[2023] Duck Hunting in Arkansas Best Time and Month, Seasons, Best Place & Important Tips

[2023] Duck Hunting in Arkansas: Best Time and Month, Seasons, Best Place & Important Tips

Arkansas is a state known for its beautiful natural scenery and abundant wildlife. One of the most popular outdoor activities in Arkansas is duck hunting. With its numerous lakes, rivers, and wetlands, Arkansas offers some of the best duck hunting opportunities in the country.

In this article, we will explore why Arkansas is a prime location for duck hunting, the types of ducks found in Arkansas and their migratory patterns, the best time of year for duck hunting in Arkansas, how to prepare for your Arkansas duck hunting trip, and much more.

Introduction to Arkansas Duck Hunting

Arkansas is known as the Natural State for good reason. It is home to over 600,000 acres of lakes, 9,700 miles of streams and rivers, and 300,000 acres of wetlands. These water bodies make Arkansas an ideal habitat for ducks, attracting millions of ducks annually during migration season. As a result, Arkansas has earned a reputation as the duck hunting capital of the world.

Importance of Arkansas for Duck Hunting

Arkansas holds a special place in the hearts of duck hunters due to its unique geographical location and the abundance of water in the state. The high quantity of water, including rice fields and flooded timbers, creates an ideal habitat for waterfowl. The Mississippi Flyway, a major migration route for ducks, passes through Arkansas, attracting millions of birds every year. This makes Arkansas a prime destination for duck hunting enthusiasts.

Why Arkansas is a Prime Location for Duck Hunting

Apart from its abundance of water bodies, Arkansas’s location in the Mississippi Flyway makes it a prime location for duck hunting. The Mississippi Flyway is a major migratory route for ducks, geese, and other birds that breed in Canada and the northern United States. These birds migrate south to warmer regions, including Arkansas, during the winter months. Arkansas’s location in the flyway means that it receives a large number of ducks, making it an ideal location for duck hunters.

Another reason why Arkansas is a prime location for duck hunting is its mild climate. The state experiences mild winters, which means that water bodies do not freeze over, providing ducks with the necessary habitat for their survival. The mild climate also makes Arkansas a comfortable location for duck hunters, allowing them to enjoy their hunting experience without worrying about extreme weather conditions.

Types of Ducks Found in Arkansas and Their Migratory Patterns

There are over 20 species of ducks found in Arkansas, and many of them are migratory. The following are some of the most common ducks found in the state, along with their migratory patterns:

  • Mallard: The most common duck in Arkansas, mallards can be found year-round. They are dabbling ducks, which means they feed by tipping up their tails and diving for food in shallow water. Mallards migrate south for the winter, but some birds may stay in Arkansas year-round.
  • Wood duck: Wood ducks are cavity nesters that are found in wooded areas near water. They are brightly colored ducks with a green head, white breasts, and chestnut back. Wood ducks migrate south for the winter, but some birds may stay in Arkansas year-round.
  • Gadwall: Gadwalls are small, brown ducks that are found in both fresh and saltwater. They are dabbling ducks, and they feed on insects, seeds, and aquatic plants. Gadwalls migrate south for the winter, but some birds may stay in Arkansas year-round.
  • Blue-winged teal: Blue-winged teals are small, brightly colored ducks that are found in marshes and wetlands. They are dabbling ducks, and they feed on insects, seeds, and aquatic plants. Blue-winged teals migrate south for the winter, but some birds may stay in Arkansas year-round.
  • Green-winged teal: Green-winged teals are small, green ducks that are found in marshes and wetlands. They are dabbling ducks, and they feed on insects, seeds, and aquatic plants. Green-winged teals migrate south for the winter, but some birds may stay in Arkansas year-round.
  • Northern pintail: Northern pintails are long-necked, slender ducks that are found in wetlands and prairies. They are dabbling ducks, and they feed on insects, seeds, and aquatic plants. Northern pintails migrate south for the winter, but some birds may stay in Arkansas year-round.
  • American wigeon: American wigeons are large, brown ducks with white breasts and a black cap. They are dabbling ducks, and they feed on insects, seeds, and aquatic plants. American wigeons migrate south for the winter, but some birds may stay in Arkansas year-round.

