Late Winter Duck and Goose Reports

This duck and goose hunting report wraps up the end of the duck hunting season across Texas, but things are still going strong for geese across the state. Overall, the season was good and decent hunting weather did it’s part to puts birds across the landscape. Duck season ended on January 24 in the High Plains and the consensus among hunters was that is was a successful season.

Abundant water in the Panhandle gave ducks ample habitat and hunters a plethora of playa lakes to hunt. According to the duck hunting reports, lots of mallards, teal, pintails, gadwalls and wigeons were taken from playas and feed lots ponds. Goose season still runs from February 7, and prospects are fair for decoying action. Many waterfowl guides say this season has been a tough year to pattern birds, probably due the low count of juvenile birds thanks to poor reproduction.

The Light Goose Conservation Order in the West Zone begins February 8, but overall outlooks are fair at best. But on the bright side, where there is a hunting season there is a chance to hunt. And even the worst day of hunting is better than the best day in the office.

In north Texas, the season was fair. Too much water was probably the key factor in below average duck hunting. Most of the forage on the ground early was washed away by abundant rainfall. In fact, some boat ramps were closed early in the season and that kept hunter numbers down and the ducks spread out.

Hunting picked up a bit in December, then the first freeze of 2010 locked up ponds with thick ice and birds moved out. The bright spot was the number of wood ducks in the timber and the more liberal wood duck bag limit this season.

For coastal hunters, the prairies and bays were the hotspots for ducks in Texas. A wet winter did scatter ducks along the prairies and marshes, but the water made it harder for hunters to pattern ponds. Gadwall, wigeons, pintails and teal were the most prevalent species taken on the prairie, but that’s the case just about every year.

Coastal hunters in Port O’Connor and Rockport saw steady flight of redheads and pintail throughout. Goose season ended on January 24 and most hunters are happy to put the 2009-10 campaign in the back of their mind. Seasoned hunters have said this was the toughest goose hunting they can remember, probably due to a low juvenile count estimated at less than 3%. The Light Goose Conservation Order began January 25 and not many hunters have been taking to the field.

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