Duck Statewide Harvest
Goose Statewide Harvest
No. Waterfowl Licenses Sold Annually
Ducks Per Hunter
Geese Per Hunter
Cost of Resident Waterfowl Hunting License
Cost of Resident State Stamps and Permits
Federal Duck Stamp
Season $110; five-day $80
Cost of Non-Resident Waterfowl Hunting License
Cost of Non-Resident State Stamps and Permits
Federal Duck Stamp
Five-day WMA waterfowl permit $40
Photo by Austin Ross
Going duck hunting in Arkansas borders on going to heaven. The Natural State is arguably one of the country's top waterfowling destinations. And the top place to be? Stuttgart: the self-proclaimed Rice and Duck Capital of the World, and home to the World's Championship Duck Calling Contest, not to mention some amazing flooded timber and rice-field hunting.
Although Stuttgart might be one of the top destinations in duckdom, it might be harder to pick places that aren't good duck hunting locales in the Natural State. Arkansas is home to Claypool Reservoir, where the famous photo of 300,000 ducks was taken. Yeah, that one.
That state has more than 100 wildlife management areas. And unlike in places such as, say, Iowa, the focus on Arkansas public lands is ducks, not deer.
The best duck hunting is in the eastern part of the state, near the Mississippi and White rivers. Not surprisingly, one of the best public hunting opportunities is in the Dale Bumpers White River NWR, where the White flows into the Mississippi. It consists of 90 miles of flooded timber adjacent to rice fields, and fowlers will need a free refuge user permit to hunt there.
Another good bet is the Bayou Meto WMA. Covering 33,000 acres, it is one of the largest tracts of public flooded timber in the country.
Earl Buss Bayou DeView WMA is also worth a look. It's a flooded timber wintering area not far from the famous Claypool Reservoir.
Hunters should also consider the Bald Knob NWR, which consists of nearly 15,000 acres, most of which is farmland.
Wherever you are in the state, you're never far from good duck hunting. Heck, even the worst duck hunting in Arkansas is better than the best fowling in some states. Hopping around the state, here are some other good WMAs: Big Lake, Sulphur River, Petit Jean, Bois D'Arc, Dave Donaldson Black River, Beryl Anthony Lower Ouachita, Rex Hancock Black Swamp, Henry Gray Hurricane Lake, Shirey Bay Rainey Brake and St. Francis Sunken Lands.
Hunters should note special regulations for WMAS.
Of course, to really experience Arkansas and boost your odds of a good hunt, booking a guide is a smart idea, and there's no shortage of them. Not only do they manage private lands to provide good food and roosting areas to attract birds, they'll also know where to go.
Whether you hunt rice fields or flooded timber, Arkansas is a duck hunter's dream. We couldn't live with ourselves if we gave it less than an A rating.
— Compiled and written by Joe Shead