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Rondeau Bay: Where Waterfowlers Play

Calling in the ducks, enjoying the public land available for waterfowl hunters in southern Ontario’s Rondeau Bay. • Credit: Scott McGuigan
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Rondeau Bay: Where Waterfowlers Play

The bay offers ample public land and water

Adjacent to the wilder waters of Lake Erie, Rondeau Bay offers thousands of ducks a reprieve from the elements and ample food during the fall migration. Located 25 kilometres southeast of Chatham, Rondeau Bay has ample public land and water, affording waterfowlers willing to make the journey unique opportunities to hunt geese, puddle ducks, and divers.

25 km from Chatham, Rondeau Bay has excellent and ample public land and water. View Larger Map

What makes the bay unique is that the watershed falls within the jurisdiction of Rondeau Bay Provincial Park, and all hunting is overseen by the Rondeau Bay Waterfowlers Association (RBWA). As such, the bay has regulations that supersede provincial regulations. While the RBWA limits hunting to Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, this minimizes the gunning pressure migrating birds face and helps to hold the birds in the area longer.

The bay is divided into zones A and B. A-Zone is a public marsh within the gates of the provincial park. There are approximately 30 public blinds and stakes assigned by a lottery held at the RBWA office each morning of hunting. Most of the blinds within the park are accessed by boat, and a launch ramp is located close to the RBWA office. For those without a boat, a number of blinds can be accessed by foot or bicycle. Decoys and canoes are left at the hardest to reach blinds to limit the amount of gear you need to tote. Puddle ducks make up the majority of the harvest in A-Zone. With green wing teal and gadwall numbers soaring, numbers have been good over the past couple of seasons. Virtually all species of Atlantic Flyway ducks can be harvested from within the park, with excellent diver duck shooting when the migration peaks.

B-Zone comprises all water outside of the provincial park and A-Zone boundaries. Permanent blinds can be built by anyone willing to put in the effort, but a registration period exists before the season starts to record blind locations. Registration works on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Great launch facilities are located at the full-service marina at Eireau close to southern Ontario’s Rondeau Bay Great launch facilities are located at the full-service marina at Eireau close to southern Ontario’s Rondeau Bay. (Photo credit: Scott McGuigan)

Both deepwater and shoreline hides are popular, but another reason to head to Rondeau Bay is the layout boat hunting opportunities for diver ducks. Rondeau Bay has exceptionally thick weed mats which are a considerable source of food for waterfowl, especially diver ducks. Any layout blind or deep water hide needs to be within 300 metres of solid ground by regulation. Additionally, a B-Zone licence is required, which can be purchased at the RBWA office or at Barney’s Boats, which is located in the town of Erieau close to the full-service marina’s launch ramps.

Visit rondeauwaterfowlers.com for more information on hunting Rondeau Bay, or plan your own waterfowl hunting trip in Ontario.

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