Out-of-state Hunters Boycott Colorado

Out-of-state Hunters Boycott Colorado

The hunters from other states are boycotting Colorado because of a pending law, which would prohibit ammunition magazines that hold more than 15 rounds.

Stretching over the Rockies, Colorado has always been popular among the hunters. Moreover, it is the home of the largest herds of elk throughout the states. However the recent events may bring a heavy blow to the state’s major tourism industry. The problems started when the governor, John Hickenlooper, signed the infamous gun control measures this month. Roughly said, the three laws will ban ammunition magazines that hold more than 15 rounds, require background checks for all private and online firearm sales and charging the buyers with fee on background checks, that would cover the cost to the state of performing them. The laws are scheduled to take effect at July 1st.

The Colorado Springs Gazette reports complaints from hunting outfitters that out-of-state hunters began canceling their trips, after the legislation passed. And the numbers are growing.

Last year, out-of-state hunters comprised staggering 15% of the hunting licences issued, 86,000 against 489,000 for residents. Chris Jurney, a hunting guide from Northwest Colorado, says that the percentage will be falling. Journey, who is also the vice president of the Colorado Outfitters Association. adds that “ There’s a united front of sportsmen that are tired of having their freedoms and liberties and fundamental rights taken away from them”, and concludes that “That kind of unity among sportsmen is going to be big, and unfortunately for those of us who live here, we’re going to suffer the consequences of this misguided legislation.“

Image by: coloradooutfitters.org

Image by: coloradooutfitters.org

On the other hand, Jurney says that he believes the lasting effect of the controversial gun laws will be small. Varmint hunters may be affected more than the others, as they tend to use high capacity magazines  He is also worried about the part which limits loaning a firearm to another hunter to 72 hours.

Jeff Lepp, the owner of Specialty Sports, a gun and hunting shop in Colorado Springs is expects out-of-state are to take their business to other Rocky Mountains states. He is concerned that “Small mountain towns and rural towns in this state are going to lose a lot of money because you’re not going to see the number of out-of-state hunters coming here. Other states are going to see a growth.“
The general discontent is mounting as Michael Bane, a producer fro the Outdoor Channel also announced that he will no longer shoot his four shows in Colorado.

There are opposing opinions, as well. Scott Willoughby, who writes an outdoors column for The Denver Post, wrote that what has disillusioned the out-of-state, may be good for the local hunters. He says that if those sportsmen from other states truly follow through with their threats and never spend another cent on hunting and fishing in Colorado, the hunting and fishing will get a lot better for those who remained.
The new gun control bill was drawn as an outcry for the mass shootings at a Denver movie theater and a Connecticut elementary school. However, Colorado is a state with long firearms tradition, and its pioneer heritage maintains a source of pride for residents. We may only hope that the state House of Representatives and gun rights advocates will find a reasonable compromise.