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In the US, Louisiana has some of the most attractive wintering grounds for waterfowl. Ducks and geese have been invading the southern state for centuries each season.
Louisiana is full of bays, flooded fields, and inland lakes that ducks prefer. Oxbows and rivers provide a winter and breeding habitat for the various types of ducks.
Welcome to the Louisiana Duck Hunting Backcountry Paradise
Fall colors are the signal for duck hunters to take to the Louisiana duck hunting grounds. These include backwaters, coastal marshes, and swamps. Duck hunting is entrenched in Louisiana’s culture, and the state is famed for all manner of waterfowl.
The extensive resources attract hunters and researchers to the Louisiana migration grounds.
Growing up, I was hunting in Louisiana and wouldn’t want to shoot ducks elsewhere. This, after all, is the final destination for millions of ducks on their fall migration.
Favorite Locations in Louisiana for Ultimate Duck Hunting
Public Hunting Grounds
I have experienced out-of-this-world waterfowl hunting in Louisiana. This state’s landscape must have been designed with duck hunting in mind.
Louisiana has over 8,000 square miles of water-logged land. Its wildlife management zones are in the dozens. There are more than 1 million acres that suit the breeding and habitat needs of migratory ducks.
This doesn’t even include the private waterfowl hunting preserves. I find plenty of places to hunt ducks here, from flooded grain fields to coastal marshes and timber.
The 35,000 acre Lacassine National Wildlife Refuge is a major ground for pintails. Also allowing duck hunting is the Sabine NWR, a 124-acre coastal marsh that’s the largest on the gulf coast.
I can access an endless maze of waterways with my duck boat. Also, I can walk-in to flooded timber, such as Russell Sage WMA armed with a shotgun, duck calls, and a pair of waders.
Wildlife management reserves include Atchafalaya River delta, Pass a Loutre at the mouth of the Mississippi, and Pointe aux Chenes.
These limited crowd areas restrict using outboard motors or other internal combustion vehicles. This aims at keeping disturbance and noise down for the wintering waterfowl.
I usually pole into these marshes, venturing further into the pirogues for a great hunting experience.
Private Hunting Areas
Apart from these public duck hunting opportunities, some endless outfitters manage private spreads.
Here, you will find an ideal and maintained duck habitat environment. The water levels support food availability.
Alongside a healthy dose of southern hospitality, guided mud boat expeditions will deliver you to a well-situated duck blind for a fee. You will have decoys deployed on your behalf.
Some hunters may consider these private guided tours more like a vacation than a nitty-gritty hunt. But the down-home Cajun cuisine provided at the end of the day makes it well worth it.
Places I Would Recommend for Duck Hunting in Louisiana
In the Northeastern part of Louisiana, duck hunting wetlands stretch all the way south to the Mississippi River. As with the state’s coastal areas, waterfowl is much a part of the wildlife of this area.
Over 9 million migrating ducks will winter in Louisiana’s wetlands every season.
The state’s coastal zone is the best southern duck hunting area, according to Louisiana’s department of wildlife and fisheries. Lacassine and Sabine national wildlife refuges are perhaps most famed. They are popular for offering an abundance of duck hunting opportunities to the public.
Yet, my personal preference for recommending is the Chenier Plain in the southwestern part of the state. You cannot miss the red river and Shreveport areas in west Louisiana from the list of excellent duck hunting areas.
Private land owned mostly by the Robertson family turned into wildlife refuges. The Monroe regions as well are popular duck hunting paradises for eastern Louisiana.
The Duck Hunting Clubs of Louisiana
The best way to inspire aspiring hunters is through Louisiana duck hunting clubs and lodges. I have taken many young shooters and duck marksmen through the paces in the unique hunting arrangements available in Louisiana.
Duck hunting clubs in Louisiana service waterfowl hunters with all amenities in some of the US’s best hunting grounds. Most prolific hunting lodges are located in northern Louisiana, placed under the Mississippi migratory flyway.
At a hunting club in Jones, Louisiana, hunters of every caliber, experience, gender, and age keep scanning the horizon. Guided waterfowl hunts venture into specifically cultivated areas that are exposed to duck types common to this region.
These wintering grounds are practically teeming with fully plumed speckle bellies and bull sprigs.
Seasoned duck hunting guides take young novices and urbanites to pit blinds scattered in over 6,000 acres of private holding. You can also bring retrievers to hunting clubs in Louisiana. The dogs will have clean, dry kennels for your stay.
I have explored over 4,000 acres at duck hunting clubs, wading through flooded rice, bean, and cornfields. There are also over 5,000 acres for upland birds such as geese, deep across typical Louisiana bayous.
What I Found Exciting
With the superior amenities that duck hunting clubs offer, you don’t have to rough it the old fashioned way anymore.
Comfort and convenience are part of the duck hunt, from the duck blind to the club lodges. The lodge I stayed in had a 12 bed fully serviced facility with another eight established at a remote camp.
Complete kitchens at the duck hunt club lodge offer hunters the ability to cook up what they have shot. I would set up shop here after a hunt and clean my catch with the provided cleaning machines.
A resident duck-plucker was on standby to be called upon for the preparation of your waterfowl. Other hunters and I would then assemble around the Texas-style fire pit to cook duck and talk hunting.
