Office of External Affairs
Mountain-Prairie Region


U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Mountain-Prairie Region
134 Union Boulevard
Lakewood, Colorado 80228

October 1, 2007

Special Agent, 720-981-2777


U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Reminds Waterfowl Hunters

of Federal Regulations

With the waterfowl hunting season beginning in eastern Colorado (eastern plains zone) on Saturday, October 6, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service wants to remind everyone to be safe and to hunt legally.  One common misunderstood federal regulation is that it is illegal to bait waterfowl. 

Agricultural lands offer prime waterfowl hunting opportunities. You can hunt waterfowl in fields of unharvested standing crops.  But you cannot hunt waterfowl on or over any baited area, which includes unharvested corn fields that have been trampled by livestock.   A baited area remains off limits to hunting for 10 days after all salt, grain, or other feed has been completely removed.

What is legal?

You can hunt waterfowl on or over or from:

  • Standing crops or flooded standing crops, including aquatic plants.
  • Standing, flooded, or manipulated natural vegetation.
  • Flooded harvested croplands.
  • Lands or areas where grains have been scattered solely as the result of a normal agricultural planting, harvesting, or post-harvest manipulation.
  • Lands or areas where top-sown seeds have been scattered solely as the result of a normal agricultural planting, or a planting for agricultural soil erosion control or post-mining land reclamation.
  • A blind or other place of concealment camouflaged with natural vegetation.
  • A blind or other place of concealment camouflaged with vegetation from agricultural crops, provided your use of such vegetation does not expose, deposit, distribute or scatter grain or other feed.
  • Standing or flooded standing crops where grain is inadvertently scattered solely as the result of hunters entering or leaving the area, placing decoys, or retrieving downed birds.  Hunters are cautioned that while conducting these activities, any intentional scattering of grain will create a baited area.

What is Illegal?

Some examples of areas where you cannot hunt waterfowl include:

  • Areas where grain or seed has been top-sown and the Cooperative Extension Service does not recommend the practice of top sowing.
  • Crops that have been harvested outside of the recommended harvest dates established by the Cooperative Extension Service (including any subsequent post-harvest manipulations).
  • Unharvested crops that have been trampled by livestock or subjected to other types of manipulations that distribute, scatter, or expose grain.
  • Areas where grain is present and stored, such as grain elevators and grain bins.
  • Areas where grain is present for the purpose of feeding livestock.
  • Freshly planted wildlife food plots that contain exposed grain.
  • Croplands where a crop has been harvested and the removed grain is redistributed or “added back” onto the area where grown.

For specific questions, please contact the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Office of Law Enforcement, at 303-236-7540.  More detailed information is available at

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal Federal agency responsible for conserving, protecting and enhancing fish, wildlife and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. The Service manages the 97-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System, which encompasses 548 national wildlife refuges, thousands of small wetlands and other special management areas. It also operates 69 national fish hatcheries, 64 fishery resources offices and 81 ecological services field stations. The agency enforces federal wildlife laws, administers the Endangered Species Act, manages migratory bird populations, restores nationally significant fisheries, conserves and restores wildlife habitat such as wetlands, and helps foreign and Native American tribal governments with their conservation efforts. It also oversees the Federal Assistance program, which distributes hundreds of millions of dollars in excise taxes on fishing and hunting equipment to state fish and wildlife agencies.


- FWS -