Public Waterfowl Hunting
There are two types of waterfowl hunting opportunity on public land in northwest Missouri; managed hunting with a draw for positions and hunting as prescribed by statewide regulations on open areas. Managed hunts occur on areas such as Bob Brown CA, where there is intensive wetland management; extensive levee systems, pumping stations and crops. Open hunting, where there is no draw, generally occurs on areas with less intensive management, such as the Thurnau CA. These areas can provide good hunting, but the hunter must invest some effort to be successful.
Opportunistic areas can provide good hunting but they are not good every year or throughout the entire season. The hunter must arm himself with knowledge of river levels and how they relate to a particular area. Scouting is imperative in the summer to determine where natural foods are good, to determine access routes and to devise at practical plan to approach the hunt. Good information can be found with the people who manage the area, contact them. In many instances they can provide maps and hints. Don't expect them to tell you how to hunt the area; they don't know you or your equipment or hunting preferences.
If your hunting preferences don't include all of the work necessary to hunt these opportunistic areas, there are several intensively managed wetlands that provide managed hunts in northwest and north central Missouri. Areas such as Bob Brown CA have a daily drawing to limit the number of hunters on the area. Staff on these areas are friendly (as friendly as you can be at 4:00 am) and can provide limited help on how to hunt the area. Take advantage of their advise, they know the area better than anyone; it is their job. Don't expect them to pick your spot and guide you there. Remember you are the hunter and that is your job.
Grand Pass Conservation Area
Grand Pass Conservation Area is a 5300 acre intensively managed wetland area located in Saline county Missouri River bottom. The waterfowl hunting program entails a daily drawing for 20% of the hunting positions that starts approximately 1 1/2 hours before shooting time. Reservations are available through the Quick Draw System for 80% of the hunting positions. In a normal year Grand Pass begins with 18-25 walk-in positions and ends the season with 36-45 positions. There are no blinds and no plans for blinds at Grand Pass.
Hunters at Grand Pass use a variety of techniques. Many hunters don't hide well enough to decoy ducks for 20 yard shots so some sort of blind is important. "Bucket hunters" carry a 5-gallon bucket to sit on while hunting. They can hide in standing corn strips, sorghum-sedan strips or native vegetation. About half of the hunters bring some type of boat. Big river boats with 90 hp motors are allowed, but they are limited by shallow water over much of the area. "Pole boats" or shallow drafted duck boats are more versatile, especially when they have a low profile blind.
The wet spring caused good conditions for moist soil production and hindered agricultural crop production. Our farmers did manage to get plenty of crops planted so late season hunting still has good potential, while early season opportunities also look good with the excellent moist soil crop.
Nodaway Valley Conservation Area
The Nodaway Valley Conservation Area in Holt and Andrew Counties offers waterfowl hunters wade and shoot style hunting and hunting from duck blinds. Wade and shoot hunting requires hunters to wade or boat out into the marsh and bring with them the necessary equipment needed to hunt comfortably and provide them a place to hide. The wade and shoot pools on Nodaway Valley are easily wade able for hunters with chest waders and small boats can also be used in most pools. If you choose to hunt from one of the area's four blinds you must have your own boat to access the blinds, it is not possible to wade out to the blinds. Some portions of the area are open to waterfowl hunting all day long and some portions close at 1:00pm. We also have a small part of the area open to waterfowl hunting on a first come first serve basis (you do not have to attend the morning drawing). In the pools managed through the morning drawing we typically allow between 12 and 16 groups of hunters out into the marsh each day.
Bob Brown Conservation Area
The Bob Brown Conservation Area, in Holt County, offers waterfowl hunters wade and shoot style hunting only (this means there are no duck blinds on this area) and the area also closes to waterfowl hunting at 1:00 pm each day. Wade and shoot hunting requires hunters to wade or boat out into the marsh and bring with them the necessary equipment needed to hunt comfortably and provide them a place to hide. The Bob Brown area is easily to wade, if hunters have chest waders, and small boats can also be used in three of the four wetland pools. We typically allow between 12 and 19 groups of hunters out into the marsh each day.
For drawing times on all managed public hunts see: http:www.mdc.mo.gov/hunt/wtrfo
Managed Public Hunt Areas/ Contact Info
- Bob Brown Conservation Area - (660) 446-3371
- Fountain Grove Conservation Area - (660) 938-4124
- Grand Pass Conservation Area - (660) 595-2444, (660) 595-2437 recorded message
- Nodaway Valley Conservation Aea - (660) 446-3371
- Deroin Bend Conservation Area - (660) 446-3371
- Thurnau Conservation Area - (660) 446-3371
- Lower Hamburg Bend Conservation Area - (660) 446-3371
- Rush Bottom Conservation Area - (660) 446-3371
- Bilby Ranch Lake - (660) 446-3371
- J.J. McKinney Conservation Area - (660) 595-2444
- Shifferdecker Conservation Area - (660) 595-2444