MYSTERY WIRE — For many the idea of capturing a mythical creature is unthinkable, let alone unbelievable. But for some, the idea is not only alive and well, there’s now more than $2 million on the line.
At the end of January Oklahoma State Representative Justin Humphrey (R) filed legislation to establish what he hoped would be a boon for local tourism – a Bigfoot hunting season.
Over the next few weeks the bill died in committee. But that hasn’t stopped some from continuing the effort to encourage someone to capture Bigfoot.
State Rep. Humphrey has since told the Enid News & Eagle newspaper said he’s OK with his bill not making it out of committee. Humphrey said the exposure his bill received did exactly what he wanted it to do, to promote interest and tourism in Southeast Oklahoma.
Humphrey and others have claimed this area of Oklahoma has the ninth most sightings in the world of Bigfoot.
Humphrey is now working with state officials to set up rules for a “Sasquatch Quest.” He’s quick to point out the idea is to not kill anything, but to capture Bigfoot unharmed and without breaking any Oklahoma laws.
According to the Enid News & Eagle, Humphrey’s original plan suggested lawmakers set aside a $25,000 bounty for Bigfoot’s capture, but he said an upcoming Hollywood Bigfoot movie pledged around $2 million, while another private business promised an additional $100,000. That eliminated any need for state funding.
Humphrey hopes the state tourism campaign would include branded license plates, decals, and an annual commemorative tracking license. He says the state should also include a proper map showing people recommended areas to spot Bigfoot.
The profits from the Bigfoot tourism campaign would be used for lake, park, and road improvements.
“We’re having fun with it,” he said. “It’s a lot of fun. I’m enjoying it. But at the same time, I know a lot of people thought I was crazy. But, I think if people chill out, (they could) see that this could be a serious deal bringing in a lot of money, a lot of tourism.”
Humphrey said his ultimate goal is to draw in tourists by providing safe, affordable fun. “I hope people get here and ride 4-wheelers and do fishing and go to the restaurants and sleep in motels,” he said. “Come to Oklahoma, have an adventure. Enjoy yourself, tell your friends and come back.”
Below is a summary of the original bill released by the representative’s office:
OKLAHOMA CITY – State Rep. Justin Humphrey, R-Lane, this week filed legislation that would establish a Bigfoot hunting season.okhouse.gov
House Bill 1648 would direct the Oklahoma Wildlife Conservation Division to promulgate rules establishing the annual dates of the season and creating any necessary specific hunting licenses and fees.
“Tourism is one of the biggest attractions we have in my House district,” Humphrey said. “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.”
Humphrey said he doesn’t want people to actually kill Bigfoot, so he will be working with the state wildlife and tourism departments to craft final language for his bill that specifies only the trapping of Bigfoot. He also hopes to secure at least $25,000 that can be used as a bounty for the first person to trap the creature.
“A lot of people don’t believe in Bigfoot, but a lot of people do,” Humphrey said. “Just like some people like to go deer hunting, while some don’t.”
Humphrey said he’s filed numerous pieces of legislation this year on more serious matters, such as censorship, protecting the beef industry and others. But to him, tourism is just as important to his House district for the amount of dollars it draws. HB 1648 has the potential to increase that presence and the resulting dollars to boost the local economy, he said.
Humphrey said the town of Honobia, OK, already has an annual Bigfoot festival each October, so the hunting season ideally would coincide with that.
“Having a license and a tag would give people a way to prove they participated in the hunt,” Humphrey said. “Again, the overall goal is to get people to our area to enjoy the natural beauty and to have a great time, and if they find Bigfoot while they’re at it, well hey, that’s just an even bigger prize.”