Wyoming may soon become the 28th state to allow hunters to use suppressors. It is part of a growing national trend that advocates the use of suppressors for their part in reducing noise pollution and preventing hearing loss.
According to the American Silencer Association, 39 states allow ownership of suppressors, while 27 states allowing hunting use and nearly 27,000 are purchased every year in the United States.
The Wyoming legislature is only the latest state to make a decision on the use of suppressors for hunting. According to the Associated Press, a bill cleared the state House of Representatives that will allow silencer-equipped firearms for hunting game animals. The bill had already been approved by the Senate and now awaits the governor’s decision.
Many Wyoming sportsmen laud the measure but it’s not without its detractors. Both wildlife officials and some hunters have concerns over the induction of the suppressor into the hunting world. Organizations like the Wyoming Game Wardens Association believe that the piece of equipment will help poachers evade detection and give law-abiding hunters too big of an advantage.
“We consider that unsportsmanlike,” said the group’s lobbyist, Roger Bredehoft. “That would not be fair chase, but it would be legal.”
The Spokesman-Review reports that groups such as the Wyoming Wildlife Federation (WWF) also agree with this sentiment.
“We already have a lot of tools, and a lot of them are toys I guess, with GPS units, night-vision scopes, high-powered rifles with ballistic scopes that allow you to kill critters at 800 to 1,000 yards, four-wheelers, four-wheel drives–the list is quite long,” said WWF director Steve Kilpatrick. “And we don’t really see the need for silencers, especially for the hunting of game animals.”
With the current cornucopia of modern equipment, many hunters are weary of bringing additional gear into the woods. Others cite dangers in using suppressed firearms, such as not knowing if there were other hunters in the nearby area.
A list of individual state policies can be found here.
You can also chime in on the debate at our campfire discussion.