Despite drier conditions across most of the state as we head into the fall, Colorado hunters should be able to find good waterfowl hunting opportunities during the 2019-2020 seasons. Waterfowl hunting seasons in Colorado extend from September teal and Canada goose seasons to light goose conservation seasons ending in April.
Local waterfowl production in 2019 was likely average to good due to the wetter spring conditions across the state. However, most ducks and geese in Colorado during the fall and winter hunting seasons are migrants arriving from states to the north and Canada. Each year the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service conducts surveys of waterfowl and their habitats in these primary breeding areas.
In 2019, the total duck breeding population estimate in the surveyed area was 38.9 million birds, 6 percent lower than the 2018 estimate of 41.2 million but 10 percent higher than the long-term average (1955 – 2018). Numbers of the five most harvested ducks in Colorado showed similar patterns.
Estimated mallard abundance was 9.4 million, similar to the 2018 estimate of 9.3 million but 19 percent above the long-term average of 7.9 million.
The estimated abundance of green-winged teal was 3.2 million, similar to the 2018 estimate of 3.0 million and 47 percent above the long-term average.
Estimated abundance of gadwall was 3.3 million, similar to the 2018 estimate but 61 percent above the long-term average.
The 2019 estimate for blue-winged teal was 5.4 million, 16 percent below the 2018 estimate and similar to the long-term average of 5.1 million.
Abundance estimates for American wigeon was 2.8 million were similar to the 2018 estimate and the long-term averages of 2.6 million.
Habitat conditions were similar to or slightly drier across the survey area compared to last year, but