March 14, 2016
By Bob Cox
Some opinions, comments and links relating to what is happening in this great nation and, in particular, in Western Colorado.
I have commented several times over the past few weeks about things that I think are a waste of time on the part of our lawmakers. Today, I will probably get myself in a little trouble with some people that I have always had the utmost respect for, but things are getting out of hand.
I am getting real tired of just about everything being seen by some as being sexist, racist, anti-gay or improper assertion of religious freedoms.
Back in the decades before 1970 Colorado had literally gained a reputation of killing each other more so than killing big game during the fall hunting seasons. Hunters numbering in the double digits each year were being killed by their fellow hunters or by accidents on their own part.
Then, Colorado passed two very important laws. First they began requiring that hunters attend a hunter education class (back then called hunter safety class) and that all big game hunters were daylight fluorescent orange garments. When the law regarding fluorescent orange was first passed it required each hunter to wear 300 square inches of the color. There were those who so opposed the new safety requirement that they actually cut patches equaling the 300 square inches and pinned them under their armpits to comply without the color being seen. The law was then changed requiring that the color be 500 square inches, be worn in a garment above the waist and include head cover.
The result of those two laws was that we went from and average of 10 or more fatalities each year to an average of less than one. It worked, and it worked well.
I have been involved in the hunter education program for over 40 years. I have had numerous young people and adults in my classes. Not once can I remember anyone claiming that the wearing of daylight fluorescent orange had anything to do with being sexist. It had everything to do with being safe and I believe that, for the most part, my fellow instructors and I made that clear.
But then comes our esteemed left-wing lawmakers. A couple of months ago, when I first heard about Senate Bill 16-068, I doubted that it would progress beyond some discussion. I actually believed that the legislators and the public in general would chuckle and let it go as a colossal waste of time.
SB-68, introduced by Vail Democrat Kerry Donovan allows hunters to choose to wear fluorescent pink rather than the orange. Yep, she claims it is sexist; that wearing orange promoted the myth that hunting was a man’s sport and women were just not welcome into the camp.
My jaw literally dropped open when I found out that the Colorado Parks and Wildlife announced support for the bill. Then I shook the curls out of my hair when I heard that the bill passed in the Republican controlled Senate Agriculture, Natural Resources and Energy Committee. I almost went into shock, last Saturday, as I sat among hundreds of Republicans, when Rep. Don Coram told me that the bill was destined to become law.
I have a suggestion for Sen. Donovan and the rest of those wasting their time on these things. Maybe you should propose a bill that would stop the sexual discrimination of hunting so many male animals. Maybe we should be hunting more females to make it more “fair.” Or maybe you could get the biologists at CPW to start capturing elk and performing sex-change operations on them. Or how about this: We could stop hunting all together and give people tours in Pope-mobile-style jeeps through our government owned lands to observe the wildlife. Of course we would have to have a pink jeep and a blue jeep so as not to appear to be sexist. Then we probably better arrange for a black jeep and a brown jeep for obvious reasons and we could not use the older jeeps manufactured by American Motors, that might send the wrong message to our Mid-Eastern friends.
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© Robert R. Cox 2016