With a nickname like the king of ducks, canvasbacks are probably the most prized diver from coast to coast. However, cans don’t frequent every flyway or state equally, so many diving-duck hunters rarely get a crack at royalty. Instead, those big-water fans focus on other birds.
That got me wondering about hotspots for those species — the top states (at least by harvest data) for scaup, redheads, ringnecks, buffleheads, goldeneyes and, sure, ruddy ducks. Info from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife’s migratory bird harvest reports from 2014 through 2016 provided some clues about the best areas for various divers.