Wyoming House approves silencers for hunting

2013-02-13T19:00:00Z 2013-03-18T18:48:05Z Wyoming House approves silencers for huntingThe Associated Press The Associated Press
February 13, 2013 7:00 pm  • 

Wyoming hunters could use silencers on firearms for all types of hunting under a bill that cleared the state House of Representatives on Wednesday.

The House stripped an amendment it had adopted earlier this week that would have allowed silencers for hunting predators and small game but not for big game species such as elk and deer. It passed the final bill 44-14.

The measure earlier cleared the Senate and now heads to Gov. Matt Mead for his consideration.

House Speaker Tom Lubnau, R-Gillette, sponsored the amendment to allow silencers for big game hunting, reversing his position from the day before.

Lubnau said Wednesday he supported silencers as a public safety matter because he’s heard from hunters that grizzly bears learn to associate the sound of their rifles with the resulting elk gut piles. He also said silencers could help prevent hearing damage.

On Tuesday, Lubnau voted against removing the amendment to allow using silencers for big game. He objected to a request from Rep. Mark Baker, R-Rock Springs, for roll-call vote that would create a record of how each lawmaker acted on the issue.

Lubnau said recording the vote would “create fodder for what I believe to be some unethical lobbying organizations who then send out blast emails and fundraising approaches.”

The Wyoming Gun Owners Association has criticized Lubnau for his handling of gun bills.

Anthony Bouchard, the association’s director, said after Wednesday’s vote, “To me, it’s no surprise that they had to do the right thing after yesterday’s charade.”

Todd J. Rathner of Tucson, Ariz., the legislative liaison with the American Silencer Association, was in Cheyenne on Wednesday to track the bill. He said his group is pushing similar legislation in Montana, Georgia and Vermont.

The federal government regulates silencers, and 39 states allow civilian ownership. Of those states, 27 allow hunting with them.

“It’s just another tool to be able to use in the field for safety reasons,” Rathner said of silencers. “It helps to protect hearing, and it also gives hunters a choice whether or not they want to use them.”

The Wyoming Game Wardens Association has opposed the bill, saying silencers could help poachers and would give hunters an unsporting advantage over game.

Roger A. Bredehoft, lobbyist with the wardens group, said after the House vote that the association is concerned that the general public may turn against hunting if it perceives that the increasing flood of high-tech gadgets is giving hunters an unsporting advantage.

Modern, high-tech scopes can allow hunters to kill game animals at 1,000 yards, Bredehoft said. Hunters could shoot as many times as they wanted at that distance because the animal wouldn’t be able to hear it, he said.

“We consider that unsportsmanlike,” Bredehoft said. “That would not be fair chase, but it would be legal.”

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(15) Comments

  1. Sorcha
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    Sorcha - February 17, 2013 8:58 am
    Yea, the poachers are gonna love it. Meanwhile, the poor little legislators are worried about getting 'fat' down there in Cheyenne. Makes you wonder.
  2. hazmat
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    hazmat - February 15, 2013 3:12 pm
    I think to really drive home the safety aspect of this bill, the Suppressor Association folks ought to take these 'legislators' to a range and do a demonstration. Fire a simple Remington 700 SPS .308, (and/or maybe a big belted magnum like the .338 Ultra Mag) first with a suppressor, then without, all the while the 'legislators' may not be allowed to have hearing protection of any sort (to include putting their fingers in their ears) since to do so wouldn't be 'sporting'. They did this in ND and now suppressors are legal to hunt with there.
  3. Nick M
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    Nick M - February 14, 2013 4:49 pm
    Well, go for it, BED. You certainly appear to be qualified.
  4. Big Evan Diehl
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    Big Evan Diehl - February 14, 2013 4:18 pm
    The important one was HB-105, and they completely wimped out on that one. The Tea Party is looking better now.
  5. Nick M
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    Nick M - February 14, 2013 2:18 pm

    Well, at least he admitted it. I've known many who wouldn't... :>)
  6. RiverRover
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    RiverRover - February 14, 2013 1:39 pm
    Certainly not in an afternoon. However in his books "Wilderness Hunter" and "Hunting Trips of a Ranchman" I seem to recall at least a dozen cases of him admitting to wounded game escaping. Thats more than most, I believe. To be honest, he did much more hunting and had more chances for this to happen. I am not trying to take anything away from him, as he is one of the true founders ot the modern conservation movement, a personal hero of mine, and probably the final male occupant of the White House.
  7. Nick M
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    Nick M - February 14, 2013 1:06 pm

