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November 25, 2013 09:19 AM UTC

Confirmed: The "Hunter Boycott" That Never Happened

  • by: Colorado Pols
As it turns out...
As it turns out…

Scott Willoughby writes for the Denver Post this past weekend:

Colorado attracted national attention and threats of a hunting boycott last spring after Gov. John Hickenlooper signed a trio of gun laws restricting magazine capacity to 15 rounds and mandating background checks, paid by the purchaser, on most gun sales. The controversial bills were approved by the state legislature shortly before the big game application deadline, generating concerns over a potential decrease in demand for limited licenses in the state's premier hunting units.

Instead, the state's big game limited license applications increased by 17,000, or 4 percent, over the 2012 figures, totaling nearly 469,000. The increase in demand apparently was reflected in unlimited over-the-counter sales during the second and third rifle seasons this fall. With the largest elk herd in the nation, Colorado is the only state that offers an unlimited number of over-the-counter bull elk licenses to out-of-state hunters.

"If you want to go elk hunting, you are going to come here," said Eric Whirley, owner of Action Taxidermy in Gypsum, adding that his business was the best it has been since opening nine years ago. "We get a lot of out-of-state repeat business, a lot of the same groups of guys come back every year. We saw the same faces this year. You aren't going to Michigan to go elk hunting because Colorado changed a law."

Back in April, we took note of a revealing budget appropriation proposed during debate over this year's "Long Bill" by GOP Rep. Bob Rankin. Rankin unsuccessfully sought $1 million to fund a PR campaign by the Colorado Tourism Office, to dispel "myths" about Colorado's new gun laws Rankin believed threatened to harm tourism in the state over the summer and upcoming hunting season. As we noted at the time, many of the "myths" Rankin was concerned about originated with his fellow Republican legislators during the debate over the bills. Sen. Kevin Lundberg claimed that the bill limit magazine capacity to 15 rounds would "ban all magazines." Sen. Kent Lambert flat-out claimed the bills had "banned gun ownership," and predicted they would lead to guns being "confiscated or taken away here over the next couple of years."

Before you laugh dismissively, consider the fact that these absurd allegations had, and continue to have, a real impact on a large segment of voters. Evidence for this is everywhere, not least in polling showing that Coloradans hate "gun control," but support the gun control legislation that was actually passed by the Democratic-controlled Colorado General Assembly this year. The gap between fiction and reality is as wide in the Colorado gun debate as any issue we have ever seen in modern politics, and when you consider the prevalent misinformation on issues like Obamacare, that's saying a lot. So far, no preponderance of facts has been able to slow the momentum of the gun lobby, which is now focused on recalling a third Democratic Senator over legislation that actually enjoys broad support. If nothing else, this is another demonstration of the "reality gap" we're talking about.

But as we now know, the campaign of misinformation did not deter hunters from traveling to Colorado. We're not surprised. For one thing, it was reported back in June that hunting license applications had surged instead of declining. Some of our readers suggested that "reverse psychology" may have been at work, with hunters anticipating a boycott by others sought easy pickings that never materialized. Regardless, the bottom line is that a sane examination of the new laws makes it clear they don't impede hunting in Colorado one bit. And hunters who don't fall in the Rocky Mountain Gun Owners angry activist demographic were able to figure this out despite the ludicrous warnings spewing from the mouths of Republican lawmakers.


19 thoughts on “Confirmed: The “Hunter Boycott” That Never Happened

      1. Hunters are aware folks. When ammo requirements are changed, i.e. steel vs lead, they adapt and still kill ducks and other upland game birds. Most hunters know of the reasons behind such changes even if they don't endorse them. And, gradually, they come to endorse them

      1. Elk is delicious, though I'm probably not on Scotty's list. I don't know if I've only had badly prepared bear but I found it really, really yuckie. Friends who have relatives ranching in Wyoming brought us some antelope back from a visit up there once and that was great, too.

        1. BC, don't give up on bear. Try smoking it. For a long time. Last time I smoked it for 18 hours. Then I used some in a stroganoff.

          I'm not so fond of antelope but love elk, moose, caribou and whitetail deer.

          All I've ever hunted is rabbit and coyote

          1. Thanks but one BBQ maybe 35 year ago with greasy undercooked bear put me off it for good. I'm sure yours is great. Like venison and rabbit too and wild duck is divine. The main thing is we can enjoy all of it and still not be opposed to sensible gun laws, right?

    1. In case what I'm saying isn't clear, hunters use guns as a tool; they bring home game as food, or at least bragging rights and donate the meat to charity. However, Hunters account for only 36% of guns kept in the home, according to an Oct 13 Gallup poll.

      60% of people who have guns use them "for protection". My sense is that this latter group is so fearful and paranoid that they literally "can't hear" the cries of all of the women and kids and men who die every year as a result of gun accidents and violence.

      Can't hear it. Won't hear it. 2nd Amendment trumps the "right to life", if the life in question has been up and about and out of the womb for a number of years.

      That, and the relentless propaganda disseminated by NAGR and NRA, of which the image above is a prime example. The eagle is a nonpartisan raptor. It eats mice and small animals. But if you photoshop an "angry eagle" with semiauto rifles behind it, suddenly patriotism becomes being an angry, paranoid gun owner.

      The medium is the message. We who vote for and promote sensible gun legislation have to get better at messaging, although we probably never will reach that angry 20% who subscribe to the gunzo message.

  1. If anything, Colorado is about to see a massive increase in tourism of every type, including hunting. Why?

    The prospect of sitting around the hunting camp campfire and firing up a doobie appeals to an enormous number of out-of-state folks. I am very interested to see how Colorados' tourism industry increases as a result of amendment 64.

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