The hunt: The Delta Marsh is located at the south end of Lake Manitoba, about an hour’s drive west of Winnipeg. In the autumn, tens of thousands of ducks and geese funnel down through the area, and in late fall it’s arguably the best place in North America to hunt for diving ducks.
A visit to the marsh is also an immersion in the history and culture of duck hunting. For starters, Delta Waterfowl was founded there. And Sports Afield Lodge—founded by the legendary bon vivant Jimmy Robinson—has been hosting magnates, movie stars and everyday duck hunters since 1935. Most waterfowl lodges are private clubs, but anyone can book a hunt at Sports Afield, where the Métis guides are masters at the art of decoying and calling ducks. And with its hundreds of framed photos and hand-carved antique decoys, the lodge is like a waterfowl museum that happens to also serve excellent meals.
In late autumn, skim ice closes the area’s smaller marshes and the Delta becomes a beehive of birds. Snow geese, Canada geese and mallards are present in abundance. But the divers make the sportiest shooting. Ripping past at cattail-height, a gang of bluebills riding the wind seem to move faster than you can swing your gun. Waterfowling defined. —Jake MacDonald
When to go: October is tops.
Gun and load: Pack a 12-gauge with three-inch shells and #3 shot.