Louisiana is the number one state for duck harvest in the United States. According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, there is an average of 73,800 duck hunters in Louisiana (with another 11,900 goose hunters). Being the anchor of the Mississippi Flyway helps as well as the variety of hunting locations. From the coastal marshes to the shores of the Mississippi to the Wildlife Management Areas, this is the place for ducks to migrate to in the winter. If you are thinking about trying duck hunting or you are an experienced expert, here is everything you need to know about duck hunting season in Louisiana, including season dates, bag limits, and more!
What Kinds of Ducks are in Louisiana?
In Louisiana, there is a wide range of duck species as well as waterfowl. Ducks migrating south for the winter will stop in Louisiana on their way to the warmer southern states. Some of the most common duck species in Louisiana include:
- Wood Duck
- Black Duck
- Blue-winged teals
- Green-winged teals
- Hooded Mergansers
- American Widgeon
- Northern Pintail
- Sea ducks (scoter, eiders, and long-tailed)
Where can you Duck Hunt in Louisiana?
Louisiana is covered by 8,000 square miles of water, so maybe the answer is just about anywhere! Some of the best duck hunting is along the Mississippi river or at the end, where it empties into the Gulf at the Pass-a-Loutre Wildlife Management Area (WMA). There are many other WMAs that offer excellent duck hunting, including the Russel Sage WMA and Atchafalaya Delta WMA.
What are the Hunting Zones in Louisiana?
Louisiana is divided into two zones: the West Zone and the East Zone. It is split almost down the middle with the exception of all the coastal sea hunting considered in the West Zone.
Duck Hunting Season Dates in Louisiana
|Species||East Zone||West Zone|
|Ducks||November 19 – December 4 and December 17 – January 29||November 12 – December 4; December 17 – January 1; and January 9 – 29|
|Coots||November 19 – December 4 and December 17 – January 29||November 12 – December 4; December 17 – January 1; and January 9 – 29|
|Mergansers||November 19 – December 4 and December 17 – January 29||November 12 – December 4; December 17 – January 1; and January 9 – 29|
|Blue Teal||September 10-25||September 10-25|
|Green Teal||September 10-25||September 10-25|
|Cinnamon Teal||September 10-25||September 10-25|
Other Season Dates
|East Zone||West Zone|
|Youth Waterfowl Hunting Days||Nov. 12 and Feb. 4||Nov. 5-6|
|Veteran Waterfowl Hunt Days||Nov. 12 and Feb. 4||Nov. 5-6|
|Falconry for Ducks||Nov. 3 – Jan. 31||Nov. 3 – Jan. 31|
Bag Limits and Possession Limits for Duck Hunting in Louisiana
The daily bag limit for ducks is six in Louisiana.
|Species||Bag Limits||Possession Limits|
|Mergansers (limit of 2 hooded)||5||15|
*Note: For ducks, here are the specific limits: “6; may include no more than 4 mallards (no more than 2 of which may be female), 3 wood ducks, 2 canvasback, 2 redheads, 1 mottled duck, 1 black duck, and 1 pintail. Only 1 scaup may be taken for the first 15 days of the season, with 2 per day allowed for the remainder.”
What are Shooting Hours?
The shooting hours in Louisiana are ½ hour before sunrise to sunset. During the Conservation Order for Light Geese, the hours are extended a ½ hour after sunset for Light Geese (Snow, Blue, and Ross’s).
Time to Gear Up!
For a quick morning hunt in one of the flooded grain fields, the only gear you may need is your gun, a caller, and waders. If you want an adventure and you want to hunt at the boat-in-only Pass-a-Loutre Wildlife Management Area, you will definitely need more gear. There is also everything in between, with each hunter having to find their own style. The more experienced you get the more you will be able to tweak your favorite gear. Here is a list of some of the recommended gear:
- Shotgun: usually a 12 gauge or 20 gauge
- Gun case or bag to keep your gun dry and free from moisture
- Shells, 3” shells are common
- Duck blind or boat blind: Be sure to scout the area you plan to hunt, so you know what kind of blind you will need.
- Life vest or PFD: If you plan to hunt from a kayak, canoe, or duck boat, be sure to have a properly fitting life vest or PFD.
