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A Duck Hunting Bonanza

Waterfowl will descend with reckless abandon into a spread of well-placed decoys around the marshes of Ontario’s Lake St. Clair. • Credit: Scott McGuigan
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A Duck Hunting Bonanza

Experience Duck Hunting on The Mouth of The Thames River

The opening of duck season is a special time for waterfowlers. For seasoned veterans, the last Saturday in September marks the start of a routine they’ve been keeping for decades. I tend to mix it up from year to year, hunting one year with my brother and father, followed by a gathering of good buddies the next. Last fall, it was the latter as a group of five friends and a well-trained chocolate lab set forth for a three-day waterfowling adventure on Lake St. Clair.

St. Clair is famed for excellent waterfowl hunting for all species that travel along the Mississippi Flyway on their annual journey south. In the early part of the season, marsh ducks, particularly mallards, make up the bulk of the harvest. Within minutes of setting up, a pair of mallards set their wings to alight amongst our decoys. Sadly, due to an overeager or perhaps out of practice pair of hunters, the mallards escaped unscathed. But as the day wore on our shooting improved, and well before sunset, we had all shot our limit of six ducks apiece.

I find the early season particularly enjoyable as the birds aren’t yet adjusted to hunting pressure. In many cases, the birds will descend with reckless abandon into a spread of well-placed decoys. Beginners will often enjoy more success at this time of year because the shots are typically a little easier. Of course, early-season offers the added benefit of hunting in warmer weather.

marshes of southwestern Ontario’s Lake St. Clair A successful morning along the marshes of southwestern Ontario’s Lake St. Clair. (Photo credit: Scott McGuigan)

Our second and third days were just as successful as the first. With five hunters shooting limits every day, the hunt blurred into one big waterfowling bonanza. Highlights include several excellent shots and a big group of mallards that dipped into our decoys perfectly. It was also a pleasure to watch the retrieving of my buddy’s dog Drake, who made our days that much easier.

We hunted near the mouth of the Thames River in Chatham-Kent, but the whole southern and eastern shorelines offer excellent hunting in the areas where hunting is allowed. Cabins are also available at places such as Waterway Camp. For more of an exclusive hunting opportunity, consider Walpole Island Rod & Gun Club.

The hamlet of Mitchell’s Bay and the town of Wallaceburg are worth a Google search for accommodations towards the northern part of the lake. Chatham is the largest centre near the lake and would make a good home base for adventures on either the eastern or southern shores. Visit cktourism.com for a complete list of accommodations in the area. Spend a few minutes searching duck hunting guides in the area as well; there are many to choose from and you’ll be able to see which guides and opportunities interest you the most.

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