20 Great Economical Adventures

Tennessee: Ducks in the Cypress Trees

Outdoor Life Online Editor

Reelfoot Lake is a shallow cypress-studded lake in northwestern Tennessee that was formed during the New Madrid earthquake of 1811. This strong seismic jolt opened a fissure between the Mississippi River and the nearby Reelfoot Creek bottoms, permanently flooding several thousand acres of swampy lowlands.

In the process, a duck paradise was formed, and the birds have been coming ever since. Today, Reelfoot Lake is a major wintering area for mallards, gadwalls and other species. During the peak of migration, more than half a million ducks will jam into refuges adjacent to the lake.

Most gunning is done from fixed blinds in legendary holes with third- or fourth-generation guides doing the calling. Duck hunting at Reelfoot Lake is a mix of great shooting, beautiful scenery and rich waterfowling tradition stretching back generations.

One good way to enjoy all this is to book a trip with Blue Bank Resort. Blue Bank offers three-day packages that include first-class accommodations, sumptuous meals and hunting with some of the best guides on the lake. Weekday packages cost $599 per hunter; weekend packages, $699. Duck season at Reelfoot typically runs from early December through late January. Licenses for nonresidents total $36 (seven-day hunting license and three-day Reelfoot preservation permit) plus $15 for a federal duck stamp.