The Mississippi Delta is blessed with an abundance of smaller rivers and creeks that wind their way across the area before dumping into larger flows that wind up in the Mississippi River. These waterways provide plenty of waterfowl resting and feeding grounds to both resident populations and those making southerly migrations.
The types of waterfowl likely to be encountered by creek hunters include a mixed bag of mallards, gadwall, widgeon and a host of other puddlers and divers, depending upon the time of season and size of the streams. Don’t rule out the possibility of coming across some of the state’s many resident Canada geese while hunting creeks.
Equipment, locations, and strategies differ greatly from the standard duck hunting setup, but the results, especially as the weather gets cooler, can be exceptional.
One drawback to hunting smaller rivers, which is also seen by many as a plus, is a lack of traditional boat ramp access to launch a trailered boat. In these cases, a small johnboat, canoe, or kayak that can fit in the bed of a pickup might be your best means of transportation.
The use of decoys varies when hunting moving water. If accessing the area by a car-top boat, limited storage space is a consideration. Half a dozen decoys is all that’s necessary if decoys are used. It’s best to equip decoys with short anchor lines and heavier-than-average weights. Blind material differs, and most hunters opt to hide the boat and dig in against the bank.
Duck calls, like decoys, should be used sparingly in small streams. Ducks seek out smaller rivers and creeks to rest. Calling can help persuade ducks passing high overhead to swing down for a closer look but calling too much, especially with no decoys for the ducks to identify, is unnatural and can cause birds to spook.
Shot loads and choke patterns should accommodate quick and relatively close passing shots.