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The hunt: If the Prairie provinces offer a hurricane of mallard hunting opportunities, then the eye of the storm must surely be centred over Alberta’s Central Parkland, southeast of Edmonton. The landscape here is ideal, making for a migrating greenhead’s paradise—thousands of acres of cereal grain production interspersed with numerous potholes and large staging wetlands. And with relatively few hunters, generous bag limits (eight birds per day, 24 in possession), lengthy seasons and hunter-friendly landowners, it’s hard to imagine that better opportunities could exist anywhere.
Most of the mallard hunting takes place in harvested grain fields using layout blinds over field decoys, with pea fields representing the spot on the spot. Limit shoots are often measured in minutes, and the birds are plentiful enough that hunters can select only drakes, leaving the hens to breed again.
Alternatively, there’s plenty of opportunity to hunt on the water, either on tiny, willow-ringed sloughs or from the shores and islands of larger lakes and reservoirs. Limit out on mallards and it pays to sit tight, as the region also attracts huge numbers of geese, including Canadas, Ross’s, snows and whitefronts. —Ken Bailey
When to go: Early September to late October is best.
Gun and load: 12-gauges are the norm, shooting #2 to #4 steel.