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A Lab retrieves a mallard duck. Photo by Jerry Neal/CPW.
Please Read: License Refund Changes​
  • ​Refund applications due 30 days prior to season start.
  • $15 refund processing fee to cover administration costs.​​​

>> Read the full refund update.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

​​​​Waterfowl Hunting Forecast

The Ducks Are Coming! Hunters Can Expect a Good Waterfowl Season

“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. 

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. 

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. Waterfowl hunting provides the ultimate way to connect with nature and immerse yourself in the Colorado Outdoors.​ For 12 resources and tips that will help you get the most out of your hunting experience this season, visit Colorado Outdoors Magazine and read Your Colorado Waterfowl Hunting Resource Guide​.

Tips For Hunting Ducks on Colorado’s Public Lands​

Gun and bullets rest near a wooden duck sculptureFor most waterfowl hunters, finding a place to hunt is often more challenging than the hunt itself. 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, visit Colorado Outdoors Online for​ tips and strategies that will help you have a more enjoyable and successful season.​ ​

​What You Need to Buy a License and Hunt 

  1. ​Secure and verifiable ID (see page 2 of waterfowl brochure​); a social security number is required for new hunters age 12 and older
  2. For residents, proof of residency (see page 2​)
  3. Proof of hunter education​​​​​​ (see page 1​)
  4. All hunters must buy a small-game license to hunt waterfowl.
  5. Stamps: A habitat stamp is required for anyone aged 18 through 64. All hunters age 16 and older must also have a Colorado Waterfowl Stamp and Federal Migratory Bird Stamp prior to hunting (see page 2). Federal stamps are available at post offices and CPW offices. The State stamps are available at all CPW offices, from license agentsonline, and by phone at 1-800-244-5613. A federal stamp is not required to take light geese during the conservation order season.

Obtaining HIP Numbers​

If you intend to hunt small game (including migratory birds) in Colorado during the 2016/2017 season, you need a new Harvest Information Program number. Go to the HIP website or call 1-866-COLOHIP (265-6447) to begin the online registration process to obtain a new HIP number.

​DIY Duck Blind​​​​​

​​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.

The Colorado Rig​

Central & Pacific Flyways

Flyways logoThere are four administrative flyways in North America. Color​​ado is a member of both the Central and Pacific Flyways. Each Flyway Council is comprised of a representative of agencies responsible for migratory bird management in each member state, province or territory. Since the Flyway Council is the principal mechanism for dialog between the states and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) on migratory bird issues (including annual migratory game bird hunting regulations), each Council selects two of its members to carry and discuss its recommendations in a consultation process with the FWS. This process includes representatives from all flyways and frequently leads to the Service making proposals for the general public to comment on.

The Flyways website is packed with news, updates, harvest management information, and scientific data from the FWS and Canadian Wildlife Service. It provides links to Flyway websites and has other features like those listed below.

  • initial assessments of waterfowl breeding habitat conditions in new video segments

  • aerial photos chronicling surveys

  • interactive maps to find bird banding and recovery sites 

  • email tool for submitting questions about duck, goose, and swan hunting management to field experts

Report Birds with Federal Bands

If a person recovers a banded bird, it is asked that the individual report the information online​. This web-based system, created by the U.S. Geological Survey, helps provide important wildlife research data.​

​​​​​Federal Regulations for Migratory Bird Hunters

Game bird hunters should be sure to read United States Fish and Wildlife Service's federal regulations for hunting migratory birds, which contains a need-to-know terms, a list of illegal hunting methods and links to additional information on refuge specific regulations. Note: When state law differs from Federal law, the hunter must comply with the most restrictive law.

Waterfowl and other migratory birds are a national resource protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. Federal and State regulations help ensure that these birds continue to thrive while providing hunting opportunities.

Baiting Regulations​

Federal baiting regulations define key terms for hunters and land managers, and clarify conditions under which you may legally hunt waterfowl. As a waterfowl hunter or land manager, it is your responsibility to know and obey all Federal and State laws that govern the sport. State regulations can be more restrictive than Federal regulations. Waterfowl baiting regulations apply to ducks, geese, swans, coots, and cranes.

Federal regulations are more restrictive for waterfowl hunting than for hunting doves and other migratory game birds. You should carefully review the Federal regulations. See the U.S. Fish and Wildlife’s Waterfowl Hunting and Baiting web page for more information.