The new rule proposal was in response to the fatal shooting of an archery hunter in the San Juan National Forest; more hunter education planned
A recommendation from Colorado Parks and Wildlife Division staff that would have required bow hunters to wear fluorescent orange or pink during the overlapping muzzleloading season in September did not not been accepted by the wildlife commission at their meeting on Wednesday.
The suggested policy change was in response to a muzzle-loading hunter who allegedly shot and killed a bowhunter in September in the San Juan National Forest after mistaking him for an elk.
On September 17, Ron Morosko of Elizabeth, Pennsylvania was muzzle hunting on the Kilpacker Trail in the Lizard Head Wilderness area when he allegedly shot dead bowhunter Gregory Gabrisch of Houston, Texas. Gabrisch wore neither neon orange nor pink.
Morosko was arrested by the Dolores County Sheriff’s Office and charged on suspicion of criminally negligent homicide, a Class 5 felony. He was released on bail and his case is pending in the 22nd Judicial District Court. .
Bowhunters aren’t required to wear blazing orange during bowhunting season, a preference they say is necessary to stay in cover at close range from their prey and take a shot. ethical and accurate who kills the animal.
Rifle and muzzleloader hunters must wear at least 500 square inches of solid fluorescent orange or pink above the waist. A part must be a hat or headgear
Bowhunters were overwhelmingly against the recommended new bylaw that would require them to wear fluorescent orange or pink during the overlapping season on public lands west of Highway 25. Faun also didn’t want the change and voted 11-0 to file the issue.
“Our constituents don’t want it, why change it,” said wildlife commissioner Marie Haskett. “Every letter and email said ‘don’t do it. Maybe a special course for muzzle loaders, it would depend on the staff.
During public comments on the issue, Joey Brown, representing the Colorado Bowhunters Association, said a survey conducted on the issue received 11,000 responses.
“The overwhelming majority do not support wearing orange and do not believe it will guarantee that there will be no future accidents or incidents,” he said. “Education is the only thing here, apart from the separation of the seasons.”
Brown said three-quarters of those polled were also in favor of taking additional safety courses before buying a tag.
Bowhunter Henry Furgeson was against any requirement to wear fluorescent colors for archers. He has been archery hunting since the 1990s and has had fairly good success with nearly half of his successful hunts during the overlapping muzzleloader archery season in September.
“I’m afraid it wouldn’t have been the case if I had been required to wear 500 square inches of blazing orange. It would have been incredibly difficult to close that distance in the archery range,” said Furgeson.
Increased education is the answer, he said, especially as more people flock to the forest in September – from bow hunters and rifle hunters to hikers, mountain bikers and voyeurs. of leaves.
“It’s a complex problem, having additional training would give people a moment’s pause before they pull the trigger, and that would lead to better, more responsible decisions,” Furgeson said.
Jay Tutchton, a member of the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission, suggested that a renewal process be considered for the required hunter education card.
“I took hunter safety in the early 1970s, and there’s no obligation for me to be updated,” he said. “I think we should have a refresher course, not just for muzzleloaders and bows, but for everyone. Accidents and tragedies are not limited to these two groups, we have individuals in rifle regular season with both wearing orange who accidentally shoot or shoot each other.
Archery instructor Wes Mendez added that “the majority of safety issues can be corrected through public education and awareness, and reinforced through rehearsal and training.”
CPW board member Luke Schafer said he has confidence in Colorado’s hunt safety programs, but is concerned about other states. He didn’t think it was a coincidence that the last two hunting tragedies involved non-resident hunters. Online courses and quizzes are an opportunity to boost hunter safety, he said.
The Colorado Bowhunters Association is committed to increasing education, Brown said. His group plans to submit a citizens’ petition to the wildlife commission that focuses on ways to increase education and encourage safety during archery straddle. The petition would call for an additional safety course for all hunters,
The ABC encourages bow hunters to wear fluorescent orange or pink, and they distribute hats and vests in the colors of their duties.
Another solution to improve safety during the archery and muzzleloading overlapping season is to separate the seasons. Commission officials and bowhunters said the subject should be analyzed and discussed over the next two years ahead of the five-year review process of the CPW’s hunting regulations structure.
“Let’s spend the next two years working on education programs and getting into the straddle season ahead of the five-year plan,” said wildlife commissioner Charles Garcia.
CPW Director Dan Prenzlow said he would ask staff to look at improving hunter education and consider more leaflet notifications of potential hazards during overlap season.
The archery and muzzleloader elk seasons have overlapped during the month of September in Colorado since 1977.
According to a recent CPW Issues Report, since 1996 there have been three incidents related to muzzle-loading hunters shooting at or near bow hunters who are mistaken for game during overlapping seasons, either about the third week of September. Two incidents were fatal. This problem is accentuated by the recent fatal incident in Dolores County.
According to the CPW issue paper, archery and muzzleloader hunting seasons are considered primitive seasons in Colorado.
The types of technology that can be used during these seasons have been significantly limited by regulations. Bow and muzzleloader hunters rely on hunting during the rut to call animals within range. This is especially true for archers. To meet this additional challenge, archers have always asked for a month-long season. Muzzle-loading hunters also prefer to hunt during the rut.
“It is very difficult to completely separate the archery and muzzleloading seasons while fulfilling the following three objectives: to provide archers with a full month to hunt during the rut; offer muzzle-loading hunters two full weekends to hunt during the rut as well; and give animals a period of rest before hunting seasons begin to breed and redistribute out of refuges and remote areas,” according to the report.