Colorado hunters can expect good waterfowl hunting opportunities during the 2019-2020 seasons
Despite drier conditions across most of the state as we head into the fall, Colorado hunters should be able to find good waterfowl hunting opportunities during the 2019-2020 seasons. Waterfowl hunting seasons in Colorado extend from September teal and Canada goose seasons to light goose conservation seasons ending in April.
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.
A Lab retrieves a mallard duck. Photo by Jerry Neal/CPW.
If you are a duck hunter, you know the mingled joy (watching the sunrise over a river, calling in mallards to your decoys) and challenge (sitting quietly in a frosty duck blind) that comes with hunting waterfowl. In Colorado, the waterfowl hunting season is long and plentiful—which should give you plenty of time to experience both. The primary waterfowl season begins in October (check here for dates pertaining to specific areas).
“With waterfowl hunting opportunities extending from mid-September teal seasons to light goose conservation seasons ending in April, there are many opportunities for hunters to enjoy opportunities to harvest ducks and geese in Colorado,” said Jim Gammonley, avian program leader at Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW). See our resource guide here.
Colorado’s waterfowl environments are diverse, ranging from shallow wetlands to large reservoirs. Most of the ducks present in Colorado during the hunting season are migrants from breeding areas north of our state, Gammonley noted. Typically the best hunting is available when a cold front pushes birds south along the Central or Pacific Flyways (or “aerial highways”) from southern Canada, the Dakotas, Montana and Wyoming. Read more
Although I’ve been an avid upland and big-game hunter for most of my life, over the years I’ve only dabbled in waterfowl (duck and goose) hunting. And after moving to Colorado from Minnesota seventeen years ago, waterfowl hunting fell completely by the wayside, until a friend and dedicated waterfowler, Tim Brass (State Policy Director for Backcountry Hunters & Anglers), invited me on a January 2015 goose hunt.
Watching V-shaped flocks of honking Canada geese flying overhead, not to mention those enticed to within shotgun range, rekindled my desire to hunt waterfowl. For those with the same latent duck and goose hunting itch, first you’ll want to purchase the appropriate licenses and stamps. Waterfowl hunters need a small-game license, for starters.
Hunters age 16 or older are also required to purchase a $25 Federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp (Duck Stamp) and a $5 Colorado State Waterfowl Stamp. In addition, pick up a $10 Colorado Habitat Stamp (for anyone aged 18 to 64), but only one is required per hunter each year, in the event you bought one with your turkey, big-game or upland-game license.
For most waterfowl hunters, finding a place to hunt is often more challenging than the hunt itself. These days, unless you have deep pockets for a private hunting lease or duck-club membership, the cost of entry can leave the average duck hunter out in the cold.
Thankfully, Colorado offers a variety of opportunities to hunt waterfowl on public land.
Whether you’re a beginner who is planning your first hunt or a more experienced waterfowler who has been away from the duck blind for a while, these tips and strategies will help you have a more enjoyable and successful season.
Excitement, adventure, beautiful scenery—that’s what hunting in Colorado is truly about. And there’s no better way to experience all three than waterfowl hunting.
Whether you’re a beginner who’s looking to experience your first hunt or a seasoned veteran who has been away from the duck blind for a while, there has never been a better time to hunt ducks and geese in Colorado.
A southerner by birth, I moved to Colorado last year with the mindset that I would be open to new opportunities. The moment arose last fall when a friend of mine asked if I would be interested in joining her on a duck hunt. I had met Randi through work, and was thrilled to make a connection with another female who shared similar passions for the outdoors and wildlife. I hastily agreed, eager to understand her enthusiasm for hunting and to find out if I might enjoy the experience myself.
There is nothing quite so vivid in my memories from decades of hunting and other outdoor experiences as watching V-shaped flocks of honking Canada geese flying high overhead during their annual migrations. From the lakes and rivers of northern Minnesota, where I first hunted geese, to the Eastern Plains of Colorado, where I was hunting on a recent January morning, there are few experiences that equal the sights and sounds of geese in conjuring up our primal ties to the changing seasons and hunting.
Before sunrise on Jan. 31, six of us were in an eastern Colorado farmer’s field anticipating flocks of geese spotting our decoy spread from above, then circling, turning, setting their wings and beginning to glide. The perfect shot opportunity is when they ultimately commit to landing—feet out in front, leaning back nearly upright, neck and head stretched forward at an angle like a Concorde jet—it’s a sight to behold.
I was hunting with Backcountry Hunters & Anglers (BHA) Southern Rockies Coordinator, Tim Brass, Bill Brass (Tim’s dad, who was visiting from Minnesota) and BHA life member Melinda Miller along with avid Colorado waterfowlers Jens Larsen and Taylor O’Donnell. The experience level of our group ranged from hardcore hunters to first-timers (Melinda had never hunted waterfowl). Read more
“All good things must come to an end.” This saying rings true for many of life’s endeavors. But as the 2014-15 duck season came to a close on Sunday, these words were especially appropriate for Colorado waterfowl hunters—many of whom enjoyed a banner hunting season.
By most accounts, Colorado duck hunters fared exceptionally well this year. Thanks to record duck populations and some cooperation from Mother Nature, hunters who spent the last several weeks hunkered in frosty blinds were rewarded for their dedication. Although temperatures were unseasonably warm at times (typical of Colorado winters these days), there was enough “fowl” weather during the duck seasons to keep birds on the move and smiles on the faces of most hunters.
In mid-December, I joined District Wildlife Manager Brian Marsh on a public-land duck hunt in northeast Colorado. As his last name suggests, Marsh is right at home in a duck blind and is a skilled waterfowl hunter. Armed with my camera and Marsh with his 12-gauge, we both enjoyed a productive morning of shooting. By early afternoon, Marsh had bagged a limit of ducks, and I had a nice collection of photos of the outing (see below). Read more
Privacy & Cookies Policy
Necessary cookies are absolutely essential for the website to function properly. This category only includes cookies that ensures basic functionalities and security features of the website. These cookies do not store any personal information.