Louisiana duck hunting is some of the best in the world.
When it comes to celebrated waterfowl hunting paradises, Louisiana ranks up there as one of the best in North America. For good reason too. The coastal zones of the southern part of the state, coupled with the Mississippi River, creates the ideal wetlands habitat in the forms of marshes, bayous, and backwaters for many species of ducks.
Sprinkle in some agriculture for food, and a central location in the middle of the Mississippi flyway and you have a perfect recipe for attracting millions of migrating birds to pass through the state every season. It is little wonder the state provides such ideal opportunities for any sportsman or woman who loves waterfowling.
For duck hunters looking for the hunting experience of a lifetime, the Pelican State is a spot to consider. Today we will cover every aspect of hunting there, from what tags and permits you will need, to season dates, and how to find an outfitter to put you on the birds fast.
What do I need to duck hunt Louisiana?
Thankfully, Louisiana keeps things simple when it comes to understanding exactly what permits and licenses you will need to hunt there. All hunters need to have either a basic hunting license or a Louisiana duck license. The cost for a basic license is $15 for residents and $150 for non-residents. We would say take this option if you are planning to hunt more than just waterfowl. Otherwise, it makes more sense to simply purchase the Louisiana duck one, which is dirt cheap at $5.50 for residents and $25.00 for non-residents.
The other option is to purchase a small game/migratory bird license for $29. Each of these is only good for one day though. Other than that, you will also need a Federal Duck Stamp, which costs $25, and you must also participate in the Harvest Information Program (HIP), which helps the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries gather data on the harvest each season.
Participation in the HIP program is completely free. As you can see, the license costs are incredibly low when you consider the great hunting offered by the state. For someone on a budget, it may be one of the most affordable out-of-state opportunities out there.
What ducks can you hunt in Louisiana? And what are the seasons?
The LDWF divides the state into an east and west zone for duck season and the dates vary depending on the side of the line you are hunting on. For the east zone, the dates break down as follows:
- November 13 (For youth and veteran hunters only.)
- November 20 through December 5
- December 18 through January 30
- February 5 (Youth and veterans only again.)
For the west side the dates are similar but varied slightly. Make sure you know which side of the line you are on before you start hunting.
- November 6-7 (For youth and veteran hunters only.)
- November 13 through December 5
- December 18 through January 2
- January 10-30
As for what ducks you can hunt in Louisiana, it is almost easier to name what you cannot hunt there! Wood ducks, pintails, mallards, blue, cinnamon, and green-winged teal, canvasbacks, gadwalls, mottled ducks, hooded mergansers, buffleheads, ring-necks, ruddy ducks, greater and lesser scaups, and more. Make sure you brush up on your duck ID skills before you go.
Of course, we cannot forget about the goose hunting opportunities too. Louisiana has specklebelly geese, Canada geese, light geese of the snow, Ross, and blue varieties, and white-fronted geese. The seasons for geese in the east zone are November 6 through December 5, and December 18 through January 30. In the west zone, there are three different hunts. They are November 6 through December 5, December 18 through January 2, and January 10 through February 6.
Where are the best places to duck hunt in Louisiana?
In truth, the entire state is great for waterfowl. Fortunately, the state is full of wildlife management areas (WMA) that offer excellent hunting for the DIY hunter. We cannot really talk about Louisiana ducks without mentioning Duck Commander. The boys from Duck Dynasty call Monroe in the Northwest part of the state home. After checking out their factory/museum/store, consider heading out to the nearby Ouachita Wildlife Management Area, or the Boeuf Wildlife Management Area just a short jaunt south.
In the Southeast part of the state, check out the extremely popular Pearl River Wildlife Management Area, which is located only about 30 minutes from New Orleans. It sits on the border with Mississippi and offers world class hunting and fishing. Just watch out for the alligators. There are some large ones swimming around there.
For Southwest Louisiana public land opportunities, consider the Sabine National Wildlife Refuge. The National Fish and Wildlife Service has approximately 34,000 acres of the refuge open for waterfowling. Just make sure you get a permit from the refuge before you head out and start tossing out decoys.
If saltwater duck hunting is your thing, check out the Atchafalaya Delta Wildlife Management Area, it is nearly 140,000 acres of duck hunting paradise situated on the Gulf of Mexico. There are also several nice WMAs surrounding the Atchafalaya National Wildlife Refuge a few hours north, just outside of Baton Rouge.
Going on a guided hunt.
If you just want to avoid a lot of scouting and trying to get away from crowds, hiring a guide service is not a bad idea. It is also cheaper than you may think. Most of these outfits charge anywhere from $200 to $500 day to hunt. Keep in mind that most of them operate on private land and already have extensive blinds set up and waiting for you when you arrive. The guides provide all the decoys and do all the calling. All you need to bring is a shotgun, maybe some camo, waders, and a desire to bag some ducks. Many of these outfits will offer combo packages where you can do some fishing or deer hunting on the cheap too. You are also usually getting an all-inclusive deal with these outfits. A stay in a cozy private lodge is usually figured in with that price, which is what really makes using a guide such a bargain. Especially when you get some home-cooked Cajun meals thrown in to boot.
When booking, look for group discounts. The price often goes down if you can bring several hunting buddies for a two to three-day adventure. Some outfits will request you have a certain number of hunters before booking. Others will take single hunters and put them in with another group, which is a good way to make some new friends. Just make sure you book early. Most guide services sell out their available dates quickly, and once you go hunting in Louisiana once, you will understand why.
Louisiana truly is a waterfowler’s paradise and the fact that it is so easy and cheap to hunt there just adds to the appeal. Consider making a trip down there to hunt this duck season. You will be glad you did!
Products featured on Wide Open Spaces are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission.
For more outdoor content from Travis Smola, be sure to follow him on Twitter and check out his Geocaching and Outdoors with Travis YouTube channels.
NEXT: THE AXIS DEER AND HOW THEY’RE IMPACTING PARTS OF THE UNITED STATES
The post Louisiana Duck Hunting 101: Where to Go, What to Know appeared first on Wide Open Spaces.