The Texas duck hunting season is going full speed ahead despite low rainfall and little surface water. The duck hunting season for the High Plains Mallard Management Unit runs October 29-30 and from November 4-January 29, 2012. The North and South zones run November 5-27 and December 10-January 29, 2012. The daily bag limit shall be 6 ducks, to include no more than the following: 5 mallards (only 2 of which may be hens), 3 wood ducks, 2 scaup (lesser scaup and greater scaup in the aggregate), 2 redheads, 2 pintails, 1 canvasback, 1 dusky duck (mottled duck, Mexican-like duck, black duck and their hybrids are closed the first five days of the season in each zone). All other species: 6.
South Zone Duck Hunting: Duck hunting remains stellar along the coastal prairies of Eagle Lake, Wharton, El Campo, Garwood, East Bernard, Hungerford, Lissie and Louise. Teal, gadwall, wigeon, shovelers and pintail have made up the brunt of the bag. Inland ponds around adjacent to the coast have seen loads of ducks leaving the bay daily for freshwater. Bay hunters enjoyed an influx of new birds last week as redheads and scaup found shoalgrass in East Matagorda, West Matagorda, Espiritu Santo, San Antonio and Aransas bays.
Good numbers of wigeons, pintails and redheads have produced limit shoots in Rockport. Port Mansfield and Port Isabel hunters have seen solid shoots. The East Galveston Bay marsh has been good, though salinity levels are high. More snow geese showed last week with the cold front and full moon, though few hunters are setting spreads Specklebellies have readily decoyed over rag spreads. Prospects are good right now.
North Zone Duck Hunting: Gadwall, wigeon and teal have been taken in the shallow coves of area lakes and reservoirs. Canvasbacks have been reported on Lake Fork, Toledo Bend, Sam Rayburn and Lake O’Pines. Caddo Lake has seen gadwalls, divers and ringed-necks on the big waters. Sloughs, backwaters and bayous are dry and dusty, so most ducks have taken refuge on the lakes or have continued south to the coast. Duck hunting has been good on the coastal prairies along the southern boundaries of the North Zone. Brookshire, Winnie, China, Devers, Sealy and Columbus have all enjoyed steady shoots for teal, gadwall, wigeon, pintail and shoveler. Prospects are fair at best in North Texas and good along the coastal boundaries.
High Plains Mallard Management Duck Hunting Unit: Duck hunting has fair at best for mallards, wigeons, gadwalls and teal. Feed lots have provided the best hunts. Diver ducks have been hitting deeper playas and reservoirs. Some lakes have been pumped with water to help wildlife sustain drought conditions. Canada geese are best over wheat and corn. More Canadas showed on Lake Etter this week. Sandhill crane numbers are good. Specklebellies have been reliable as well. Prospects look fair at this point in the duck season.
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