Woman dressed warmly in camouflage and standing in marsh reeds aims a shotgun into the air

In the spring, the 73 islands that form Maine Coastal Islands NWR provide habitat for unusual birds such as puffins, razorbills, black guillemots and terns. In the fall, these birds migrate away and are replaced by flocks of common eider, a large and beautiful sea duck that is attracting more hunters each year. Eider hunting is a challenge for even the most rugged sportsmen; the bird is notoriously tough and flies extremely fast. The weather can often be cold and miserable, and the coastal islands offer little protection from the elements. But the challenging conditions add to the allure for avid sea duck hunters. Forty-eight of the coastal islands on the refuge are open for hunting and can be accessed only by boat; Maine Coastal Islands NWR Hunting Regulations contact the refuge office for specifics. For hunters looking for a more typical duck hunt, the 129 acres of salt marshes on the refuge's mainland divisions offer great puddle duck hunting, including black duck, green-winged and blue-winged teal and mallard. The Gouldsboro Bay Division and Sawyer's Marsh Division are both open for big-game, small-game, upland and migratory bird hunting. Maine Coastal Islands NWR provides the opportunity for an uncrowded hunting experience, and for those hunters willing to brave the elements on the coastal islands, the chance to pursue a duck species that few hunters will ever even see.