Texas Weekly Migratory Bird Hunting Report – 11/19/2008

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Texas Weekly Migratory Bird Hunting Report - 11/19/2008Weekly migratory bird hunting reports are posted from early September through early February.

High Plains Mallard Management Unit: The front brought new birds to the region but mild temperatures quickly returned. Outfitters have said temperatures in the 70s have not prompted geese to feed heavily, which has hurt decoying action. Many outfitters have said there are plenty of Canadas and snows to hunt; but, weather has been the ingredient to harvest them. Duck numbers look good on playas and feed lots. More mallards showed with the front. Knox City and Haskell County hunters have taken limits of wigeons, teal, gadwalls and a few mallards. Water conditions look better in the northern region of the Panhandle compared to the southern. Sandhill cranes numbers are strong and a few good hunts have been posted. Again, mild conditions and high skies have limited hunters. Prospects are good.

North Zone Duck: More ducks showed with the front. Gadwalls, teal and woodies continue to be most consistent in bags, but more mallards showed this week. Lots of woodies have been seen early in the river bottoms. Locales say they are seeing many more wood ducks than a year ago, probably due to better water conditions. Area lakes and reservoirs are holding more divers than normal. Divers like scaup and redheads are late getting to the coastal bayfronts, but many have begun their migration since the front. Lake Wright-Patman has been fair for gadwalls, teal and a few divers. Lots of ringed-necks on Caddo Lake. Power plant lakes, where hunting is prohibited, are holding large concentrations of birds. The river bottoms have water but could use another doze of soaking rains. Fields in Brookshire, Winnie, Nome, Sealy and Katy received rain that recharged duck ponds. Second-cropped rice fields have been best for teal, gadwalls, shovelers and mottled ducks. Many hunters have reported seeing more mottled ducks on inland fields on the east side of Houston, probably due to deteriorating marsh conditions brought about by Hurricane Ike. The first split of duck season runs through Nov. 30. Prospects are fair to good.

South Zone Duck: Duck hunters have seen consistent action on prairie ponds, especially since three to seven inches of rain fell last week. The recent front deposited new birds to the region, including more green-winged teal. Lots of bluewings still hanging around, especially in the marsh near Collegeport. Wharton, Garwood, Eagle Lake, East Bernard and El Campo ponds have been steady, with the odd specklebelly being taken out of duck blinds. Action on local wildlife management areas had been slim, but action picked up with the front and new water to fill freshwater compartments. Port O’Connor and Rockport hunters saw an influx of redheads, scaup and pintails. The hard north wind associated with the front blew some of the pintails from the prairie to the marsh. A stiff southerly wind should send them back, quickly. Goose numbers continue to build. The front pushed many more snow geese to the coast which hit fresh cut second-cropped rice fields. Good hunts were posted with a little fog and south winds that blew before the front. A good ration of young to old birds has helped decoying action—the same can be said for specklebellies. No reports of Canada geese, yet. The first split of duck season runs through Nov. 30. Prospects are good.