As an avid duck hunter in northern Wisconsin, I thought that I knew what good duck hunting was all about. I can still remember jumping ponds or sitting on the shores of Lake Superior working hard to bag a few ducks. Not to say that you can't do well in northern Wisconsin because over the years we have definitely harvested our share of birds, but there is a noticeable difference after getting a chance to hunt in North Dakota. Not only are ducks in general more plentiful, but the number of species present and their plumage is spectacular. To be honest the first day that we hunted in North Dakota I had some trouble identifying ducks (drakes more than hens) because in our area we never have the chance to see these different ducks in full color.
Hunting in North Dakota is more than just about seeing large numbers of ducks (even though this is very cool). If you have ever had the opportunity to travel this part of the country then you know that the landscape is about — as beautiful as prairie lands can be. The sky and stars are uninhibited and the rolling hills and bluffs seem to never end. It is quite a sight to sneak into a pond in the dark and watch the sun rise as ducks fly. Even for the most goal oriented of duck hunters, this scenery can be quite distracting.
Along with the remarkable landscape that North Dakota has to offer it also has some pretty unique weather conditions that make hunting fun. I am sure most people know that North Dakota has windy days, but hunting ducks in 40- to 50-plus mph winds becomes a challenge. Pass shooting with this type of wind for someone of my shooting abilities is out of the question but jumping ponds on the other hand can be amazing. Not only are ducks reluctant to fly, they also have a hard time hearing or seeing hunters with all the movement in the surrounding vegetation. The fun part is getting close to where the ducks are staging, then jumping them into the wind. As these ducks get up there is plenty of time to ID the birds and get the shots you are looking for.
North Dakota is a duck hunters paradise but in more ways than just hunting. Plan a trip this upcoming season and you find it hard to go back to what you used to consider good conditions.