Our Hunting Roots — Ducks Unlimited Canada
Skip to main content

Hunting and conservation

A conservation lifestyle that's protected nature for all of us

In 1937 the Ducks Unlimited founders gathered at a streamside hunting lodge to figure out how they could reverse the downward trend of North America’s waterfowl numbers.

As waterfowl hunters with strong connections to the land, they recognized that habitat loss was contributing to declining waterfowl and wildlife numbers in the places that inspired their connection with nature. Someone needed to act fast before they were gone, forever.

Ducks Unlimited established our Canadian operations in 1938 and we got right to work taking care of threatened wetlands on the drought-ravaged prairies. Our original conservation volunteers, most of them hunters, were some of Canada’s first “citizen scientists”, recording the ducks, geese and wildlife they saw using wetlands and other natural spaces.

Our early conservation pioneers would be proud to know they started something that has led to stable continental waterfowl populations, and ongoing opportunities to harvest birds from the wild.

Big Grass Marsh in Manitoba is Ducks Unlimited Canada's first project built in 1938. It still supports waterfowl today.
Big Grass Marsh in Manitoba is Ducks Unlimited Canada's first project built in 1938. It still supports waterfowl today. © DUC

Our connection with hunting and conservation today

Today’s hunters recognize that although we’ve come a long way, we still need to be vigilant. As an outdoor community, hunters are among the strongest contributors to habitat conservation and are key drivers of Canada’s economy.

Because of the early and ongoing support of hunters, we can invest every dollar entrusted in us  into our mission: to conserve, restore, and manage wetlands for North America’s waterfowl, wildlife and people.

The next time you eat a fresh-caught fish, swim in your favourite lake, hike in a scenic landscape, spot a butterfly in a meadow or enjoy birdsong at dawn, remember that hunters started and continue to support the movement that makes these special moments possible.

Ducks Unlimited Canada
Adult mentored hunt, 2013
Adult mentored hunt, 2013 © DUC

Celebrating Canada’s outdoor lifestyle

Celebrating Canada’s outdoor traditions also means we celebrate the role of hunters in our conservation success story.

That’s why we offer special events and activities with hunting themes, sponsor Canadian outdoor writers, and partner with The Canadian Tradition, to highlight this special connection with the people who are an integral part of our heritage—and our future.


Resources for hunters

We encourage everyone to get outdoors and experience the natural places we’re conserving—and we’re proud to offer a number of resources to help hunters and non-hunters alike.

Ducks from a distance: helpful hints for identification in the wild
Conservator, Waterfowl

Ducks from a distance: helpful hints for identification in the wild

Tips from waterfowl experts on overcoming identification challenges for the 20+ species of ducks that live in North America.

Learn more
Image of Duck Navigator
Waterfowl

Duck Navigator

An interactive map identifies habitat projects that are owned by Ducks Unlimited Canada and our partners.

Learn more
Know your waterfowl

Know your waterfowl

Migration season provides some of the best bird watching opportunities, particularly for waterfowl. Heading out with your binoculars can be a lot of fun – especially when you can spot…

Learn more
Summer Habitat Report 2020

Summer Habitat Report 2020

Get the inside scoop from our field reporters on what spring habitat conditions looked like for our returning ducks and geese on their Canadian breeding grounds.

Learn more
Hunter/mentor and his young charge during a 2014 Manitoba mentored hunt.
Hunter/mentor and his young charge during a 2014 Manitoba mentored hunt. © DUC / Chris Benson

Looking to the future

Mentoring the next generation of hunter-conservationists

Most hunters can recall their first harvest as if it was yesterday. Few images embed themselves into our memory like the first time we watched a flight of hard-banking mallards or Canada geese drop into the decoys. As indelible as that memory is, equally etched in our recollection is the memory of the family member or friend who mentored us in the field that day.

We know that learning or teaching hunting can be intimidating. We also know that hunting is an important part of the future of conservation in Canada. And so we’re proud to work with a variety of conservation-minded partners to support mentors and first-time hunters with resources to help create a safe and ethical hands-on learning experience.

We offer:

  • Certificates of appreciation for mentors who provide their expertise through events organized by groups who have received support directly or indirectly from DUC.
  • Certificates for mentored hunt participants, which includes a Conservation Pledge outlining their commitment to be safe, ethical, conservation-minded hunters.
  • Downloadable PowerPoint presentations about waterfowl identification and ethical hunting.
  • Waterfowl ID pocket guides.

Help habitat, get DUC Gear™

You can help safeguard wildlife habitat simply by becoming a member. Join or renew your DUC membership for just $45 today and get a DUC Gear™ Mossy Oak Camo cap or buff.

Join today