Through the sales of licenses, equipment, outfitted hunts, and countless other goods and services, big game hunting generates big money for Colorado.
Nearly 500,000 hunters pursue various species of big game in Colorado each year. This means big money for the state and its hunting industry, which generates nearly $1 billion annually.
According to The Coloradan, hunting and fishing combine to bring approximately $2.8 billion to the state each year. Skiing is the only tourism industry which brings more money to Colorado than hunting and fishing.
Colorado Parks & Wildlife collected about $110 million from the sale of hunting and fishing licenses in 2012-2013. This is great news because approximately 2/3 of the funding used for wildlife management in Colorado comes from the sales of hunting and fishing licenses.
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Colorado sells approximately 575,000 hunting licenses each year. Of these, about 86,000 are to nonresidents. Luckily for the state, those numbers are growing.
So why is Colorado such a popular destination for out of state hunters? Colorado has the largest population of Rocky Mountain Elk in the United States, and thousands of hunters from all over the world open their checkbooks to hunt them in Colorado.
“Out-of-state hunters still came to Colorado. I think there are two reasons for that. One, Colorado has the largest elk herd in the U.S. The hunting is world class,” Pat Martinez, a retired Colorado Parks and Wildlife (formerly Division of Wildlife) biologist, said. “Two, Colorado is the only state you can come from out of state and pick up a bull tag or another over-the-counter tag. A lot of other states, due to smaller size of herds and their management goals, an out-of-state hunter can’t hunt there. In Colorado, you can come here on a Friday, buy a tag and hunt Saturday.”
In addition to purchasing hunting licenses and guided hunts, sportsmen bring a significant amount of money to the state in ways that are less obvious. Purchasing hunting equipment is one way. Buying gasoline, eating at restaurants, and staying in hotels are just a few of the other ways that hunters contribute to the Colorado economy.
There were fears among many Colorado businesses that they would suffer due to a hunting boycott proposed by those upset about the new gun control laws in the state. Though there was a slight dip in hunting generated income during the next hunting season, it was fortunately very small and only temporary.
Like what you see here? You can read more great hunting articles by John McAdams at The Big Game Hunting Blog.