Joel Reichenberger: No group hunts here |

Joel Reichenberger: No group hunts here

— The news for Steamboat Springs hunter John Tendick isn’t what he’d like to hear.

Tendick, a longtime hunter who took to the Colorado backcountry this year for the first time since retiring to Steamboat, wrote to the state’s Division of Wildlife hoping to get a group-hunting rule instated.

Now 62, Tendick said he hunted in Colorado in the late 1970s before life and his career took him to different parts of the country. He finally returned to Colorado about a year ago.

He eagerly signed up for tags for this year’s season and was happily back out in the forest when archery season started in August.

Tendick said he found something in his hunt he didn’t expect. Colorado doesn’t allow anyone besides the hunter who drew or bought a particular tag to take an animal with that tag.

Tendick said other states he’s hunted in allow any member of a hunting party to fill a tag held by someone else in the party. Colorado, though, has different laws.

Tendick’s frustration didn’t stem from his own experiences this season, he said. Rather, it came from seeing other hunters who simply had been too successful in their hunting. He said anyone fortunate enough to bag an elk or a deer on the first day was left with little to do while buddies and traveling partners continued to roam the woods looking for game.

“This is the first state I’ve ever hunted in where they say you can’t go out hunting any more after you fill your tag,” Tendick said.

Hunters aren’t restricted from returning to the woods, but they can’t shoot anything else. Tendick said it’s hard enough to get out into the wild at his age, anyway, and it’s not worth it if he can’t hunt, as well.

Randy Hampton, spokesman for the Colorado Division of Wildlife, said although group hunts might make sense in other states, Colorado’s regulations make sense here.

“We have a system we believe is fair and equitable,” he said. “Wisconsin might allow it, but they’re dealing with a big overpopulation of whitetail deer. We have different management issues. We have more elk than any other state, and we have more elk than any other state for a reason.”

Tendick proposed that group hunting licenses could help raise more money for the DOW and that they could be a boon to older hunters wanting to spend time hunting in the woods with younger family members.

Hampton questioned how realistic that was, however. In any case, the rule is not likely to be changed any time soon.

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