Best Time and Month for Duck Hunting in Arkansas

The best time of year for duck hunting in Arkansas is from November to January. During this time, the largest number of ducks can be found in Arkansas, providing hunters with the best opportunity for a successful hunt. However, it is important to note that duck hunting season in Arkansas varies for different species of ducks. For example, the Wood Duck season runs from October to November, while the Gadwall season runs from October to December.

Preparing for Your Arkansas Duck Hunting Trip

Preparing for your Arkansas duck hunting trip requires careful planning. Firstly, you need to ensure that you have the necessary hunting equipment, including a shotgun, ammunition, waders, hunting clothes, and decoys. It is also important to check the hunting regulations in Arkansas to ensure that you are in compliance with the law.

Secondly, you need to find suitable accommodation for your trip. Arkansas has a range of accommodation options, including hotels, lodges, cabins, and campsites. It is important to book your accommodation in advance to avoid any last-minute surprises.

Lastly, you need to ensure that you are physically prepared for your hunting trip. Duck hunting can be physically demanding, requiring hunters to walk through water and carry equipment. It is important to engage in physical exercise leading up to your trip to build endurance and strength.

Duck Hunting Seasons in Arkansas

Here are the duck hunting seasons in Arkansas for the 2023-2024 season:

  • Duck, Coot and Merganser: November 19-27; December 10-23; and December 26-January 31.
  • White-fronted Goose: October 29-November 11; November 19-27; December 10-23; and December 26-January 31.
  • Canada Goose: September 1-October 15; November 19-27; December 10-23; and December 26-January 31.
  • Snow, Blue and Ross’s Goose: October 29-November 11; November 19-27; December 10-23; and December 26-January 31.
  • Special Youth Waterfowl Hunt: December 3 and February 4.

Choosing the Right Duck Hunting Outfitter and Guide in Arkansas

Choosing the right duck hunting outfitter and guide is crucial for a successful hunting experience. A good outfitter and guide will not only provide you with the necessary equipment but also guide you to the best hunting spots. When choosing an outfitter and guide, it is important to consider their experience, reputation, and customer reviews.

There are several outfitters and guides in Arkansas, including those based in Stuttgart, which is known as the duck hunting capital of the world. Some of the most reputable outfitters and guides in Arkansas include Mack’s Prairie Wings, Bayou Meto Hunting Lodge, and Mallard Masters Outfitters.

Best Places for Duck Hunting in Arkansas

Here are some of the best places to hunt ducks in Arkansas:

  • White River National Wildlife Refuge: This refuge is located in northeast Arkansas and is home to a variety of waterfowl, including mallards, wood ducks, and geese.
  • Stuttgart National Wildlife Refuge: This refuge is located in east-central Arkansas and is another great place to find waterfowl.
  • Cache River National Wildlife Refuge: This refuge is located in southeast Arkansas and is known for its flooded bottomland hardwoods, which provide excellent habitat for ducks.
  • Bayou Meto State Park: This park is located in east-central Arkansas and has a variety of habitats, including flooded timber, rice fields, and marshes.
  • Lake Chicot State Park: This park is located in south-central Arkansas and has a large lake that is home to a variety of waterfowl.
  • Millwood Lake: This lake is located in north-central Arkansas and is a popular spot for duck hunting.
  • Greers Ferry Lake: This lake is located in north-central Arkansas and is another popular spot for duck hunting.
  • Lake Ouachita: This lake is located in west-central Arkansas and is a great place to hunt ducks in the fall and winter.

