Heads up ducks and hunters: For the first time in several years, ducks heading into Texas won’t be landing in the dirt thanks to decent rainfall across much of the state in recent months. It’s a reprieve from the drought duck hunters have been waiting for, particularly in light of reports of record numbers of ducks heading this way. That bodes well for ducks and the upcoming duck hunting season.
Duck populations have now hit record highs in three of the last four years, and in a normal year Texas plays host to 90 percent of the ducks that migrate along the Central Flyway; roughly 10 million birds. But dry conditions in Texas during those record-setting migrations have left waterfowlers high and dry as the ducks have sought out wetter environs elsewhere. That pattern should change this year, according to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.
“I would say conditions have improved over most of the state the last couple of months,” said Kevin Kraai, TPWD Waterfowl Program Leader. “Waterfowl are doing well, so conditions are shaping up for what should be a good season.”
Duck hunting gets under way in the Panhandle’s High Plains Mallard Management Unit October 25 and in the remainder of the state November 1. Kraai said conditions have improved significantly in the Panhandle where earlier this year many playa lakes were dust bowls, but have since filled thanks to recent rains and should provide ample respite for incoming ducks.
Likewise along the coast, conditions have improved and should support ample numbers of ducks and geese this winter. Both private and public land hunters should benefit.
“I remain excited about the increase in rice acres in the coastal regions southeast of Houston,” said Kraai. “That should increase the foods available for both ducks and geese in that area, thus improving the populations of both ducks and geese that visit the marshes of the Chenier Plain.” The Texas ducking hunting forecast looks better this year, so I’m definitely looking forward to watching some decoying birds.
If you love Texas, you will LOVE this video!