Duck Hunting Season in Arizona: Season Dates, Bag Limits and More

Written by Cindy Rasmussen
Published: November 7, 2022
© Laurens Hoddenbagh/
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About half of Arizona is desert, so not exactly the most appealing habitat for duck hunting. But there are regions that support resident and migrating ducks passing through on their way south. These are the Wildlife Management Areas and National Wildlife Refuges that do attract duck hunters year after year. Whether you are new to duck hunting or you are out in a blind every year, here is everything you need to know about duck hunting season in Arizona including season dates, bag limits and more!

What Kinds of Ducks are in Arizona?

Northern Shoveler
The three most common ducks harvested in Arizona are mallards, green-winged teal and shoveler.

©Simonas Minkevicius/

The three most common ducks harvested in Arizona are mallards, green-winged teal and shoveler. You’ll also find some early season blue-winged teal, the pretty common gadwall and wigeon, as well as a few pockets of wood ducks.

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Where can you Duck Hunt in Arizona?

Alamo Lake and Artillery Peak
Some of the State Parks like Alamo Lake allows duck hunting during the approved seasons.

©duroc2006 / Creative Commons – License

You can duck hunt in Arizona in approved areas of National Wildlife Areas like Cibola NWR as well as many of the Wildlife Management Areas like Pintail Lake in the Allen Severson WMA. Some of the State Parks like Alamo Lake which allows duck hunting during the approved seasons. You can hunt on private land as long as you have the owner’s permission.

What are the Hunting Zones in Arizona?

Arizona is divided into the Mountain Zone, Desert Zone and the Indian Reservations. Public hunting is only allowed in the Mountain and Desert Zones as well as on private land. 

Duck Hunting Season Dates in Arizona

 Ducks, Mergansers, Coots, and GallinulesScaupMountain ZoneOct 7, 2022 – Jan 15, 2023Oct 22, 2022 – Jan 15, 2023Desert ZoneOct 23, 2022 – Jan 31, 2023Nov 7, 2022 – Jan 31, 2023

Other Season Dates

 Youth Only Waterfowl
Mountain ZoneOct 1 – Oct 2, 2022
Desert ZoneFeb 11 – Feb 12, 2023

Bag Limits and Possession Limits for Duck Hunting in Arizona

Mexican Duck
The bag limit for ducks in Arizona is 7.

©Nedelea Cristian/

The bag limit for ducks in Arizona is 7 with the specific limit of 2 redheads; 1 pintail; 2 canvasback; 2 scaup; 1 black-bellied whistling duck; and 7 mallards, no more than 2 of which may be female or Mexican ducks.

SpeciesBag LimitsPossession Limits
Ducks and Mergansers721
Mallards (only 2 female of Mexican)721
Black-bellied Whistling13
Coot and Gallinules2575

What are the Shooting Hours?

The shooting hours in Arizona are ½ hour before sunrise to sunset.

Gear up! What is the Best Gear for Duck Hunting?

Mallard duck decoy
Laying a spread of decoys that looks realistic can really help attract more ducks to your blind.


Due to the milder temps in Arizona you may not need as much gear as say duck hunting in northern Minnesota. However there are a few essentials you need to have the most successful hunt. Here is a starter list of gear you will need for duck hunting in Arizona:

  • Shotgun: a 12 gauge or 20 gauge, can only hold three shells
  • Shells: 3” shells are common, shot must be nontoxic
  • Gun case/bag/sleeve: waterproof is a must
  • Decoys: Setting the stage that looks inviting for ducks to land is key to drawing a flock in close enough to get a good shot. Laying a spread of decoys that looks realistic can really help attract more ducks to your blind. A dozen duck decoys, with a mix of males and females, is a good start, but you can expand and mix in different species for a more expansive spread.
  • Duck callers: It is not enough just to have a duck caller, you also have to learn how to use it! Practicing duck calling is one of the skills that waterfowlers take pride in mastering. There is even a World Duck Calling Championship held every year in Arkansas. Pay close attention to the differences in different species and you will be amazed at all the unique calls.
  • Cooler: When you think about wading through deep muddy wetlands you probably aren’t going to just run into town for lunch and come back. Bringing a cooler with enough food and drinks for the day makes for an enjoyable hunt. Quick easy snacks are also handy like jerky, nuts and granola bars. If you are bringing your hunting dog be sure to bring enough food/treats for them as well.

What is the Best Blind?

Duck Blind View
If you are planning a more extensive hunt or are hunting with a larger party you really do want to have a quality blind.

©CLP Media/

If you are duck hunting in the backwaters of the Colorado in the Cibola NWR you are going to want to blend in with the surrounding vegetation. Same if you are setting up a spread on the banks of Pintail Lake. The habitat you are hunting in as well as they type of hunting you prefer will determine the best blind for you. One of the most common is an A-frame blind which are usually large enough to stand up in and have room for a few hunters. A layout blind is a blind that is used flat on the ground and can be used in low brush and reeds. There are easy to assemble commercial blinds or you can make your own with the surrounding vegetation and some creativity.

What Should you Wear Duck Hunting?

Duck Hunting Gear
The right gear can make a big difference between a miserable cold, wet, duckless day and a well prepared exciting day of meeting your bag limit.

