphasized in interviews that he didn't want the licensed Bigfoot hunters to kill Bigfoot — just trap him.
"There are a lot of people, who really, really believe in Bigfoot and so it is going to give them the opportunity to come down. We want to make it a real deal. You can have a license. You can get out there and hunt this thing. I want to be really clear that we are not going to kill Bigfoot. We are going to trap a live Bigfoot. We are not promoting killing Bigfoot. We are promoting hunting Bigfoot, trying to find evidence of Bigfoot."
Humphrey, who wears a cowboy hat to work, apparently cares more about the life of Bigfoot than about those of women and pregnant people. In 2017, he introduced a bill seeking to force pregnant people to get male permission to control their uteruses. In Humphrey's ideal world, apparently pregnant people would be required to tell their doctors who they've had sex with, be forced to stay pregnant if the alleged sperm donor challenged paternity, and obtain written consent from the sperm donor prior to terminating a pregnancy. He has also referred to pregnant people as "hosts," so you just know he's a great guy.
I guess at least when he's focused on Bigfoot, Rep. Humphrey isn't trying to control other people's bodies.
In true Republican fashion, Humphrey preemptively blamed his Bigfoot bill's failure on, you guessed it, "the media."
"A lot of that has to do with how the media treats me on this," Humphrey said. "If I go getting beat up on this, then the legislators are going to be scared to jump on it. If most people understand it as a good tourist attraction, and if it is presented like that, I think most of the legislators understand that, and I think most of the legislators are humored by it. [...] I think most legislators understand what I am trying to do and will give it a serious look."
Yup, if the state of Oklahoma doesn't decide to create a season to charge people money to hunt for a fictional being, it will definitely be because the press isn't taking the idea seriously enough.
In a state that ranks among the top five worst in the country for healthcare (in the midst of a deadly pandemic, no less!), I'm just happy lawmakers like Justin Humphrey are able to focus on the things that really matter.
It is unclear whether the Bigfoot hunting bill will get a hearing in the Oklahoma House.
Another proud day for the Sooner State.
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