Most Louisiana duck hunting lodges offer relaxation facilities. These include hot-tubs, foosball or pool tables, or widescreen TV in rec room setup.
Going on a Guided Louisiana Duck Hunt
After arriving at your designated pick-up point for, a water taxi equipped with radar for safety picks you up. It then ships your ensemble to the Mississippi delta areas.
The freshwater diversion in these extensive wetlands is nutrient-rich and supports the proliferation of primary duck food sources. These include tick weed, snails, duck potatoes, and wild sweet peas.
Your water taxi pulls up alongside a duck boat. You can then offload your gear and your hunting dog without getting wet. Waders and boots are almost not necessary when you are on a guided duck hunt in Louisiana.
Irrespective of your physical abilities or age, the duck boat will take you straight to where the ducks are. Many guided hunts use pre-fabricated duck blinds built according to water current, tide, or wind conditions specifications.
The boat can then be pulled into the brush, and the guide deploys decoys while you take out duck calls.
After the hunt, your water taxi brings you back to the lodges for hot meals. Many guides will take this opportunity to clean your birds.
Essentials for Duck Hunting in Louisiana
Duck Hunting Season in Louisiana
The early season for teal begins in September for Louisiana. During this first duck period, I hunt in lightweight camo and tennis shoes before the wet comes in.
Except for the occasional green teal, there is a large number of blue wing teal available in early-season.
The big duck season traditionally begins in November, extending until January. Though the official dates for the open season may change every year, early teal is usually announced by July.
At the bottom of the Mississippi flyway, Louisiana is blessed with duck variety. This is unlike the northern areas of the country that rely on woodies and mallards.
We get widgeon, pintail, redhead, gadwall, scaup, canvasback, and some mallards. That’s beside the ring necks and blue or green wing teal.
Louisiana Duck Hunting Licenses and Permits
A basic hunting license is mandatory for residential and non-residential hunters aged 16 years and older. This is also necessary when you are in possession of or are transporting wild birds.
When on the hunt, you must have these licenses or its acceptable representation on your person. Special rate licenses are available for disabled hunters, seniors, students, and the military.
You can also get a lifetime hunting license in Louisiana, allowing you never to miss the waterfowl season.
For residents or non-residents under the age of 16, basic, bow, primitive firearms and big game licenses are not necessary. Those hunters born before mid-1940 and are residents of Louisiana, do not require duck stamps to hunt.
However, proof of age is a requirement for these hunter age groups while hunting.
For a one season only basic hunting license, residents part with $15 while non-residents pay $150. Bow hunting and primitive firearm special licenses cost around $10 for residents and $26 for non-residential duck hunters.
The Louisiana duck and waterfowl stamps are $5.50 for residents, while non-residents have to pay $25. All duck hunters above the age of 16 must have a federal duck stamp which will cost you $27.22.
Lottery Duck Hunting in Louisiana
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries conducts lottery duck hunts for the public. There are special considerations for the young, disabled veterans and other physically challenged hunters.
Conservation areas like the White Lake Wetlands also offer lotteries for boating after waterfowl alongside fishing, deer, or turkey hunting.
The duck hunting lottery preference system provides applicants who have been unsuccessful in previous draws to better your chances. Being selected for the lottery hunt involves the entry of your name;
- One time if you were successful in drawing the previous year’s lottery hunt
- Two times for a new applicant
- One preference point each time your application is unsuccessful, meaning your name will be entered into the lottery twice.
- The system balances back to a single entry once you’ve been successful.
This lottery preference system for Louisiana is game-specific. This means that your performance in the turkey lottery doesn’t affect your preference balance in the duck lottery.
Often, the applicant with the highest preference balance determines the outcome for the duck hunting lottery draw. If such a group is successful, all the applicants’ preference balances are reduced to a single point.
The Duck Stamp Program of Louisiana
The Louisiana waterfowl conservation stamp, also known as the duck stamp, has been in existence since 1988. This program funds the enhancement, creation, and restoration of waterfowl wetland habitat.
An annual figure of approximately $350,000 is generated through this program. The money is collected through issuance of hunting licenses, entry fees to reserves, and collector stamps sales.
The duck stamp program uses these funds to develop wetlands, acquire land, and manage wildlife management areas. Through the Louisiana waterfowl project cooperative and other stakeholders, this program oversees private land management and wetland enhancement.
My Recommendations on Duck Hunting in Louisiana
If you are visiting to hunt from outside Louisiana or are from the city, hire a guided tour. This is mainly because you have a short time, possibly one weekend, to maximize on the hunt.
You also aren’t entirely familiar with the rough Louisiana backcountry, which makes waterfowl hunting in this state more hardened. This is the last state that ducks from Canada get to for the winter. They’ve been shot at all along the southward flyway.
Ducks in Louisiana are smarter, and most are already familiar with motionless decoys. These ducks have seen action, and if you can get at them, you are a certified good hunter.
Louisianans have a hunting subculture, something in-grown after centuries of living off the land. Come for the most challenging ducks to hunt and experience the hunter camaraderie that’s rife all around the state.
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36 years old, been hunting and fishing my entire life – love the outdoors, family, and all kinds of hunting and fishing! I have spent thousands of hours hunting hogs and training hunting dogs, but I’m always learning new stuff and really happy to be sharing them with you! hit me up with an email in the contact form if you have any questions.