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Colorado hunters concerned about more than 1,000 hunting license duplicates sent out

Posted: 6:20 PM, Sep 04, 2018
Updated: 2018-09-05 00:28:21Z

Editor's note: Contact7 seeks out audience tips and feedback to help people in need, resolve problems and hold the powerful accountable. If you know of a community need our call center could address, or have a story idea for our investigative team to pursue, please email us at  contact7@thedenverchannel.com  or call (720) 462-7777. Find more Contact7 stories  here .

DENVER -- For many families in Colorado, hunting is a tradition and something they look forward to at this time every year. When some hunters heard about duplicate licenses getting sent out in the mail, they reached out to Contact7 to find out what’s going on.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPAW) said duplicate licenses are sent out every year by accident from third party printers, but this year more than 1,000 licenses are seeing double.

“This year we have seen a rise in it,” said Cory Chick, License, Pass and Reservation Section Manager for CPAW. “The ones that we know of for sure there are about 1,040 customers that were sent duplicate licenses.”

CPAW sent emails out to the 240,000 people that drew Colorado tags this year encouraging anyone with duplicates to reach out to the agency to notify them and eventually destroy the extra copy. Some hunters are worried other hunters may not be honest with the duplicates and that could have an impact on big game populations.

“So if you mark that tag and you get that elk out of the area, you can take your other tag and go shoot one and nobody would know,” said Scott Middleton, hunter from Bailey. “If they (CPAW) continue this the generations to come may not have any game to hunt or there may be too few to hunt.”

Colorado does not require hunters to turn in their tags after killing an animal unless hunters get picked for random sampling and have to show proof.

Contact7 asked CPAW what the agency does to hold people accountable in this situation.

Q: “Is that a concern for you guys with the animal populations if that happens?
A: “I haven’t seen it happen.”
Q: “If it did, would it be a concern?”
A: “There would be a lot of things that would be a concern if things happened.”

CPAW said most of the license duplicates sent out in the mail are identical, meaning one of the copies would not be valid.

This was the first year CPAW changed to selling tags through an online system. Chick says the agency has some takeaways to implement for next year’s license process.

“When we are talking about duplicates, there is a good chance that either myself and or some of my staff will probably go to their printing office and do some level of quality assurance after they have done their quality assurance to be sure that what is being sent out is sent out appropriately,” said Chick.

If someone does make the decision to shoot an extra animal with an invalid tag, CPAW said that would be handled by law enforcement and could be considered poaching.