This is the weekend that Texas hunters have been waiting for all year. It is the opening of some of the most popular fowl and game seasons of 2017.
While a number of other hunting seasons either begin or will be in effect this weekend, we will be focusing on deer, quail, turkey, ducks and geese.
First, let’s take a look at the early forecasts for conditions in which to hunt.
For deer, most areas are going to be warm, and that is not the best for getting whitetail deer to move. This, however, is typical for most opening weekends each year as it is usually well into November before any significant drop in temperatures takes place.
Kerrville in the Texas Hill Country looks to have temperatures running from the low 60s to low 80s, while hunters headed to deep South Texas will be facing higher readings with lows in the upper 60s to highs in the upper 80s.
The statewide bag limits for whitetail deer are five per season, with no more than three bucks.
Quail season actually began last weekend and the bag limit for those birds is 15 per day.
Turkey season begins in most counties on Saturday and the prospects look good again this year. In most counties, the bag limit is four birds; however, check the Texas Parks and Wildlife regulations for further information.
Duck season opens Saturday in the South Zone and Nov. 11 in the North Zone.
There is a six-duck bag limit with the following rules: no more than five mallards (two hens max), three wood ducks, three scaup or blue bills, two redheads, one pintail, two canvasbacks and a single dusty duck.
The South Zone is south of a line from Del Rio down Highway 90 to San Antonio and from San Antonio down Interstate 10 to the Louisiana border.
The North Zone is north of the above line and east of a line from Del Rio to Vernon encompassing U.S. 277 and State Highways 351 and 283.
Goose season opens Saturday statewide, with a daily bag limit of 20 light geese and five dark geese.
The prospects for this season are excellent, as abundant rainfall (actually too much in some areas) contributed to good ground cover and vegetation for deer and lots of flooded areas to attract migratory waterfowl.
Opening weekend should be on par as to harvests of both deer and waterfowl. Typical for most opening weekends, lots of ducks and geese still are farther north waiting for some serious cold weather to push them south. According to outfitters from the Eagle Lake, Wharton, Anahuac and Port O’Connor areas, enough ducks have arrived to make opening day worthwhile.
Geese, on the other hand, still remain well to the north, with a number of flocks arriving in the Eagle Lake and Wharton areas along with last weekend’s cold front. Bernie Sandlin, who has a lease near Rock Island, said there were enough geese in the area to make for a potentially good opening morning Saturday, especially if conditions are right for decoying.
The inland lakes have spotty numbers of ducks, with Lake Texana appearing to have the best numbers.
While we have tried to summarize the regulations, it is recommended that you check the Texas Parks and Wildlife regulations for more details before heading out to your blind this weekend.
Remember that safety must be your No. 1 priority.