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Hello guys,
          Before I start I have to say I really love this site, there is a lot of good people on this site so everybody that makes this site run keep up the good work.
          I just got my hunter safety card. I am 28 and I have never hunted in my life. I fish all over the state and love it but hunting has captured my interest so I decided to give it a try. I have an uncle who has every gun model on the planet and has already told me I can borrow what ever gun I want. So I guess my question is where should I go from here? I know I will get obsessed with hunting (I am the guy who fished 13 hours a day 4 days a week at Elevenmile) and I also know I am not ready to Elk hunt, I will leave that for next year. I am leaning towards waterfowl or small game. I would really like to enjoy what Colorado has to offer as far as the outdoors are concerned so immediate success is not an issue.
           Maybe some of you hunters out there could tell me of a few places you enjoy hunting (Not exactly where you hunt but gerneral area) that is off the beaten path.
 

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I could type for the next 8 hours strait and still have more to say on this subject matter but for starts I will ask you a few questions and give you a few ideas. Earlier in the year, there was a thread on waterfowl or duck hunting you should look up where I rambled for a few paragraphs about a few spots in north eastern colorado for ducks and geese. Take a look at that for starts. If deer is your game, there are plenty of whitetails along the South Platte north east of Denver. Go to the division of wildlife and see if there are any tags remaining along the river and what the season is for rifle or blackpowder. You can even buy over the counter tags for Nebraska as well for a 3 hour drive and some cash there is some awesome hunting near Ogallala. Anywhere you go along the South Platte out in the plains or for that matter some of the different spots like Banner Lakes have some great bunny hunting. Sunrise and set are best but walk cover all day long along with fence rows and you can flush up a great meal and a nice walk. Pheasants and quail can be found with some effort if you drive out to places like east of Brush where on a map you will find some public lands. I will state that you are best off starting by reading a bunch of information available on the web or in pamphlets that the DOW will provide for free at their locations or sometimes places like Walmart will have them. Each individual public land area has certain rules in many cases where you can or can not do certain things at all or during certain seasons and so on. It is best to learn as much of this as possible as it certainly is no fun to drive out to somewhere and then find out you can't do this a certain week because of rifle deer season for example. Name a species and myself and many others like me can fill your brain with enough info to choke a horse. But remeber one thing I find most imprtant that I will share via this brief story. This very morning I went bow hunting for Whitetails down on the Platte River here in central Nebraska where I live now. I had shot my first ever deer with a bow this year just last week. It was a 1 1/2 old forked horn and so now I only have doe only tags. Well I crawl into the woods this morning way before the sun gets up and get hunkered down for a fun morning before I come to work at 12. I sit for the first hour with swirling winds and have a tough time gettting deer in close due to the unpredictable wind. I eventually have a doe broadside at 25 yards looking the other way even, but she is behind a small rise of just 2-3 feet and I can not see her entire body but just the top half. I decide not to shoot in hopes she will move a little a different direction and give me a better shot, but no luck as she slowly walks off and I never shoot. I was not mad in any way but I very easily could have came to my knees or feet and had a perfect shot, but I had chose to wait and it did not work out. 30 minutes later I decide to relief myslef and pour a cup of coffee. Mind you I am on the ground, no blind just hiding in grass with a bow, as tough as it gets to shoot a deer just hiding on the ground. I hunker over my backpack and start to pour my cup of joe and I hear a sound and look up. 25 yards away is a beautiful 3X3 buck walking along flanking me and 5 seconds later his older brother apears 20 yards behind him and he is a big 3X4. I can not shoot either of them as I have no tag. I am hunkered over on my toes squating down to pour coffee so I am not only out of position to sit motionless for minutes on end, but have my face mask down, my backpack out, and my thermos in my hand. The older buck did not stick around for more then a few minutes as he did not take kindly to my existence. But the 2 1/2 year old did not know what to make of me and could not catch my scent so he slowly starts to circle me. He ends up 13 yards due north of me staring at me and my feet can't take anymore so I have to sit and just hope he doesn't see me as he goes around cedar and spook him off. He doesn't see me so I get comfortable and watch him try to figure me out. I pick up my rangefinder at one point and he is at 13 yards. Then I remember I have a disposible camera with me, so I set the rangefinder down and pick up the camera. 10 pictures or so later he is standing facing me at 6 YARDS and cocking his head from side to side trying to learn just what the heck I am. I did not shoot that doe earlier in the day, but had I, I would have never seen that buck or a male Cardinal in the morning light. Hunt and hunt hard, have patience and have fun, but do not ever forget the cool things you see had you not woken up at 4:30 in the morning.
I am done rambling for now.
Craig
 

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That is a cool story. Man I can't wait. I think I will try duck with my uncle. I didn't know I could still get a deer tag. I will have to look in to that.
 

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I do not know if Colorado still has any remaining over the counter deer tags available in units that have public land available but it is always worth checking into. One of the first things I would do is ask your uncle to take you shooting for sporting clays where you can get some practice at moving targets in order to get use to the gun and how to shoot the gun well. This will pay big dividens in the field both for reward by hitting more game and reduce the risk of cripples which happens to every duck hunter sometimes. Plus it is a great way to spend part of a day. There is a great place south east of Denver called Kiowa Creek that can be used by visitors and is great for the novice or expert shooter alike.
Craig
 

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For small game you could go to SWA's that are through out the state. The CO DOW website is a good resource for this information. Plus for a small fee you can get access to private land this is called the Walk IN Program. Again the DOW is the resource for information. A lot of land is private and some times hard to get permission to hunt. Especially with the trespass fees land owners can get now. The days of calling a landowner and gaining permission is long gone :( :( :(
 
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