Duck hunting is probably one of the most involved sports around. A successful duck hunter is up in the morning before anything else and willing to wade through ice-cold waters, launch a kayak or john boat, set up blinds, and much more. A single day is an adventure worth the entire year.
Unfortunately, not every state in the US provides hunters with that level of duck hunting adventure. It is what it is, but some states just don’t have much to offer in terms of duck hunting. For those in the best states for duck hunting, hitting your bag limit daily is the rule, rather than the exception.
Your state may not make the list but if you’re looking for some of the best duck hunting in the world, consider snatching up an out-of-state hunting license.
10 Best States for Duck Hunting
Ducks are categorized as waterfowl and so oftentimes, you’ll see that states are listed as amongst the top ten in terms of waterfowl hunting.
Every duck is a waterfowl, but not every waterfowl is a duck, so we’ve eliminated those states that are considered the best “waterfowl” hunting states in favor of the best “duck” hunting states.
Louisiana is easily the best state on the list for duck hunting, bar none. Louisiana is also unique as it offers a wide stretch of coastal duck hunting, with the entire southern portion of the ‘boot’ butting up against the Gulf of Mexico.
It’s known as the ‘Bayou State,’ and ducks absolutely love it. Every species of duck you can hunt in the US show up in the state of Louisiana, and they do so in droves. The WMAs (Wildlife Management Areas) are extensive as well.
2. New York
When most people think of New York, New York City is the first thing that comes to mind. However, New York is much more than just its city. It’s one of the most beautiful and rural states in the country. New York shares a border with Lake Erie and the Finger Lakes, which makes it a duck-hunting paradise.
That’s not the only place to find water in New York either. If you want to successfully hunt ducks, you have to know where the water is. New York is also home to the St. Lawrence Seaway, along with more wetlands than you can imagine, especially if you can’t get the city out of your head.
Arkansas shares a border with Louisiana and, geographically speaking, ducks don’t differentiate between the Louisiana and Arkansas border. The duck harvested statewide approaches a million, averaging out to nearly 20 ducks per hunter.
There’s a lot of private land in Arkansas, and there are plenty of WMAs as well, so the hunting options are limitless. There are plenty of hotspots in Arkansas as well since there are significant bodies of water throughout the state.
Another state with a massive, 735,000 ducks per year haul, Texas probably sits behind Louisiana and Arkansas simply because it’s so big and spread out. They say you can stick the entire population of the planet in Texas, and they couldn’t hit each other with a baseball.
Texas is a pitstop for migrating ducks each season, and the best hunting takes place in East Texas, simply because there is a lot more water there than in wet Texas. It’s also rife with WMAs and private hunting lands, so you have plenty of options as well.
Another state that shares a border with Louisiana, Mississippi is an excellent state for duck hunters. They say you can practically sit, anywhere along the Mississippi Delta and watch the ducks land in your zone and pick them off at your leisure.
Like Alabama, Mississippi only has a very small portion of the state touching the Gulf of Mexico, so coastal duck hunting is nowhere near what it is in Louisiana.
We head back up north for another prime duck-hunting state with Illinois. Known for the vast number of private land duck hunting in Illinois, your best bet is to get in with an outfitter or know someone whose land you can hunt on.
However, there are still plenty of WMAs throughout the state that are known for duck hunting. The Mississippi River flows through the state of Illinois, after all. Anywhere along the Illinois River is excellent too.
If you like duck hunting in the cold, you’ll love duck hunting in Minnesota. Grain fields, wheat fields, and all the water of the Great Lakes combine to make Minnesota a central focus for migrating ducks each season.
Minnesota is already well-known for its massive goose population, and the duck harvest each year is well over half a million. That’s 10 ducks per hunter when you count up the number of dedicated duck hunters that head out into the icy chill each morning.
If there is an absolute opposite to Minnesota, in terms of climate, it’s Florida. Fortunately, Florida happens to offer everything ducks love and then some. The areas throughout the state that are away from the coast are often heavy farmland, and Florida is also home to over 1,000 natural springs.
Florida sits on one of the largest (if not the largest) aquifers in the world, steadily feeding billions of gallons into over a thousand natural springs. As a peninsula, there are more sources of water in Florida than any duck could possibly dream of. Did we mention it was warm?
9. North Carolina
North Carolina has one of the longest duck hunting seasons around at 32 weeks. You can only bag two per day but 32 weeks is the vast majority of the year. North Carolina has the east coast where it butts up against the Atlantic Ocean as well as tons of freshwater sources farther inland.
Last but not least, we have Kansas. Another state sitting on top of the Mississippi River, Kansas is a duck paradise. The duck hunting success rate is 11.3 ducks per hunter, which is outstanding.
Kansas just happens to sit directly in the path of the majority of ducks migrating southward. Known for its mallards, Kansas has plenty of WMAs and various water holes, along with crop fields that attract migrating ducks to settle in for the morning.
There you have it. The top ten states for duck hunting in the US. Of course, some will disagree with the ten on this list and wonder why their states aren’t on there as well. The truth is, there are more than ten states that are excellent for duck hunting, but we can only choose ten for a top ten list.
California, Colorado, Montana, Ohio, Massachusetts, Kentucky, Arizona, Maryland, North Dakota, and Nebraska could also find a place on this list, as duck hunting in those states is also exceptional.
But, if you’re looking for a list to get started, it’s hard to go wrong with this one, especially Lousiana, the undeniable king of duck hunting in the United States.
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