When I passed 60, I took up gardening which I understood to be an avocation appropriate to my age and gender. As a tiller of raised beds, I came to understand the benefits and risks of cross-pollination. Passing years have also inclined me to the view that what’s true of flowers and veggies must also be true of ideas.

It is in recognition of this notion that I acknowledge a debt to Oklahoma state Rep. Justin J.J. Humphrey. Serving his state’s 19th District, Humphrey clings to many views I regard as barbaric if they weren’t so laughably offensive to reason. His views on the subjugation of women for instance.

The Republican legislator, however, recently submitted House Bill 1648 which contains within it the mark of pure genius. The Bill reads, in part: “The Oklahoma Wildlife 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.”

Even though this legislation sounds as loony as secret Jewish laser beams torching California from outer space and even though it would seem to receive a more captive audience in conspiracy-loving Idaho, it is with Whitman County in mind that Humphrey’s scheme could bear fruit.

For decades I have watched the commissioners in Colfax struggle to do the almost impossible — balance the annual budget while providing much-needed services. Allowing a burgeoning pot industry (despite how it hurt the hidebound conservative commissioners) was a small step in generating added revenue.

And now, Oklahoma — just when I thought the only things worthwhile to come out of Oklahoma were Woody Guthrie’s music and the story of Tom Joad — delivers the goods.

Just think of the revenues choking the county’s coffers after the commissioners established our own Bigfoot hunting season! Imagine the license and permit fees. Even nonhunters and nonbelievers would proudly mount their licenses on the walls of their man caves. And then there would be the taxes generated by all the new, offshoot local industries. Tri-State may have a corner on the market of goose calls, moose calls and duck decoys but consider for a moment the cash value of Sasquatch calls, decoy cut-outs, clumps of coarse, black Bigfoot fur resembling the scent of female Sasquatch in heat.

Not to be overlooked would be the added bonus to a small town like La Crosse of hosting a two-day Sasquatch festival. The chamber of commerce could fry up Bigfoot Burgers, the kiddies could compete in Sasquatch dress-up contests. There could even be a special division of cowboy poetry readings honoring the mysterious and reclusive beast.

And, like provisions in Oklahoma Bill 1648, there would be no intentional killing of Bigfeet ... only capture. Not catch-and-release like Idaho’s blue-ribbon trout streams mind you. Just rope ’em, bag ’em, truss ’em in the back of the pickup truck and haul the legendary creature into Colfax for the bounty.

Did I forget to mention that there should be a price on the furry head of each Sasquatch delivered to Colfax and turned over to county officials? Humphrey set that figure at $25,000 but that seems a bit excessive for a county already strapped and new at this game.

If these sound economic reasons for setting up a hunting season for Sasquatch aren’t compelling enough, there’s a certain amount of pique mingled with pride to factor in. Who in hell is Oklahoma to steal our Bigfoot thunder? If any state in the union ought to be issuing Bigfoot hunting licenses, it would be Washington.

According to a study released by the Bigfoot Field Researchers Association, the Evergreen State stands head and shoulders above the rest of the pack with a reported whopping 2,032 sightings.

And where, pray tell, does this upstart Oklahoma rank? According to a recent article in the “Philadelphia Inquirer,” SIXTEENTH with a puny 88 sightings.

For all the reasons cited above, I urge our local lawgivers to give a hard look at what J.J. Humphrey hath wrought. And if anybody should ask why Whitman County? — remind them that one of the areas most infested with the hulking beasties happens to be the Blue Mountains which come in among the top three statewide.

A lifelong activist, Steve McGehee settled here in 1973 and lives in Palouse with his wife Katherine. His work life has varied from bartender to university instructor to wrecking yard owner.

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