Category Archives: Small-Game Hunting

Field Notes of a Rookie Sportsperson: All-day Upland Adventure

Aaron Berscheid gives last-minute instructions to a group of novice hunters
Colorado Parks and Wildlife Officer Aaron Berscheid gives last-minute instructions to a group of novice hunters who are members of the Rookie Sportsperson Program.

One of the things my daughter, Natalie, and I have enjoyed about learning to hunt is the friends we’ve made during the process.

For the past 10 months, we have attended Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s Rookie Sportsperson Program (RSP) offered by CPW’s Southeast Region headquartered in Colorado Springs. The RSP takes people like Natalie and me, who have little or no outdoor experience, and teaches them outdoor skills. Hopefully, attendees are inspired to get outside and sample all the adventures available in Colorado’s great outdoors.

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Chasing Colorado’s Cottontails

Rabbit hunter
 All photos by © Doug Skinner/CPW.

Colorado’s rabbit hunting season opened in early October, as leaves, grasses and even pumpkins were turning from green to autumnal oranges and yellows. Moving into November, an increasing frequency of cooler nights brings the expectation of morning frost and summer quickly gives way to the fall hunting seasons. For most, thoughts of Colorado hunting conjures up images of high elevation elk herds or majestic mule deer out on the plains. But for many, the splendor of fall reminds us of our first trips afield – hunting small game.

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2019 Colorado Pheasant & Quail Hunting Forecast

2019 Colorado Pheasant and Quail Forecast

For the 2019-20 Colorado pheasant hunting season, hunters can expect a year similar to, but probably somewhat better than last season, which was a decent year.  This season, we had relatively good moisture conditions over the summer, so we can expect more birds in the fields. In terms of quail hunting, the outlook is a little different. Bobwhite quail numbers in the southeast region looked pretty good, while scaled quail are a bit down from the heyday of a few years ago. In the Northeast, bobwhite quail have mixed results – some properties have good covies and good size to the covies, while other properties, not so much. It’s looking like a spotty hit or miss quail hunting this season.

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Field Notes of a Rookie Sportsperson: My first dove hunt

Sunset on the farm
Photo by © Travis Duncan/CPW.

My first dove-hunting trip as a member of the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Rookie Sportsperson Program (RSP) had nearly everything I could want in an outdoors weekend: camaraderie with friends, dinner of fresh game, card-playing and storytelling, camping in a beautiful and remote wildlife area and a chance to use my new skills as a hunter.

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Reservations Accepted at 18 Colorado Public Hunting Areas

Waterfowl hunter

There are few things worse than waking up early to be the first hunter at your favorite hunting spot and finding that someone has beat you to it. One way to avoid that frustration is to use Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s new hunting reservation system (hint: the government loves acronyms, so you may see the system identified as HRS). The new hunting reservation system allows licensed hunters to make reservations at 18 different locations around the state. This system is used primarily for waterfowl and small game hunting reservations, but several of the properties will offer turkey hunting reservations as well. 

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2018 Pheasant & Quail Forecast

Pheasant Hunting Conditions

In comparison to last year, Colorado’s forecast for the 2018 pheasant hunting season is going to be right around the average mark. Conditions for nesting and brood-rearing weren’t optimal this year, but the conditions weren’t bad either. Last winter was dry, which means that there wasn’t a lot of soil moisture early this year. So green wheat and early brood-rearing habitat didn’t get an early start. Wet weather did arrive in May, which was good, and then June dried out, with warmer than normal temperatures for several days. In late July and early August, a series of pretty significant hailstorms came through the core pheasant region. And those storms definitely had an impact on habitat, as well as birds with some being killed by hailstones. Read more

Grouse Hunt Reveals Elk Hunting Strategies

Grouse1.jpg

Even the best-laid plans sometimes go wrong. As hunters, when heading into the field, we attempt to control as many variables as possible. Exploring Colorado’s backcountry requires knowledge of the terrain, proper nutrition and hydration, functional equipment and an appetite for adventure. And while we can control most of these variables, there’s one factor that is always out of our control – weather. This doesn’t mean hunting should be tabled until the weather is ideal; it simply means we need to adjust our strategies and approaches to work around what we cannot change. Read more

Quick Tips: Hunting Quail in Eastern Colorado

Quick Tips: Hunting Quail in Eastern Colorado. Video by © Crystal Egli/CPW

With very good quail populations in Colorado and hunting seasons extending into January, it’s a great time to get out and go quail hunting. Trent Verquer, Grasslands Habitat Coordinator for Colorado Parks and Wildlife, shows how to identify and locate scaled and northern bobwhite quail in eastern Colorado.

Some helpful resources for your next quail hunt:

Field Dressing Pheasants

yuma-pheasant-hunting-delliveneri

Yuma County Pheasant. Photo by © Mike DelliVeneri/CPW

December and January offer ideal pheasant hunting conditions in Colorado. The opening day crowds have thinned, crops have been cut and harvested and the cooler air is just right for walking the draws, sloughs and grassy fields in search of roosters. For those lucky hunters that are able to get some time in the field, Colorado Parks and Wildlife has some field dressing advice that will help protect your harvest and keep you legal. Watch Trent Verquer, Grasslands Habitat Coordinator, and Josh Melby, District Wildlife Manager, for some tips that will get you on the right path to field dressing your next pheasant. Read more

2017 Colorado Pheasant and Quail Hunting Forecast

2017 Colorado Pheasant and Quail Hunting Forecast. Video by © Jerry Neal/CPW

Colorado pheasant and quail hunters have plenty to be excited about this year when the season opens statewide on November 11. Pheasant and quail populations have increased dramatically, setting the stage for what could be a very good season for upland hunters. Check out this year’s Colorado pheasant and quail forecast video to see what’s in store for upland hunters. Pheasant hunting tips are also available right here on Colorado Outdoors Online.

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