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Urgent: Colorado Wildlife Commission to Consider Proposed Hunting Regulations

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Tomorrow, January 10, the Colorado Wildlife Commission will meet to consider a number of new hunting regulations that will affect all of Colorado’s hunters.  The most concerning of these is a possible prohibition of electronic ignition muzzle-loading rifles for hunting (Agenda Item #8 scheduled for 9:50 a.m.).  There is no biological justification for such a prohibition and it would set a very dangerous precedent for the future of hunting in the state.

 

To read more about the NRA’s position regarding this proposed prohibition, please go to http://www.nraila.org/media/PDFs/CO_Wildlife_Com.pdf.

 

It is critical that hunters attend the Commission meeting and have their voices heard on this issue and others of concern!  The meeting information is:

 

Colorado Wildlife Commission Workshop

January 10, 2008

8:30 a.m.

Division of Wildlfife

6060 Broadway

Hunter Education Building

Denver, CO 80216

(303) 291-7208

 

 

 

 

 

The following letter was sent by Darren LaSorte, NRA-ILA's Manager of Hunting Policy, to the Colorado Wildlife Commission:

 

Colorado Wildlife Commission

6060 Broadway

Denver, CO 80216

 

Dear Commissioners:

 

I am writing on behalf of tens of thousands of National Rifle Association members who enjoy Colorado’s marvelous big game hunting, to request that the proposed prohibition of electronic ignition muzzle-loading rifles be rejected.  As we all know and appreciate, hunting regulations should be dictated by science, rather than politics or an unnecessary aversion to technological advancements.  

 

There is no reasonable scientific or biological justification for the proposed prohibition of electronic ignition muzzle-loading rifles.  The means of igniting the powder in a rifle has no bearing on the actual harvest of game animals.  The past introduction of the 209 shotshell primer into muzzle-loading rifles eliminated virtually all concerns related to reliability of ignition, especially in bad weather.  Electronic ignition muzzleloaders will not prove measurably more reliable than those using the 209 primer.

 

If there is no scientific or biological justification for a prohibition, it is clear that politics or a misguided fear of technology is the only motivation behind those seeking a ban.  These have no place in wildlife management or the associated formulation of hunting regulations.  If allowed to creep into the regulatory process, they will prove to be the undoing of our hunting heritage, as only a fraction of Coloradans actually hunt each year.

 

A small minority of hunters possess a mentality that makes them want to dictate how others should hunt.  This is the “my-way-or-the-highway” mindset, which sabotages the long-term interests of the hunting community.  If one hunter chooses to hunt with an electronic ignition muzzleloader, it has no effect whatsoever on how anyone else in the state hunts or enjoys his or her time in the field.  Especially in light of Colorado’s troubling hunter recruitment ratio of 0.71* (for every 100 hunters who permanently quit hunting, only 71 replace them), more options should be available to prospective hunters, not fewer.

  

Many of the hunters with this mentality suffer from an unnatural aversion to technological advancement with regard to hunting equipment.  If this thinking had prevailed in the past, hunters everywhere would be denied the smokeless powder brought into the field by the 1894 Winchester, optics mounted on rifles, recurve and compound bows and in-line muzzleloaders.  Of course, all of these advancements encouraged more hunters to pursue game, which has been a boon to our hunting heritage and to wildlife management.  Electronic ignition muzzleloaders should be viewed as one more step in the right direction.

 

While we urge you to reject the proposed prohibition, we do encourage you to adopt reasonable regulations governing the use of electronic ignition muzzleloaders.  As has been the case in other states, regulations should be amended to specify the accepted unloaded condition of an electronic ignition muzzleloader.  More traditional muzzleloaders are considered unloaded when they have no percussion cap or 209 primer inserted into the rifle.  This clearly does not apply to electronic ignition.  Regulations could be modified to refer to the “source of ignition” being removed, or to simply specify that the battery in electronic ignition rifles be removed.  The latter might be a more easily understood provision.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.  If you have questions or would like more information, please contact me at (703) 267-1207.

 

 

Sincerely,

 

 Darren LaSorte

NRA-ILA

Manager of Hunting Policy

 

 

 

 

* National Survey of Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife Associated Recreation (2001)

 

 

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Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.