I got a call the other day from my old friend Bubba back home. He was quite excited, as is so frequently the case, so it took several minutes for me to say anything beyond hello. In that several minutes I learned a number of things I didn’t know before.  One: There are bears in Oklahoma. Two: There are so many bears that there is now a hunting season. Three: There is in fact a bow-hunting season. Four: Recently a 17-year-old girl by the name of Kelsey Weaver became the first woman ever in the history of Oklahoma to kill a bear and she did it with a crossbow.

I got a call the other day from my old friend Bubba back home. He was quite excited, as is so frequently the case, so it took several minutes for me to say anything beyond hello. In that several minutes I learned a number of things I didn’t know before.  One: There are bears in Oklahoma. Two: There are so many bears that there is now a hunting season. Three: There is in fact a bow-hunting season. Four: Recently a 17-year-old girl by the name of Kelsey Weaver became the first woman ever in the history of Oklahoma to kill a bear and she did it with a crossbow.

That was quite a bit for me to absorb. Indeed, after a Bubba had gotten all of that out, I didn’t know exactly what to say, and, as it is my habit to allow a gap in order to make sure the person talking to me is actually done talking, Bubba was confused.

“Are you still there?” he asked. “Did you hang up?”

Apparently people hang up on him quite a bit.

“No,” I said. “That’s just quite a lot of information for me to take in at once.  I…”

Before I could finish, Bubba was off again, sharing some of his conclusions with me. One: This was a tremendous young person. Two: If you could kill a bear with a crossbow you could do about anything. Three: Sara Palin must have been a lot like this when she was 17. Four: This young lady could probably do better in office than the folks we have up there now. Five: If she ever ran, she’s got his vote.

“As one of those liberal-college-professor-types, you probably don’t think that killing bears is right?” Bubba asked.

As a matter of fact, I don’t hunt myself, but, like with so many other things, I figure to each his own, and, as I like a hamburger as much as the next man, it would be beyond hypocritical for me to criticize anybody that would kill a bear with a crossbow. So I called upon the arsenal of rhetorical weapons I’ve learned in the area of academic administration and changed the subject.

“So, Bubba, are you going to be out there hunting bears with a bow?” I queried. He went after it like Winnie the Pooh after a honey jar.

“Well, now,” he hem-and-hawed a little bit. “That’s a little bit too much for me. You’d have to go out to eastern Oklahoma, southeast of Highway 69 where civilization as we know it ends. And I don’t know about using a bow or going after a bear. I’d need a bigger weapon and a smaller animal. Maybe I’d go after a bobcat first.”

Then he segued into a story about how there’d been cougars discovered near Ada and how he hoped that they’d make a comeback like the bears had so that he could think about killing one. Soon there was a knock on the door from somebody canvassing for votes in the local state senate race, which they thought they were qualified for even if they hadn’t killed anything, and I used this as an excuse to say goodbye.

A few days later, I saw that Bubba had a new Facebook profile picture up. It was him with the pelt of some animal draped over the top of his head like some ancient Celtic warriors.

Against my better judgment, I gave him a call. I began speaking as soon as I heard the receiver go up in order to make sure I could get a word in.

“So I see on Facebook that you got your bobcat,” I said.  “What did you use? Bow-and-arrow? .22? Deer Rifle?”
“Well, no,” he said. “None of that.”

“What did you use then?”

“A Buick.”

“I beg your pardon?”

“A Buick,” he repeated. “I was on my way to go hunting and was behind a fellow driving a Buick Enclave. I was about to pull out to pass him, when he slammed on his breaks. I was able to put my car into the bar-ditch without hitting him. It turns out that he’d been trying to miss this bobcat that ran out in front of him but’d hit it anyway.

“Would you believe that after checking to see if I was all right, he just drove off and left it? I figured it’d be a sin to let it go to waste so I skinned it and had the skin tanned. What do you think?”

I told him I couldn’t rightly say what I thought and said goodbye instead.

Bobby Winters, a native of Harden City, Oklahoma, is Assistant Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and Professor of Mathematics at Pittsburg State University.