The second part of the divided duck season opens Saturday, and all indications are that it will be a productive one. For the past three weeks, more ducks and geese than normal for this time of year have arrived.
Cold weather north of here started the drive, and then the super moon Sunday added to the migration, as migratory waterfowl like to fly at night during full moons. The added size of Sunday’s moon helped drive even more birds south.
This past Tuesday, I joined a fellow member at the Mallard Lake Club on a survey of what had arrived since the closing of the first part of the season Nov. 26. To our surprise, there were more ducks flying around the shallow back lakes than we have seen this early in the season before.
Lots of tree ducks, gadwall, teal and bluebills were rising up from the water as we maneuvered through shallow grassy areas. One interesting observation was the lack of coots on the water. During practically all of duck season, hundreds of coots can be seen diving for food and working their way across the lake in large hordes. Tuesday we did not see any of them.
Reports from around the Rockport and Aransas areas indicate good numbers of pintails have arrived in those areas along with red heads. This should be another area that does well this weekend.
Marshes in the High Island area are holding a lot of ducks, with good varieties being observed. Among the ducks in the marshes are spoonbills, canvas backs, teal, gadwall, wigeons and scaup.
Plenty of geese have made it to the coastal prairies, with hordes of snow geese converging on the Eagle Lake and Brookshire areas. Johnny’s Sport Shop in Eagle Lake said that the goose hunting in that area has been excellent, with most parties taking large numbers of light geese along with specks and a few Canadian Honkers.
Similar reports came from the El Campo area where goose hunting has been improving with each passing cold front.
Deer hunting has been consistent in most areas, with large bucks now being taken in greater numbers.
South Texas hunters are seeing the big bucks moving, and this weekend should be the best so far in that part of the state with the cold temperatures that have converged in deep South Texas.
One benefit of the cold weather will be slowing the movement of rattlesnakes, which have been a problem in parts of South Texas with the warm weather that has prevailed all season.
Quail hunters in the George West and Freer areas have been reporting encounters between the rattlers and dogs with several fatalities being cited.
Quail hunts overall have been less productive this season; however, Johnny Ramsey reported excellent hunts on his farm in Wilson County. Ramsey attributed the good population of birds to the wet summer and escaping any significant flooding.
Hog kills are continuing, with good numbers of feral hogs being eliminated from farm and ranch lands. Cody James hunted his uncle’s land between Marble Falls and Kingsland taking 14 hogs and a nice 6-point buck. James said that one of the pigs was cleaned and barbecued, with some tasty meat being served during the weekend of his hunt.