Jan 2, 2014 7:12 PM by Matt Prichard
Gun laws, fires and floods all made for an apprehensive hunting community heading into the 2013 season. But preliminary numbers tell a much different story.
"In spite of all of that, we did see an increase in the amount of people participating in big-game hunting in Colorado in 2013," said Colorado Parks and Wildlife spokesman, Randy Hampton.
A statistic most Colorado business owners weren't expecting, especially after those gun laws stole headlines in 2013.
"Out of the 33-years I've been here, this was the best year yet. The walls were completely full at the beginning of the year. Now everything is settling down, and we're back to work with all my walls full again," said Dragon Arms owner, Mel Bernstein.
The Colorado Parks and Wildlife Department say they sold nearly 330,000 big-game hunting licenses this year, up nearly five thousands from 2012. But still some are feeling the backlash from those new laws.
"It's been pretty rough honestly. There's a lot of folks who come in looking for their favorite round that they've had experience with, or good success with. And they come in to find that it's not available and with no estimated time of arrival for it," said Paradise Sales General Manager, William Hartman.
Even though some are struggling, Parks and Wildlife say it's a good thing the numbers are up simply for the state economy.
"When you take a look at hunting in Colorado's economy, you're talking about a billion dollars a year. When you throw in hunting, fishing and outdoor recreation, you're closer to three billion dollars a year," said Hampton.
Hampton says although ammunition can be scarce it's hard to stop people from coming out to one of the best hunting spots in the United States.