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hawkeye270's picture
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Location: Fort Collins, CO
Joined: 06/15/2008
Posts: 1862
SWA Warzone

I got out the morning before the end of our early duck split here and Colorado and it was a little bit scary. I was on a SWA on the front range and our blind got peppered with shot probably ten times. We were not "too" close to anybody although it was hard there because it was packed and guys came in late and set up pretty close to the border of what I would call too close. It kind of sketched me out. Saw some birds though which was nice.

Ca_Vermonster's picture
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Location: San Diego, CA
Joined: 07/27/2007
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Is SWA some sort of Refuge or

Is SWA some sort of Refuge or game management area?  Do they not control how many people hunt and wehre they set up?  Sounds like you had a free-for-all.

WesternHunter's picture
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I hate em

I hate hunting on State Wildlife Area's in Colorado.  I stopped hunting them a long time ago.  The problem is that most of them are just way too small of properties and you get too many hunters wanting to hunt there.  Getting peppered with shot that rains down on you from above isn't a big deal, in fact it's common at times.  It happens even when hunting with one party and that party is spread out far enough.  Getting peppered with shot laterally or horizontaly is a whole other story and should not be happening.  All hunters should know generally where everyone is at and avoid shooting in that direction.  For that you should have at least 200 yards between hunters, preferably much more. 

I don't know when hunters are going to wake up to the fact that upland hunting and waterfowl hunting are NOT compatable to be done in the same area at the same time.  No point in trying to set up your decoy spread and call ducks in when you have upland hunters and rabbit hunters walking around nearby dressed in blaze orange all within a 300 yard radius of each other.  Ducks and geese can spot that movement and that blaze orange miles away and won't come anywhere near your spread if you are trying to hunt ducks in that same area.  I've seen it happen way too many times on SWA's when scouting. 

Seriously, I think that most of the SWA properties in Colorado are a big joke.  Terribly mismanaged and many of them on the front range are not even in great locations for hunting.  Some of them near Loveland are literally located in the backyards of warehouse districts.  Most of the ones out east of Ft Morgan along the Platte can be good especially the farther north east you go.  The limitations make it not even worth the drive for me.  I've found much better hunting for ducks in other states nearby.  Also my experience is that too many waterfowl hunters in Colorado just have not figured out how to find cover and stay there when hunting waterfowl. Too much movement and standing out in the open for long periods of time won't do you any good when trying to get waterfowl to fly into your spread. 

GooseHunter Jr's picture
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That is the one thing here in

That is the one thing here in CO I will not do is hunt waterfowl on public land.  I have heard about guys getting shot and fights happening in the field.  No bird is worth all that stuff to go thru.  CO does not have alot of public land to hunt water fowl on some they can get real busy especially on the duck openers.

hawkeye270's picture
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Location: Fort Collins, CO
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Sorry Vermonster... so ya,

Sorry Vermonster... so ya, SWA stands for State Wildlife Area. Much of the public waterfowl hunting lands in the state occurs on these properties. Like others have said, they are small and very busy. Some have reservation systems in place and some you just show up, find a spot and start hunting. The one that I had the problems with was one of the ones without a reservation system. It is close to a couple major towns and therefore it was just insane. It was not a fun place to be hunting. And to whoever was inquiring... the shot wasn't coming down from above. That is just something that everyone just has to get used to (what goes up, must come down). We were getting peppered from people shooting across an inlet directly in our direction. It was not a good situation. The guys were laughing about it too.

I got out to that same place this morning for the opener of the second duck split and it was much better. Less people and the people that were there were much more ethical hunters. There were not the same numbers of ducks coming in however but it was a good time.

WesternHunter's picture
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wait for good timing

The best time to hit those SWA areas for waterfowl is during the week, not the weekend.  The other best time to hit them is when the weather is foul.  Cold, windy, stormy wet weather is a good time to hunt waterfowl because it keeps many birds on the move looking for a a place to come into and bed down.  That's the same type of weather that also keeps all (but the most diehard) hunters at home.

hawkeye270's picture
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Location: Fort Collins, CO
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I would love to be able to

I would love to be able to hunt this specific State Wildlife Area during the week but the problem is that this one is closed except for Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays. That regulation is a little bit of give and take I guess. You can not hunt the area when the pressure would be the lowest but by putting this regulation in place it has helpped keep birds using it because they go the majority of the week without getting shot at.

I agree with you (and I think you really aren't going to get any arguments from anyone) that its when the area is getting the nasty weather that you really want to be out there. It helps keep the birds flying low too. Cheers to some really nasty weather the next time we head to the duck blind boys!

WesternHunter's picture
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Just bugs me

I'll tell ya, the biggest thing that bugs me about those SWA's is all the access and time/date restrictions.  Especially the restrictions on the larger SWA out east with large reservoirs and large bodies of water.  I mean it's as if the CDOW is waving in our face "look here we have plenty of habitat, waterfowl,and small game, but you aint gonna get any because public access is prohibited when you can hunt".  It's absolutely rediculous.  What's the point?  It as if hunting is becoming one of those thing here where you need exclusive rights to property to enjoy it.  Didn't used to be that way here in Colorado. SOme of those SWA that seem like they would offer great fishing are closed during the spring and summer too.