The Top 10 States for Duck Hunting

The Top 10 States for Duck Hunting

The United States is home to some of the best duck hunting in the entire world, giving Canada and Argentina a serious run for their money.

Within the United States, there are at least 10 states where you can find top-notch duck hunting, and even a few other places you may not think of when you plan your next trip.

What we’ve done here is provide our list of the top 10 states for duck hunting. Each post includes links to articles that can supplement what you learn, as well as take you to state and federal sites that provide valuable information about hunting regulations in the area.

Top Ten Duck Hunting States

North Dakota

The eastern part of this state is teeming with species and hunting areas that you can enjoy between October and early November, Ducks Unlimited says.

In 2009, the state was home to more than 8 million breeding ducks. Common species in the eastern half of the state are mallards, pintails, gadwalls, green-winged teal, lesser scaup, Canada geese and the lesser snow geese.

Hunters will find numerous public, federal and state lands on which they can hunt. According to Ducks.org, the state also has a Private Lands Open to Sportsmen program. This program, known as “PLOTS”, provides public walk-in access during legal hunting seasons.

To find out more, head to North Dakota’s Game and Fish Department website.

California’s Central Valley

The Sacramento River winds its way across California’s Central valley, providing not only some amazing fly fishing but duck hunting as well.

Many of the river’s tributaries are home to excellent duck hunting, Butte Sink is one of the top spots, nestled right in between the Sacramento and the Gray Lodge Wildlife Area.

The reason why the Central Valley is one of the nation’s hot spots has a lot to do with the farming that takes place there, Outdoor Life’s Doug Howlett wrote.

“It lies in the heart of the Pacific Flyway, and the rice farming in the region serves to attract and hold large flocks of wintering ducks,” Howlett wrote. “In fact, the region may well hold more than 60 percent of the Flyway’s total ducks and geese during the heart of winter shooting.”

Best Duck Hunting in Maryland

Maryland

When we say “150 rivers”, what comes to mind? If you said Chesapeake Bay, then you’re right on the money.

Chesapeake Bay is home to the largest estuary in the nation and has plenty of lore among the hunters who’ve headed to this East Coast treasure trove.

Upper Chesapeake Outfitters, one of the many outfitters in the area, notes the bay is home to hundreds of thousands of ducks, including canvasbacks, blue ills and puddle ducks. Farther south in the bay you’ll find scoters and oldsquaw, too.

“Whichever area of the wide spectrum of hunting opportunities piques your interest, every American waterfowler owes it to him- or herself to visit the area,” American Hunter wrote.


Louisiana

Nine million: that’s how many ducks migrate and winter in Southern Louisiana.

 “Some of the state’s best duck hunting can be found in Chenier Plain in southwest Louisiana,” Ducks Unlimited wrote. “Freelancers equipped with shallow-running duck boats will find plenty of public hunting opportunities.”

Sabine National Wildlife Refuge, DU points out, is one of several federal wildlife refuges where you can find success.

The refuge is home to 34,000 acres of public waterfowl hunting and about 3,000-4,000 hunters head to Sabine every year.

To hunt there, you’ll need a refuge-issued permit, which you can get information about when you click here.

Arkansas

Stuttgart, AR, makes Wide Open Spaces contributor Molly Carter’s list of top places to hunt in the country.

“You can find green-winged teal, pintails, shovlers, wigeons and so many more, you actually have to see it to believe it,” Carter wrote.

If you want to learn more about duck camps in the area, head to the Stuttgart Chamber of Commerce website, where you’ll be greeted with a logo that claims the city is the “Rice and Duck Capital of the World.”

Public hunting takes place in the Bayou Meto and White River National Wildlife refuges, and the city’s beloved duck festival takes place Thanksgiving week.

Alaska

American Hunter’s Brian Lynn puts Alaska on his list of the world’s best waterfowl hunting. The state also makes an appearance on Wide Open Spaces’ list of best hunting states in the country.

The two gems here are Cold Bay and St. Paul Island, where, Lynn says, there’s an abundance of Pacific brant, as well as king eiders, harlequins, spectacled eiders and Emperor geese.

Ramsey Russell, a Mississippi-based duck hunter and owner of GetDucks.com, told Lynn Alaska is the spot for Pacific brant.

“Practically the entire world’s population of Pacific brant avail themselves annually to the second-largest eel grass bed in the world near Cold Bay,” Russell said.

The Texas Panhandle: New Mexico, Colorado, Oklahoma and Kansas

Nebraska is also in the Panhandle, but since we’ve already included it, we’ve kept it out of the final four states on our list of the 10 best states for duck hunting.

What makes this five-state region so special, Ducks Unlimited says, is its system of “playa lakes”, the small bodies of water that speckle the entire region.

“Much like the prairie potholes of the northern Great Plains, playas are dependent on seasonal precipitation,” DU writes, “and in those special years when timely rainfall replenishes these unique wetlands, the Panhandle fills up with incredible numbers of waterfowl.”

The duck hunting in the five states in the Panhandle are pretty remote and there isn’t a lot of hunting pressure, DU says, so you might be able to find a freelancer who can get you on private land.


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