Category Archives: Waterfowl Hunting

Duck Decoy Basics

A good set of duck decoys is a must-have item for any waterfowl hunter.

Yet, with the vast assortment of decoys and brands available to hunters, it can be overwhelming to know exactly where to begin.

If you’re a novice hunter who is about to purchase waterfowl equipment, a dozen floating mallard decoys are usually enough to begin hunting Colorado’s smaller sloughs, marshes and rivers. Read more

The ducks are coming! Colorado hunters can expect a good waterfowl season

dog duck close (1) for blog

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

Fowl Weather Duck Hunt


Photo by David Lien.

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.
7Hunt-Ducks-Me-Fed Duck Stamp-2015

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Tips For Hunting Ducks on Colorado’s Public Lands

Waterfowl Gun FINAL

Photo by Jerry Neal/CPW.

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. Read more

Your Colorado Waterfowl Hunting Resource Guide

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.

12 Resources and Tips

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Girl Meets Game: A First-Time Hunter Shares Her Journey

Cathy Brons and Lab (Aaliyah)
Cathy Brons and Aaliyah. Photo by © Jerry Neal/CPW.

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.

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A (Goose) Hunter’s Dozen

Canada geese in flight. Photo by © Wayne D. Lewis.

Canada geese in flight. Photo by © Wayne D. Lewis.

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

Colorado Hunters Enjoyed Banner Duck Season

Photo by Jerry Neal/CPW.

Photo by Jerry Neal/CPW.

“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

Passing on the Tradition: A New Year’s Resolution for Hunters

An adult and youth sharing time afield.  Video capture by ©  Jerry Neal/CPW.

Hunter education instructor Ginger Bailey and a youth share time afield in eastern Colorado. Video capture by © Jerry Neal/CPW.

For most of us, the New Year is a time of reflection. Specifically, it’s a chance to look back at the previous 12 months and identify the things we would like to change in our lives. But more importantly, changing calendars also provides a convenient benchmark that allows us to start anew and to begin looking forward. The proverbial blank canvas that emerges as one year ends and a new one begins is a prime opportunity to recreate ourselves and focus on what we deem most important.

Often, in our quest for self improvement, we tend to come up with the same, almost cliché, New Year’s resolutions year after year. We strive to lose weight (again), quit smoking (again), exercise more and eat less.  And don’t get me wrong, these are all worthwhile and admirable goals (I certainly could afford to shed a few pounds myself after the holiday season).

However, as hunters and sportsmen, I think one of the most important resolutions that we can make is to share our passion for the outdoors with others. One of the best opportunities to contribute to this effort, aside from inviting friends and family to join us on our hunting trips, is by volunteering with Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s Hunter Education program. Read more

Colorado Outdoors ‘Quick Tip’ Video: DIY Duck Blind

When hunting waterfowl, a blind is essential to stay hidden from the sharp, well-trained eyes of ducks and geese. Although permanent blinds and pit-blinds typically offer the best cover and concealment, they are usually not an option when hunting public land. In this Colorado Outdoors “Quick Tip” video, you will learn how to build a simple but effective duck blind that works well for most applications. Best of all, this portable, light-weight blind costs less than $40.

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