There have been some changes in hunting since our opening weekend report. The second week of the season saw a rut taking place in the Hill Country and good numbers of geese made it our way.
Late reports from Hill Country area hunters indicated that a rut was taking place in spite of the warm weather and early part of deer season. Normally it takes cold temperatures to really get the seasonal rut underway when buck are chasing does. When this occurs, the big deer tend to be less cautious in their surroundings and are more vulnerable to being harvested.
The Kerrville and Fredericksburg areas were where the reports originated and one hunter, Larry Pearson, was amazed at the timing of the rut. Pearson has a lease near Kerrville and saw a number of bucks on the move and ended up taking a 10-pointer.
During bow season, he saw few quality bucks and mainly antlerless deer; however, last weekend it was a different story.
Other similar reports were received, with Richard Roland reporting a dangerous situation on the highway between Johnson City and Fredericksburg. Bucks were causing near-miss accidents while running across the highway both day and night.
Roland asked that we alert drivers in the Hill Country to be especially observant to deer activity on the highways.
Reports from South Texas did not include any rutting activity. Our only report came from Norman Baccus, who took a 9-point buck and a 170-pound doe from his lease near George West.
Quail hunting reports have been mixed, as hunters in areas that were not affected by the heavy flooding are finding good numbers of the popular game bird. Meanwhile, those in areas like Refugio are feeling the effects of the wash out of nests during the flood.
More geese have arrived along coastal areas and a good example of this came from one of my journeys down FM 2004 between Hitchcock and Chocolate Bayou. Last Friday, I observed two flocks of geese, mostly dark geese, in fields along the highway. This is the first time in several years I have observed geese in that area this early in the season.
Decades ago both sides of that road would be covered with geese and seeing the sight last Friday was encouraging.
Along the middle coast, widgeon, teal, scaup and scattered pintail and redheads have been taken since Opening Day.
Chester Caldwell hunts a blind in Copano Bay and said that redheads, teal and bluebills were working that bay in fair numbers.
The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department is asking hunters to be sure to drain, clean and dry their boats and equipment before traveling from lake to lake. Doing so will help avoid spreading invasive species like giant salvinia and zebra mussel.
According to John Findeisen of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s Aquatic Invasive Species Team, the following further explains the concern.
“Invasive species such as giant salvinia can quickly grow to cover expanses of fresh water, which can block access for hunters to prime waterfowl hunting areas. By properly cleaning, draining and drying equipment and reporting sightings of invasive species, waterfowl hunters can make a big difference in the fight to protect our lakes and waterways from aquatic invaders.”