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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.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​


2017-18 ​Waterfowl Forecast

Colorado hunters can expect another good waterfowl season in 2017-18.

Waterfowl hunting opportunities in Colorado extend from mid-September teal seasons to light goose conservation seasons ending in April.

For information about Colorado’s waterfowl seasons and hunting regulations, see the 2017 Colorado Waterfowl brochure, available at statewide license agents and parks and wildlife offices or online. Duck and goose hunting in Colorado requires a small-game license and both federal and state waterfowl stamps, available for purchase through CPW’s online system. In addition, hunters are required to obtain a Harvest Information Program (HIP) number.

Colorado Outdoors Online, in cooperation with Ducks Unlimited, offers a Waterfowl Resource Guide to help hunters get the most out of their time in the field.


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 3 of small game & 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 3​)
  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 3). 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 2017/2018 season, you need a new Harvest Information Program​ number.

The Harvest Information Program (HIP) will remain consistent for the 2017-18 seasons. Online sign ups will continue through the current Colorad​o HIP website due to unforeseen delays with the implementation of CPW’s new licensing system. Go to the HIP website​ or call 1-866-COLOHIP (265-6447) to begin the online registration process to obtain a new HIP number.

The 2017-18 HIP registration process is open. ​​See the news release​​ for more ​information.​​

WHAT'S NEW: 2017​​

Regulation Changes & New Information​

  • NEW BROCHURE​: To be more effective and efficient, we've combined the Small Game and Waterfowl brochures into one brochure. All of the information you'll need to hunt each of the species found in both brochures can now be found right here in one neat package.

  • LIVE TRAPS MUST BE LABELED: All live traps — limited to cage or box traps — placed on public lands must be labeled clearly with the trapper's Customer Identification number (CID), in a place that can be easily seen without needing to move the trap to see the label. Trappers who don't have a CID must legibly label the traps with the trapper's name. Labeling live traps helps protect trappers' equipment and their take. Live traps that aren't labeled properly may be confiscated by any Wildlife Officer.

  • MOURNING DOVE & WHITE-WINGED DOVE SEASON EXTENDED 20 DAYS: Hunt these two species of dove statewide in the now-extended 90-day season.

  • PINTAIL BAG LIMIT CHANGED: The daily bag limit for pintail in both the Central and Pacific flyways has been lowered from two ducks to one duck. 

  • EL PASO COUNTY ADDED TO QUAIL SEASON 1: Adding El Paso Co. to the first quail season, Nov. 11, 2017–Jan. 31, 2018, gives hunters in this area west of I-25 a longer season for quail hunting opportunities.​​

For more information, please see the new Small Game and Waterfowl brochure​.​

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

Bird BandsIf you have found or harvested a banded bird, please report it at r​ You'll need the band number, or numbers, if the bird has more than one band. You'll also need to know where, when and how you recovered the bird. Your contact information will be requested in case there are any questions. The U.S. Geological Survey's Patuxent Bird Banding Lab will send you a certificate of appreciation that includes information about the sex, age and species of the bird, and where and when it was banded. You can keep the band. Although most bands are inscribed with a 1-800 number, as of ​July 2, 2017, reports can only be submitted via ​

​​​​​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.