A proposal that went before the Oklahoma legislature this spring to establish an official season for hunting Bigfoot drew a tepid reaction in the mythical creature’s supposed McCurtain County digs.
“We do not condone the hunting of any endangered species,” says Matt Farley, an Oklahoma City account executive whose firm promotes tourism on behalf of the McCurtain County Tourism Authority.
Farley says that a state representative’s idea of designating a season to hunt down and possibly capture the iconic creature is entirely unnecessary to draw folks to Oklahoma’s southeastern-most county.
Visitors who make the approximately 200-mile trip from either Tulsa or Oklahoma City, traversing one of Oklahoma’s most scenic regions, will find outdoor recreation, lodging and nature’s wonders in abundance, he says. He notes that during the past year of COVID-19 isolation, McCurtain County and Broken Bow have proven to be popular getaway destinations.
“We feel like McCurtain County is a safe place to be; we promote luxury isolation,” says Farley. “People can come here and be socially distant. They can hike inside the [Beavers Bend] state park and stay safe.”
Farley says the area offers visitors a variety of ways to relax while maintaining social distance, pointing out that lodging taxes are up more than 100% from the previous year.
“We’ve seen people cancel their European trip and their Colorado trip and come here instead,” he says. The 2020 fall season that offered visitors a spectacular glimpse of changing foliage colors was especially good.
Charity O’Donnell, executive director of the McCurtain County Tourism Authority in Broken Bow, offered her own invitation to visit the area.
“Spring is a wonderful time to come explore McCurtain County, as we have lots of great hiking trails and streams to explore,” she says.
Broken Bow is the McCurtain County seat, with an estimated population of about 4,200. The Broken Bow Chamber of Commerce notes that the area is known for luscious green forests and an abundance of clear water that offers canoeing, boating, hiking, biking and other types of outdoor activities.
Just north of Broken Bow lies Beavers Bend State Park, a 3,482-acre oasis in the foothills of the Kiamichi Mountains, along the shores of Broken Bow Lake and the Mountain Fork River. The state Tourism and Recreation Department touts it as an “outdoor lover’s paradise.” The park maintains 47 cabins with kitchenettes, 393 campsites and more than 50 tent sites. Its 40-room Lakeview Lodge overlooks Broken Bow Lake.
In nearby Hochatown, a renovation of the challenging Cedar Creek Golf Course is nearing completion, with an anticipated re-opening this month. With its heavily pined fairways and views of Broken Bow Lake, the course is one of Oklahoma’s most scenic golf layouts.
The Hochatown Rescue Center and Petting Zoo offers another draw for tourists. Farley says the Rescue Center’s mission is to rehabilitate and return animals to their native habitat.
But if hunting down Bigfoot is still your thing, McCurtain County is certainly the place to be. Farley notes that Bigfoot is the county’s unofficial mascot, and that they lead the state in supposed Bigfoot sightings. The nearby town of Honobia in LeFlore County stages an annual Bigfoot Festival each October.
For More Information:
McCurtain County Tourism
Broken Bow Chamber of Commerce
Beavers Bend State Park
How to get there:
From Oklahoma City: Take I-40 east to Henryetta; the Indian Nation Turnpike south to Antlers; and State Highway 3 east to Broken Bow.
From Tulsa: Take State Highway 75 south to Henryetta; the Indian Nation Turnpike south to Antlers; and State Highway 3 east to Broken Bow.