DIY Colorado Waterfowl Hunting on Public Lands

DIY Colorado Waterfowl Hunting on Public Lands


Most waterfowl hunters in the Denver – Vail area of Colorado choose to work with experienced hunting guides such as the professionals at Minturn Anglers. They have access to ideal hunting locations and provide clients with all the tools and gear needed for a successful hunt.

However, if you are the DIY type of goose or duck hunter who has the time, energy and desire to work out all the details on your own – you may decide a guided hunt isn’t your cup of tea. If this sounds like you, here are some tips on finding the perfect Colorado waterfowl hunting locations on public lands.

Identify your SWAs

Identifying suitable waterfowl hunting locations on Colorado State Wildlife Area (SWA) public lands will take some time and effort. Start with a good map and identify the SWAs in the state. You can’t simply arrive somewhere in the dark and expect to hunt a location that you have not actually seen before, so spend a few days driving to some of these areas to check them out. The more prepared you are, the more likely you will be successful when finally locating your hunting spot.

Walk the property

An advantage of accessing public hunting land in Colorado is that you rarely have to obtain permission. Be sure that the ponds and streams indicated on the map are actually still there. Keep a look out for tracks, shells and other debris in the area as they will give you an indication of how popular any particular site has become with hunters. Be sure to also mark any changes in topography on your map so there is no confusion when you return next time.

Explore smaller sites

Small SWAs should always be considered for your hunt. Even if an area might seem insignificant, it could be an ideal hunting spot. Many small sloughs and ponds are magnets for geese and ducks and are often overlooked by other hunters when scouting for a hunting site. But be aware that these waters do not always show up on maps, so be sure to explore the site on foot beforehand.

Avoid over-hunted sites

Waterfowl will seek out sites that offer them the best sanctuary. They will quickly learn to avoid the locations that are most popular with local hunters. If you’re on the hunt for a successful trip, it makes sense to not waste your time on these over-hunted sites. Look for those aforementioned clues of past hunters and mark these spots on your map.

Get the best tips

If you really want the best first-hand information about those “special” waterfowl gathering spots, track down the local game warden or local District Wildlife Manager. He is authority on local hunting spots as he is on the ground day after day, and will likely be pleased to chat about best locations to try. He will also have tips on what spots to avoid – like those over-hunted sites we mentioned earlier. Lastly, he is the authority on information regarding licensing – as he is the one who will be checking for the proper paperwork while you’re out on your hunt. Either way, you’re likely to come across him while you’re out hunting, so it’s just good to get to know the local DWM.

For many, the challenge of a good hunt is just as satisfying as the successful hunt itself! Do your research and success will find you. If you have any questions about setting up your own hunt, Minturn Anglers can help get you started.

It’s time to nail down your 2024 fly fishing trip with Minturn Anglers.

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Justin Nolan

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