Thinking about booking a guided hunt to Reelfoot lake for this upcoming season. Anyone have any experiences they would care to share? I've looked at Parker's Outfitters and Reelfoot Duckmasters. Thanks for the help!
Reelfoot is a phenomal area for ducks, not sure you get into much better hunting unless you go west of ARIE to Oklahoma Dakotas or Kansas . Duck hunting is so weather dependent so being able to travel to different areas is ideal but most don't have the means to do so. I have heard good things about the coppers hole guide service on reelfoot, You can google to find their web page. The guy I bought my dog from has a blind up there every year and im
Hoping to get up there is winter as well.
Unless I was going seaduck hunting where I didn't really have a choice, I wouldn't pay a guide to hunt public water. I know they have there "own blinds" with 5 million decoys and jugs in front of them, but that is just me. Booking any trip ahead of time is luck of the draw depending on weather. If new birds are coming in, Reelfoot can be a good as anywhere else. If they aren't I had rather hunt with someone that has private land options that he can let rest and at least accumulate some birds before I went.
Plenty of WMA areas in Kansas. I live there for three years and hunted around the fort Riley area and killed allot od ducks and Geese. I would also look at military land. Example fort Riley. Probably some regs to follow and you must know the system, but allot of pot holes full of Ducks.
Check whoever ur considering references and If it fits ur budget and ur time frame for days off I say go for it ... may have a great day ... not going to kill them at home ... if u have more money and more days off then u might want to venture further West ... good luck
Everything said so far is pretty on point from my experience. Went by way of a chance invite with my F-I-L on a business thing he planned for his suppliers and we had a good hunt. It probably would've been better if we had shooters in the group (an often overlooked cause of low #'s when hunting with guides). I think we had one of the better blinds on the lake and that spread we hunted over was something else. Guide also said he hunts the same blind 50-55 days a season if that tells you anything. Blind was a small house on the water and comfortable. This was 4 years ago but we had all meals supplied that included huge porterhouse steak dinners each night and solid motel quality housing with the hunting for $250/day which is worth every bit if you have a half decent hunt (even better if FIL pays). I wouldn't want to think "this is duck hunting" and do it every year but it is certainly worth it if the birds are there and you have a good blind. The northern part of the lake is a refuge and we saw birds going to and from it the whole hunt so I think we were reasonably close to it. I personally like enjoying different hunting areas when paying a daily rate but would go back if a group I hunted with was going.
I just moved here from TN. Here is the scoop on Reelfoot. Is it public, yes, but you cant set up anywhere within such a distance of the permanent blinds which are occupied 99% of the season, every day of the week with no rest, by guides and outfitters. If a blind is unoccupied come shooting time, you can hop in it, and every blind leaves out a couple hundred decoys all season, they don't get picked up til the end of the season. But as I said before, those blinds are occupied by the owners 99% of the year and they never give them a rest day. So there are like 60 blinds or so that have 4-500 decoys out that never get picked up, so you have that challenge of competition. Then you have the weather challenge. Reelfoot success is 99% based on weather. If its foggy or rainy, youre going to have a tough time, and all the good guides book up long before the season starts. If they have openings still in December and January for the upcoming season when you call in August, they probably arent worth your money. You may get lucky though. It is a hard gamble with the weather every time you book a guide at reelfoot that many months out. Last time I went, i diversified and hunted with 2 guides over 2 days. The first sucked, and was pretty much a scam, tried to weasel out of just about every part of what he advertised, and was just trying to collect from as many people as possible without doing hardly anything. The 2nd tried everything he could do, rearranged decoys, tried different calling, and cooked us some amazing breakfast and lunch. Told us everything about the history of the lake, how the blind lottery works, and kept us up to date on everything about the hunting on the lake that he knew. There are a lot of scammers out there though. If they say they are hunting a hole just off the lake, I wouldnt waste your time unless its within a mile of one of the refuges. If you want to shoot me a PM, I keep in tough with the 2nd guide that we went with, his family had 2 private holes on the lake last year and he tries his butt off. The other guide that I know has been on the lake for 3 generations and has grandfathered in their massive mansion of a blind is the "blackjack hole". Just google reelfoot black jack hole and look at their blind pictures, youll be impressed.
I've hunted Reelfoot and the surrounding areas a good bit. OP mentioned Parker's and he's a dang good one. However he's usually full in February for the next year unless he picks up another blind in the lottery. I think every serious waterfowler should hunt Reelfoot lake at least once if for nothing else than the history.
All of that said, I would drive 45 minutes west and hunt the Missouri bootheel instead. The flooded rice and bean fields there are much more productive. If you need a recommendation there I have a great one. Best of luck!