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Colorado Small Game Hunting
Pheasant and Quail Forecasts
Thanks to the increased precipitation earlier this spring, the nesting conditions for pheasants and quails improved and allowed both populations to reach higher numbers than last year. Pheasant populations have reached the highest numbers in years. The Southeast Colorado scaled quail populations are still recovering from the 2006 blizzard as well as several drought years.
Pheasant hunters will find the largest populations in the following counties: Yuma, Kit Carson, Phillips, Sedgwick and eastern- Logan counties. In northeast Colorado, bobwhite quail are generally restricted to the South Platte River, the Frenchman and Arickaree drainages, and scattered coveys are also found within the sandhills of Phillips and Yuma Counties.
Although pheasants will be abundant in most areas, standing corn fields may pose a significant obstacle to hunters pursuing "ringnecks" during the first couple weeks of the season. Hunters would do well to look for areas where corn has been harvested or where the main crop is winter wheat. Hunting should improve when remaining corn crops are harvested, which will push pheasants into more accessible habitat. Hunters seeking quails should look for these areas in river corridors.
More details can be found in the full press release.
Hunting Reservation System
New property maps available
Hunters can reserve specific properties for small game and waterfowl hunting. For a listing of properties, maps, rules and how to make reservations, see Reservation System.
Walk-In Access for Small Game Hunters
Over 168,000 acres are available for access during the early season Walk-In Access (WIA) period which runs through the end of February. Properties enrolled for September 1 often compose the permanent habitat portion of the WIA enrollment, including the majority of CRP acres, rangeland, and other permanent habitat types that offer good small game hunting. Many of these properties will offer dove, rabbit or other early small game and waterfowl hunting opportunity, while other properties may be enrolled primarily for their value as quail or pheasant hunting properties later in the season.
The 2009 Late Cropland Atlas (5.1MB pdf) is now available. See Walk-In Access for updated Late Cropland property maps.
Download the 2009-2010 Regular Walk-in Atlas (5.45MB PDF) and find individual maps, guidelines and more information on the Walk-In Access Program.
WIA strives to be a very convenient program with both the hunters whom use the program and the landowners that enroll lands.
South Platte Property Restrictions
Starting in 2008, several state wildlife areas adopted new regulations to help the DOW evaluate whether they help improve hunting success: Atwood, Bravo, Brush, Jackson Lake, Jean K. Tool, Overland Trail and Red Lion. These new regulations may impact small game hunters. For more information, please read the South Platte Research State Wildlife Areas 2009 Brochure (2.7MB PDF), also available at Denver, Brush and Fort Collins DOW offices, and at the check stations at the SWAs listed above.
License Year Change
In order to provide better customer service, license structure for small game hunting has changed. As of April 1, 2009, all annual licenses including small game, furbearer, combination fishing and hunting, Colorado waterfowl stamps, habitat stamps and walk-in access permits will be valid April 1 through March 31 of the following year. DOW licensing manager, Henrietta Turner, explains "We've changed the calendar-based system to a season-year format, so licenses coincide better with our small game seasons." See the news release for more details.
See the current Small Game brochure for bag and possession limits and more hunting information.
Obtaining 2009-2010 HIP Numbers
The Harvest Information Program is designed to give wildlife managers a better handle on the number of birds and small game that are taken each year in their states. In short, a HIP number validates your small game hunting license.
Starting April 1, hunters can go directly to the HIP Web site or call 1-866-COLOHIP (265-6447) to begin the online registration process to obtain a new number. Basic informational questions will be asked about hunting; including how many birds were taken the previous season and what species will be hunted this year.
Reporting Birds Found with Metal Federal Bands
If a person recovers a banded bird, it is asked that the individual report the information online at www.reportband.gov. This Web-based system, created by the U.S. Geological Survey, helps provide important wildlife research data.
Species Profiles and Hunting Tips
Small game species profile information is conveniently linked off of the Small Game Dates and Fees page by clicking on the specific species names. In addition, a few of these species have hunting tips provided by biologists (towards the bottom of their profile pages). Tips are provided for:
Migratory Baiting Regulations
Mourning doves and other migratory birds are a national resource protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. The mourning dove is the most hunted migratory game bird in North America, and dove hunting is a popular sport in many parts of this country. Federal and state regulations help ensure that these birds continue to thrive while providing hunting opportunities.
There are regulatory changes adopted by the federal government in 1999 defining key terms for hunters and landowners with respect to baiting, and clarifying conditions under which you may hunt doves and other migratory game birds. See the U.S. Fish and Wildlife’s Dove Hunting and Baiting Web page for more information.
|Courtesy of the
Colorado Division of Wildlife