10 Dec 2008 – Texas Weekly Migratory Bird Hunting Report

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

High Plains Mallard Management Unit: Goose hunting improved with the recent cold snap. Outfitter reported limits of decoying Canada geese with good decoying action for snow geese as well. Lots of juvenile snows in the flock which has helped put more white on the strap. Best hunts have been had near Lake Etter, Spearman and Dumas. A few 100-bird hunts have been posted. Good hunts have also been posted in Haskell County. Sandhill cranes have been good over milo and plowed ground. Duck numbers continue to be strong on playas and feed lots, though few hunters are taking advantage. More mallards have hit the region in the wake of the front. Another round of cold weather is forecasted for this week which could freeze some shallow playas. Pheasant hunting has been steady. Prospects are good.

North Zone Duck: The second split of duck season begins Dec. 13 and prospects look solid on lakes and reservoirs in Northeast Texas. Hunters there have noticed a significant influx of mallards to go with good numbers of gadwalls, wood ducks and green-winged teal. The region could use another dose of rain since no significant precipitation has fallen since September. Acorns and other forage are good this year with the summer rains, but some sloughs are dry and waiting for water to float duck food. Toledo Bend hunters said they are not seeing the number of birds they usually see, with a noticeable absence of mallards and canvasbacks. Caddo Lake, Lake Palestine, Lake O’the Pines and Lake Wright-Patman look good for the second split. Inland ponds near the coast could use another shot of rain to recharge ponds. Hunting was steady for the first two weeks of the season then slowed to a crawl around Thanksgiving. Best hunts have occurred on crawfish ponds and second-cropped rice fields. Prospects are fair to good.

South Zone Duck: The second split of duck season opens Dec. 13 and prospects look good for those with water. Ponds around Wharton and East Bernard are holding the brunt of birds. Many ponds in Eagle Lake and Garwood that rely on canal water from the Lower Colorado River Authority are dry due to lack of rain. LCRA turns pumps off Oct. 15 and hunters are at the mercy of the heavens for new water. Many are suffering since no rain has fallen in months. Goose roosts are drying as well and the fear of a cholera outbreak is realistic if the drought continues. Bay hunters have noticed an influx of birds since the first split, probably due to colder weather to the north and dry conditions on the prairie. Rafts of divers are roosting in the middle of East Matagorda Bay. Puddle ducks like wigeons, gadwalls, pintails and teal, along with divers like redheads and scaup have been found on the shoalgrass shorelines of West Matagorda Bay. Port O’Connor and Rockport hunters say they are seeing more birds. Port Mansfield has good numbers of pintails and redheads. Goose hunting remains excellent. Juvenile counts ranging from 20-30 percent have kept decoying action steady for snow geese. Specklebellies are becoming a bit fickle, but an influx of Canada geese should fill the void of dark geese. Prospects are good.