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Hunting license sales could shed light on gun laws' impact

Hunting license sales could shed light on gun laws' impact

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - Colorado's Parks and Wildlife shared new numbers on hunting license sales Friday.  The numbers could shed light on whether gun legislation will impact hunting in Colorado.

When new gun laws came in, some hunters said they were out. Hunters around the U.S. announced they would boycott hunting season in Colorado to protest the state's new gun restrictions.

Leftover hunting licenses went on sale around the state this week. Hunting license sales could have a big impact on Colorado tourism and its economy.

Gil Bandy snagged a leftover bear license Friday.

"You know we've got to keep the population down and the animals, so what can I say," said Bandy.

New laws didn't deter Bandy from hunting. Statewide numbers released Thursday show he's not alone.

Applications for limited licenses (licenses for species in which Colorado Parks and Wildlife puts a cap on the number that can be killed during the hunting season) increased 4 percent this year from last year.  For some species, there were more applications than licenses available.

Hunters from Colorado and elsewhere in the U.S. purchased 12,000 leftover licenses when they went on sale earlier this week -- the same number as last year.

Parks and Wildlife said money from these sales is critical.

"The money goes toward things like access to small game hunters on the eastern plains, as well as maintaining habitat for deer and elk on the western slopes. It also goes to programs with landowners and the running of this agency," said Heather Tepley with Colorado's Parks and Wildlife.

Many non-resident hunters will purchase over-the-counter licenses October through November. Non-resident hunters pay around 12 times more for elk and deer licenses than in-state hunters. It's one of Parks and Wildlife's biggest sources of revenue. 

Based on early numbers, Colorado Parks and Wildife is cautiously optimistic about over-the-counter sales.

There are thousands of leftover licenses still available; Colorado Parks and Wildlife said this number is not of the norm. Hunters interested in purchasing licenses can visit the Parks and Wildlife office in Colorado Springs, 4255 Sinton Road.

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