A hunting ban in Boulder County, Colorado may soon be amended. In 2022, responding to popular pressure, the Boulder Board of County Commissioners passed a measure banning recreational shooting and all types of hunting—including archery—in the residential “Sugarloaf” area. The ban includes a significant portion of public land managed by the U.S. Forest Service. 

The ban has drawn pushback from the hunting community from the outset. At an early public hearing, local hunter Steven Bein argued for distinguishing between recreational shooting and hunting. “This is a wholesale slaughter of rules when there are very specific [rules for hunting],” he said, as reported by the Daily Camera

According to an email obtained by Field & Stream, the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) is pressuring the County to walk back the hunting portion of the ban. “The USFS continues to maintain that Boulder County cannot prohibit hunting on their lands with a valid permit,” wrote Boulder County Commissioner Claire Levy in an email to her constituents. 

In contesting the hunting ban, the USFS cites the 2019 Dingell Act, which requires federally owned public land to be “open to hunting, fishing, and recreational shooting … unless the Secretary [of Agriculture] closes an area in accordance with [the Act].” 

The USFS is not taking issue with the recreational shooting portion of the ban, which was passed according to a state statute regarding population density. Instead, the agency argues that Boulder County doesn’t have jurisdiction to enforce the blanket hunting ban in the Sugarloaf area. 

In response, the Boulder County Board of Commissioners is convening on April 23 at 3:30 p.m. to “discuss an amendment to the resolution that prohibits hunting within the boundaries of … Sugarloaf Mountain.” Public comments will be considered during the meeting. 

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Conservation groups are encouraging sportsmen to turn out at the meeting. “Hunters in places [like Boulder] may be in the minority, but that doesn’t mean they should have the right to hunt or fish removed because it’s not popular,” Devin O’Dea, Western Policy & Conservation Manager for Backcountry Hunters & Anglers, tells Field & Stream. “There’s nothing coming from Colorado Parks & Wildlife or biologists stating that hunting should be removed here. It’s purely popular opinion. We want to stand by science-based management of wildlife.”