9. Charleston, South Carolina
Located in the heart of South Carolina's wetland-rich Lowcountry, Charleston has long been a hub for sportsmen in general and waterfowlers in particular. The neighboring ACE Basin, where the Ashepoo, Combahee, and Edisto rivers flow into the Atlantic Ocean, is one of the largest remaining undeveloped estuaries along the East Coast. The region also supports up to 50 percent of the Atlantic Flyway's dabbling ducks, including pintails, gadwalls, blue- and green-winged teal, and resident mottled ducks. "This is a key conservation area for DU," says regional director James Meadows. "More than 100,000 acres of wildlife habitat have been protected by private landowners who have donated conservation easements to DU."
Some of the best duck hunting in the Charleston area is found on private duck clubs that are intensively managed for waterfowl and other wildlife. But there's also an abundance of public land near town. Along the coast, Bear Island and the Santee Coastal Reserve WMAs offer excellent public hunting for those lucky enough to draw a blind. And 45 miles inland is the Santee Cooper WMA on Lake Marion, where DU and partners have restored prime habitat for waterfowl.
"Duck hunters should put in for the WMA draw hunts," Meadows advises. "They offer some pretty phenomenal hunting."