Choosing the Best Duck Hunting Location

Picture of Best Duck Hunting LocationThere are some places in this country which are rife with ducks. The second duck season rolls around, hunters head out there in droves to snag a few. It does not take a genius to know what these locations are. You will easily be able to find plenty of information about them online. Of course, this also means that the hunting location is going to be packed to the brim with shooters. This has an impact on the quality of your hunt. There may be fewer ducks. There may be more suspicious ducks. Basically, you will shoot less. You do not want this to happen. This is why it is so important that you learn how to find a duck hunting location on your own. The tips on this page will help you out.

How Many Spots Should You Have Lined Up?

As many as possible! One mistake that many duck hunters make is that they only have one or two locations that they know of. When one place is suffering from a lack of opportunities, they head to the other one. They just keep flicking between the two. This is not ideal. In our opinion, you should know about dozens of places. The more you have in one area, the better. This way you will always have a contingency plan in place should something go wrong.

Picture of Flock of Ducks

Long Term Planning

Of course, to have hundreds of locations in the pipeline, you are going to need to do your research in advance. In fact, in the off-season, you should be doing a lot of research. Dedicate yourself to it. Your best bet is to start thinking about where ducks frequent. Obviously, there will be those main hunting areas that we mentioned previously e.g. the ones that you find online. However, we urge you to think beyond this. Think about the following (make sure this is public land):

  • Wildlife refuges
  • Reservoirs
  • Rivers
  • Waterfowl management areas
  • National forests
  • Military reservations

You may even want to make a few phone calls to some waterfowl biologists. They will be able to tell you where ducks tend to frequent the most. Yes, they probably are going to highlight some of the most common shooting opportunities to you, but they may also highlight places which you would have otherwise have over looked.

The best shooting locations tend to be those which are hard to access. Most hunters out there want to be able to knock out a few shots without too much hassle. They may net themselves a few birds, which is fun for them, but never enough. There is too much competition. The places which are a little bit out of the way tend to be better as people find it harder to access them.


When rivers are flooding or when there is a freeze, ducks tend to head towards rivers. Try to find a location which has a lot of brush. They love these more secluded spots and you should end up with a fair number of ducks should you hunt in these locations.


When the shallows start to lock up (i.e. your reservoirs), then the ducks are going to head to the larger bodies of water. In this case, you are going to want to head to a reservoir. This is where ducks are going to start to frequent. You should be able to nail a few in the area like this!

Picture of Duck Hunting BoatGet a Map

If you have identified a few hunting locations, then we recommend that you get hold of a topographic map of the area. This will give you a few details about the location. It will highlight the best places to shoot from. It will also provide you with a few decent access points to that area. An experienced duck hunter will always have a wealth of different maps at their disposal. It makes their life a lot easier. Check out this site for more info.

Choose a Location Your Equipment Can Handle

Make sure that you choose an area that your equipment can handle. We are mainly talking about your boat here. For example; if you are in big water, then you need a large, deep boat. If you are travelling on rivers or lakes, you are probably going to need to cover a lot of distance. This means that you will need to have a boat with an outboard that has enough power and speed for you to be able to cope. It is common for the duck hunter to need to travel for miles before they find anywhere to shoot from. Of course, also be sure to bring along the best duck calls in your arsenal.

Fly Over the Area

Picture of Duck on a PlaneOk. This is going to be a bit more expensive. However, if you can afford it, in the off-season you may want to hire a pilot and a plane to show you the area from the sky. You will want to be on the lookout for the following:

  • Green timber openings
  • Potholes
  • Sloughs

Do not take the information that you get on your flight as gospel. You will still want to search the area ‘on foot’, but being able to see everything from the air is a great way to narrow down your options.

Short-Term Scouting

As you get closer to your hunt, there are a few things which will impact whether a location will be good to hunt in or not. Generally speaking, most of this is going to come down to whether the duck has access to enough food. The following will limit the food available to a duck:

  • The water level drops
  • The water starts to freeze

If you are seeing that water is rising in an area, then this is great. The ducks are going to come and feast. If the water is rising, then you will want to head upstream. If the water is falling, then head downstream. This is how you will be able to locate most of the birds.

Picture of Crowded Duck Hunting LandAvoid Populated Areas

Finally, avoid areas which are rife with duck hunters. This is probably one of the quickest ways in which a duck will abandon somewhere.

Choosing a location for your hunt is one of the most important factors in whether you’re successful or not. Take time to do your research so that you can make an educated decision. Be sure to take a look at our blog post on the six most important tips for a successful duck hunt.

Thanks for reading, and be sure to leave us a comment if you like.

Best Duck Calls - Honest Reviews By Experts