The Most Popular Duck to Hunt, Ranked

Choose the duck you think is the most popular!

Author: Gregor Krambs
Updated on May 17, 2024 06:36
Hunters often share tales of early mornings and serene landscapes, punctuated by the thrill of pursuing various ducks. Knowing which ducks are favored can enhance both preparation and success rates. By ranking the most popular ducks to hunt, enthusiasts gain insights into preferred species, influencing gear choices and hunting strategies. This ongoing collection of votes serves as a pulse on the hunting community’s preferences. Whether you're a seasoned hunter or just starting out, contributing your experiences helps shape a collective knowledge pool. Your input enriches this dynamic tally, offering a continually updated guide to the duck hunting scene.

What Is the Most Popular Duck to Hunt?

  1. 1
    Considered the most popular duck to hunt because they are abundant in North America, have a good flavor, and are challenging to hunt.
    The Mallard is a species of duck known for its stunning beauty, vibrant colors, and elegant appearance. It is widely recognized as one of the most beautiful ducks in the world.
    • Scientific Name: Anas platyrhynchos
    • Size: Approximately 50-65 cm in length
    • Weight: Average weight of 0.72-1.58 kg
    • Plumage: Bright and varied, with males having a glossy green head, white neck ring, chestnut breast, and grayish body, and females sporting a mottled brown coloration
    • Wingspan: Around 81-98 cm
  2. 2
    Known for their beautiful plumage, they are a popular game bird due to their fast flight and agility.
    The Wood Duck is a strikingly beautiful duck species that is known for its vibrant and intricate plumage patterns. It is considered one of the most stunning ducks in the world. The male Wood Duck has a multi-colored pattern consisting of metallic purples, greens, and blues on its head and neck. It also has a distinctive white chin strap and a distinctive crest on its head. The female Wood Duck, although not as brightly colored as the male, showcases elegant shades of gray and brown, with a white eye-ring and a white throat patch.
    • Scientific Name: Aix sponsa
    • Habitat: North America (wooded swamps, shallow lakes, and marshes)
    • Diet: Omnivorous (feeds on seeds, fruits, insects, and aquatic invertebrates)
    • Size: Male: 19-21 inches (48-54 cm) in length, Female: 17-19 inches (43-48 cm) in length
    • Weight: Male: 1-1.4 pounds (450-650 grams), Female: 0.8-1.2 pounds (360-550 grams)
    Wood Duck in other rankings
  3. 3
    A large, dark duck that is difficult to hunt, making them a favorite among experienced hunters.
    The American Black Duck is a striking waterfowl species known for its elegant appearance and subtle beauty. With its sleek black plumage, dark-brown head, and contrasting light chin, this duck is a visually captivating sight. It is closely related to the Mallard and often mistaken for it due to their similar appearance. However, the American Black Duck has distinct features that set it apart.
    • Scientific name: Anas rubripes
    • Average length: 20-24 inches (51-61 cm)
    • Wingspan: 32-38 inches (81-97 cm)
    • Weight: 1.7-3.4 pounds (0.8-1.5 kg)
    • Habitat: Eastern North America, including wetlands, marshes, and wooded swamps
    American Black Duck in other rankings
  4. 4
    A slender, elegant duck that is a challenge to hunt due to its speed and agility.
    The Pintail is a species of duck known for its slim and elegant appearance. It is highly sought after by hunters due to its beautiful plumage and challenging nature as a game bird.
    • Scientific Name: Anas acuta
    • Size: Length: 51-66 cm, Wingspan: 80-95 cm
    • Weight: Male: 600-1,000 g, Female: 500-800 g
    • Color: Male: Grey with white stripe, brown head; Female: Mottled brown and tan
    • Migration: Migratory bird, found in North America, Europe, Asia, and northern parts of Africa
  5. 5
    A small, fast-flying duck that is popular with hunters due to its delicious meat and challenging hunt.
    The Green-winged Teal is a small species of duck that is commonly hunted for sport. It is known for its striking plumage and characteristic features. The creator of the Green-winged Teal is natural selection through evolution.
    • Scientific Name: Anas crecca
    • Average Length: 13 - 16 inches
    • Average Weight: 0.5 - 1 pound
    • Wingspan: 23 - 26 inches
    • Primary Feathers: Green with a white bar
  6. 6
    Considered one of the best-tasting ducks, they are a popular game bird for hunters.
  7. 7
    Known for their striking red head, they are a popular game bird due to their large size and delicious meat.
    The Redhead duck is a medium-sized diving duck species commonly hunted in North America. It is known for its distinctive plumage and diving ability. The male Redhead duck has a reddish-chestnut head and neck, a gray body, and black breast and tail. The female has a brown head and body.
    • Species: Aythya americana
    • Length: 45-53 cm
    • Wingspan: 73-84 cm
    • Weight: 700-1200 grams
    • Habitat: Marshes, ponds, lakes, and coastal areas
  8. 8

    Ring-necked Duck

    John James Audubon
    A diving duck that is a popular game bird due to its challenging hunt and delicious meat.
    The Ring-necked Duck is a medium-sized diving duck that is widely recognized for its distinctive markings and behavior. It was first described by the American naturalist John James Audubon in 1835.
    • Species: Aythya collaris
    • Average Length: 15-18 inches (38-46 cm)
    • Average Weight: 1-2 pounds (0.5-0.9 kg)
    • Wingspan: 24-28 inches (61-71 cm)
    • Habitat: Migratory; prefers freshwater lakes and ponds
  9. 9
    A small, fast-flying duck that is popular with hunters due to its challenging hunt and delicious meat.
    The Blue-winged Teal (Anas discors) is a small sized dabbling duck found mainly in North and Central America. It is a popular game bird among waterfowl hunters due to its quick and erratic flying patterns and challenging nature.
    • Average weight: 0.5 - 0.7 pounds
    • Wingspan: 23 - 27 inches
    • Body length: 14 - 16 inches
    • Physical appearance: Males have a brownish-gray body with a white crescent-shaped patch on the face; females are mottled brown with darker streaks.
    • Breeding habitat: Prairie ponds, marshes, and shallow wetlands
  10. 10
    A medium-sized duck that is a popular game bird due to its delicious meat and challenging hunt.
    The Gadwall is a medium-sized dabbling duck commonly found in North America. It has a distinctive plumage that includes a gray-brown body, a black rear end, and a white belly. The male Gadwall has a gray-brown head with a black patch around the eye, while the female has a mottled brown appearance. It is known for its graceful flight and strong wingbeats.
    • Species: Anas strepera
    • Size: Length: 46-56 cm, Wingspan: 79-91 cm
    • Weight: 700-1,300 grams
    • Habitat: Marshes, wetlands, and shallow freshwater areas
    • Range: North America, Europe, Asia

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Ranking factors for popular duck

  1. Abundance and distribution
    The availability of ducks in various regions plays a significant role in their popularity among hunters. The more widespread and abundant a species is, the more likely it will be targeted by hunters.
  2. Legal regulations and hunting seasons
    The hunting regulations and open seasons for each duck species vary by state and region. Species that have longer hunting seasons and less restrictive bag limits are likely to be more popular among hunters.
  3. Difficulty of hunting
    Some duck species are more challenging to hunt than others due to factors such as wariness, flight patterns, and habitat preferences. Hunters may value the challenge of pursuing certain species, while others may prefer more easily accessible targets.
  4. Taste and culinary value
    Ducks that are known for their delicious and tender meat may be a more popular target among hunters who enjoy consuming their catch.
  5. Habitat and location
    Ducks that inhabit easily accessible, familiar, or favored hunting environments (such as wetlands, marshes, or open fields) may be more popular among hunters than those found in difficult or remote locations.
  6. Aesthetic appeal
    Ducks with visually striking colors, patterns, or features may be more appealing to hunters, making them more sought-after targets.
  7. Size
    Larger duck species may be more popular among hunters due to the increased amount of meat they provide, as well as the challenge of bringing down a larger target.
  8. Rarity and conservation status
    Some hunters enjoy targeting rare or difficult-to-find species, while others may only pursue ducks that are not considered as threatened or endangered. Awareness of conservation issues may play a role in determining the popularity of certain species.
  9. Traditions and cultural preferences
    Hunting for specific duck species may be more popular in certain regions, based on cultural or traditional preferences for specific birds.

About this ranking

This is a community-based ranking of the most popular duck to hunt. We do our best to provide fair voting, but it is not intended to be exhaustive. So if you notice something or duck is missing, feel free to help improve the ranking!


  • 183 votes
  • 10 ranked items

Movers & Shakers

Voting Rules

A participant may cast an up or down vote for each duck once every 24 hours. The rank of each duck is then calculated from the weighted sum of all up and down votes.


More information on most popular duck to hunt

Duck hunting has been a popular outdoor activity for centuries, with hunters traveling far and wide to pursue their prey. But with so many different species of ducks to choose from, which one is the most popular to hunt? While opinions may vary depending on where you are in the world, the mallard duck is widely considered to be the most popular game duck for hunters. Known for their beautiful green heads and distinctive quack, mallards can be found in many different habitats, making them a versatile target for hunters. However, other species such as the wood duck and teal are also popular among hunters, each with their own unique characteristics and challenges. Whether you're a seasoned hunter or just starting out, the world of duck hunting offers endless opportunities to explore and discover new species.

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