Like anglers, duck hunters have their home waters they know well, but, just like fisherman, they dream of other places, destinations famous for the opportunities they offer. Sometimes those stories are just rumors, but in the case of these ten waterfowling destinations, the reality is often even better than their reputation.
10. Beaver Dam, Mississippi – Made popular in the early part of the last century by Nash Buckingham, this flooded oxbow still holds its own today as a great place to fill the bird strap with a mixed bag of mallards and gray ducks.
9. Central Valley, California – The hottest spot in the Pacific Flyway, the Central Valley hosts millions of ducks and geese over the winter. Naturally, the public areas get crowded, but the wait for a spot can be worth it just for the spectacle, if not the lights-out shooting.
8. Chesapeake Bay – No hunter’s bucket list is complete without a mention of where waterfowling in America got its start. This giant East Coast estuary offers the complete range of gunning for ducks and geese.
7. Nebraska – Seemingly flat and arid, Nebraska is actually a sleeper state for waterfowl. From the hundreds of ponds and lakes dotting the central Sandhills region to the Platte River that bisects the state horizontally, there’s enough water to support a huge migration of waterfowl, and plenty of places for hunters to chase them.
6. Louisiana – A sportsman’s paradise, Louisiana is home to America’s duck-hunting dynasty for a reason. In good years, nearly every bird that makes its way down the Central Flyway ends up in the Mississippi River delta.
5. Great Salt Lake – The Great Basin may seem like a desert, but its defining body of water, some 70 miles long, isn’t dry when it comes to duck hunting. Ride an airboat on the lake to find the perfect place for puddlers, or hire a tender boat to take you diver hunting within view of Salt Lake City.
4. Prairie Potholes – The eastern half of the Dakotas are responsible for most of the duck production in the U.S. and these shallow wetlands are a duck hunter’s dreamland.
3. Stuttgart, Arkansas – Every waterfowler should experience a flock of mallards dropping in through the green timber at least once in their lives and the flooded fields around Stuttgart are the place to do it.
2. Argentina – Everything about Argentina is magical, including the waterfowling, where multiple species of teal, pintails, whistling ducks and the famous rosy-billed pochard decoy readily. Bonus points for liberal limits and delicious steak dinners.
1. Northern Alberta – Near the Peace River, where the tundra meets croplands, ducks and geese stage by the millions before dispersing as they migrate south. Wheat, pea and lentil fields are overrun by birds and local farmers are often happy to offer hunters permission.