(2011) I am re-posting this again... mostly because today (7/29) I opened the MO page today and saw the usual late-summer volley that nails some poor klutz, foolish enough to ask for duck spots on his first post. Happens every year, and every year I cringe (with a little smile) at the pie throwing context that takes place soon after. So... here is some good ideas from a fairly new hunter that had to find out "where to hunt".
I don't live in MO any longer... which makes me a total greenhorn in a brand new state (TN this time). This old post gives me a totally fresh appreciation for finding spots when you are just starting out in the sport, or restarting in a new state. And I am reusing this process again (my 4th state in 12 years) to learn where to hunt and fish. It works.
Peace all! Stay safe!!!
(2009) Do… become a member of DU and/or Delta Waterfowl and attend a local group meeting
. Attending the annual dinner is even better. Even if you are low on time, a couple meetings are a great way to meet real people who want to help you those who merit help. Do… use forums to make friends. Post ideas and opinions and overall, come across as a helpful and useful contributer.
I try to post 2 answers for evey one question that I need ideas on. And "Yes", using the forums to make friends means investing some time into getting to know people on the forums and in real life. Friends are something that we in our modern world can use more of. Which brings me to my next tip...Do... offer to get a lunch with someone who duck hunts.
I did the same thing when I learned how to fly fish. I have taken guys out for a burger just to hang out and ask about the basics... safety, gear, what to do when..., etc. Often this leads to going out hunting together. I am very appreciative to the guys who gave me thier time over a soda to talk to a newB duck hunter (head nod to Jeff, Steve, others... thank you!) ... and they did give me a couple of starting spots to try. Priceless, and I am thankful for those guy's investment into me!!! And yes… friends can be a great source of information on where and how to hunt. However, do not expect that new friends that you have spoken to a couple of time to be source on spots. Befriending a guy to get his spots is not very friendly or respectful. Make friends and invest into them. Freinds are worth more than a "spot"! Do… use forums to trade trips. If you like to coyote hunt, as I do, and have he spots and gear…
offer to trade a hunt! Again, a great way to build friendships and learn where and how to hunt. I would love to kill predators in Feb, trading that for time on my boat in November. Do… talk to guys you work with, go to church with, go to school with, etc.
Within your network of friends, you probably know some guys who will take you out with them or wish to go out with you. Use those relationships and spend a day hanging out with someone. I have built a core group of 10 guys that hunt/fish in my church just because I love to invest mentoring time into others. Not only do we hunt many times each year... on the way there/home, I have had wonderful opportunities to help good guys work out tough issues (and leaned on great men when I had questions about life). So... create a group of mentors around your passtime and learn together. Do… speak with conservation staff.
These guys are awesome, a wealth of knowledge and very willing to help. When you meet them at the front of a poor-line at one of the CAs… ask them questions!!! You have them for about 5 minutes as you pick a pill, so use the time wisely. If you phone, be sure to call MDC staff in the off season. Your lack of planning should not lead to four messages on their phone system on the morning of the opening day. When you call, be polite and thankful. They work hard for us. Do… Gather maps…
Get every free map that MO, ACoE,, the federal government, and nonprofit organizations have. Look for hiking, boating, canoeing, hunting, fishing, camping, and navigation map that you can find. Buy a MO atlas and other maps that are very detailed, including every specific body of water that you will hunt. (aside from spots, there are good safety reasons to do so as well). Google maps is your BFF! A sat. image give you information that a map lacks, and if you are lucky, the photo will be taken when the body of water was iced over... clearly showing where the water is. And put your maps in a backpack files system so that you can take them out on the water with you (or leave them in your car if you do not have a boat). Do… Gather online information…
Yes, I know that some guys hate me saying this, so let me say up front that you need to get out to your spots IN THE OFF SEASON! So scout in real life, but we can all be mature and admit that we will scout for ideas online. The info is out there so be wise and use it. The best way to gather online information is to search the specific area or body of water by name. Do this in google, MDC sites, and online forums. HOWEVER, avoid adding to the mass of data by asking spot questions. No one every answers those anyhow so don't anger people by ignoring proper ettiquite. Where are the best online info sources... (sorry, find your own). Do…. Read magazine articles.
Lot so great info is written in print. I always look at the Missouri and Midwest magazines around Sept and October for information on waterfowl hunting. Just check the cover… it will let you know if the mag is worth buying. Most of these can also be found... online! Do… start a filing system for your learnings.
This is the best single tip I can give poeple. Try it. I carry with me a black file bag with all information sorted by area name. I do the same for fly fishing, coyote hunting, and dove hunting. It works great and I always have it with me when I go out. If a spot falls though, I have 5 others in mind, with photos, articles, ariels, etc. Also, it gives you a way to manage your experience, recording micro-trends for an area related to temp, season, and so on. Last and most important “do” to tell you… Do… SCOUT. That means taking time BEFORE HUTNING SEASON to go out to new spots, observe, and learn. When you do scout, do take good notes. See. Observe. Take in the site and the day. See your flooded sites... where there is no water pooled up! Who would not enjoy a drive through the dirt roads in the middle of July wiht your kids looking for animals. Cheep and fun!
Good luck! And why would you ask for spots when you have all of this as options to spur your learning and success?
(2010) When I first started duck hunting a few years ago, I too assumed that there are only a few places one guy could go to kill a duck, mainly the managed hunt CA system. However, there are many more locations to hunt in the state of Missouri. Guys are wondering, so I wanted to post a few ideas about locations to hunt to help guys out a bit.
My position is that all waterfowl hunters need 3-6 spots in their back pocket, just for options. The following should help a guy lace those together, to augment the state’s CA managed hunt opportunities. And if you are like me and have more time than money (I can’t afford a $2,500 duck club membership bill each year, but I can afford a onetime purchase of a $4,500 boat to be pulled behind my $3,000 4-cyl station wagon), the following will allow you opportunity to explore and scout.
