The exhilarating drama of two-dozen Canada geese, wings set and descending toward a spread of decoys…your decoys, or the raucous splashing of mallards erupting from the far edge of a cattail patch only 20 yards in front of you are among the most thrilling and memorable of outdoor experiences. Thanks to a great abundance and variety of both freshwater, saltwater and agricultural duck and goose habitat, they’re experiences that are re-enacted tens of thousands of times every fall here in the Evergreen State.
And, according to pre-season predictions, we’ll see more waterfowl-hunting memories than usual made this year. That’s great news for the more than 40,000 Washingtonians who hunt ducks and geese, and for those thinking about adding their names to the roster of Washington waterfowlers.
If you’re among the latter, or are relatively new to the sport and not yet finding much success, here are some of things you need to know:
Washington’s extensive and diverse waterfowl habitats, ranging from vast coastal estuaries and inland marine waterways on the west side of the state to wheat and corn fields, shallow potholes and irrigation ditches east of the Cascades, provide a wide range of waterfowl species and an even wider range of duck and goose hunting opportunities. We’re lucky to have more species of ducks and geese here than most other states in the country.
The ducks you’re most likely to find here can be broadly categorized as dabblers, divers or sea ducks, and each group plays an important part in the seasonal scheme of things for Evergreen State hunters.