You see them every year. During peak migration period, more than 600,000 geese and other waterfowl fly through Colorado’s Denver Front Range corridor. This year you have decided to claim a few of these birds for yourself. Here are a few tips on getting started if this is a new sport for you. It helps to make a list of the gear, equipment and advice you need. This will save time and focus your questions when you next visit one of the Minturn Anglers shop in Denver, Minturn or Vail.
Start with clothing you will need. Waterfowl will quickly notice anything out of the ordinary when they come in to land, so camouflage clothing is important. Choose gear that will keep you warm and dry. A waterproof hat, cameo gloves and chest waders round out basic requirements.
You will need a reliable shotgun. Most waterfowl hunters use a 12 gauge shotgun, although some use a 20 gauge which is smaller, or a 10 gauge which is larger. The typical barrel is at least 27 inches, although some hunters choose longer barrels for their greater range. A 3 inch or even a 3 ½ inch chamber is good, and most hunters choose 3 shot or 2 shot shells. Sometimes hunters choose to use BB shot when hunting geese or other larger birds. The range of equipment available is huge, so be prepared to listen to the advice of Minturn Anglers staff.
Choose at least a half dozen good quality decoys. They will provide more success than a couple dozen poor quality decoys. Learn different techniques to set up decoys such as a U shape with the open end downwind. Remember that renting decoys is an inexpensive option when first starting waterfowl hunting.
Buy a call, but be sure to practice with it, and then practice some more, until you can attract the birds’ attention and entice them to come closer. A hunting dog and boat complete the ideal picture of the competent Colorado waterfowl hunter.
Plan to spend time learning the rules and regulations about waterfowl hunting in Colorado by participating in the mandatory Hunter’s Education course. The one offered by Minturn Anglers is an ideal mix of practical classroom knowledge, followed by a morning of in-the-field instruction practicing the basics of waterfowl hunting. To welcome you to the sport, they even offer store discounts on gear and guided hunting trips to students who have completed the course.