It appears Colorado may be the next battleground for hunters to show their support of the Second Amendment as rumblings continue to grow about a boycott in the upcoming hunting seasons.
By Alan Clemons, Managing Editor
Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper signed bills in April that ban ammunition magazines from holding more than 15 rounds, and require background checks for private and online gun sales. Despite resounding outcry from gun owners and the state’s long traditions of hunting and shooting sports, the state’s legislature and Hickenlooper ramrodded the bills through and signed them into law.
That set off immediate calls for a boycott by hunters, who account for more than 86,000 annual license sales from nonresidents. That’s about 15 percent of the state wildlife agency’s annual license sales. The Colorado Springs Gazette reported here that hunting outfitters have said nonresidents are starting to cancel hunting trips.
Colorado hunting guide Chris Jurney told the newspaper he expects more cancellations and backlash.
“There’s a united front of sportsmen that are tired of having their freedoms and liberties and fundamental rights taken away from them,” Jurney, vice president of the Colorado Outfitters Association, told the paper. “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.”
Tom Gresham, host of the nationally-syndicated radio show “Gun Talk,” is urging hunters to boycott and strike back financially, and has said he will not visit Colorado for hunting, tourism or business.
One of Colorado’s legislators who supported the gun legislation recently enacted wouldn’t talk with the Gazette.
“It sounds like you are primarily looking into hypothetical scenarios regarding potential impacts to tourism and hunting in Colorado, which are pretty difficult to comment on. We will take a pass on weighing in on this discussion,” said his spokesman, Doug Schepman.
Denver Post outdoor writer Scott Willoughby said in this opinion column a boycott doesn’t make sense and compared the hunters to bullfrogs. He wrote that “… misguided calls for boycotts of Colorado hunting and fishing in protest of gun control measures proposed in the state Legislature more closely resembles that of bullfrogs. It doesn’t take many to create a ruckus. But they don’t have much of a bite.” He also says in this opinion column that if hunters do boycott, that’s fine because resident hunters may have a better season.
With almost half a million resident hunters buying licenses in Colorado, the financial impact of nonresidents who may not go may not seem like much at first blush. But for nonresidents who visit small towns, buy food and gas at the Mom ‘n Pop businesses, enjoy the hotels they’ve visited for years, and use the outfitters who depend on them to enjoy Colorado’s big game hunts, that 15 percent of license sales and other lost revenue could end up being a straight jab to the jaw.
The new laws aren’t just stirring hunters, either. Businesses are pulling out of the state. Michael Bane, a television show producer for The Outdoor Channel, has said he will no longer film or produce any shows in Colorado. Magpul, which makes firearms magazines and other accessories, also has announced it will leave the state and is seeking other states in which to do business.
Time will tell, of course, whether hunters follow through or if this talk of a boycott is emotional and social media stirring.
What do you think about this proposed boycott? Let us know with your comments below!