What can you hunting in Colorado?
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 Colorado State Waterfowl Stamp. In addition, pick up a 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. Read moreExcitement, 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. Watching the sunrise over the river; sharing good conversation with friends in a duck blind; listening to wing beats as a flock of mallards circle your decoys; watching your bird dog make the perfect water retrieve. Waterfowl hunting provides the ultimate way to connect with nature and immerse yourself in the Colorado outdoors.
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. The following 12 resources and tips will help you get the most out of your hunting experience this season:
1. Record Duck Populations Await Hunters in 2015
For Colorado waterfowl hunters, 2015 could be a banner year. Thanks to unusually wet weather and ideal nesting conditions across the Continental United States and Canada, nationwide duck populations have soared to the highest numbers in 60 years. Mallards, the most popular duck among Colorado hunters, posted a breeding population of 11.6 million birds—an all-time record! With epic numbers of ducks likely to pass through the state this winter, there has never been a better time to dust off the decoys, grab the Labrador and high-tail-it to your favorite warm-water slough, river, lake or reservoir.
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.
I hadn’t given much consideration to hunting until I took wildlife management classes in college, which fostered both my appreciation for the hunter’s role in conservation and hunting as a valuable wildlife-management tool. Yet the physical, emotional and spiritual wholeness I experienced as a novice in the field was unforeseen; something that could not have been revealed to me from the pages in a book or a lecture in a classroom.