For waterfowl hunters, the first segment of the two-part season has turned out to be one of the best in years.
Normally warm weather keeps ducks and especially geese from making their way to the Texas Coastal Prairies until well into December.
This year, cold weather in the midwestern and northern United States has driven the flocks our direction early. Since opening weekend just three weeks ago, flock after flock of geese and ducks have made their way to coastal regions.
Mike Grigar of Johnny’s Sport Shop in Eagle Lake reported large harvests of geese the past two weeks and a more than normal number of ducks taken. Grigar said that most of the ducks shot were teal, with more pintails showing up each day.
Coastal Wings in Bay City reported on their website heavy kills of light geese on their lands in Matagorda County. Wharton area hunters like Thomas Deal are experiencing better than usual hunting for geese, with lots of teal, gadwall and widgeons being taken by hunters from the shallows of Lake Texana.
The Aransas area around Rockport and Aransas Pass have a lot of red heads, with early limits being taken by hunters in Copano Bay and the flats between Aransas Pass and the Corpus Christi Ship Channel.
Deer are on the move in most areas with the exception of deep South Texas. Luis Ramos has been hunting his family’s land near Sonora for years and said that the deer taken this month have been larger with better quality racks than in many years.
Blanco hunters are taking typical hill country-size deer, with a few displaying nice racks; however, the majority of the deer have been antlerless or spikes. Freddie Masterson hunted a lease located between Blanco and Marble Falls last weekend and took a spike and a large doe. Masterson said that while the deer were not as large has he had harvested in Arkansas, the fresh venison was great to take home.
Our only South Texas report came from Jimmy Strickland, who enjoyed a great hunt near Rivera. Strickland said that he is waiting until mid-December to take his buck (only one over 8 points allowed on his lease); however, a large doe, 6-point buck and six bobwhite quail took care of his wild game harvest for his hunt Tuesday.
Quail hunting remains spotty, with areas that escaped heavy flooding doing better that those that experienced nest washouts last August. So far this season, we have not had many quail hunting reports, so if you make it out to the fields after quail let us know about your hunt whether productive or not.
Turkey hunting has been excellent in the Junction area where a lot of healthy gobblers have been taken lately. The best harvests have occurred in the late afternoon as the birds head to roost.
Coastal duck hunters, who enjoy combining their hunts with picking up a bucket or so of oysters from around the area of their blinds, need to be aware of a new regulation that went into effect on Nov. 1. Commercial and recreational harvests of oysters within 300 feet of water lines along the shoreline of the mainland or islands is not prohibited.
Also, the first segment of duck season closes at the end of the day this Sunday and will reopen on Dec. 2 in the north zone and Dec. 9 in the south zone.