Admittedly, these spots do take some work to scout, require specific safety and navigation gear (which I do not address fully here in this thread), and are tougher to hunt than the managed CA system. However, they are local to all of us, they are free to use, and they offer a new set of challenges to enjoy.
There are MANY places a guy can go to kill waterfowl in this state. The following are just a few ideas to help you start your search….• Managed CA’s –
For the sake of internet trolling, I will not say much here and will not name any locations. However, a few tips for the new-B’s include the following: 1) just show up! 2) come to the same CA several times in a year to learn the flow of the poor line, 2) spend a moment at the front of the line to ask the staff about best locations to hunt and tips, 3) stay late in line to chat with the staff… who will give you tips and ideas that we WORTH GOLD, 4) buy chest waders and a duck hunting sled to access 60% of the spots in the CA (what did I do before I bought a sled!!!), 4) buy a cheap trolling motor and battery ($150 total) or a cheap used small outboard and 1 gallon tank ($400 total) to be able to access loner boats and expand your pill options another 40%, and 5) always be thankful that the managed-hunt CA system exists….they are a blessing. (I could add 500 more tips here, but will move on….) Learn more at http://mdc.mo.gov/hunting-trapping/bird
... d-features • Non-managed Hunt CAs -
The Missouri Conservation Area program is vast... with more public square miles than most states east of the Midwest, outside of Maine and Conecticut. While almost all CAs in the state allow the firing of multiple projectile long guns, only a handful of the state CAs feature managed hunts for ducks!!! That means that there are DOZENS of state parks that hold ducks, and are open to the early birds!!! Further, all of the state CAs have lakes, ponds, canals, and impoundments within the parks that will hold resident and migratory ducks. And don’t forget… many feature planted habitat suitable for ducks, where bottomland swamps up in time for teal or waterfowl season (tip: pay attention to heavy fall rains to access sheet water fields for ducks). Check the MDC Atlas system to print off the maps for local CA lands - http://mdc4.mdc.mo.gov/applications/moa
... xtAreaNm=s • Major Rivers –
Missouri has something like 2,000 nautical miles of major rivers??? (meaning the Missouri and the Mississippi rivers). The major rivers are basically THEE EXPRESSWAY for the Central and the Mississippi flyways, converging just south of the city of St Louis. The rivers, sloughs, dykes, oxbows, and flooded lowland that accompany these rivers are great places to hunt ducks and geese. For the guy that does not own a boat blind, these rivers also allow access to hundreds of river blinds (if empty by ½ hour before sunrise)... Many are well equipped and quite comfortable.
If one owns a boat blind, the options increase a thousandfold… Look for backwater areas for puddle ducks and sand bars and the downstream tips of islands for dicers and puddlers. Logically, low water levels are better for main river hunting, flooding should send you out into sloughs and lowland areas.
Keep in mind, all rivers, particularly major rivers can be dangerous places to hunt. Swift currents, underwater obstructions, and barge traffic are issues to consider when hunting… so learn the river in the summer daylight hours (bring a catfish rig) and buy a GPS unit for $150 (mapping feature is a huge help!). And remember to do the basics for safety (always wear a life jacket, belt your waders, put your cell phone in a plastic baggie, carry a secondary propulsion system such as an electric motor, tell someone where you will be hunting each day, etc.). Learn more at http://www.mississippigameandfish.com/h
... ndex1.html • Minor Rivers –
Missouri has several thousand miles of navigable and huntable public riverways. While I don’t think this is the place to get into all of the rules of river hunting (there is plenty online already about that) I can say that minor rivers in the state of Missouri can be accessed by plenty of walk-in public land, and many publicly and privately owned boat ramps. Boating needs are smaller than those on the big waterways, and walk-in access is greater. Even Missouri’s clear cool Ozark troutwater is a fine place to target ducks, and local canoe liveries that serve trout and smallmouth bass fisherman in the summer time can accommodate jump hunts for woodducks and resident mallards in the fall. Learn more at http://www.gameandfishmag.com/hunting/d
... aa126504a/and http://www.tennesseesportsmanmag.com/hu
... aa124904a/ • Reservoirs and Impoundments –
Missouri has four major lakes and impoundments (Lake of the Ozarks, Table Rock Lake, Clearwater Lake, Lake Wappapello), and over 50 smaller ones… most offering some waterfowl hunting. Lakes and impoundments are a different world in the cold days of late fall then the picture that comes to mind during the hot days of summer. There are few boats, fewer people, and the water is typically quiet. Most people would correctly assume that there is boat-in hunting at all the major and most of the smaller lakes and impoundments in Missouri…. But few well informed hunters know that, depending on the water level, there is opportunity for walk-in hunting on Missouri impoundments!!! Maps are key and scouting is critical… and a phone call to the local MDC office would not hurt. • Ponds and lakes –
I do not hunt these do often so I will not say much… However, I think the following I interesting...http://www.gameandfishmag.com/hunting/d
... aa116204a/ and http://www.gameandfishmag.com/hunting/d
... index.html • Private farms –
Who owns these spaces??? Your friends, family and neighbors!!! Ask around at your work, church, school, neighborhood, and family. Lot’s has been written about how to cultivate friendships with landowners, so I won’t add anything here. However, I can say that summertime effort will lead to fall hunting spots. There are a million locations in the state… and you only need 3-4 of these for a season of hunting. And when you do score permission to hunt private land, be thoughtful and go the extra mile to keep the owner happy.
The above is admittedly overly-simplistic… but it is a starting place for those with the drive to learn. Good luck, and be safe…