What are the ideal places to duck hunt in Louisiana?
Louisiana is arguably one of the best locations in the country for some in your face, hard-hitting duck hunting.
From the flooded hardwoods of the northern part of the state to the vastness of the grassy coastal marshes, ducks can be found virtually any and everywhere. The abundance of swampy backwaters and winding bayous attract ducks in numbers from early teal migrations in September until late-season mallards call flooded timber home in January. And the best part is most of it can be accessed via public land.
Louisiana sports more than 1.3 million acres of state-owned wildlife management area (WMA) property and roughly 8,000 square miles of the state is covered in water, giving quack addicts ample opportunity to duck hunt. Out of those public access areas, these five have proven to envelope the most superb duck hunting the Bayou State has to offer.
View the slide show to discover the 5 best places to duck hunt in Louisiana.
Pass A Loutre Wildlife Management Area
This WMA is located at the mouth of the Mississippi River and is accessible only by boat. Intermediate and fresh marshes intertwine among crisscrossing canals and bayous, offering ample spots for ducks to hide while feeding on submerged vegetation. Ducks pile into the area during the winter in impressive numbers. Species typically harvested range from widgeon and pintail to gadwall and mallards. Though the hunting is exceptional most of the season, hunters beware: navigating the Mississippi - sometimes in dense fog - for more than 10 miles to reach presumptuous hunting locations can prove to be hazardous.
The Atchafalaya River Basin encompasses roughly 1.4 million acres in the middle of south Louisiana, and is the largest backwater swamp in the United States. Around 20 miles at its' widest point and 150 miles long, it is confined by levees to act as a flood control "spillway" to contain some of the most remote backcountry in the state. The entire area is susceptible to seasonal flooding that is home to hordes of migratory birds each winter, ducks included. The habitat ranges from bottomland hardwoods and cypress-tupelo swamps to marsh. Hunters have success along the entirety of the Atchafalaya by hunting lakes and flooded timber. Within the river basin lie two WMAs and one Army Corps of Engineers property - Sherburne, Attakapas and Indian Bayou - all of which offer excellent opportunities for waterfowl hunters.
Atchafalaya Delta Wildlife Management Area
Situated at the mouth of the Atchafalaya River and Wax Lake Outlet, this delta is one of the few actively growing in the nation. The nearly 140,000 acre property is mostly open water that offers a wide variety of vegetation ducks find attractive, keeping them around to stay. Duck potato thrives in the rich sediment deposits here resulting in hunters harvesting mallards, gadwall, ring-necks, scaup, widgeon and the occasional redhead. As long as no hurricanes ravage the costal marshland, this WMA will continue to prove one of the most reliable areas to bag a limit of ducks in the state. Access is only by boat, so hunters are at the will of the tide. Toting along a canoe-like boat called a pirogue is a good option to reach the interior marsh.
Known around the country for having some of the best duck hunting imaginable, Catahoula Lake lives up to the hype. It's centered near Louisiana's mid-section, covering 26,000 acres to take the spot of Louisiana's largest natural freshwater lake. The poorly drained, shallow lake is bordered by Catahoula National Wildlife Refuge and Dewey Wills WMA, offering superb wetland habitat for waterfowl. According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, peak waterfowl populations on the lake were once recorded at 75,000. The area is a hotspot for Canvasback, which can often be caught feeding in shallower sections of the lake.
Russell Sage Wildlife Management Area
This north Louisiana duck haven is just shy of 17,000 acres sporting copious amounts of sloughs, bayous and shallow, flooded wooded areas. Two "greentree" waterfowl impoundments on the property give it 2,400 acres of flood-controlled duck habitat, which offers excellent opportunity to harvest mallards among the flooded timber. The best part about hunting here: it's easily accessible. Hunters often need only walk short distances to access hunting spots with no need for a boat or ATV. It also may be worthwhile to note the fellas from "Duck Dynasty" don't hunt too far from here, which is only a stone's throw from their hometown of Monroe.
What location didn't make the cut but should have? Comment with your thoughts below.