August 05, 2016
The cool thing about mallards is they can be found and hunt them in just about every state in the country. It is by far the most heavily hunted and harvested duck.
There are places known for incredible mallard hunting, and then there are places that remain the best-kept secrets in the waterfowl world. Mallard Meccas exist in several areas of the country and are just waiting to be found and hunted.
Here's a list to get you pointed in the right direction.
1. Stuttgart, Arkansas — Still considered the duck capital of the world and legendary for mallards in the timber, it has to go on a list of mallard hot spots. Stuttgart is one of those bucket list spots waterfowlers dream of with waves of big greenheads floating down through the hardwood limbs. Bring your Zinc NBG Mallard call, as this is where the discerning ear of hunters and ducks are critical.
2. Central Saskatchewan — It is hard to beat an early season mallard in what is referred to as the "Bread Basket" of the Canadian prairies. Not only is smack dab in the middle of the Central Flyway, where it stages crazy numbers of birds coming out of the north, it always produces millions of local ducks. When the season opens on September 1st, the birds have not been hunted yet and will decoy like Kamakazis.
3. Eastern North Dakota — If you're good at geography you already know the Dakotas sit right under Saskatchewan and the hordes of birds migrating south make eastern North Dakota a bonanza for mallard enthusiasts.
It is a great option for those that don't want to leave the country or travel across international borders. The Dakotas produce an incredible number of mallards on their own, meaning you can shoot from the start of the season, right to the end.
4. Snake River, Idaho — This off-the-beaten-trail location has the perfect collection of open moving water and agriculture. Access is relatively easy, and the birds hang around well after freeze-up. This region is one of those spots you whisper about and tell your buddies not to share the secret.
5. Confluence" Missouri — When you consider that 14 million ducks pass through this area of north-central Missouri, you know you're going to find lots of mallards. It is hard to argue with those numbers, and if you're the gambling type, the odds are stacked in your favor.
6. Eastern Washington — One of the most consistent areas for mallards has to be eastern Washington. There is an avid core of local hunters that quietly enjoy some of the best gunning for Pacific Flyway mallards on the west coast. Mossy Oak's Prostaff manager, Mario Friendy, looks skyward and grins just thinking back the days when he guided there for well-known local outfitter Mike Franklin at Pacific Wings. It's that good.
7. Western Nebraska and eastern Colorado — When the cold temperatures associated with winter hit and everything starts to freeze solid, there is no better place to hunt than western Nebraska or eastern Colorado. Hot ponds and reservoirs are magnets for huge numbers of mallards and stretches of flowing water. Full-bodied Avian-X mallard decoys are a must for the number of birds using the sandbars and shallow parts of the river.