Every waterfowl fanatic should eventually get to Canada
Although regular fall and winter hunting seasons are over, it’s never too early to start planning for next year. If you’re passionate about waterfowl hunting, one trip you must consider sooner or later is a duck and goose hunt in Alberta, Canada. It gives you the opportunity to pursue waterfowl at one of their first stops along their southward migration, and world-class decoying action.
I made my first trip to Alberta in September 2019 for a photoshoot, and I can’t wait to go back this fall. I hunted with an outfit called Take-Em Outfitters out of Cold Lake, Alberta. Cold Lake is about 185 miles east of Edmonton in the center of Canada, just west of the Alberta-Saskatchewan border.
We flew into Edmonton International Airport, rented an SUV, and drove to the Take-Em Outfitters lodge. The flight to Edmonton was a direct, four-hour hop from George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston. Driving from Edmonton to Cold Lake was a fairly relaxing, three-and-a-half-hour journey of scenic views, laden with wildlife.
Accommodations with Take-Em Outfitters were excellent, but the wing shooting action was what made this a bucket-list experience. We spent three days hunting ducks and geese over dry agricultural fields, including crops of barley, wheat, oats, peas and soybeans. Our guides used a portable, makeshift panel blind to conceal our presence in the fields, which allowed us to set up wherever the birds wanted to be. The shot opportunities were so frequent, that sometimes it seemed you just couldn’t reload quickly enough.
On the first two days, our morning hunts were primarily focused on geese. Mature speckle bellies and greater Canadas came gliding into our spread of full body decoys by the dozens, and you could bet on another wave of birds to be following right behind.
We did harvest a few ducks during our first two morning goose hunts. However, they became our primary quarry in the afternoon hours. After bagging our limits of geese, which is eight birds a person, we packed up and headed back to the lodge for breakfast and a siesta.
Afternoon duck hunts in Canada were an absolute blast. The temperatures were mild and the mallards and pintails were more than willing to spiral down over our decoys in swarms of 50 to 100 or more. Many times, we had ducks cupped up within 15 or 20 yards of the blind. The sight of that many birds locked in on our spread and melting down from the sky was breathtaking. Harvesting limits of eight ducks a person wasn’t difficult to meet.
On the third and final day of our trip, a field chock-full of waterfowl gave us a chance to harvest our limits of ducks and geese over the same morning setup. The guides used remote-controlled Mojo spinning wing duck decoys to coax birds in close when geese weren’t working our spread. It was a hunt for the books that words just won’t do justice. When the dust finally settled, we had harvested full limits of ducks and geese in a little more than two hours.
Traveling with a shotgun to Canada is fairly simple. There is some paperwork you will have to fill out and travel with to bring a firearm into the country, including a Non-Resident Firearm Declaration sheet.
If you like seeing new places and enjoy beautiful, raw scenery, void of development and full of wildlife, then a trip to Canada is perfect for you. It’s waterfowl hunting like you’ve never experienced before, and the memories made will last a lifetime.