If you’ve ever hunted waterfowl, you know the feeling. The whistling wings, the soft quacks, the racing heartbeat, the cupped wings and finally the smell of burned gunpowder mixed with the chilled morning air – waterfowl hunting primes all of your senses at once!
As most locals know, in typical years the Panhandle Region has no shortage of water, which means no shortage of waterfowl hunting opportunity. However, the hot and dry conditions of summer 2021 have left many water bodies lacking, unless the heavens open up this fall to fill the void.
Beyond stellar waterfowl hunting opportunity, each of the WMAs also boasts an ADA accessible blind.
Important details about the blinds:
- They are only available for use by individuals with disability
- Hunters must reserve a blind by calling the Panhandle Regional office at (208) 769-1414
- Both blinds are drive-in accessible
- The blind at the Boundary-Smith Creek WMA is brand new
- No one requested to use the blind at McArthur Lake during the 2020-21 season (let’s change that this year!)
- Habitat Biologist Robert Akins will contact you prior to your scheduled hunt date to provide relevant details for accessing your blind
Waterfowl hunting outlook at each WMA
The waterfowl outlook is good at McArthur Lake, with plenty of mallards and widgeon regularly using the lake. Water levels in the lake are similar to last year, which will provide boat access as well as walk-in access.
Boundary-Smith Creek WMA is in a low-water situation; only one wetland cell has water. Wetland cell 3, the cell next to the north dike, is extremely low with the boat launch being 20-30 yards from the water. But don’t despair! If you’re willing to walk and wade, there have been loads of mallards and teal taking advantage of the concentrated food source caused by the low water level.
Waterfowl season rules and seasons
Sportsmen can hunt ducks and Canada geese from Oct. 16, 2021 to Jan. 28, 2022 in the Panhandle. They can hunt white-fronted and light geese from Oct. 19, 2021 to Jan. 31, 2022.
For both WMAs, early season often offers particularly good hunting opportunity, as most open water is locked up in ice by late-Nov. to early-Dec.
The rules on waterfowl species and number that can be harvested are fairly detailed, so make sure to check the 2021-22 Idaho Migratory Game Bird Season and Rules book before you head out for your hunt.
Reminder that in order to hunt you will need a valid Idaho hunting license, migratory bird (HIP) permit and a federal migratory bird (duck) stamp.
Need to purchase a license, HIP permit or duck stamp? Pick one of the options below to get all three.
Have questions? Don’t hesitate to contact the Panhandle Regional office at (208) 769-1414.
You can also follow the Panhandle Region Facebook page to get regular news and updates.