26 Nov 2008 – Texas Weekly Migratory Bird Hunting Report

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26 Nov 2008 - Texas Weekly Migratory Bird Hunting ReportWeekly migratory bird hunting reports are posted from early September through early February.

High Plains Mallard Management Unit: Colder weather helped decoying action for geese near Dumas, Etter and Spearmon. Some outfitters said the stiff north wind kept many geese on the deck. The weather quickly warmed after the front, which hurt bird movement. Outfitters say Canadas have been cooperating but snow geese have been their usual wary self. Lots of ducks are roosting on playas and feed lot ponds. More mallards moved in with the last front and expect more with the forecasted front Thanksgiving weekend. Wigeons and gadwalls have taken up the slack when mallard have been absent. Sandhill crane hunters have been taking limits over corn and plowed ground. Outfitters say the abundance of water has all the birds scattered throughout the region, instead of roosting in traditional spots. Prospects are good.

North Zone Duck: Cold weather exited and mild weather set in over the region during the weekend. However, a forecasted front mid-week and into the weekend should help prompt birds to move. Many hunters in Northeast Texas say they are not seeing the number of mallards they normally see this time of year. Most of the mallards have been harvested in ponds and sloughs near the Red River. Lake Wright-Patman has been good for gadwalls, teal and wood ducks. Lake Palestine has been good for gadwalls and wood ducks. Caddo Lake has been steady for gadwall, teal and ringed-necks. More divers have shown on Sam Rayburn, Lake Fork and Toledo Bend. Along the coast near IH-10, mottled ducks, pintails and green-winged teal have made up the brunt of the bag. Many hunters set up on rice fields say they are seeing more birds this year, probably due to poor conditions in the nearby marsh. The first split end at sunset Nov. 30. Prospects are fair to good.

South Zone Duck: Duck hunting has been average across the coast during the first split. Lack of water and significant cold front to push ducks south may be the culprit. Best shoots have come from Wharton County fields near East Bernard and Wharton. Eagle Lake, Garwood and El Campo fields have been fair at best. The one noticeable absentee has been the northern shovelers. Many outfitters have said few spoonbills have been harvested. More green-winged teal moved along the coast during the past 10 days. Bay hunters in Port O’Connor, Rockport and Port Mansfield have seen fair hunting at best. Redheads were late finding the coast, but stronger concentrations have begun to raft on shoalgrass shorelines of late. Many hunters reported seeing more wigeons than normal during the first split. Goose hunting picked up during the week. Many spreads are getting their limit of specklebellies due to a large batch of young, bare-chested birds. Snow geese have readily decoyed in hot feeding fields due to large gaggle of juveniles. Some estimates support upwards of 30 percent young in the flock. Hunters have not enjoyed optimal goose hunting weather, with calm, clear days dominating since the opener. The first split of duck season ends at sunset Nov. 30. Prospects are fair to good.