1:17pm

Mon November 25, 2013
Outdoor Recreation

Boycott, Floods, and Shutdown Fail To Dissuade Colorado Hunters

Despite a number of factors that could have derailed this year’s hunting season – including a boycott threatened over new gun restrictions – it appears Colorado is still popular with hunters.

Compared to 2012, Colorado Parks and Wildlife sold about 5,000 more hunting licenses, with increases for deer, elk and bear.

"We know there were a number of things that sportsmen and wildlife supporters in Colorado were concerned about," says Parks and Wildlife spokesman Randy Hampton.

Those issues ranged from the contentious gun legislation, to summer wildfires, to September’s massive flooding. On top of that, the partial government shutdown created confusion, especially for nonresidents, over what was open in Colorado for hunters.

All of those issues could have had an impact on the season, says Hampton.

"Maybe we would have been up more than we were, if none of those things went on," Hampton says. "But what we do know is, looking preliminarily at the numbers, license sales numbers were up in Colorado – and that is good news for the management of all of the wildlife species in the state."

It's good news because the agency draws most of its budget from sales of nonresident big game licenses.  Colorado collected $38 million in elk and deer licenses from nonresidents, compared with $7.6 million from in-state hunters, in 2012.

The final numbers won’t be available until 2014, but Hampton says the initial figures are a positive sign for the hunting and fishing industry, which brings in about $1.8 billion annually for the state.