Colorado introduces controversial big game bill
Last week, Colorado Senator Ray Scott (R-Grand Junction) introduced Senate Bill 137 (SB137), which would allow Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) to hold a raffle for hunting licenses for ten big game species within the state. The bill, which would allow hunters to purchase raffle tickets for the chance to draw a big game tag for Shiras moose, Rocky Mountain elk, mule deer, whitetail deer, Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep, desert bighorn sheep, Rocky Mountain goats, pronghorn, black bears and mountain lions, has resulted in opposition from multiple anti-hunting and animal rights groups who say the bill will pave the way for trophy hunting.
Colorado Voters for Animals and Conservation Colorado are both against the bill along with other animal rights individuals like Maxine Mager of Creative Acres, a no-kill animal sanctuary within the state. She says, "it's narrow thinking if the goal is to raise money for wildlife programs. I think you'd make more money if that's really the goal if you open it up to more people and not just hunters.”
According to The Gazette, the money raised through the raffle would be funneled back into administering the drawing “while half would go to wildlife habitat conservation or restoration, recruitment of new hunters or protecting the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation.” As goHUNT previously reported, CPW has some long-term funding issues and its operating budget, which relies primarily on revenue raised through the sale of hunting and fishing licenses, has been drastically cut by $40 million. This budget cut has impacted several programs and required CPW to eliminate 50 full-time positions.
If SB137 is passed, CPW will be able to sell raffle tickets at $50 per ticket with the limit of 25 tickets per person; each ticket will enter that person into a raffle for each species hunting license. According to The Gazette, the raffle will bring in roughly $277,635; however, the fiscal analysis says that “the bill will cost the state slightly more than that to administer the raffle and the other programs tied to it.”
As of the publication date of this article, it appears that SB137 has been postponed. The Gazette reports that Sen. Scott will likely add amendments to the original language, but what those may be is unknown.
Stay tuned to goHUNT for further information.