- Decoys: There are a lot of opinions about the “best decoy spread,” but you really need to try one out and see what works for you and the species you are targeting. There are floating decoys, moving decoys, mojos on a pole above the water, and many more. Look for ones that are the most realistic looking and lightweight.
- Camo: Louisiana has one of the largest varieties of duck hunting habitats, so your camo is going to need to match your surroundings. Whether you are hunting in the coastal marshes, a flooded grain field, or along the Mississippi, you will need to think about what clothes you need in a camo that matches.
- Duck callers: Choosing the right caller for your targeted species is important. Many waterfowlers will have a string of callers or use a 6-in-1 type of caller. They range in price from as little as $10 upwards to musical-instrument caliber over $100. Remember that electronic callers are not allowed in Louisiana. Practicing and perfecting your duck call does make a huge difference in your success.
- Waders: You can choose one-piece waders with the boots attached or separate waders with open feet. Some will have zip-in liners so you can adjust to the weather and others have shell holders, reinforced knees, and fleece-lined hand warmer pockets (nice!).
- Dog (technically not “gear” and optional, of course): It can be very rewarding to hunt with your dog! Retrievers were bred for just such a task, as well as some pointers and spaniels. Be sure to pack gear for your dog as well, plenty of food, water, a leash for transitions, and a towel. They also make camouflaged protective vests for hunting dogs that you might want to consider.
- First Aid Kit: Duck hunting is actually quite a safe sport, but there are hazards of wading in unknown waters, retrieving and stringing ducks, and general water safety. Having a first aid kit handy is very important.
Factors for Success
There are some factors you can control when you are duck hunting, like whether you will invite your loudmouth cousin next time, while other factors, like driving rain with 35mph winds, are out of your control. Some of the important factors to consider when duck hunting are your blind, your decoys, and the weather for your hunt.
- Blind: The location of your blind and the type make a huge difference. Do your research and take time to scout the best spot.
- Decoy Spread: Experiment with different configurations. Don’t be afraid to try something new or see what your neighbor’s party is trying. A spread of a dozen ducks should work fine, but if you are hunting with a few folks you can create a spread of 36 or more.
- Weather: If you are headed to the beach, you want warm, sunny weather with a slight breeze. Duck hunters like the opposite! The best conditions include some wind for sure, but cooler overcast days are favored by most.
Where are the Best Places to Duck Hunt in Louisiana?
Some of the best places for duck hunting in Louisiana are:
- Pass-a-Loutre Wildlife Management Area (WMA)
- Atchafalaya Delta
- Pointe au Chene
- Lacassine National Wildlife Refuge
- Sabine NWR
- Russel Sage
Meet the Species: 3 of the Most Common Ducks in Louisiana
- Gadwall: The gadwall is not the most colorful duck, but they are the most harvested duck in Louisiana. Their feathers are a mix of brown/tan/gray, giving them overall light brown coloration. Their beak and tail feathers are black, with the tips of their wings standing out as white.
- Blue-winged teal: Blue-winged teals can be a little confusing for beginners because the color that stands out most is a green stripe on their wings. But above that is a mix of light blue/gray feathers that make give this teal its name. Its head is another giveaway with a crescent-shaped white band on its head behind the eyes.
- Green-winged teal: With green-winged teal, you get double the green. They have a green stripe on their lower wing as well as a green patch that flows backward from their eye.
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FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
Can you duck hunt in Louisiana?
Yes, you can duck hunt in Louisiana. Waterfowl hunters must have a hunting license, Federal Duck Stamp, and HIP certification.
What are the most common ducks in Louisiana?
The most common ducks harvested in Louisiana are Gadwall, Blue-winged teal, and green-winged teal.
What is the bag limit for Gadwall ducks in Louisiana?
The daily bag limit for Gadwall ducks is six.
How does Louisiana rank in the country for duck harvest numbers?
Louisiana is ranked #1 in duck harvest, based on a 10-year average.
Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the AZ Animals editorial team.
- Ducks, Available here: https://www.ducks.org/hunting/waterfowl-id/blue-winged-teal
- Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries, Available here: https://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/assets/Resources/Publications/Regulations/2022-2023-Hunting-Regs-low-res.pdf
- Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries, Available here: https://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/page/seasons-and-regulations