Hunters ignore call to boycott Colorado
Gun-rights advocates had threatened to take their business elsewhere, but the state has been swamped with license applications.
Does the hankering to go hunting outweigh the outrage over gun-control laws in Colorado?
Last month, gun-rights advocates were threatening to lead a hunting boycott against the Centennial State to protest newly enacted gun laws.
At the time, there were concerns that such a boycott might take a bite out of the $1.8 billion that hunting and fishing generate annually in Colorado. The industry not only brings in revenue from hunting licenses but also supplies income to many of the state's sporting goods stores, gas stations, restaurants and hotels. Now it appears the boycott might be showing some cracks.
Last week, the state reported a flood of online applications for big-game, limited hunting licenses ahead of the April 16 deadline -- so many, in fact, that the high volume caused the online system to temporarily crash.
Randy Hampton, with Colorado Parks and Wildlife, says the last-minute rush for hunting licenses is an annual affair.
"We won't have final numbers on applications until the first part of May," he said. "And even when we do know, it's impossible to really utilize that information and say what effect this talk of a boycott has had."
Colorado Parks and Wildlife has attempted to respond to concerns by people upset with the state's new gun legislation. It noted in press releases that the new bills will not affect existing hunting regulations, a person's ability to hunt or how the state harvests and manages its wildlife populations.
Hampton says talk of a boycott seems overstated. "As we started to hear from people (complaining about the gun laws), we'd find that some of them hadn't hunted in Colorado before or hadn't hunted here in a long time," he said. "So it's hard to assess how legitimate it is."
Scott Willoughby, who writes the Outdoors column in the Denver Post, recently reported that one group, the Tea Party Gun Owners of Colorado, has abandoned its plans to support the hunting boycott. "We as a group are pro business," says an organization press release that Willoughby quoted, "and would never want to affect the meager incomes of struggling businesses and guides operating in Colorado."
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