The first part of the divided season for duck hunting ended last Sunday and will reopen in the north zone this Saturday, while the south zone, which includes all of the coastal counties, reopens a week later on Dec. 10.

The Thanksgiving weekend saw considerable improvement in waterfowl hunting, as a couple of frontal systems beforehand pushed ducks and geese southward.

Counties in the north zone, which include those where some of the larger reservoirs in Texas are located, saw good numbers of a variety of ducks arrive.

Terry Frankfort and his son Tom hunted the back part of Lake Sam Rayburn Thanksgiving Day and limited out on straps that contained pintails, gadwalls, mallards and spoonbills. One of the pintails made it to the taxidermist for mounting as it was the first of that species of duck young Tom had shot.

The Eagle Lake area received a large number of new birds early last week with mostly young geese in the mix. Over the Thanksgiving weekend, Chuck Pavlis hunted his uncle’s rice field and returned with seven geese, a pintail and two spoonbills. Pavlis said that the young geese were easily decoying his spread.

Ralph McNeil and three friends hunted the marsh near High Island on Sunday, and while the shooting was not up to par, he downed a nice-looking canvas back drake.

McNeil said it was his first canvas back. Unfortunately, the duck was not in good shape for mounting after it took several shots to finally stop it from swimming away once it was down.

Looking back on the first part of the divided season, results were in line with the last several years, as warmer than usual weather for the fall has kept large numbers of ducks and geese in North Texas.

Deer hunting continued on its hot pace, with mating season in full swing and many larger and wiser bucks coming out of hiding to participate.

Charles Coker and his family have a hunting lease near Kingsville and this year there have been more large bucks showing up than in recent years. Coker said he was puzzled by their appearance because it is usually late in the season and during very cold weather that the trophy deer start showing their racks.

Reports from all over the Hill Country indicate good numbers of quality bucks and does showing up at the processing houses.

Closer to Galveston, Peter Woods harvested a five-point buck while hunting near Dayton. The young buck field dressed at 158 pounds.

Quail hunters seem to be keeping quiet about their hunts, as no reports were received and the hunters I have contacted who hunt quail stayed home last week. Still, there are lots of birds in South and Central Texas.

Hog hunting is gaining in popularity largely due to the benefits it serves for farmers and ranchers to eliminate the destructive animals and the low cost of the hunts.

Jimmy Cervantes hunted a farm near Weimer and took five hogs including two small pigs that were processed into sausage and roasts. Cervantes said the ground up sausage was excellent with a good flavor and tender meat.

While duck season remains closed in coastal areas, goose hunting continues. Good day hunts are available in the Eagle Lake and Wharton areas with your choice of guided or individual hunts available.

If you are one of the lucky ones with a hunting lease, consider taking a kid with you. What an excellent way for the next generation to learn about the outdoors by sitting in a blind at daybreak observing wildlife.

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