With the aerial surveys coming out just before the opener, anticipation could not have been higher for the opening weekend of duck season. Strong numbers of ducks were observed throughout Louisiana as birds took advantage of stellar habitat conditions resulting from a hurricane-free summer.

And when the sun rose Saturday morning (Nov. 13), hunters across the state were blessed with one of the best opening days in recent memory. Reports from Lake Charles to Delacroix Island showed impressive numbers of ducks harvested in both the marshes and agricultural fields.

Check out our waterfowl forum for user reports from around the state. 

Capt. Erik Rue of Calcasieu Charter Service (337.598.4700) was pleased to find strong numbers of ducks in the Hayes area.

"Saturday we had plenty of teal with a few big ducks, but Sunday and Monday the big ducks showed up for us," Rue said.

Pintail, mallards and gadwall made up the bulk of the bags, along with hoards of green wing teal.

"It sure is nice to be able to take two pintail per person this year," he added, noting the significant numbers of pintail in the area. "Overall, I was really impressed with the (number of) ducks."

David Faul of Bin There Hunting (337.438.4868) in Welsh also reported remarkable duck numbers visiting his blinds over the weekend.

"We had plenty of birds over the weekend, with near-limits each day," Faul said. "We were very pleased."

Hunters' bags were composed of large numbers of teal, but also included gadwall and spoonbills.

Rick Hall of Doug's Hunting Lodge (800.888.0960) also had a great opening weekend in the Gueydan, Thornwell and Klondike areas.

"It was better than expected, with near-limits for most people in the area," Hall said.

Hunters' bags again included strong teal numbers, but a few gadwall, mallards, and pintail were mixed in.

"We saw more big ducks on Monday than we had over the weekend, but hopefully the weather this week will bring more birds to the area," Hall added. 

Roland Cortez of Cajun Fishing and Hunting Charters (985.414.4997) reported good hunting in the marshes of lower Terrebonne Parish.

"It was pretty consistent all weekend, with near-limits each day," Cortez explained. "Saturday morning was fast and furious but slowed a little bit on Sunday."

He said bags were primarily gadwall and teal, although there also were a few mottled ducks, scaup and spoonbills.

"It wasn't quite what I thought it would be, but still went really well for us," Cortez said, adding that he hoped this week's weather change will bring new birds to the area.

Over in the Delacroix Island and Reggio areas, Mike Smith of Louisiana Marsh Guide Service said there was great hunting in the marshes of St. Bernard Parish.

"We had plenty of limits over the weekend and again on Monday. I was very pleased," Smith reported.

True to the aerial surveys, this area was loaded with teal, as Smith's blinds harvested a total of 204 of the little rockets between Saturday and Sunday. Mottled ducks, spoonbills and gadwall also found their way into the hunters' bags.

The author hunted in the Hopedale area on Saturday, securing quick limits of teal, gadwall and mottleds. A Sunday trip to Delacroix resulted in similarly quick limits, with plenty of blue- and green-winged teal on most hunters' straps.

Capt. Damon McKnight of Super Strike Charters reported low water and scattered ducks in the Venice area over the weekend.

"There were mixed reviews throughout the area, with many hunters having a tough time with the water so low," McKnight explained.

He added that a lot of hunters had to leave the ponds early to avoid getting stuck in the mud flats as the tide fell Saturday morning. For those who made it out, there were a good many limits and near limits reported despite the issues with accessibility to the ponds.

Birds included the usual suspects found in Venice: pintails, gadwalls and teal, along with divers like redheads and scaup.

With so many factors seeming to finally line up in favor of Louisiana hunters, it was encouraging to see the results in the form of beaks on the strap over the weekend. With another front forecast this week, conditions are looking favorable to recharge heavily pressured areas in the West Zone and provide similar results for the upcoming East Zone opener.

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