Colorado House Agriculture, Livestock, and Water Committee Unanimously Advances Hunter Education Bill

Contact: Ellary TuckerWilliams, Rocky Mountain States Senior Coordinator

  • On Thursday, February 24, the Colorado House Agriculture, Livestock, and Water Committee passed HB22-1168 - Public School Hunter Education Seventh Grade Course – with an 11-0 vote, highlighting the immense bipartisan support for the bill.
  • HB22-1168 was passed with an amendment that would allow schools to offer hunter education to students outside of grade seven.
  • In support of HB22-1168, the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation provided virtual testimony and signed onto a coalition letter with 16 other sporting-conservation organization.

Why it Matters: By giving public schools the opportunity to offer hunter education as an elective with parent approval, fewer students will be inadvertently excluded from taking hunter education based on parent work schedules or socioeconomic limitations, providing many students with a learning opportunity that they would not have had otherwise. Furthermore, hunter education can teach students and their parents about the mental and physical benefits associated with the hunting and the outdoors and directly combat the increasing prevalence of Nature Deficit Disorder in today’s youth.

As previously reported, HB22-1168 aims to allow hunter education to be offered as a public school elective. While the bill would not mandate that public schools to offer hunters education or require student participation, it would provide public schools with the option to offer it as an elective and students the opportunity to participate with parental approval.

By providing students with the opportunity to take hunters education in school, we can help restore a desire for Colorado’s youth to spend more time being active in the outdoors, proactively address grown concerns surrounding Nature Deficit Disorder with today’s youth, work to recruit new sportspeople, increase future financial contributions to state-based conservation through the American System of Conservation Funding, and teach students about the critical role that sportspeople play in conservation and the sustainability of our wildlife.

After receiving immense support for HB22-1168 from numerous individuals and organizations participating in virtual and in-person testimony including Colorado Parks and Wildlife; Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF); Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation; National Shooting Sports Association; and more, the Colorado House Agriculture, Livestock, and Water Committee expressed overwhelming support for the bipartisan and bicameral bill and advanced it to the House Floor on an 11-0 vote. There was no in-person or virtual testimony provided by opponents of the bill. Ahead of the hearing, CSF also signed onto a coalition letter with 16 other outdoor sporting conservation organizations as part of the Colorado Wildlife Conservation Partnership to demonstrate our collective and enthusiastic support for HB22-1168.

CSF will keep you updated on the progress of HB22-1168 as that information is made available.

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Studies conducted at both the state and federal level have found that the number of hunters and trappers have been on a generally declining trend over the past several decades. To increase recruitment, retention, and reactivation (R3) of hunters and trappers, which initiative do you think would have the greatest impact?

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