Hunter's applications 'overwhelm' Colorado Parks and Wildlife system

DENVER - Hunters applying for a limited number of big game licenses in Colorado overwhelmed the system on Monday night, according to Colorado Parks and Wildlife.

"There were so many people applying to hunt in Colorado that it overwhelmed the bank's credit card system last night," said spokesperson Randy Hampton.

Tuesday at midnight is the deadline to apply for a fall license to hunt deer, elk, pronghorn, moose, sheep, goat and black bear.

"There's so many people who want to hunt here because we have the big game resources," Hampton said.

7NEWS stopped by the Denver office Tuesday and found a line of people waiting to file applications. A room nicknamed the "trip room" is where hunters can go to get assistance in applications. It's been open for two weeks leading up to Tuesday's deadline, but the number of visitors jumped Monday.

Hampton said CPAW has received letters from hunters who say they've hunted in Colorado for years and won't come back because of the recent change in state gun laws. However, when he looked up one of those writers, he found the man only had a hunting license in Colorado once.

Hampton said the new gun laws didn't affect Colorado's hunting regulations.

"Limited licenses won't tell us much," Hampton explained. "The real test of whether hunters are boycotting Colorado will come in the fall when hunters typically buy over-the-counter licenses."

Meanwhile, the Vice President of the Colorado Outfitters Association Chris Jurney said his organization has already seen an impact and expects it will only increase.

"Interestingly enough, we got an email yesterday from a Colorado resident that said he will no longer be hunting in Colorado, he's going to go to Wyoming or Montana," Jurney said. "What's happening is people aren't calling. People aren't looking to book a hunt because of what's happened."

Jurney shared One of those emails with 7NEWS. It is reprinted here verbatim, without corrections to spelling or style:

I saw your ph conversation on Cam&Co. Felt compelled to send this message. Please understand that you have my permission to foreward to any org that might be able to point out the economic impact the new laws WILL have on the beautiful state of Colorado.I have hunted big game in CO as a non-resident approx 90% of years since 1978. Myself and other hunters have recently decided that we will not choose to return to CO this coming season. Total # of hunters involved in our party includes 4-10 hunters. Although we hunt in a "do it on our own" hunt, the $$$ spent in the state add up to a sizeable amount to us, at least.

Jurney said the majority of emails and phone calls they've received are from out-of-state. Hampton said 70 percent of the budget for wildlife management is from non-resident license fees.

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