Are You Hunting These Best Duck Hunting Destinations?

Top 14 Places for Duck Hunting in the USA If you’ve ever been lucky enough to hunt a true waterfowl hot spot and hit it right, you know you are in a destination. In locations like these, you can have exciting duck hunting action nearly all day long, with barely a break between flocks. The chaos will keep you on your toes and mostly out of your blind, that’s for sure! If you haven’t been able to hunt a spot like this, you owe it to yourself to find one. It may take some work depending on where you’re located and what kind of disposable income you can allocate to hunting trips. We’ve broken the various locations into their respective duck migration flyways from west to east to further help organize them. Pacific Flyway Pacific Flyway | Hard Core Brands Northwestern Washington – Puget Sound draws dabbling ducks like crazy from November to January. But you can also find great hunting within state wildlife areas in Whatcom and Skagit counties. Utah – The Great Salt Lake offers some amazing hunting for pintails and other dabblers from early October to November. California – The Central Valley region often holds up to 60% of the Pacific Flyway’s wintering duck population. Target wildlife refuges and state wildlife areas from November to January.  Central Flyway Central Flyway | Hard Core Brands Alberta, Canada – Western Alberta offers some of the continent’s northernmost grain fields, which makes it very attractive to migrating waterfowl of all kinds. Paired with the aspen parkland setting, you need to be hunting it from September to early October. Southern Saskatchewan, Canada – This province provides a tremendous amount of quality breeding habitat for dabblers, but serves just as well for more boreal waterfowl species. The action is hot from late September to October. North Dakota – The ‘prairie pothole’ region of the U.S. is called the nation’s duck factory for a good reason. It supports millions of breeding ducks every year. You should hunt waterfowl production areas and wildlife management areas from October to early November. Texas Panhandle – Similar to the prairie pothole region, this ‘playa lakes’ region of the country can really draw ducks and geese to a sparsely hunted area. Hunt it from late November to December. Mississippi Flyway Mississipi Flyway | Hard Core Brands Minnesota/Wisconsin/Iowa – The Upper Mississippi River contains a sprawling network of associated marshes and islands, perfect for ducks and geese. In fact, more than half of the continent’s canvasbacks inhabit the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge from late October to November! Missouri/Illinois – North of the St. Louis area, the Missouri, Mississippi, and Illinois rivers co mbine and provide migration habitat to over 14 million dabblers and geese. Wildlife refuges and conservation areas provide tremendous hunting opportunities from late October to early December. Arkansas/Mississippi Delta – Arkansas is often considered the duck capital of the world, and it’s no wonder. This region contains flooded crop/rice fields and Duck Hunting | Hard Core Brandsbottomland hardwoods – everything that mallards and wood ducks crave. Hunt federal and state areas from late November to January. Southern Louisiana – this vast region of coastal marshes provides an incredible amount of habitat for wintering ducks. Hunt the vast populations from late November to January on wildlife refuges.   Atlantic Flyway Atlantic Flyway | Hard Core Brands Southeast Ontario, Canada – A short drive from Toronto lands you in some tremendous Great Lakes duck hunting. From October to November, you can capitalize on lesser scaup, canvasbacks, and redheads in interior or even coastal marshes. Chesapeake Bay, Virginia – This historic estuary is one of the Atlantic Flyway’s most important migration areas and hosts divers and dabblers of all sorts. Atlantic Canada geese and black ducks are some of the more common species from December to January. South Carolina – The Ashepoo, Combahee, and Edisto rivers (ACE Basin) provide a combination of freshwater and brackish marshes, seasonally flooded hardwood forests, and rice plantations. Private and public hunting opportunities abound from December to January. No matter where you are in the country, you should be able to get to one of these duck hunting paradises without too much trouble. But there are other considerations, of course. You’ll need to decide on what type of hunting you’ll be doing (e.g., layout blinds in a field, off-shore boats, shallow-running kayaks, etc.) to bring along the correct gear. Hard Core has all your concealment needs covered. The Man Cave layout blind provides ample room for a comfortable day of hunting, and will blend in great in several types of field settings. Top 14 Places for Duck Hunting | Hard Core Brands Additionally, if you’ll be duck hunting in a new location across the country, make sure you take plenty of time ahead of your trip to study the duck and goose species you’re likely to see there. Having solid waterfowl identification skills is a must in a new environment. Aim to learn at least five new species really well using various identification tips, and you should be able to have a full game bag in no time. Finally, you’ll generally find better hunting opportunities on private land versus heavily pressured public lands, especially in these duck hunting hot spots. Think about it: the further south you hunt, the more difficult it can be since migrating ducks have been shot at from Canada all the way down the continent. If possible, try to hunt a managed property at least once – it’s usually worth the investment. The next best option is to just ask some local landowners for permission to hunt on their properties. You’ll need to be ultra-courteous and respectful though because these landowners have eager hunters knocking on their door all season. Don’t be disheartened if you get several rejections. If you keep at it, your persistence could pay off with an exclusive trip in a prime duck location. But even if it doesn’t work out, you need to be willing to (safely) go where other public land hunters don’t go. That usually is enough to separate you from the competition and find yourself surrounded by the sound of whistling wings in the dark morning hours.