What to Expect on a Guided Duck Hunt in Arkansas

A guided duck hunt in Arkansas typically involves an early morning start, with hunters meeting their guides before sunrise. The guides will transport hunters to the hunting location, usually by boat or ATV. Once at the location, the guides will set up decoys and blinds, and hunters will wait for ducks to arrive.

Guides are responsible for calling in ducks, and hunters are responsible for shooting the ducks. After a successful hunt, guides will retrieve the ducks and transport them back to the lodge or accommodation. Some outfitters provide cleaning and preparation services for the ducks.

Here are some important tips for duck hunting in Arkansas:

  • Get a hunting license. You must have a valid Arkansas hunting license to hunt ducks in the state. You can purchase a hunting license online, by mail, or at any license dealer in Arkansas.
  • Get a waterfowl stamp. In addition to a hunting license, you also need a valid Arkansas waterfowl stamp to hunt ducks in the state. You can purchase a waterfowl stamp online, by mail, or at any license dealer in Arkansas.
  • Know the regulations. The AGFC sets the seasons, bag limits, and other regulations for duck hunting in Arkansas. Be sure to know the regulations before you go hunting.
  • Be prepared for the weather. Arkansas weather can change quickly, so be sure to be prepared for anything. Bring plenty of warm clothes, rain gear, and sunscreen.
  • Use the right equipment. You will need the right equipment for duck hunting, including a shotgun, decoys, and calls. You can rent or purchase this equipment at most sporting goods stores.
  • Be safe. Always be safe when you are hunting. Be sure to wear hunter orange, and be aware of your surroundings.

Other Outdoor Activities to Enjoy in Arkansas During Duck Hunting Season

Apart from duck hunting, there are several other outdoor activities to enjoy in Arkansas during duck hunting season. These include fishing, hiking, camping, and wildlife watching. Arkansas has several state parks and natural areas, including Petit Jean State Park and Hot Springs National Park, which offer beautiful scenery and outdoor activities.

Conclusion – Why Arkansas Duck Hunting is an Unforgettable Experience

Arkansas duck hunting is a year-round adventure that offers hunters an unforgettable experience. With its abundant water bodies, mild climate, and location in the Mississippi Flyway, Arkansas is a prime location for duck hunting. Hunters can expect to find a range of duck species in Arkansas, with the best time for hunting being from November to January. To have a successful hunting experience, hunters should prepare adequately, choose the right outfitter and guide, and follow some tips. With its beautiful scenery and range of outdoor activities, Arkansas is not only a great location for duck hunting but also a great vacation destination.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. What licenses and permits do I need for duck hunting in Arkansas?

To hunt ducks in Arkansas, you need a hunting license, a resident or non-resident duck stamp, and a federal duck stamp. Additional permits may be required for specific hunting areas. Visit the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission website for detailed information on licensing requirements.

2. Can I hunt ducks in Northwest Arkansas?

Yes, ducks can be found in various parts of Arkansas, including Northwest Arkansas. While Stuttgart and Northeast Arkansas are popular destinations, exploring the lesser-known areas and seeking local guidance can help you find good hunting spots in the region.

3. What are some recommended hunting techniques for duck hunting in Arkansas?

Scout the hunting locations beforehand, use appropriate decoys and calls, camouflage yourself effectively, prioritize safety, and consider hiring a guide or joining guided hunts for a better hunting experience. These techniques can enhance your chances of success.

4. Which are the best public hunting areas in Arkansas for duck hunting?

Arkansas offers several public hunting areas for duck hunting, including Bayou Meto Wildlife Management Area and White River National Wildlife Refuge. These areas provide diverse habitats and attract a significant number of waterfowl during the hunting season.

5. Are there any restrictions on shotgun types and ammunition for duck hunting in Arkansas?

When hunting migratory birds, shotguns must not be capable of holding more than two shells in the magazine. Certain types of nontoxic shot, such as steel shot, are required for waterfowl hunting. Make sure to adhere to these regulations and use approved ammunition for a legal and successful hunt.

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