Hunters Strike Back, Begin Boycotting Colorado Over New Gun Laws

Gun rights supporters hold signs and listen to former Republican congressional candidate from Utah, Mia Love, speak at a gun rights rally and march at the Utah State Capitol on March 2, 2013 in Salt Lake City, Utah. (Photo: Getty Images)

(TheBlaze/AP) — Hunters across the country say they are boycotting Colorado because of new gun control legislation that limits ammunition magazines to 15 rounds and greatly expands background checks, among other things.

Opponents say the laws will make criminals of previously-legal gun owners, and hunters lending each other weapons for hunting trips.

Some have announced they will no longer hunt or vacation in the state, according to the Colorado Springs Gazette.  Michael Bane, a freelance producer for The Outdoor Channel, said he will no longer film his four shows there.

House Bill 13-1228, requiring background checks for the purchase of guns, awaits the signature of Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper at the Capitol in Denver on Wednesday, March 20, 2013. (Photo: AP)

Northwest Colorado hunting guide Chris Jurney expects more state defections in a major tourism industry for the state. Out-of-state hunters accounted for 15 percent of hunting licenses last year, 86,000, compared with 489,000 for residents.

“There’s a united front of sportsmen that are tired of having their freedoms and liberties and fundamental rights taken away from them,” said Jurney, vice president of the Colorado Outfitters Association. “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.”

Colorado Parks and Wildlife spokesman Randy Hampton said his agency has asked the state attorney general’s office for advice on impacts to hunters. While legal possession of high-capacity magazines is grandfathered in, officials want to make sure they are still legal to use.

A hunter holds a rifle during a deer hunting organised by ACCA’s association (Les Associations Communales de Chasse Agreees) on December 16, 2012 in Les Angles, southwestern France. (Photo: AFP/Getty Images)

“We believe there’s the potential for impact. That’s out of our control,” he said. “Hunting is a tool to manage wildlife populations, and we do not believe the impacts will affect that part of our mission.”

Jurney said he expects the actual impact of gun regulations on Colorado hunters will be small. But varmint hunters tend to use high-capacity magazines, so they might be limited.

The Colorado Tourism Office, which tracks travel spending in Colorado, did not immediately return a call seeking details about whether a hunting boycott was being felt.

Jeff Lepp, owner of Specialty Sports, a gun and hunting shop in Colorado Springs, predicts hunters are going to choose to visit other Rocky Mountain states.

“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,” he said.