Colorado may have the best elk in the country, but the gun laws are the worst, say some hunters who will no longer hunt in the state due to the restrictive gun laws recently signed by Democratic Governor John Hickenlooper.
A Fox News interview with local hunting guide and vice president of the Colorado Outfitters Association Chris Jurney uncovered the feeling behind the boycott:
“There’s a united front of sportsmen that are tired of having their freedoms and liberties and fundamental rights taken away from them. 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.”
According to Jurney, out of state hunters accounted for 15% of hunting licenses last year. While that number may seem insignificant, it represents 86,000 visitors to the state. An out of state hunting license for an elk bull, according to the Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s 2013 Colorado Big Game booklet, is $589. If all of those out-of-state hunters opted to not come to Colorado, it would be a loss of over $50 million in state revenue. Of course, not all hunters will opt out, but nonetheless, this is a huge revenue loss for Colorado. That figure doesn’t even account for the money that these 86,000 would-be hunters spend in lodging, food, and entertainment, nor the taxes to the state from such spending.
Small business owner Jeff Lepp of Specialty Sports, who outfits hunters, underscores the damage to the state’s tourism industry:
“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.”
This direct impact is in addition to the lack of free advertising for Colorado tourism from the Outdoor Channel’s decision to relocate production of four shows to another state, as well as the departure of Magpul Industries and its several hundred jobs.
When unemployment in Colorado remains high and liberals are talking about a one billion dollar income tax increase, it seems mind boggling to chase out revenue producing activities and entities.