Texas Weekly Migratory Bird Hunting Report – 10/1/2008
North Zone Dove: Mourning dove continue to use milo, corn and soybean fields along the Red River. Cooler mornings and north winds have pushed new birds to the area, but best hunts have come in the afternoon around water and trees. Playa lakes around Amarillo and Dumas have been fair in the afternoon. Outfitters say playas are in good shape following recent rains. Fields north of Abilene have been best in the afternoon around water. Expect a new wave of birds this week as forecasts call for more north wind. Prospects are fair to good.
Central Zone Dove: Hunter participation has waned somewhat, which has allowed birds to build in fields and along tree lines. Mourning dove numbers are solid near Brownwood, Stephenville and San Saba in the afternoon around water. Corn and milo continue to hold whitewings on the outskirts of San Antonio. Hondo and Uvalde fields have been steady since South Zone pressure began. Milo fields have been good near Del Rio in the morning, then birds have been flying to gravel and water in the afternoons. Fields near Hankamer, Winnie and Dayton are holding mourning dove, but few hunters have taken advantage due to storm cleanup. New birds should show this week with forecasted north winds and cooler temperatures. Prospects are fair to good.
South Zone Dove: Dove have been best around water in the afternoon near Three Rivers, Fashing and George West. Good hunts were posted near Cotulla and in McMullen County fields of milo and croton. Laredo, Port Mansfield and Harlingen have been good around milo, corn and wild sunflowers. Stock tanks adjacent to these fields have held the brunt of the birds in the evening. Goatweed and water have held birds near Port Lavaca and Collegeport. El Campo hunting has been steady, though the area needs fresh recruits to sustain heavy hunting pressure. With north winds forecasted this week, the region should get a new deposit of birds. Prospects are fair to good.
Waterfowl: Teal season ended Sept. 28 and results were steady across the coastal prairie. Marsh hunting was virtually non-existent on the east side of Houston due to the damage from Hurricane Ike. A few pintails and shovelers are showing along the coast. Teal hunters reported seeing scattered flocks of specklebellies on the rice prairies. Ponds are drying from lack of rainfall. Generally, conditions have been dry since summer, with the exception of rain associated with the hurricane. It remains to be seen how the storm surge of saltwater, which killed most vegetation in the marsh on the east side of Houston, will affect waterfowl wintering patterns. Most of the aquatic duck food was killed from the saltwater intrusion. The Panhandle region is holding good amounts of water on playa lakes which is good news for waterfowl arriving during October.