    I think that you’ll find the quote generally attributed to Roosevelt is actually: “No, I'm not a good shot, but I shoot often,” which changes the context quite a bit. Nor have I ever heard that he “wounded more game in one afternoon than most of us do in a lifetime.” I’d have to see some credible evidence of that.
  8. Nick M
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    Nick M - February 14, 2013 12:21 pm
    The term “reasoned debate”coming from you, Don, is a contradiction in terms; much like “Tea Party intellectual.”
  9. RiverRover
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    RiverRover - February 14, 2013 12:19 pm
    Teddy Rooseveldt wounded more game in one afternoon than most of us do in a lifetime. "I do not shoot very well, so I shoot often."
    Trail cameras give me the creeps, I shoot them when I spot them.
    Four wheelers are easier on the environment than 4 footers, and don't eat hay all year long.
    Got to agree about GPS, Facebook, walkie-talkie stuff.
    Laser range finders have prevented more game wounding than expanding bullets.
    Dont take Don too seriously, I'm sure he meant the good kind of communist.
  10. Don Wills
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    Don Wills - February 14, 2013 11:50 am
    Whenever I read the word "wingnut" used in a comment thread, I know that the poster has no interest in reasoned debate, and is most likely a collectivist, if not a downright communist.
  11. RiverRover
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    RiverRover - February 14, 2013 11:02 am
    Having spent lots of time pulling targets in the 1000 yard pits, I can assure you Bredehoft has never been shot at from that distance (unfortunately). The sound is all from the passage of the bullet, which is a sharp crack followed by a buzz, and quite nasty on the ears. The actual report or bang of the gun is a distant rumor, often unheard, and always difficult to pin down, directionally. Was this guy really a game warden, and if so did he ever go out in the field? None of this changes the fact that 1000 yard shots are too chancy to be taken ethically. On targets effect of an errant puff of wind is an 8 instead of an X. On game it is a gutshot instead of a cleanly killed animal.
  12. Nick M
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    Nick M - February 14, 2013 9:11 am
    Trail cameras, four-wheelers, high-end GPSs that permit you to keep up with all your wingnut buddies on Facebook, GPSs that double as walkie-talkies, muzzle brakes because you can’t handle recoil, scopes fitted with laser rangefinders, space-age compound bows, pseudo-muzzle-loading rifles with special sabot bullets, and now silencers that add two pounds and 10" to a rifle’s length. Teddy Roosevelt must be rolling over in his grave.

    Listen, why don’t you road-hunter “sportsmen” give up all the pretense and just buy yourself a copy of the Cabela’s Hunting Expeditions video game - only $59.96 at Wal-Mart? (What the hell; you spend a lot of your money there, anyway. And great everyday prices on camo underwear!)
  13. WyoBob
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    WyoBob - February 14, 2013 8:32 am
    Are muzzle breaks unethical too? One reason why I have for wanting a suppressor is that I would like to replace my muzzle break with one. I will realize the benefit of reducing both the noise and the recoil at the same time. During this process, I have also learned that many other countries are starting to require suppressor for hunters as no one else wants to loose any more of their hearing.

    Another thing I learned was that Boone & Crockett, an organization which coined the term "fair chase", has no restriction in the use of suppressors to deny entry of animals killed using a suppressed rifle. I guess they are smart enough to know that bullets traveling as fast as they do will have killed the animal long before the sound of the shot is heard. While I have not hunted with a suppressed rifle, I have seen animals react to missed shots. More often than not, I have seen them react to the bullet hitting the dirt or something behind the animal. Making the initial report quieter for the shooter will not stop that from occurring; furthermore, the noise from the shot will carry much further than the WGWA wanted to admit.

    It is ironic that they claim suppressors are unethical and yet they were the ones that rushed to reinstated baiting with the intent of killing wildlife. Which is more likely to turn the general public against hunting; using a suppressed rifle or baiting animals with the intent to draw them into the open where they can be killed?
  14. hazmat
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    hazmat - February 14, 2013 7:49 am
    If getting my elk means I have to do it at 1000 yds because that's all the closer I can get? Sure thing, though I'd rather not. I would caution the good Warden that taking that 1000 yd shot isn't all that easy. Nor is it the norm.

    The option to use a suppressor is a good thing. There are a lot of big game guns out there that will shatter ear drums. Adding a suppressor will not make all that noise go away, it'll just make it more manageable for the hunter.

    I am interested in what he considers a high tech gadget. Is it the pocket GPS that keeps one from becoming a statistic? Is it the range finder that tells you how far the shot you just made is or how far it is across that meadow or drainage? Or the new scope from Burris that combines a scope with a range finder to make sure you've got the exact distance and aiming point to make the humane kill shot that is so essential to being the quintessestial sportsman? Or is it the slick new camera phone that allows you to upload and send pictures of your trophy game animal to social networks, text messages, or email to show off to your friends?

    C'mon. Enquiring minds want to know.
  15. Wyomingsportsman
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    Wyomingsportsman - February 13, 2013 9:12 pm
    Bredehoff considering anything unethical is a joke, because the Wyomings Game Wardens Association is a joke
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