©Denise Lett/

While you probably think of Arizona as being hot and dry (you are right) it also can get cool in the evenings and early mornings in some of the desert areas. Since the best duck hunting is usually at sunrise you want to plan ahead for the weather and dress appropriately. Here are some of the things you should wear for duck hunting:

  • Boots: Having a good pair of boots is important not only for warmth but to protect your feet while wading through unknown waters. A sturdy pair of insulated boots will make a big difference in comfort as well.
  • Waders: Depending on the type of hunting you will be doing you may need a pair of waders, especially if you are retrieving your own ducks. Some waders have a removable liner so you can adjust to the weather and some include boots as a one-piece unit.
  • Camo: The camo designs of today have come a long way since the basic green, brown and black “Army” camo. Decide where you will be hunting first and then scout out the area to see what the vegetation looks like. Then choose a timber, reed, tall grass or cattail pattern to blend in with your surroundings.
  • Life vest or PFD: If you will be using a duck boat or float hunting you need to wear a life vest. They make comfortable ones specifically for hunting with lightweight fabric and roomy arms for easy shooting.

Hunting with your Dog

A Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever (NSDTR or Toller) retrieving a mallard duck.
Watching your pup in the field gives you both a sense of pride and accomplishment.


It can be so rewarding to have an eager hunting companion like your dog. Especially after all the training that goes into tracking and retrieving duck. Watching your pup in the field gives you both a sense of pride and accomplishment. While it’s easier to train a dog as a puppy you can train older dogs to duck hunt as well.  Be sure to consider gear for your dog like an insulated vest and a first aid kit in case of an injury. A few extra treats don’t hurt either.

Top Three Tips for Success

Mallard Ducks
Check the weekly duck migration reports and follow the success of other hunters.

©Jim Nelson/

1) Scout: While there are some areas in Arizona that consistently have ducks season after season, you may want to scout out your location days before your hunt to make the most of your hunting hours. Driving around looking for birds as well as getting out and scouting locations for blinds will help prepare for the morning of your hunt.

2) Blend: Not only do you want your blind to blend in but you want yourself, your dog, your buddy to all blend in. If you flew a drone over your set up what would you see? That is what the ducks see and if you forget to camouflage something it will stand out and look unnatural causing ducks to pass on setting down. Be sure to blend.

3) Watch the weather: Typically ducks are on the move during cool, windy overcast weather, however that doesn’t really sound like Arizona’s weather. Ducks migrating through Arizona or stopping to winter may move more frequently during cooler windy days but you can also find some good hunting on warmer days with a slight breeze. Checking the weather a few days before your hunt will give you information as to how you want to set up your decoy spread and where you might position your blind. And obviously it will play a role in how to dress for the hunt.

Where are the Best Places to Duck Hunt in Arizona?

Colorado River at the California Arizona border
Ducks are attracted to the wetland areas along the Colorado River.

© Szwedo

Arizona is located in the Pacific Flyway with ducks migrating in from Canada and the northern states. They are attracted to the wetland areas along the Colorado, especially the Cibola NWR which is just north of Yuma. The Allen Severson WMA has several lakes and marshes including Pintail Lake and South Marsh. Bog Hole Wildlife Management Area, southeast of Patagonia, is a resting and feeding area for migrating ducks and provides good duck hunting opportunities. You can hunt on private land with permission and there are outfitters that will take you out to prime hunting locations which is a great options especially if you are just starting out.

Meet the Species: 3 of the Most Common Ducks in Arizona

green winged teal
The most striking feature of the green-winged teal is the matching green crescent on their heads and green patch on their wings.

©J Edwards Photography/

  • Mallard: Mallards are the most common duck in North America and the most harvested I Arizona as well. The colorful males have a glossy green head, bright yellow beak, blue tipped wings and orange feet. The females are less colorful but do match the males with blue tipped wings and orange feet.
  • Green-winged teal: The stripe on the wing of the green-winged teal matches the crescent shape on their heads. Both are a brilliant green that stand out against the mottled brown feathers.
  • Shoveler: The first thing you notice about the shoveler is its large flat beak that looks like…you guessed it…a shovel. Both the males and females have the large beaks but the males are much more colorful. They have an all green head and matching green stripe on their wings set against their white chest, rust colored sides and black tail feathers.

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© Laurens Hoddenbagh/

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About the Author

I'm a Wildlife Conservation Author and Journalist, raising awareness about conservation by teaching others about the amazing animals we share the planet with. I graduated from the University of Minnesota-Morris with a degree in Elementary Education and I am a former teacher. When I am not writing I love going to my kids' soccer games, watching movies, taking on DIY projects and running with our giant Labradoodle "Tango".

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

Can you duck hunt in Arizona?

Yes, you can duck hunt in Arizona. You need a valid hunting license, Arizona Migratory Bird Stamp, Federal Migratory Bird Hunting Stamp and a HIP stamp.

When does duck hunting season start in Arizona?

The official duck hunting season starts Oct. 7th in the Mountain Zone first followed by the Dessert Zone on Oct. 23rd.

What are the most common ducks in Arizona?

The most common ducks harvested in Arizona are mallards, green-winged teal and shovelers.

What is the bag limit for mallards in Arizona?

Of the 7 duck limit, 7 may be mallards but only 2 of those may be hens.

How does Arizona rank in the country for duck harvest numbers?

Arizona is ranked 41st Arizona is ranked 41st in duck harvest (based on a 10-year average).n duck harvest (based on a 10-year average).

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  1. Arizona Game & Fish, Available here:
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  3. Arizona Game & Fish, Available here:
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  5. The Cornell Lab, Available here: