Hunting can be a lot like real estate: in both cases, it’s all about location. So if you want to plan the perfect trip for 2020, the first thing you need to take into account is where you’ll be headed.
Depending on your budget and the game you’re after, there are a plethora of different options open to North American hunters. But whether you’re looking for a rugged, once-in-a-lifetime adventure or premium hunting grounds close to home, here are four must-try destinations for 2020.
Arkansas has long been legendary for its mallard drakes and flooded timber hunting grounds, and if the Natural State is the holy land of hunting, then Stuttgart is its Jerusalem.
This corner of Southern Arkansas is easily accessible, making it an affordable destination for hunters of all kinds, but it is the extensive green-timber bottomlands that have put it on the map as one of the duck hunting capitals of the world.
Because flooded timber hunting requires a degree of mobility — and means spending a lot of time in water — you’ll need to make sure you have lightweight waterproof gear. It goes without saying that you’ll also need tungsten hunting cartridges to get the necessary range while staying on the right side of environmental regulations.
- Best Time of Year: Late Fall
- Best Guns: Remington Versa Max, Benelli Vinci
- Best Ammo: HEVI-Shot
Nova Scotia’s Annapolis Valley
There are a lot of reasons to love the Annapolis Valley: not only does its mild climate make it one of Canada’s most important fruit-growing regions, it’s also a stunningly beautiful place rich in history.
Hunters are drawn to this fertile trough of land running alongside the Bay of Fundy for a variety of different animals, but the huge stock of Ring-necked Pheasants that have thrived there since early twentieth century has really put it on the map as a destination for upland fowl.
While there are lots of great spots to find these magnificent birds, you’ll probably have to do a fair bit of walking, so it’s best to be careful with how much you pack. It’s a good idea to bring a day-bag with food, a first aid kit, and other essentials, but you’ll really start to notice any extra pounds once you hit the trail.
When it comes to ammo, you’ll want something with a bit of range, so make sure to bring hunting cartridges packed with dense shot that can deliver serious lethality at distances of up to 70 yards.
- Best Time of Year: Fall
- Best Guns: Remington 870 Wingmaster, Mossberg 500 Classic
- Best Ammo: Tungsten super shot, birdshot
St. Paul Island, Alaska
For many sportsmen, the opportunity to hunt King Eider is the ultimate dream. This rare and beautiful duck is found only in remote islands off the coast of Alaska, which is why they have come to be seen as the Everest of waterfowl hunting.
Bagging King Eider isn’t easy: they flourish in harsh conditions, and even experienced hunters will find it a gruelling endurance test — but then, the challenge is part of the fun. If you can make it, you’ll join one of the most elite clubs in duck hunting.
When travelling to such a remote area, you definitely want to make sure you bring the right equipment. Getting within range of a King Eider isn’t always easy, so making sure you use dense tungsten alloy birdshot that can deliver a sufficiently deadly pattern.
If you’re a waterfowler who wants to see if you have what it takes to hunt one of the most elusive birds on the continent, this can be one of the most memorable outings of your life.
- Best Time of Year: Winter
- Best Guns: Benelli Super Black Eagle 3
- Best Ammo: Copper tungsten alloy
If you really want to make 2020 a stand-out year, planning the perfect hunting trip is a great way to do so.
While there are plenty of destinations to visit in North America, stepping off the beaten path and heading to a location that offers great game and stunning natural beauty will give you stories you’ll be able to tell for years to come.
Whether you want to bag some mallards, hunt pheasant in the stunning Nova Scotia countryside, or take on the adventure of a lifetime chasing King Eider in the Bering Sea, planning ahead and preparing properly is the best way to organize a 2020 you’ll never forget.