There’s a good reason why most Mississippi duck hunters residing outside of the Delta don’t know about some pretty darn good public waterfowl opportunities in the Tallahatchie region. It’s probably because Delta hunters try to keep it secret.

But it is simple common sense to know that with the area serving as “duck central east” in the Delta, any public hunting land with duck habitat would be prime hunting areas. Two of the state’s best are located in the region, spread across Tallahatchie and its neighboring counties of Leflore and Grenada.

Tallahatchie National Wildlife Refuge

The 4,000 acres of flat land cleared and drained (with about 33 percent reforested) to form Tallahatchie National Wildlife Refuge aren’t well known for another reason. Established in 1990, and developed over more than a decade, it is just becoming a jewel.

The main tract of the site consists of a quilt pattern of diverse habitats including farmland and old laid-by fields, dotted with bottomland hardwood forestland, all transected by Tippo Bayou, which serves as the refuge’s main water source.

Lowland fields and oxbow lakes border Tippo Bayou, and the whole system is subject to annual flooding, the results of which offer excellent attractant grounds for hordes of waterfowl to gather. A good portion of the remaining agricultural land on the property is planted in soybeans and rice to attract and then hold waterfowl on site.

Access to the Refuge on the north or south sides is via Mississippi Highway 8 roughly nine miles west of Holcomb. More details are available at www.fws.gov.

Malmaison no secret

It is no longer possible to keep secret Malmaison Wildlife Management Area, which is due south of the Tallahatchie NWR. One of the oldest and most popular of the state WMAs in the Delta, Malmaison’s 9,600 acres of highly diverse wildlife habitat is well known for its deer, turkey and small game hunting. But, when all the elements of good waterfowling — water, food and cold winter weather — come together it provides terrific duck hunting.

Malmaison has two primary waterfowling areas, the Greentree Reservoir and the McIntyre Scatters. These are essentially flooded areas where ducks tend to congregate annually. Specific regulations govern duck hunting in these waters, so be sure to check the state wildlife web site at www.mdfwp.com under the Waterfowl Program. On this web site hunters can now scan the posted QR Codes into smart phones to access the WMA map and other crucial information about hunting the area.